When a studio gets excited about a project in the early scripting stages, rarely is it a good thing for film fans. It generally means they’ve been able to save tons of money by forcing someone somewhere to compromise, and what happens is either the film languishes in development hell – or the finished product is a shadow of what it could have been.

Hopefully, that will not be the case with the Alien prequel.

While reports that Ridley Scott was touting a return to the “nasty… R-rated” roots of the first two films, the budget he was throwing around was in the $150 million neighborhood; enough to send 20th Century Fox running in terror. What the studio needed was a new script that stripped down much of the action (and thereby the budget), and now a report from Vulture indicates that they may have found exactly what they’ve been looking for.

A treatment by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof has been turned in, and reportedly the studio is thrilled with it. Supposedly it is toned down in terms of large sets and expensive effects that would eat the budget away, and focuses more on the creepy atmosphere of the original (a good thing), allowing for more creativity on the part of the filmmaker. So happy is Fox that they’re now talking about a possible PG-13 rating for the prequel (a bad thing), something that sounds absurd considering the violent pedigree of its predecessors!

Now with a script they like, Fox has interest in either Natalie Portman or Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) as the lead, being described as a tough Colonial Marine General.

So now we wait to find out Scott’s reaction to the script and whether or not he’d be remotely interested in delivering a PG-13 Alien picture, especially after telling everyone who would listen how he’d like it to be “really tough, really nasty”.