Ridley Scott to direct Alien prequel film for Fox

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Variety confirms a story, first reported by, that Ridley Scott's company is developing a prequel to his classic sci-fi horror movie Alien, but with a few changes: Scott himself will direct, not Scott's protege, Carl Rinsch, and Jon Spaihts will write the script.

Here's how the trade paper reported it:

Spaihts got the job after pitching the studio and Scott Free, which will produce the film.

The film is set up to be a prequel to the groundbreaking 1979 film that Scott directed. It will precede that film, in which the crew of a commercial towing ship returning to Earth is awakened and sent to respond to a distress signal from a nearby planetoid. The crew discovers too late that the signal generated by an empty ship was meant to warn them.

The deal gives Fox another chance to keep the Alien franchise alive. There were three sequels to Scott's original, but it is the first time the director has set his mind on directing one.

Who is Jon Spaihts? He's a guy with a lot of sci-fi irons in the fire: Keanu Reeves is reportedly attached to his Warner Brothers script Shadow 19 and also hired Spaihts to write the space journey epic Passengers, which got Spaihts the meeting with Fox and Scott Free.

Spaihts is also reportedly writing Children of Mars for Disney and Scott Rudin, and he will follow by rewriting St. George and the Dragon for Sony and Red Wagon.