<i>Alien</i> Prequel Becomes <i>Prometheus</i>, Noomi Rapace Officially Signs On

Well, this is a surprise: the Alien prequel is dead. Ridley Scott was previously attached to direct a two-part movie that would explore the origins of the iconic science fiction creature, but now it's been announced in a press release from 20th Century Fox that the project has morphed into something entirely different. Instead of directing an Alien movie, Scott is now at the helm of Prometheus, a wholly original science fiction concept written by Damon Lindelof of Lost fame.

Despite the changes, some of the old rumors are panning out. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actress Noomi Rapace is officially on board for the role of Elizabeth Shaw, a scientist and one of two female leads. Deadline reports that Fox is looking at Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron for the other lead, Vickers. Rapace's name has been thrown around in connection to the project for months now, and the Theron development came about earlier this week.

Pretty wild news, to say the least. Not every Alien fan was on board with Scott's idea to reboot the series, but an original concept from the director of Alien and Blade Runner as well as one of the co-creators of Lost? Yeah, I think we can get on board for that. Check out all the details in the full press release below.

Los Angeles (January 14, 2011) __ Twentieth Century Fox announced today that Ridley Scott will direct PROMETHEUS, an original science fiction epic, for worldwide release on March 9, 2012. The initial draft of the script was written by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) from Scott’s idea. Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek) and Scott have since been working together on the current version which has expanded the story into new directions.

Story details are being closely guarded so as not to spoil surprises for moviegoers, but Scott explained the outlines of the film and its genesis as follows: “While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to have found the singular tale I’d been searching for, and finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart.”

“In a world flooded with prequels, sequels and reboots,” said Lindelof. “I was incredibly struck by just how original Ridley’s vision was for this movie. It’s daring, visceral and hopefully, the last thing anyone expects. When I sat in a movie theater as a kid, feet raised off the floor for fear that something might grab my ankles, I never dreamed in my wildest imagination I would one day get to collaborate with the man responsible for it. Working alongside him has been nothing short of a dream come true.”

Of the five major roles to be cast, Noomi Rapace is the first actor signed to star in the film. The young Swedish actress landed the role of scientist Elizabeth Shaw after Scott saw her portrayal of fictional Lisbeth Salander in the film The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, for which she was lauded by Time magazine as a 2010 Performance of the Year. Rapace starred in all three entries of the breakout global franchise based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy of books (The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are the other two entries), which have collectively grossed more than $212 million worldwide.

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