By Scott Macaulay in Web Exclusives on Monday, June 4th, 2012
"Telling the origin story of the creature that terrified us in Alien over three decades ago, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is one of this summer’s most hotly anticipated films. But somewhat surprisingly, the origins of the screenplay came as much from a screenwriter’s general meeting as the story material developed for that original movie. At a meeting in the offices of Scott’s production company, Scott Free, screenwriter Jon Spaihts was asked to riff on the possibilities of a film that would revisit the Alien universe. What resulted is Prometheus, with a script credited to Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Below I ask Spaihts to tell us his own origin story — his background, how he became a professional screenwriter, about his Black List hit Passengers, and his thoughts on working in today’s Hollywood.
Filmmaker: When did you start writing screenplays? How young were you, and how did you decide that was what you wanted to do?
Spaihts: I’d wanted to write stories for a living since I was a child, and for most of my life I expected to become a novelist. But in my twenties after college I had a production company in New York City with an old college friend, and we did documentary video, largely for museums and interactive media. For the first time I held a camera, edited video, scripted, directed and shot; I learned the vocabulary of film. Almost instantly, all my writing aspirations translated from prose to screenwriting.
Filmmaker: Tell me a little bit more about your work with this production company. What kind of video did you do?
Spaihts: We did a big contract for the Museum of Natural History in New York City on a project called Gist2, which is an ice-core project..."
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