Ridley Scott gave a sneak 3D preview of his new movie "Prometheus" on Wednesday, the latest step in an elaborate promotional campaign marking the "Alien" director's return to sci-fi, three decades on.
First conceived as a prequel to the "Alien" franchise, the British director's new project, set for release on May 30, follows a space mission in search of an alien civilisation believed to hold the key to the origins of mankind.
Scott's first foray into 3D, it stars Noomi Rapace -- Lisbeth Salander in the original "Millenium" films -- as a questing archaeologist, Charlize Theron as the mission's icy corporate chaperone, and Michael Fassbender as an android.
Fans have so far been granted tantalising snippets -- from single images to teasers, trailers and viral clips -- including of the fictional corporate boss behind the space mission -- released in instalments since last summer.
From craggy nature shots to soaring space vistas or charged close-ups, the action-packed 10-minute sequence screened in Paris for select press and fans in presence of the director and cast, made pulse-quickening use of 3D technology.
"If you are a visually oriented person, 3D is just another colour in the paintbox," Scott said afterwards. "But it pulls you even more into the universe of the story -- even the dialogue scenes."
The film draws on the Greek myth of Prometheus, punished by the gods for stealing the gift of fire, offering a metaphor on man's use or abuse of technology that "unfolds through the movie," the director said.
A team of archaeologists are seen tracking a trail of cave paintings and ancient inscriptions that hint at past contacts with an alien civilisation: "an invitation" as Rapace's character puts it.
Cut to 2094, where the scientists are among the crew of the spaceship "Prometheus", sent to track down the extraterrestrial beings on their home turf -- where things soon take a turn for the worse.
Though no stranger to tough roles after the three "Millenium" thrillers, Rapace said she entered trying new actor's territory with "Prometheus," praising Scott for his hands-on direction.
One sequence in particular, she said, was "rather disturbing, quite twisted, like nothing I've ever done before. It was really physical, mental, it messed me up a lot.
"But I never felt I was carrying it alone. I was running around half naked, but I never felt naked. You were with me," the Swedish actress told Scott on stage.
The film's other female lead -- Theron's character, first seen doing press-ups right after waking up from two years of space travel -- has drawn comparisons with Sigourney Weaver's persona in the "Alien" films, Ellen Ripley.
"All my works works involve engaging females -- they are usually really, really strong," Scott said. "I think it comes part and parcel probably from my mother -- who was four foot eleven, but actually she used to kick my brother Tony Scott's and my a(expletive)!"
On the thriller's broader kinship with the "Alien" franchise, he said it was born of a question left unanswered by the 1979 original and its sequels: where did the alien come from?
"But when you're writing it's an entirely organic process, which gradually shifted us miles away from the original 'Alien' and evolved into this film, which is now called 'Prometheus'," Scott said.
"The DNA attached to the original 'Alien' occurs in about the last eight minutes of this movie."