Australian actor Benjamin Rigby to star in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant

16 March, 2016 by Harry Windsor

Benjamin Rigby (photo credit: Amelia Dowd).


Melbourne-based actor Benjamin Rigby has a solid list of credits, from Neighbours to Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries to The Secret River, but none of them are quite like his next gig – on Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant, currently gearing up to shoot at Fox Studios.

"It's pretty insane", Rigby told IF on the line from Melbourne.

"I've known since January, and it has been exceptionally difficult to keep it quiet. My mum and my workplace had to know, but it's been hard" (laughs).

Rigby has worked at Melbourne's Cinema Nova for six years, and "I might still have to go back there after the film and pay my rent. Six years of free movies is pretty good". 

Originally from the Gold Coast, the actor attended boarding school in country Queensland, where his drama class regularly went to see Black Box Theatre productions of Shakespeare at USQ in Toowoomba. 

After a gap year, he went to drama school for three years, then got an agent in Melbourne and moved there.

Rigby won the plum role in Alien: Covenant by putting himself on tape.

"I was lucky enough to get American representation a year and a half ago. They send you an audition piece and then you have two or three days to learn it, and you put it down on tape with a reader and send it back". 

"I got an audition for this, and at the time I thought I'm not going to get this, it's bloody Ridley Scott. [But] It's usually the ones that you're not as invested in that you tend to get. I did that in October and I got a phone call in January, and I'd forgotten all about it". 

The actor gets on a plane for Sydney this Friday to begin rehearsals – and meet Scott for the first time. 

"I've read the whole script, and it's great, I really like it. I have a great character".

"I'd say it's a sizable role. It's a good plot device. My favourite roles to play are plot devices" (laughs).

Given that 'Alien' is back in the title, will the new film be a continuation of 2012's Prometheus or something different?

"Because there's an end result being the original Alien, it has to connect. People can expect similar things to happen, it is an Alien franchise [film]. It does translate. Obviously it's a completely different cast – Noomi isn't in it. I think it goes from the first to second one pretty fluidly".

With a cast including Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, and Katherine Waterston, the actor will be in formidable company.

"I've been doing short films and amateur productions and a lot of independent theatre, so I've had the privilege of working with a lot of great people already who aren't necessarily famous. I guess coming in to this project you just have to turn up. If someone's cast you based on a tape then they obviously think that you're ready for it". 

"I think once you've done all that work, and once you've met everybody, and Ridley especially, then it's not so daunting – I hope" (laughs).

The actor starts shooting on the fourth of April, and is excited about sharing the floor with Scott and the rest of the cast, including fellow Australian Alexander England (Gods of Egypt).

"I hope Ridley likes my work and that we can share a language together. I'm not entirely sure if I get to work with Fassbender. I'm really excited to work with Katherine Waterston, she's a stellar actor. She's amazing in Inherent Vice". 

The actor he's most excited to work with, however, is Crudup.

"When I was a kid I looked at Billy Crudup in Charlotte Gray with Cate Blanchett, and I remember thinking 'that's a real actor'. I was maybe 10 and seeing him was my idea of what a Hollywood actor was and what they should be, because he wasn't your generic matinee idol". 

Rigby will next be seen in Garth Davis' Lion later this year. He's represented by Helen Pandos Management in Australia and LINK Entertainment in the U.S.