Technological. Intellectual. Physical. Emotional?
The infomercial for Weyland Industries’ 8th generation android, David, shows off an unexpected feature: The robot can understand human emotions, even if it can’t feel them. David demonstrates as much by shedding some tears in the ad, mid-speech. Weyland Industries, of course, is the fictional company that features in Ridley Scott’s hotly anticipated quasi-Alien-prequel, Prometheus.
When we last heard from Weyland Industries, it was during a TED talk from the year 2030 delivered by the corporation’s head honcho, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce). The latest transmission from Prometheus, executive-produced by Scott, takes a look at that company from the bottom of the chain of command: its androids.
Michael Fassbender plays David with the infinite patience of an actual machine. He is the latest model in Weyland’s quest to create artificial intelligence that is indistinguishable from mankind itself. “What is it about robots that make them so robotic?” he asks in a voiceover narration at the beginning of the ad. Perhaps it’s the fact that they are willing, as he later mentions, to perform nearly any task asked of them, carrying out orders that humans might find… distressing.
Director Johnny Hardstaff of Little Minx/RSA Films maintains a compellingly creepy vibe throughout the video. Partial credit for that is due to Fassbender’s piercing blue eyes and affect-free delivery, and composer Drazen Bosnjak‘s music. “I wanted to create a machine-like, repetitive, minimalist score for the beginning of the film that evoked the assembly of machines,” Bosnjak says. “When David starts to talk directly to the viewer I transitioned into a more utopian feeling premised by delivering the perfect artificial emotion of contentment through the music.”
How David’s aptitude for emotionality and his adherence to orders will play out in the movie is anybody’s guess. Watch the actual trailer below, and see the movie in theaters this June.