Photo credit: Mark Rogers

Ridley Scott takes audiences back to space in ALIEN: COVENANT, both a sequel to PROMETHEUS and a prequel to his sci-fi horror classic, 1979’s ALIEN.

One of the crew members on the titular ship is Ricks, played by musician and actor Jussie Smollett (Empire).

I recently had the pleasure of talking with the rising star about his experience being part of such iconic fictional world, and much more.

ALIEN: COVENANT is now playing in theaters, nation wide.

How much of a fan were you of the Alien films?

I was a fan of the first two. The first time that I saw one of those, I was 9 or 10-years-old. My brother was babysitting and he went to Blockbuster and brought movies that we weren’t supposed to be watching: One was Boyz n the Hood, and the other one was Alien. Growing up I liked things like Independence Day, but I wasn’t a sci-fi fanatic.

Do you think that it’s helpful for an actor to forget about previous films, or instead, keeping them present?

It was such a great opportunity to be part of this franchise because I was a fan. But I didn’t revisit the previous movies because I didn’t want to make connections in my mind between my character and those characters. Time-wise, Covenant happens before that the events in Alien and Aliens took place.

Photo credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

This crew is very diverse in terms of races, ethnicities, and social orientation. Are particularly proud of including that in such a big movie?

That’s the best question that someone has asked me about Covenant. I was wondering “Am I the only one that thinks that thinks that this movie is incredibly diverse?” And it’s not just diverse. That is a term that we’ve created and it can be a fad. This is not a fad, it’s about showing the world the way it is now. We didn’t have to say “Here is a gay couple; here is an interracial couple, etc.” we just had to show it. Although this is science fiction, still has a certain level of reality into it. Long story short: Yes! I am very proud of it, and I love that you brought it up.

Well, I am Latino and had very present the fact that Demian Bichir was playing a gay man.

I think that the studios have started to realize that you must show the world the way it is now. For example, I see it in the Star Wars movies, and the films that Ryan Coogler and Ava Duvernay are making.


Can you take me to that moment when you were filming this “Last Supper” prologue, with the entire crew around this table having a good time?

It was all improvisation. Ridley just turned on the cameras and said “This is the last supper. Just talk about the things that you will miss.” Of course, we had to have that scenario where my character’s wife, played by Callie Hernandez, is choking. Ridley really cares about the fans of this franchise, so he wanted to give them a chance to spend time and get to know these characters. I really love this cast!

We just covered the deep questions. Now tell me about the shower scene! [laughs]. In a way is a privilege for an actor to have a moment with the iconic xenomorph. Was it practical or there was a guy in a green suit?

No. It was a 7-foot something guy inside that thing. We put all of this dripping drool in its mouth before each scene. It was daunting to say the least. You are right; It is an honor to have a thrilling shower scene in a Ridley Scott movie. You know that something is going to go down. These people should have known better. I was in shock when I saw that moment in the movie.

ALIEN: COVENANT is now playing in theaters, nation wide.

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.