In the sequence, Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw, an archaeologist who has traveled to a distant, spookily atmospheric planet in hopes of discovering the foundations of humankind, gets more than she bargained for. After having sex with her fellow scientist and boyfriend (the very Tom Hardy-looking Logan Marshall-Green), who has been infected with some kind of alien goop, she becomes pregnant with something that isn't exactly human. (Or, as Michael Fassbender's chilly android David says, in one of the movie's very best lines, "It's not a typical fetus.") What makes this whole situation even more provocative and unnerving is that, just a few scenes earlier, it's revealed that Shaw is barren and unable to have children.
Her solution? Retreat to the "medi-pod" -- a glassy, high-tech capsule that looks like something out of "The Fifth Element" and is able to perform any number of complicated medical procedures -- and try to tear the slithering embryo out herself. It's a gasp-inducing moment that had the entire audience we saw the movie with squirming in their seat.
Even though I had heard the topic was verboten, I had with ask Noomi Rapace, when I spoke to her last week, about what it was like filming the sequence, and if they had any idea it would be a future water-cooler discussion topic come Monday morning.
Did you know when you were doing it that it was going to be this huge moment? I think Ridley has been around long enough to know when he is stepping into something where nobody has been before. I just knew that I needed to find a way to do and go all the way into this situation and make it as real as possible. And it really messed me up. I had the most crazy, dark, destructive dreams.
What was it like shooting the sequence? I think it was like four days we were working on that sequence and it was just me and no other actors and I was emotionally a mess. But I remember that I was lying there, in that med-pod, screaming and in so much pain and almost feverish and at the same time I kind of enjoyed it. Because working with Ridley, he's so funny, and he came in and said, "You know, dude, I think your baby is kind of cute." And I said, "Honestly!? Yeah!" He makes it easy. When he sees that I'm ready to go, he's very observant and very sensitive and I remember him saying, "She's ready to go! We have to shoot now!" I felt like he was really with me and close to each other and sharing these crazy, fucked-up moments.
And a crazy, fucked-up moment it is. If you haven't seen Prometheus yet (and if you haven't, why are you reading this article?), it is in cinemas now in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D formats.