Ridley Scott’s summer blockbuster Prometheus opens today in the US, telling the story of a future civilization that may have … overreached. Back in 2011, writer Damon Lindelof, a fan of TED, was exploring one of the key characters in the movie’s backstory: the corporate mogul Peter Weyland. What was his vision? How would he change the world? Which began to start sounding a lot like a TEDTalk. As Lindelof told the TED Blog in February:
Prometheus takes place in the future, but it’s a movie about ideas, and I just felt like it would be really cool to have one of the characters from the movie give a TED Talk. Obviously, since the movie is set in the distant future, it would have to be a little more contemporary. But wouldn’t it be cool if it was a TED Talk from a decade in the future? And what is a TED Talk going to look like in 10 years? And what would this guy have to say?
My first assumption was that TED was never going to go for it. At the end of the day, it was a cool viral piece. I never thought in my wildest dreams we would get the actual TED branding. I thought we have to end up calling it a NED talk. But Tom [TED’s own Tom Rielly] is every bit as much a geek as I am, and we sort of subscribe to the same sort of pop-culture influences, and he was already into what Ridley was doing. He just completely sparked the idea.