Michael Fassbender had to perfect his flute-playing skills for new movie Alien: Covenant in silence after annoying a neighbor with his amateur efforts.
The X‑Men: Apocalypse star takes on double duty by portraying two androids in director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller, and one scene required his character, Walter, to play the musical instrument on camera.
Michael was only required to memorize the fingering of the flute, instead of actually playing, and the actor admits it turned out to be a godsend for his neighbors.
“I had to practice certain finger positions… and… I stopped after one day because I heard my neighbour go, ‘I wish that guy would stop practicing the d**n flute!’ So I got the message!” he laughed on Good Morning America.
“I put a little bit of Sellotape (sticky tape) in the air hole and played silent flute from there on.”
Learning the basics of flute playing wasn’t the only memory test Michael had to master – Ridley also randomly tasked him with brushing up on facts about the life of late musician John Denver, so they could work them into one of his character’s scenes.
“We just messed around,” Michael explained. “Ridley is… always up for trying stuff out in the day, so we Wikipediaed (sic) (searched) John Denver and gave a breakdown (of his life and career) to throw it into a scene. Needless to say, it didn’t end up on the film. It ended up on the (cutting room) floor, so it wasn’t that good!”
Alien: Covenant is the sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, which was also directed by Scott and starred Fassbender as the android David, a role he reprises in the new film.