What’s harder to do? A death scene or a sex scene?
CT: It depends on who you’re doing the sex scene with. I don’t have issues being naked [pauses]. That sounds very slutty.
MF: Kind of. I didn’t want to say anything, but yes.
CT: What I mean is, I’m not hung up on my body, and I’ve been lucky to work with people I’ve been really comfortable with. I’ve had maybe two occasions where…
MF: It’s been uncomfortable.
CT: And Michael’s one of the two who did not make me feel very comfortable [laughter].
MF: I was a robot!
Did you base David, the robot, on anyone?
MF: At first I was thinking about the Alien films, or Blade Runner—those robots were very human. I decided to make him more robotlike but with human elements within. I looked for inspiration in David Bowie and Greg Louganis.
The Olympic diver?
MF: Yeah—for the physicality. When you read a script, certain images or names pop up, and for some reason, Greg Louganis came up. I knew I wanted to have good posture and a sort of economy of movement. It was the way Louganis walked to the edge of the diving board—I always thought it was mesmerizing.
Do you know how to dive?
MF: When I was out of work as an actor, I would give myself little challenges, and diving was one of them.
How old were you?
MF: This was when I was 23. I trained for a while and finally got the courage to go up the stairs to the high board. I was at the top, and I was standing there for ages, shivering. A kid who was 10 or 11 came over to me and said, “The first time you jump off, you’re going to get hurt a little bit, but it won’t be as bad as you think.”
CT: Listen to the children!
MF: I took his advice, but I didn’t fully commit. I hurt my leg.
There’s a great lesson there: Commit or else. Speaking of which,
Michael, you still haven’t said whether you think sex scenes are harder
to do than death scenes…
MF: I don’t know. Sex scenes sound like more fun than they are. Death scenes are easier, really. Maybe because I’ve died so many times. I’ve had a lot of practice. In my movies, I’m often naked or dying.
Now that you’ve made this science fiction film, with its very dark view
of space, do you have any longing to go to the moon or explore any other
CT: If space is not the world of Ridley Scott, I’d go. When I watched Prometheus at a screening, I got so scared, I elbowed the metal chair next to me. I still have a little scar from it.