Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
Demian Bichir plays one of the astronauts in Alien: Covenant, premiering on Friday, and we had a chance to chat with him recently.
Dread Central: What are your on thoughts on the story?
Demian Bichir: You know, we actors always hope and dream to be able to work with the best in this industry, anywhere, whether that’s film or TV or theater so that alone, Ridley Scott’s name, that means everything. I would go anywhere he wants me to go, I would attend any call to do anything, whether that’s having dinner, playing tennis, anything; but if that invitation was to work in one of his films, you can only imagine what that represents for any actor. I just consider myself very lucky to be a part of this.
DC: To what do you attribute our fascination about space? And why is it never good?
DB: Well, we make it bad because it’s very attractive, because that’s when drama happens and when terror happens. I personally want to think there’s something happier out there, that there’s a fascist-free type of world, not in this movie, but I think our fascination with the unknown is the fascination with exploring. That’s what happens when we are kids; they tell us not to go there and we go there. So in this case, we all hope that’s going to be a happy ending, a happy journey, but it doesn’t happen.
DC: Is this your first sci-fi/horror project?
DB: Yes. As an actor, you hope that if you’re going to be part of a new genre, that you will do the best, be the master of it. Ridley Scott is probably the best; I would say he’s a genius as far as I’m concerned so that is a safety type of feeling because you know you will be safe and you will be fine, anywhere he wants to take us. It’s like having the perfect guide; you know that he knows, and that doesn’t happen on every project.
DC: Was it intimidating working with Scott?
DB: He makes sure that fear, whether it’s somewhat present or not, goes away. He’s an artist and an extraordinary human being. Before being so famous, before what his name represents, he knows that the only way he can create art is through collaboration and the only way he can bring to the table the best of you is if he creates that environment so he’s a noble man, a generous artist, and he loves his actors; and that’s a joy.
DC: Tell us about filming in Australia.
DB: All that… all that and more. The first thing that we all said when we arrived in that natural set in New Zealand was, “Shit, this looks like a different planet, like another planet I’ve never seen before!” Nowadays it’s really easy to go on the Web and explore New Zealand and see this and that, there’s some really weird shaped mountains, they’re not “earthy” so… it all begins there. But then he builds these sets and in the Fox studios in Sydney, three different stages were taken by him and we actually saw the entrance form as we were shooting, they were getting ready, and by the time we stepped onto those sets and everything was ready to go, it was very difficult for us to understand it was fiction in the movie. I’m sorry, let me just finish very quickly with that idea. There were some times that we forgot our trailers were outside and it was a safe place to go and get shelter, sometimes we couldn’t even see where the cameras were because of the darkness, because of the set design, everybody was there to create this environment, we all needed to reproduce that.
DC: How does Covenant fit in after Prometheus?
DB: This ship is a microcosm of what represents humanity. Everything that we are, as we know it, is on that ship, we’re all there, all kinds of human beings, all kinds of beliefs, all kinds of everything and as always happens in a closed environment we share the same roof with different people, you will find some challenges. Even in your own family, even if you all know each other, there’s always discrepancies, there’s always something to discuss about and fight about and fight for so you will find all that there and this is like a revolutionary act, when you involve yourself in such an experience as this, an inter galactic journey, in search of a new place to probably live in and colonize. You know there is a possibility that you won’t make it, there’s a big possibility that you will die during the process and that’s what revolutions are for. When you are part of a revolution you know there’s a pretty good chance you won’t make it. Revolutions are always perfect and fantastic for other people, for new generations, for other generations so hopefully we will get this chance to save humanity in our new home.
DC: How about working with Fassbender? Did you have many scenes with him?
DB: Yeah, we all share a lot of the action that goes on in the film and sometimes it’s difficult when you get to work with a superstar, such a big name like Michael, sometimes that can be difficult. But I insist, it’s the head of the project that makes everything flow easily and Ridley and Michael have known each other for many years and I know now why they love each other so much because they’re the same type of artists. This man is also such a noble and generous man, Michael, he’s there for you and you know he’s covering your back, not only on the set but living together. Having this chance to be together for such a long time, it’s always about that, the human experience on any project is what captivates you at the end of the project because that’s what you can keep in your heart and this was one of the happiest experiences because everybody was there for the same reason, in the same spirit and it was really, really easy to deal with everyone.
DC: There’s a lot of talk about using the word “alien” when it pertains to people and immigrants…
DB: We are fighting. We all know that this is a fight we need to put up and this resistance that’s happening from day zero its real and it’s around the world. It’s millions and millions fighting stupidity and we will win because of that, because we’re not in our homes, kicking back, scratching our tummies eating sandwiches. We are all worried about the same so we, this is really interesting, we are united in a really powerful way so maybe this character, this clown, this is what he made possible, shaking this environment he made us all come together to fight for the same goal. It is very serious, no one should take this lightly and I think art, as well as science and sports, which are the best face of us as human beings, it can create that change. We want to think that we do that every time we are responsible with a note, with something we write, with a comment we make, the power, we have space in the newspaper, radio station, TV station, what you say matters, what you write will make a difference, what we do makes a difference. We are doing a play right now at the Taper Forum, and it’s about that, it’s about discrimination that Mexican-Americans have suffered for many, many years. This immigration reform that we’ve been fighting for is nothing new, is nothing that just happened from top to bottom now. No, this is an old issue that is one of those social struggles that will be won, like many others in the history of this country but we’re up there, we’re up there, we’re awake, we’re aware and we’re fighting.
Look for Alien: Covenant (review) everywhere on May 19th.
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.