Alien Production Timeline: February 1978
Alien: Production Begins
Alien: Production Begins
a) Reaching Chur
On Wednesday 8th February 1978, Gordon Carroll, Ridley Scott and David Giler turn up to see Giger. Ridley remembers when he arrived in Zurich how one side of it was could be rather beautiful and the other side plain and he arrived at a house with a very conventional and plain exterior which was a surprise considering Giger's Necronomicon book, while inside was a place that was developing into what Giger's world is today. Giler recalled that the house was in a bourgeois neighbourhood, all the houses were alike with tiled roofs and he thought of it as something like the Van Eis of Switzerland
b) Skull of Giger's deceased wife
As they walked into Giger's house which was floor to ceiling with all of Giger's drawings, with candles everywhere and there is a skull swinging in the doorway that he is told is the skull of his deceased wife. Giger was dressed in black with white hair and white skin but he was a nice and a very gentle person, Giler saw it as a kind of contradiction. If Giger hadn't been dressed the way he was, Giler would never have suspected him if having A), that house and B) having done those paintings. (See also Harboring the remains of Li Tobler)
c) The Meeting
Scott carries out the introductions and then gets going.
He tells Giger the story of Alien over again with the aid of sketches, goes into more detail, and tells him about the first changes.
"We shan't have much time" Ridley says "shooting will be starting in three and a half months time, the studios are reserved and the dates must be stuck to strictly, since the premiere has already been announced for May 79."
The most important thing of all is Alien III, the superstar, the great monster. The creature by which the film lives and almost the whole of the cast dies. Giger would have to negotiate his fee with Twentieth Century Fox. The endless words tumbled over Giger's mind, Scott talked so fast that Giger was afraid that he would only understand half of what he said. Even during lunch, the torrent of words never stops.
d) Giger's responds to the call to work
Meanwhile Mia was someone progressive, egging him forwards to respond to this call to work on Alien. He seemed to have a problem getting on a plane but also a great problem seemed to be about needing to be in Switzerland to be there for his mother. Ridley knew by now that he was essential.
He said to Giger, "well, here we are in Switzerland , why don't you get on the train, you can get off at Victoria."
Giger replied "well, I must think about it. "
After Giger had taken the three of them to the airport in the evening, he was alone again, and his head was still buzzing. Absolutely exhausted, he was slightly worried too that in these circumstances he might not become creative in time.
- Giger: On 8th February 1978, they turn up as announced - the three greats. The embassy from the fantastic kingdom of films consists of Gordon Carroll, Ridley Scott, and David Giler. Scott carries out the introductions and then gets going. He tells the story of Alien over again with the aid of sketches, goes into more detail, and tells me about the first changes. We shan't have much time he says; shooting will be starting in three and a half months time, the studios are reserved and the dates must be stuck to strictly, since the premiere has already been announced for May 79. The most important thing of all is Alien III, the superstar, the great monster. The creature by which the film lives and almost the whole of the cast dies. The film is to be shot in Shepperton Studios. (Giger's Alien, p12)
- Giger: Preparations have already begun in the Scott Free Productions at Lexington Street. (Before his first production, The Duellists, Scott had produced advertising films with his brother) I am told I must negotiate my fee with Twentieth Century Fox (Giger's Alien, p12)
- Giger: All this tumbles over me, and Scott talks so fast that I'm afraid I shall only understand half of what he says. Even during lunch the torrent of words never stops. After I've taken the three of them to the airport in the evening and am alone again, my head is still buzzing.(Giger's Alien, p12)
- Giger: I'm absolutely exhausted, and a bit worried too that in these circumstances I may not become creative in time. (Giger's Alien, p12)
- Interviewer: Describe Geiger for me
David Giler: Describe Geiger. Well I was, the first time I met Geiger I think was we went to his house in Zurich and so we kind of came to this neighbourhood which is bourgeois neighbourhood in Zurich, all the houses look alike and tiled roofs and you kind of think, well you’re in the Van Eis of Switzerland or something like that. We walk into Giger’s house which is floor to ceiling with all of Geiger’s drawings and you know, candles everywhere and what I’m told is the skull of his deceased wife swinging at the doorway and Geiger’s dressed in black, with white hair and white skin and, but he could not be nicer and more pleasant and affable and easy to get on with, Giger. So it’s a kind of, it’s contradictions. I think if you met Geiger and he wasn’t dressed as he was dressed, and you know, you would never suspect him of having A that house or B having done those paintings. The pharmacist’s son from Zurich. (as reported from the Alien Evolution documentary interview, 2001)
- Ridley Scott : And the next big thing was persuading& I flew to Switzerland, Zurich, to meet with Geiger with Gordon Carroll.
Interviewer: Geiger has lovely memories of meeting you. Tell me what you thought of him
Ridley Scott : well I arrived in Zurich which on the one side can be rather beautiful on the other can be extremely plain. And very clean. And we arrived at a& what I wasn't expecting having seen this book, it was a very conventional exterior to a house, and very plain. And when I went inside he d kind of knocked doors and windows and walls out. And inside was the beginning of what the Geiger world is today, what that means to people. And to him because at that point he was really expanding on that. And he s got a really big following hasn t he? Big following. And I found him to be rather gentle actually. Uncertain. Very passionate little character. And he was then with a woman called Mia. Dark beauty. I think she then became his manager.
Ridley : And Mia was more progressive. I think you could tell that she was the one who would say you should go out, you should travel. You should deal with this. One of his biggest problems was getting on a plane. Couldn t get on a plane. I said well, here we are in Switzerland, why don t you get the& get on a train, you can get off at Victoria. You know, overnight. Orient express, or whatever they call it. And he said well, I must think about it. And I now knew that he was essential. (as reported from the Alien Evolution documentary interview, 2001)