More than just a funny guy

The Daily Observer - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mark Daniell

When Danny McBride got the call to join Alien: Covenant — di­rec­tor Ri­d­ley Scott’s through line be­tween his orig­i­nal Alien and the 2012 pre­quel Prometheus — he thought he was go­ing to be there to make a cou­ple of jokes and suf­fer a grisly on­screen death.

“I thought for sure ... I was go­ing to come in there for comic re­lief and then I was go­ing to have my head ripped off and crammed up my ass,” he chuck­les.

In­stead, McBride — who plays the pi­lot Ten­nessee — found him­self an in­tri­cate part in an en­sem­ble piece, which in­cludes James Franco, Michael Fass­ben­der, Kather­ine Water­ston and Billy Crudup. Alien: Covenant (open­ing May 19), is an un­re­lent­ingly dark hor­ror that rein­tro­duces movie fans to H.R. Giger’s iconic xenomorph and will lead to at least two ad­di­tional movies.

“I re­mem­ber when I got the of­fer for the film and they gave me the script, just as a fan, I was just like, ‘F — yeah, this is ex­actly what I think peo­ple are want­ing and it’s ex­actly what I’m want­ing from this fran­chise,’” McBride says.

Fol­low­ing the world pre­miere of the film, McBride talked, in an in­ter­view, about the fran­chise’s re­vival, how watch­ing Alien asa kid in­flu­enced his ca­reer tra­jec­tory and re­vealed what it’s like to come face to face with Alien.

Prometheus was miss­ing a lot of the hor­ror el­e­ments fans ex­pect from this fran­chise. What did you think of Covenant

turn­ing that up this time?

This is a dark, dark, dark movie ... I’m some­one who loved Prometheus. I know that some peo­ple missed the hor­ror el­e­ment, but I loved what Ri­d­ley was propos­ing in it. I had no idea where the hell it was go­ing or what it was all go­ing to add up to. And I just love what Ri­d­ley is go­ing af­ter in this movie and it makes me ex­cited to think where this is all headed from here.

Ri­d­ley Scott is push­ing this uni­verse in an en­tirely new di­rec­tion. Was that sur­pris­ing to you? I think he has man­aged to make

Alien, once again, hor­ri­fy­ing. That’s no easy feat. And there are some con­cepts at work here — ev­ery­thing to do with David and Wal­ter, for ex­am­ple — that are go­ing to push the fran­chise even fur­ther.

Covenant takes place roughly 30 years be­fore Alien. What did you think of the ru­mours that Kather­ine Water­ston’s char­ac­ter Daniels was re­lated to Sigour­ney Weaver’s Ellen Ri­p­ley?

I thought the same ex­act thing. I asked Ri­d­ley when we were on the set, ‘How far be­fore Alien are we? Is Daniels Ri­p­ley ’s mom?’ And he was like, ‘No, this is many years be­fore

Alien.’ But I don’t know if that’s a smoke screen or if that’s re­al­ity. I have no idea. What was it like to come face to face with the Alien?

It was crazy. There ac­tu­ally was a con­tor­tion­ist in the Alien cos­tume that would pur­sue you and run af­ter you and that left lit­tle to the imag­i­na­tion.

Do you think there’s alien life out there?

I would have to as­sume so. I can’t imag­ine we’re the only things in the uni­verse. I do think we should look for it and I hope that what we find is some­thing cool and not just a weird cock­roach or some­thing like that.

You’ve made peo­ple laugh as the out­ra­geous Kenny Pow­ers on East­bound & Down and the car­toon­ish Neal Gamby on Vice

Prin­ci­pals. What’s harder, com­edy or hor­ror?

I feel like com­edy never gets the re­spect it’s due. Com­edy is the hard­est f---ing thing to do in the world be­cause it is so ob­vi­ous when com­edy is not work­ing. It was nice to come into some­thing where I didn’t have that pres­sure of adding jokes onto things.

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