Playboy.com: Going back to the TED Talk video, how involved were you with the viral videos that popped up online? It was reminiscent of some of your past work.
Lindelof: They were my idea from a pretty early stage. They were really interested with all of the viral that we were doing on Lost in terms of how you can really build a world with viral videos. And from the moment I took the job, I started getting asked, “Is this a prequel?”, “What does it mean to be a prequel?”, “What is the connection to the original Alien?” So I thought it would be great that instead of you and I answering those questions in interviews, we could start putting some content out there that answers those who are asking if this is an Alien prequel.
Then the TED Talk idea came about. I figured that if Guy, who is playing Peter Weyland (Weyland Yutani is the company in Alien) would do this TED Talk, audiences would know that there is a connection since Weyland is a fixture from the Alien universe. I called a friend of mine at TED and asked if we could use TED branding even though it’s taking place in the future and was fictional. He said, “Not only can you call it a TED Talk, but you can also unveil it at the TED conference this year. We’ll also host the video through our website.” So that piece of viral made a big splash. It also gave us all of the benefits of TED branding, smart, clever ideas. And for some people who had never heard of TED, but were interested in Prometheus, the video became their introduction to TED.
And then I thought we could do a commercial with Michael Fassbender for the David 8 Robot piece. That idea came about after I had seen an ad for the new iPhone 4S. I thought, if Apple does commercials for iPhones, wouldn’t they do commercials for robots? And if we can talk Fassbender into it, that would be great! Johnny Hardstaff, who is a very talented director who works out of London for Ridley’s commercial company, just sort of took that idea and started doing the David 8 commercial. I wrote some copy for it and he brought these amazing visual ideas to it.
Playboy.com: I know you said that you drew a lot of inspiration from Ridley, but were there books or shows that you enjoyed while working on Prometheus?
Lindelof: I think that I was just so locked into the world of Prometheus, and obviously already have dozens of sci-fi influences, so not really. Ridley was talking about Erich Anton Paul von Däniken’s work in terms of ancient aliens and the idea of life on earth being seeded from extraterrestrials, so that was a notion that he mentioned a lot. The other two things that came up that I sort of studied were 2001 and Lawrence of Arabia, for reasons that will become obvious for anyone who sees this movie.
Playboy.com: Congrats on the newly signed contract with Warner Brothers. Are you relieved to be back to television?
Lindelof: I miss TV a lot, though the last two years have been great and movies have been wonderful. I will hopefully make a couple more of them, but my heart is in television and the frenetic energy of it. I just really love being able to tell a story over a much larger canvas. I think for me the idea of painting murals is much more creatively energizing than doing one-off paintings. As great as my experience on Prometheus was, it has been two years since I took this job; in that time we’d make 50 episodes of Lost. I am looking forward to being a little less lazy and a little more nose-to-the-grindstone on a writing level.
Playboy.com: Is there much we can expect this early in the game?
Lindelof: Not ready to say anything yet. I’ve got a couple of ideas rattling around in my brain but some of those ideas are best left to continue rattling before they come out of my mouth.