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Ridley Scott was the fifth choice to direct the 1979 film Alien, remembers the Los Angeles Times, “meaning that no one was expecting the film to become as important and influential as it now is.”
This week they chronicled some more remembrances about the film from 82-year-old Ridley Scott:
The central role of Ellen Ripley — also portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in three subsequent sequels — was originally written as a man… “I think it was Alan Ladd [then president of 20th Century Fox] who said, ‘Why can’t Ripley be a woman?’ And there was a long pause, that at that moment I never thought about it. I thought, why not, it’s a fresh direction, the ways I thought about that. And away we went… I found Sigourney by word of mouth. Somebody had been told that Siourney was on an off-Broadway stage doing something, that I should meet. And I did,” Scott said. “And there it was, she was perfect. In terms of scale, size, intelligence, her acting is just fantastic. And so it was made for her, really.”
The film’s notorious chest-burster scene, in which an alien creature emerges from within actor John Hurt’s chest, is now among the classic scenes in modern horror cinema. It was shot with multiple cameras because Scott could only really perform the full effect once, “because once I blew blood all over that set, there was no cleaning it up… I kept it very much from the actors and I kept the actual little creature, whatever that would be, from the actors. I never wanted them to see it,” Scott said. “Remember there was no digital effects in those days at all. I’m going to somehow bring that creature out of his chest….”
Scott recalled the influence that Star Wars had on him at the time, noting, “It opened the gate for me feeling comfortable that science fiction was no longer silly fantasy but actually had a reality to it… So I was blown away… My hat still comes off to George,” Scott said of Lucas for the first Star Wars. “Without question his was by far the best, still.”
Scott directed the 2017 film Alien: Covenant, the Times notes, “And he may not be done yet.
“What I always thought when I was making it, the first one, why would a creature like this be made and why was it traveling in what I always thought was a kind of war-craft, which was carrying a cargo of these eggs. What was the purpose of the vehicle and what was the purpose of the eggs? That’s the thing to question — who, why, and for what purpose is the next idea, I think.”
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