Scarlett Johansson is to star in a new alien-themed movie due for release in 2012. The movie - entitled Under the Skin - is to begin production this October in Inverclyde, Scotland, wherecastingsessionsfor extras are currently underway.
Johansson is to play the role of "an alien on earth, disguised as a beautiful woman who scours remote highways and desolate scenery looking to use her greatest weapon -- her sexuality -- to snare human prey." So says the official production blurb.
The Internet Movie Database, meanwhile, is more to the point in itsdescriptionof the movie:
"Aliens descend upon Earth with a specific mission in mind: To abduct hitchhikers and take them back to their home world, where human meat is considered a delicacy."
It may sound pretty naff (and also remarkably like the 1995 'alien-as-seductress' movie Species), but Under the Skin is to be directed by Jonathan Glazer, whose excellent signature movie, Sexy Beast, is something of a modern cult classic. Glazer's involvement in Under the Skin, then, may well elevate it to 'must-see' status. Here's hoping it's better than Species, at the very least.
We lost our extra volunteers this week. They went back to Honolulu on Thursday along with two of our long term volunteers, David and Eryn. They got a lot of native plants planted and weeds pulled. We did get a new group in and it was nice of Amelia to stay to help train Anthony, Eamon, and Dani. They've had to learn quickly about botulism and Laysan ducks. We've had a few sick ones this week.
I'll be flying out on the next plane, and coming back 3 1/2 weeks later. I've had a lot of leave time to burn up this year thanks to spending 9 1/2 months on Tern Island last year. I'll try to do a blog when I get back, or maybe I can do an entry while I'm in the Czech Republic.
Tyler and Nikki are cutting back some of the naupaka in front of the FWS office.
There is a lot of grounding wire all over Eastern Island. This brown noddy and chick don't seem to mind.
I haven't had a sunset picture for a while, and the colors were nice the other evening, so here is one.
The water was pretty cloudy out near the reef last week. You can barely see the monk seal in this picture.
If I mess with the brightness and contrast, you can see it a little better.
The water was a lot clearer 2 weeks ago when I took this picture of some teardrop butterflyfish, threadfin butterflyfish, a moorish idol, a saddle wrasse, and a female spectacled parrotfish.
The movie's original screenplay (now in the process of being re-written) is available to view online. When last I checked several weeks ago this was not the case, or at least I was unable to locate it after a lengthy search.
I had received my copy of the screenplay directly from one its original reviewers and had been advised not to republish the document for obvious legal reasons. But seeing as the screenplay apparently is now available for any and all to view, knock yourselves out (don't read it right before yo go to bed, though!).
CORRECTION: In my last post on this movie, I said that the character of Michael Lazar is "sucided". Reading the script a second time, however, I realise I was mistaken. Lazar is not suicided, but his death is nevertheless carefully 'engineered' by the powers that be...
"'UMBRA' is aLatin word that refers to "a dark area, especially the blackest part of a shadow from which all light is cut off.
'UMBRA' is also a U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) code word used to denote the highest-level compartment of Communications Intelligence (COMINT) - also known as Special Intelligence. Notable in this context is a "Top Secret UMBRA" NSA affidavit dating from October 1980 which gives reasons why certain information relating to UFOs is exempt from disclosure.
Now, UMBRA is to be a Hollywood movie. A paranoid thriller, to be precise, about a man who finds an old cassette tape which reveals a horrifying secret.
Details of this movie first emerged back in 2009, when Roger Donaldson was attached to direct and Nicholas Cage to star, but budgetary concerns about the production - as well as Cage's numerous other movie commitments at the time - meant that it never really got off the ground.
The movie's original screenplay was written by newcomer Steven Karczynski and was leaked online in June 2009 and reviewed by a handful of bemused amateur critics. The consensus was that an intriguing and gripping conspiracy thriller in the vein of Coppola's The Conversation was torpedoed in its final act by an unexpected sci-fi twist. The screenplay itself is no longer viewable online, but the reviewers' original comments pointed to the possibility that UMBRA is - or, at least, was - a UFO movie."
I can now report that, since posting the above information earlier this year, I have read the original screenplay in its entirety and can confirm that The UMBRA (as opposed to just “UMBRA”) is indeed a UFO movie, and a damn disturbing one at that. I won’t quote from the script directly, nor reveal the intricacies of its plot or broader narrative devices, but here’s a brief overview of its UFO/alien-related content, all of which is drawn from pre-existing UFOlogical literature and debate:
Archuleta Mesa, NM, location of the alleged Dulce facility
The script clearly is inspired by the longstanding rumours surrounding the Dulce facility – an alleged deep-underground biogenetic research facility in New Mexico rumoured to be jointly run by human black-ops forces and extraterrestrial entities.
One of the characters in the script is named Michael Lazar, clearly a reference to Bob Lazar of Area 51 fame, although in The UMBRA Michael Lazar unmistakably is modelled on Phil Schneider – the self-proclaimed Dulce whistleblower who appeared to have been “suicided” back in 1996. The UMBRA’s Michael Lazar also attempts to blow the whistle on sinister alien/human activities at the Dulce facility and also is “suicided” (Lazar is not the movie’s main character, however. His role is merely functional).
In the script, “Project UMBRA” refers to what originally was a mutually beneficial research program whereby the ETs share with human elites their advanced technology in exchange for the right to abduct and experiment upon an agreed number of humans. We learn, however, that the human elites have lost control of the situation and that the ETs have been violating their agreement and, in fact, are developing plans for global domination.
The script describes an incident in which human workers stray into an alien-controlled area of the Dulce facility and go missing. When a black-ops team is sent on a search-and-rescue mission, a fire-fight ensues between the humans and ETs resulting in casualties on both sides. This, of course, is very similar to what Phil Schneider described in his Dulce testimonies. TheUMBRA’s alien/human fire-fight is even described as having taken place in 1979 – the same year of Schneider's alleged subterranean alien altercation.
Don’t expect a happy ending. I won’t reveal what happens, but to say it’s horrifying is an understatement. I had trouble sleeping afterwards.
All very intriguing, you might think. Perhaps, but the relevance of the above information is debatable, as The UMBRA is now being re-written by Joe Carnahan (TheA-Team (2010)) who will also direct the movie for Endgame Productions (originally it was to be produced by Relativity Media). Whether or not the script's alien element – and specifically its explicit references to the Dulce facility - will survive its reboot is uncertain and there is no release date for the movie as yet, though it is unlikely to hit cinemas before the end of 2012 as new director Carnahan is currently tied up with another project entitled The Grey (not alien-related).
THE UMBRA's original director - Roger Donaldson - worked closely with the CIA on The Recruit and also directed the alien movie Species. While new helmer Joe Carnahan's production history isn't nearly so interesting as Donaldson's, The UMBRA - if and when it reaches the big screen - is nevertheless certainly one to watch out for. Just don't take your kids to see it.
We had another ship this week. The NOAA ship "Oscar Elton Sette" came through on their way to pick up the monk seal crews from the other islands. They usually stay over night to give the crew a break, but this time they were only here for the day on Friday. A few of the people from the ship are flying out on our next plane, so they will help us out on the island until Thursday. Julia, Nicky, Naomi, and Ilana were on Kure Atoll. Nicky was a volunteer here a few months ago, so it's nice to have her back for a few days. Irene and Tyler were the turtle techs at French Frigate Shoals this summer. They counted and marked over 800 nesting females this year which was the most ever recorded since they started the program a few decades ago. I worked with Irene a couple of years ago, so I think I may have a photo or two of her on my Tern Island blog.
I went out snorkeling again today, with our new visitors. We were going to take the boat out, but the weather wasn't so great, so we just went out from shore. There isn't much coral at all, but there are still some good fish to see. My photos from last week are better so I'll show you those, instead of the not so great ones I got today.
Our new helpers are waving goodbye to the Sette. This is Naomi, Tyler, Irene, Ilana, and Nicky.
Irene, Tyler, David, and Greg are planting bunchgrass near the cargo pier with the Sette in the background.
Amelia, Eryn, and David are collecting some short-tailed albatross decoys that we'll be cleaning up.
Here are some of last weeks pictures. Derek and Kristin are picking up some net and rope stuck on some coral. Derek is working on a water tank painting project on island.
This is a Blackside hawkfish in some nice purple coral.
This is a Blackspot sergeant and a Surge wrasse.
This is a little closer view of the surge wrasse. They are a bit more colorful than the photo shows.
Jean Claude Van Damme is to appear in UFO - a UK-set alien invasion movie due for release in 2012. Van Damme's involvement in the movie pretty much assures it a straight-to-DVD release. That, and the fact that the rest of its cast are TV actors or unknowns.
Nevertheless, I thought the movie worthy of a quick mention if for no other reason than that its plot seems quite interesting.
"Five friends wake on a seemingly normal morning to find the power’s out, there’s no mobile phone reception and the radio can tune nothing but static… None of the neighbours know anything about what could have caused these occurrences and news soon arrives that it may in fact spread across half of the UK, maybe further. But with no way of discovering any information and no advice on what to do, the atmosphere quickly turns edgy.
Two nights later they are awoken in the dead of night by what seems like a violent earthquake, strange lights are spotted shining down from high above outside, something is flying over the house, not just the house, the entire neighbourhood, something huge. A city size UFO, finally settles, hovering in the distance above the nearest city.
What now? Are they going to attack? Have they already attacked? Are the power cuts an accidental side effect the UFO isn’t aware of? How quickly will society deteriorate and turn into survival of the fittest? What would you do to survive, to ensure the survival of those you love?
Whatever happens… Try to remain calm."
Will UFO live up to this intriguing synopsis? We shall see (or not, as the case may be). One thing we can bet on, though: at some point, some cocky alien invader is gonna taste bitter defeat by way of Van Damme's roundhouse. You may be able to overcome Earth's combined aerospace defence capabilities, aliens, but if you think for one second that you can dodge Jean's swift, kicky justice....
The actress Jodie Foster has chipped in to a $200,000 collective donation to the SETI institute in an effort to restart its "Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence." SETI's long held goal of detecting signs of intelligent ET life by scanning the heavens was obstructed recently when budget cuts under the Obama Administration shut down the Allen Telescope Array - SETI's primary ET search tool. SETI now hopes to bring it back online ASAP and to resume its cosmic search.
Foster starred in the 1997 movie Contact, based on the novel by Carl Sagan, in which a SETI scientist discovers an ET signal...
"Originally created in 1969 and resurrected in 2008, Guardians of the Galaxy begins as a far-future story revolving around a group of alien beings - each the last of their kind - who eventually travel back in time to protect the earth from alien invasion."
For further details of Marvel's latest comic book to silver screen adaptation, head on over toTwitch.
We had some visitors this weekend. The NOAA ship Hi'ialakai was in the neighborhood doing coral reef studies, so they pulled up to the pier Friday and left today. It was nice to have them here and hear what they are working on.
We had a couple more sick Laysan ducks with botulism this week. But we got them all fixed up and back out in the field.
I don't have a lot more to tell you this week since I spent most of the time in the office. Don't feel too sorry for me, because I at least got out snorkeling today and got a few pictures (Thanks for the camera loan, Kristin!)
The Hi'ialakai brought beautiful weather with them when the pulled up to the cargo pier.
Here are two of our volunteers, Amelia and Eryn, pulling out weeds near the Parade Field seep so we can locate sick or dead Laysan ducks.
This white tern is waiting to feed this fish to its chick.
Now for some snorkeling pictures. This is the reef on the east side of the atoll. There is some really nice coral over there.
This is the emergent reef on the east side. This looks volcanic, but is actually just long dead coral. A few of the albatross chicks take a rest on the reef before they fly off for a few years.
I got a lot of good pictures with Kristin's camera today, but I'll just show you some of the butterflyfish that we have around here. This is an ornate butterflyfish.
This is a threadfin Butterflyfish. You can see the "threadfin" near the black spot above the caudal fin (tail).
These are teardrop butterflyfish. There were a lot of them around, but I hadn't seen them at Midway before.
Here's an oval butterflyfish, with some convict tangs in the back. Both of these species are fairly common around here.
These are milletseed butterflyfish. I saw some other species of butterflyfish, but didn't get great pictures of them. Next week I'll show a few more random underwater shots.