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Warning: mild spoilers ahead for Alien: Covenant. Read ahead at your own risk!
The Alien films have never shied away from innovation. From the late H.R. Giger's iconic design for the Xenomorph to the special effects pioneered by filmmakers like Ridley Scott and James Cameron, the sci-fi horror series consistently manages to break new ground and try new things. In that regard, Alien: Covenant is no different. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to chat with Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender about how they managed to get Fassbender in two places at once to simultaneously portray opposing androids Walter and David in the new film. Incredibly enough, they admitted that they pulled it off because of a handy digital camera that could duplicate the actor in real time. Ridley Scott explained:
Michael Fassbender's two android characters, David and Walter, share quite a bit of screen time in Alien: Covenant, which means Ridley Scott needed the technology to make the shots work. Having an actor portray multiple roles in a movie is a storytelling technique that has existed as long as the medium has existed, but technology has finally reached the point where a filmmaker can rely less on body doubles and makeup for a more realistic and complex shot. All Ridley Scott had to do was shoot a scene with Fassbender as Walter opposite a body double, then reverse the scene and shoot it again with the actor switching into his David role.
I think I speak for anyone who has seen Alien: Covenant when I admit that I want to see this technique used in future Alien movies. Michael Fassbender's David has arguably begun to rival Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley as the real face of the franchise, and the way the actor plays off of himself is legitimately fascinating and enthralling to watch. Ridley Scott clearly struck gold with this particular casting choice, and more Fassbender is never a bad thing.
That said, the process of shooting those sequences proved no less technical for Michael Fassbender himself. The actor chimed during our chat to explain the importance of precision to keep the shots coherent, saying:
Check out more of my chat with Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender from the Alien: Covenant press day below: