Happy Alien Day everybody! There are many celebrations and events planned to celebrate the franchise today, so I thought I add my own contribution. So here are 26 facts about the Alien Franchise. ***Please note the Alien vs. Predator films and Prometheus are not included in my post.***
1. Annoy Her
That's the advice Yaphet Kotto received from director Ridley Scott. According to actor, Scott told him to annoy Sigourney Weaver off-camera in order to build tension between Kotto's character Parker, the chief engineer-and Ripley. Kotto has regretted this because he really like Weaver. Perhaps time has healed old wounds?
2. Rockin Laser Lights
You can thank The Who for the blue laser lights used in the alien ship's egg chamber. The band was testing out the lasers for their stage show in the sound stage next door to where the film was being produced and they let the crew borrow the lights.
3. Movie Influences
There are three films that director Ridley Scott cites as the shaping influences for Alien: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) for their depiction of outer space, and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for its treatment of horror.
4. Star Wars Actor Turned Down This Role
Apparently Harrison Ford turned down the role of Captain Dallas. The role went to actor Tom Skerritt who had been approached early on in the film's development but initially declined due to the film not having a director and a very low budget! When Ridley Scott became the director and the film's budget doubled Skerritt accepted the role. Thank goodness for second chances and Han Solo!
5. The Chestbursting Scene
This famous scene was filmed in only one take with four cameras!
6. Alien Eggs Are Made Of...
Ever wonder what the inside of the alien eggs were made out of? Cattle hearts and stomachs. The "egg tube" of the facehugger was made out of sheep intestine.
7. Aliens & Batman (1989)
When filming had been completed, the alien nest set was kept intact. It was later reused as the Axis Chemicals set for the 1989 film Batman. When the film crew first entered the set, they discovered that most of the Alien nest was still intact. Talk about creepy! Thankfully none of the crew were infected by facehuggers...that we know of...
8. The Knife Trick Scene
Talk about a late and dangerous addition, this scene wasn't in the original shooting script and when it was added, the trick was discussed with almost everyone except actor Bill Paxton. You can bet his reaction wasn't improvised. Speaking of...
Actor Bill Paxton who portrayed Private Hudson, the Marine team's technician, has stated that he improvised much of his lines including the line "Game over, man! Game over!"
10. Making History
Actor Al Matthews, who played a Marine sergeant in the film, was the first black Marine to be promoted to the rank of sergeant in the field during service in Vietnam.
10. Alien Teeth
When you're royalty you must be different than your subjects, so it's not surprising to hear that her majesty the Alien Queen has transparent teeth, as opposed to the her warrior aliens.11. Countdown
At the end of the film, the fifteen minute countdown which is feature in both the original and special edition versions of the film was really fifteen minutes.
Alien 3 (1992)
13. Mother of Disguise
When actress Sigourney Weaver wasn't filming and spending time with her then two-year-daughter, she wore a wig so she wouldn't upset her child who didn't like seeing her mom bald.
14. A Death Offends
Actor Michael Biehn stated in an interview that he was deeply upset that the film opened with his character Corporal Dwayne Hicks (previously scene in 1986's Aliens) being killed off, after escaping with Ripley, Newt and Bishop at the end of the previous film. He didn't understand why Hicks had to be killed off, I'm sure many of the fans didn't understand either.
15. The First Time
Around the 10 minute mark in the film, marks the first time the name Weyland-Yutani was spoken out loud. In the previous films, the name was never mentioned orally-as characters always referred to it as 'The Company'- and had only appeared on computer screens and props.
16. The Autopsy Scene
This scene had much more screen time than what ended up in the final cut. It originally contained so much gore that it made the crew members who had worked on it sick to their stomach! Eesh.
17. The Alien Dog
In the film the alien that emerged from the dog was a rod puppet but in early filmed tests, a real dog was used and wore and alien costume.
If you ever wanted to know when in the Alien timeline does Alien 3 takes place, it's supposedly set days or weeks after the events in Aliens.
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
19. Near Death Experience
While filming the underwater sequence, actor Ron Perlman almost drowned. When he attempted to surface at one point, he his his head on a sprinkler in the ceiling which knocked him out cold. Thankfully, he was rescued by members of the film crew who were nearby.
20. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours
You can thank the scene where Ripley 8 encounters her previous seven aborted genetic incarnations for getting Sigourney Weaver to sign on to the film.
21. An Alien Fan Signs On
Actress Winona Ryder was such a huge Alien fan that she agreed to do the film before she even read the script! She stated that she "didn't care if she died in the first scene", she'd do it. Ryder also claimed that she could then boast about being in an "Alien" movie to her younger brothers.
22. Don't Look In Its Eyes
Sigourney Weaver used a lesson she learned from her film Gorillas in the Mist (1988) to help her with scenes in this film. The lesson was don't make initial eye contact with a potentially dangerous animal, so Weaver made a point of not looking in the Newborn's eyes during the initial scenes with the creature.
23. Huge Payday
Without adjusting for inflation, the entire budget of 1979's Alien was $11 million. That was the same amount Sigourney Weaver received to return for Alien: Resurrection.
24. Actress Turned Down The Call
Actress Angelina Jolie turned down the role of Call which went to Winona Rider.
25. Directors Who Said "I'll Pass."
Before director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was hired to direct the film, there were other directors who were asked and said (wisely in hindsight) no. They are:
- David Cronenberg
- Bryan Singer
- Danny Boyle: was Fox's first choice to direct, but turned it down to work on 1997's A Life Less Ordinary.
- Peter Jackson: He declined because he couldn't get excited about an Alien film.
- Paul W.S. Anderson: He was in talks to direct but was unable to due to scheduling conflicts. He would later get his chance when he directed 2004's AVP: Alien vs. Predator.
It appears that these directors dodged a bullet of sorts as director Jean-Pierre Jeunet swore off Hollywood after his experience on the film.
26. The Disgusting Escape Scene
The sacrificial Alien who dies so their comrades can be free, their intestines, guts and blood that melt through the floor were actually a descending platform with intestines over top of it.
Like the xenomorphs in its films, the Alien franchise is hard to kill. And with 2017's Alien: Covenant arriving in the near future, the franchise continues to thrive. I hope you enjoyed these intriguing tibits and I hope you have a happy Alien day! May no facehuggers find you.