Alien: Sigourney's Interview

Sigourney found herself liking Ridley right away. 

He would first show her the drawings of the alien by Giger and also some sketches by Carlo Rambaldi.  

What exactly had she been shown, by this time, if she had been shown drawings of the alien by Giger, one might ask whether it was of the Necronom IV and V paintings or had she seen images early concept art for the movie by Giger which featured a facehugger that looked like a very large penis with legs, along with the sketches that Carlo Rambaldo had created for a monster that might have been near enough like a half molten marshmallow with a bunch of big pretty blue eyes that didn't particularly inspire Dan O'Bannon. (see Alien: Carlo Rambaldi's Alien Monster Concept) 

When she saw Giger's art, she thought "Wooooo! This is a giant penis! "

For her it was a wonderful exploitation of everybody's darkest fears and this really made it for her. 

She continued to think " It's going to be beautiful and frightening at the same time.'

They talked about the script.

Ridley asked her what she thought of the script and because of her background including the fact she an English major at university, she began to criticize it.

She told them "It's very bleak picture where people don't relate to each other at all"

Mary Selway the casting directing was signalling to her to not blow it by making such objections, to the extent of saying "Shut up you stupid woman, don't you realise this is your big break?"

But Sigourney thought it was best for her to put all her cards on the table because they could use that because after all, she was being hired and if it were that they really wanted a "Charlie's Angel" actress, she knew it wouldn't be right for her.

It was also important for Sigourney to see how receptive people are, and whether they were were to listen to her, it was important to find people who work together. 

They could disagree but it was important to air ones feelings before a resolution could be arrived at and it was also important to say what was positive about the project. 

Sigourney was someone who was only experienced with theatre, but luckily it was Ridley Scott who was there and he was at least pretending to be curious about her opinion and so they had a very straight talk.  

It was admitted that it was going to take a lot of development and close working together, and as Ridley told her about his vision of the Ripley character, she found it very agreeable.

She thought in response to all of this "Well, we don't get to do Henry V, so this is my Henry V"

leading to

Source Quote
  1. Sigourney Weaver: Then, they liked me, and I was very critical of the script; I remember I had met them and then I read it the next night and came back , and I was criticizing the script and the casting person was going, "Stupid woman, don't you realise this is your big break?' (Official Aliens movie book)
  2. Sigourney Weaver:  I remember when I first saw the sketches when I got the part for Ridley, that was certainly what I thought: "This is a giant penis!" (Empire magazine, (December 1997) (Ridley is written in the interview as spelt)
  3. Fantastic Films: Alien was your first film. How did you feel about Ripley being your first characterization?
    Sigourney Weaver: I felt the role was going to be a tough one. All the characters and relationships in the film were written very loosely and the casting people were trying to choose actors who would bring an individuality to the roles. As a matter of fact, after I read the script I came back and they said, "Well, what do you think?" And I told them I felt that the human relationships all seemed very bleak.  I thought it was best to put all my cards on the table because if they really wanted a "Charlie's Angel" I knew it wouldn't be right for me. But they were the first to admit that it was going to take a lot of development and close working together. (Fantastic Films#12, p33)
  4. Sigourney Weaver: I remember when they offered me the role of Ripley I was a little ambivalent and I remember thinking "Well, we don't get to do Henry V, so this is my Henry V". ( Originally TV Squad, 2009, )

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