Chris Foss' Leviathan Sketch No.3

leading from
 

 Chris Foss' Sketch of Leviathan, no.3 (courtesy of Charles Lippincott at Facebook)

Egg silo exterior

leading from

a) Where Ridley had been going
Ridley Scott had been experimenting with the idea of an egg silo inspired by the Castle Harkonnen,
and had been exploring the idea of a giant rocket capsule shaped derelict ship with Moebius before he left.  (see: Moebius derelict exterior and Ridley Scotts Early Egg Silo Exterior )

Ridleygram of structures on the planetoid (image from weyland-yutaniarchives)


b) What Giger drew
HR Giger designed a breast shaped building called the Egg Silo, a hundred and fifty metres tall and two hundred metres in diameter.  He drew the images in April of 1978. Perhaps he borrowed the shape from Ridley's early idea for a derelict ship that he work on with Moebius. It also included ideas from Giger's painting Dune I which showed an entrance to the Castle Harkonnen.


Egg Silo exterior (uploaded by me, taken from Giger's Alien)


Egg Silo exterior (uploaded by me, taken from Giger's Alien)

Egg Silo exterior (uploaded by me, taken from Giger's Alien)

Giger's Dune I (Entrance to Castle Harkonnen), 1976

Ridleygram of explorer climbing up the side of the egg silo


c) Giger's Painting
In the painting, in the rock formations, suggestions of perhaps long fossilized life forms. Perhaps the  rock sticking out of the lower ground to the left of the building is a half formed impression of Cthulhu type entity with its tentacled face and thick claw. Giger had brought his designs at the time over to Shepperton for approval on March 30th of 1978, although they were met with general approval, he is told that his egg silo would be too expensive to build.

Quote source
  1. HR Giger: The designs I brought with me meet general approval. The eggsilo (plate 378) can't be built because it would be too expensive. Pity! (Giger's Alien, p14)

378: Egg Silo exterior (uploaded by me, taken from Giger's Alien)
d) Kenner Alien Logo
The design of this structure would be used in the logo for the Kenner Alien toys that would soon be sold.



HR Giger's Egg Silo Interior version I

 leading from


a) Reaching the first version
By 19th July, 1978, Giger's concept for an Egg Silo interior had evolved. This became version 1.
The egg wagons that had scooped up the eggs and transported them along a rail to the pipes had disappeared, along with their monorails, they had now been transformed into big pregnant capsules on the wall of the silo which Giger had decided were symbols of fertility. Above the capsules were entrance tubes coming down at the side rather than in the centre of a circular buildings, and a space for the hieroglyphics painting to be seen. (see also : Placement of Life Cycle Tableau )

Work 386 Egg Silo version I
b) Echoes of Foss
After comparing Chris Foss' elongated derelict ship and Giger's Egg Silo version I painting, it might be easy to assume that Giger had taken the general form of Foss' derelict as a starting point for the painting, and now the two slit windows on the pod from Foss' derelict that had translated themselves into a slightly different form in one of Moebius' earlier derelict designs has almost seem to crawl into Egg Silo version 1 as two slit like eye like spaces above the pod, or maybe such abstract bilateral forms protruding from the tops of various of Foss' structures that might be such things as engines or something similar to two rectangular radars fused together that might make one think of robot eyes or visors ( See Chris Foss' Alien temple interior and Chris Foss' derelict, 
and Moebius Alien spaceship concepts part 2)

Front pod from a derelict ship by Chris Foss'
front pod from Moebius derelict with eye like
spaces at the front inspired by Foss' derelict

Source Quotes
  1. HRGiger:19th July 1978, Shepperton Studios. Luckily the wretched idea of only having six eggs has been dropped. Scott somehow managed to persuade O'Bannon, or else he's simply acted on his own authority. The victory is followed by another defeat. During my absence someone has attacked me in the rear and had decided to do away with the big "pregnant" capsules (plate 386), the symbol of fertility in this set. The reason: ' They're superfluous." Superfluous? When Voysey, who has to be working in five places at once, has prepared a scale mdoel in meticulous detail (plates 386d and e)? I suppose I shall never master the secret of how such decisions are taken. It is getting clear to me that my creative capacity is slowly but surely being numbed. I'm still convinced that the best critic of an artist's work is the artist himself. (Giger's Alien, p44)
drawing with another variable for the egg silo interior
with pregnant capsule to the side of the entrance shafts
from Giger's Alien Diaries
sketch from Giger's Alien
sketch from Giger's Alien
sketch from Giger's Alien

from Giger's Alien Diaries


c) Voysey creates miniature
Peter Voysey had been busy created a 1/25th scale model of the silo interior, however despite his work on this,  in Giger's absence the pregnant capsules were declared superfluous and the entrance tubes disappeared as well 

Segment of 1/25th Model of egg silo
 
1/25th egg silo version 1 model from Alien Legacy documentary

1/25th egg silo version 1 model from Alien Legacy documentary
 
1/25th Model of egg silo

Chris Foss' Alien Temple Interior

leading from

a) The vast temple interior created by Chris Foss had the look of something that was created for giants. The explorer lowers himself from the shaft above above a plinth that might be as large as a three or four story building and perhaps it looks as if it could easily be an oven with a kitchen chimney above it.
Chris Foss pyramid birth temple interior (this copy of the image was taken from http://io9.com/)
b) Vast shaft entrances on the side of the plinth might be the air intakes of huge long engines for airborne craft , the left might secretly be a representation of a strange creature with wide open maws and eyes on top of stalks that seem like siamese twin versions of military ships radar antennae. and long fins or wings sticking out of the back

Alien: HR Giger's Preliminary Egg Silo interior

leading from Alien: The Egg silo


egg wagons (1)

a) Segmented Circular Container
Drawn on the 19th April 1978, early in the production, HR Giger's first drawing for the egg silo, was a circular container, divided into segments of equal size by rods running from the top of the wall to the mid-point of the floor, and each segment was filled with eggs


Egg Wagons (2)

b) Entrance Tube
An entrance tube made from a membrane hangs down from the ceiling, with tubes down the the side. Perhaps an egg is seen to fall from the central tube in the first picture. 

c) Egg Wagons
Little egg wagons with scooper like devices run along a monorail made from the dividing rods and up to the ceiling along the partitions in the building.The wagon swivels around, and a tongue like device extends from it, picking up the eggs and holds its within a container before running up along the wall and up along the arch of the ceiling to deposit it in an opening at the top of an egg tube.

Source quote
  1. HR Giger: The interior of the eggsilo which now forms a circular container, is divided into segments of equal size by rods running from the top of the wall to the mid-point of the floor, each segment is filled with eggs. (Giger's Alien, 6th July 1978, p42)
Egg Silo interior showing egg tube and egg wagon (uploaded by me, taken from Giger's Alien)

Egg Silo interior, uploaded by me, taken from Giger's Alien

Alien: The Egg Silo

Sex and the Alien

Leading from 
Alien
and 
The Creature In The Wall
 
fish eye lens photo of the Narcissus set during filming

a) Questions about nudity
Originally, in the scene where the crew rise from their cryotubes, everyone was naked, and one of the things that Sigourney thought was very interesting about the film, coming from her theatre background, without thinking about the markets, the Catholics, ratings and censorshop, was this very striking idea about pink vulnerable creatures moving through a very hard metallic environment, it offered a nice contract and this was not shot because Fox said " We'll lose Spain and we'll lose Italy, so you have to wear cloths". But still there was this idea of filling as much flesh as possible within the environment to show what a human being was, in space. Sigourney did realise it was erotic but it was something very important.

Ripley stripping off in Alien

Ripley stripping off in Alien

Ripley stripping off in Alien

Ripley stripping off in Alien

b) The Strip
So the other side of the fourth act is the fact that Ridley stripped the Ripley character down, Sigourney Weaver in the part is strong, capable and attractive and he wanted to increase the sense of her peril by showing her undressed, Ripley does a modest strip down to her underwear. It not only made this ballsy sort of lady vulnerable - but sexy too. Sigourney's understanding about the intentions behind the strip was that it wasn't about sex, not for her or for Ridley either, and Ripley  obviously didn't want to go into hypersleep covered in blood and god know what else, she just wants to take her clothes off and have a bath, also she is relaxing, thinks it's over, goes about her business and suddenly the worst possible thing happens, she's not prepared and is vulnerable as can be.

Later she would have people say to her ‘Aw, how could you demean yourself by doing a striptease?’ 
And she would respond ‘Are you kidding? After five days of blood and guts, and fear, and sweat and urine, do you think Ripley wouldn’t take off her clothes?’"

It never occurred to her for a second that people would think that her strip was exploitative. However she thought it was provocative

Sigourney in her underwear between takes
Sigourney in her underwear between takes

c) Possibilities of the alien's sensuous nature
Ridley appeared to Sigourney to have thought that there were great erotic possibilities for the scene in which the alien, watching Ripley as she's shedding her clothes, perhaps as if she was a snake shedding its skin or just another creature suddenly removing its shell, so that it looked as if she was going from a dark green and crusty looking animal in her clothes to a pink and white, soft animal. Because it saw skin, the alien would not attack because it was finding it amazing and it would be moved or emotionally touched in some way, perhaps with sexual fascination, she discussed the possibility of this creature watching Ripley with voyeuristic passion, but on the other hand Sigourney knew that the Alien was resting. As an actress she remained inspired to think about the alien’s sensual side, (and found in the later Alien sequel, Alien Resurrection, eighteen years later a way to experience a kind of a sexual interaction with the alien creature in one of its manifestations.)

Ridley and Sigourney had also discussed an ending where she is still dressed and is surprised by the alien, so she would run into the closet, take one suit off and put another one on and there would be the moment where the Alien would see her in between suits and be fascinated, because the Alien wasn't evil, it just followed its natural instincts to reproduce through whatever living things were around it.

After the movie, every now and then a reporter would ask "How could you have been part of a film about such evil?"

And Sigourney would respond  ‘Good Lord! You take this very seriously, don’t you?’

the alien's jaw tongue

d) Further questions about Sigourney's point of view
From Ridley's point of view, he only tended to talk about an interest in the erotic possibilities of Ripley shedding her clothes rather than have a point about what the Alien was thinking in a sensuous way. He further looked at Sigourney Weaver's idea some years later in hindsight, and thought that perhaps she has a touch of sympathy for the creatures because she looks at it from the viewpoint of her character. Ripley was part crew member and part scientist, someone who thought in logical terms. And maybe at that moment, her scientist side emerged and she began to study the creature like a scientist would and started to get a perspective on what it may have been thinking and previous to this scene, one should remember that there had been absolutely no communication between the alien and the crew members, other than violent experiences, but Sigourney was aware that they always wanted an erotic undercurrent in the film, where the audience might ask "What would it do to her?"

Ripley climbing into her space suit


Ripley climbing into her space suit

e) Questions about nudity
Sigourney felt that since the creature had been naked all the way through the movie, she at least ought to find herself completely naked before this creature at the end of it all, but this didn’t go down well with the studio bosses concerns about selling the film to Catholic countries, so she went ahead and wore her underwear which she thought was a cop out. However, she felt that seeing what kind of response she was going to have from the audience, she thinks it was just as well she had some clothes on as since then she would think twice about taking off all her clothes in a movie and scampering around for an hour.
Sigourney posing in her helmet

f) Smallest Pair of Knickers
They were looking for a pair of knickers of Sigourney to wear back on the set, they held the shoot up by a couple of hours, the first pair that the costume designers came back with looked to Ridley like a pair of diapers, he wanted something very sex and so he went himself to find something and whatever the smallest pair were, those he came back with. Sigourney was a tall healthy woman with long legs who did a lot of running. Ivor Powell was impressed by how sexy they made her look. However Sigourney wasn't thinking about this being the scene where she shows her underwear, she was trying to present the most utilitarian knickers she could find.

Sigourney posing in her white suit

g) White Knight vs Futuristic Dragon
The last twenty minutes are treated in a very lyrical style, Scott sees this as a reflection of the way he looks at reality. Ripley is happy to find a space suit and puts it on. so she can get on with what she needs to do. It was more than whether Ripley will triumph, it becomes a situation with an undercurrent of sexuality where she dons the virginal white space suit and she takes up a fight with a futuristic dragon. (see also: The alien as a dragon)

expelling the alien from the Narcissus

Source Quotes
  1. Danny Peary: Was there discussion over your famous strip toward the end of the film?
    Sigourney Weaver: Originally there was going to be a lot of nudity in the film. Of the matter-of-fact variety. There were going to be lots of shots of naked people walking around, which I thought was a good idea because it was such a harsh environment. It would have been a nice contrast. As for my strip… people have said, "Aw, how could you demean yourself by doing a striptease?" And I say, "Are you kidding? After five days of blood and guts, and fear, and sweat and urine, do you think Ripley wouldn’t take off her clothes?" It never occurred to me for a second that people would think my strip exploitive. I think it’s kind of provocative – you’re almost seeing me through the Alien’s eyes. Suddenly I go from dark green animal to a pink and white animal. Ridley and I had so much fun working out the ending. There were so many different endings. One of them was that the alien would surprise me and I would run into the closet where I’d take off my suit and put on another. So there would've been a moment when the alien would see me between suits and be fascinated. Because the alien isn’t evil. It’s just following its natural instincts to reproduce through whatever living things are around it. Every now and then a reporter would ask, ‘How could you have been part of a film about such evil?’ And I’d go, "Good Lord! You take this very seriously, don’t you?" So I liked all this stuff. You see the Alien in its birthday suit the entire film; so I thought it was a cop out having me wear the underwear, and not stripping entirely. Fox is always concerned about losing Spain, losing Italy, etc. But I must say, having received the mail I have, I would now think twice about taking off all my clothes in a movie and scampering around for an hour. (Omni screen flights/screen fantasy,, Playing Ripley In Alien p162)
  2. Sigourney Weaver: Ridley thought there were great erotic possibilities for that scene which the alien, watching Ripley go from green and crusty-looking to something pink and soft, would find amazing. But face it, if you were in that situation would you want to go into hypersleep covered and in blood and god knows what? She just wants to take off what she’s wearing and have a bath  (Photoplay - v30 n12 December 1979)
  3. Ridley : Oddly enough there's a sensuality to this whole scene, errrrrrr, partly the silence. It's, um, subtly sexual, right, or is it just me, huh.(alien 20th anniversary dvd, between 1hour 42mins - 44mins)
  4. Ridley : Ripley does a modest strip once in the shuttle, but we kept that to stress the vulnerability of a lady who’s pretty much a ballsy sort (Ridley Scott interview by David Lewin, Daily Mail 1/10/79)
  5. Ridley Scott: Sigourney has a touch of sympathy for the creature because she looks at it from the viewpoint of her character. Ripley was part crew member and part scientist, someone who thought in logical terms. Maybe at that moment, her scientist side emerged and she began to study the creature like a scientist would and started to get a perspective on what it may have been thinking. Previous to this scene, remember, there had been absolutely no communication between the alien and the crew members, other than violent experiences. (Omni: ScreenFlights / Screen Fantasies)
  6. Interviewer The Last Twenty Minutes are treated in a very lyrical style.
    Ridley Scott: This is how I like to look at reality. It's not simply a question of knowing whether or not Ripley will triumph. I wanted to introduce another dimension. She takes up the fight against some futuristic dragon - that's why I made her put on the white spacesuit. At the same time, this has something carnal. She is possessed by the idea of this confrontation and her behaviour changes completely. (Films Illustrated, vol. 9 no. 99 , "Duelling with Death")
  7. Ivor Powell: I mean, I remember Ridley, 'cause again, this is with his , like commercial hat on, before we shot that sequence, we like held up shooting for a couple of hours where I set out one of the costume designers to go, 'cause the first pair of knickers that they turned up with for Sigourney to wear, as far as Ridley was concerned looked like a pair of diapers and they weren't sexy enough, so we all waited while he went out and came back, and whatever the smallest pair were, those were the ones that got chosen as you can see etc, I mean, Sigourney's a , you know was a very healthy girl, and big sort of legs, she did a lot of running, etc, but they made her look amazing, sexy, and the whole thing was this undercurrent of sexuality and that end sequence of her changing into that virginal white space suit, and then now the alien Wayne Imms: yeah, yeah, absolutely Ivor Powell: All of that, talk about Freudian. It was beauty and the beast really., so. (Alien Q &A, Genesis Cinema, August 23rd 2014)
  8. Sigourney Weaver : Originally, in the movie, everyone was naked, and one of the things I thought was very interesting about the film, because, again, I was coming from theater, I wasn't thinking about markets and Catholics and ratings and censorship, was it was so striking to think of these pink creatures, very vulnerable creatures, moving through this very harsh, metallic environment. That was in the script at the beginning. We didn't shoot it that way because Fox said "We'll lose Spain and we'll lose Italy, so you have to wear [clothes]."  There was still this idea of filling as much flesh as possible within the environment to show what a human being was, in space. I think it was erotic but that was something I thought was terribly important. Not the girl strips down, but the girl relaxes, thinks it's over, goes about her business and suddenly the worst possible thing happens and she's not prepared, she's as vulnerable as she can be. And happily she finds this space suit and puts it on, so she can get on with it. But it was not about sex to me, and I think, to Ridley. Although, again, we always wanted an erotic undercurrent in the film, because [you'd think]  'what would he do to her?' So that was the genesis of the idea. I was all for it. I didn't even think 'this is a scene where I show my underwear.' I was trying to show the most utilitarian underwear I could find." (Alien The Archive, p96)
  9. Fantastic Films: How did you feel about the scene on the shuttle where Ripley doffs her clothes not knowing the alien is on board
    Sigourney Weaver: What could be more natural that to take off sweaty things I was wearing, like a snake shedding its skin. Actually there was some nudity in the script in the beginning of the movie. When we all wake up, we're supposed to be naked. It was a very provocative visual concept to see these people moving through such a harsh environment in just their natural state. But that was changed later. (Fantastic Films #11:, p35)
  10. Ridley Scott: Ripley does a modest strip once in the shuttle, but we kept that in to stress the vulnerability of a lady who's pretty much a ballsy sort. (Cinefantastique, vol 9, no.1)
  11. Questar: There is unusual sexual bias presented in Alien.

    Sigourney Weaver: I think the creature is very sensuous, Ridley always referred to the alien as "he". At one point when we were discussing the scene at the end where Ripley is shedding her clothes, there was an idea that came up which relates to this sexual fascination - but we discussed the possibility of this creature watching Ripley with a voyeuristic passion. The alien would not attack because it was fascinated by the fact it suddenly saw skin. To see another creature without its shell would move it, touch it in some way. We talked about things like that (Questar magazine #5, November 1979)

One More Surprise Ending

Leading from 
Alien

a) This is not where the story ends
The film was meant to be over when she goes inside the escape shuttle, takes off, signs off and even with the big bang behind her, that was sound and mixing between three cards and a wobbly camera and he was supposed to sign off there. Ridley felt he simply couldn't end the film here "No way, you can't do that, you canna possibly end there"

b) O'Bannon's original ending
Originally Dan O'Bannon had included an ending in the script where the alien was going to be blown out of the Narcissus with Ripley trailing after it. Ridley felt that it was an outrageous ending but he thought it was wonderful. He thought it had to happen but only if it could be done believably real, in a way that it was so outrageous that it would make you want to cheer and clap

c) Ridley's plan
So the actual end of the movie almost never got made, and there are a few stories about what would have been there right at the end. But Ridley's thoughts went with reintroducing as much of O'Bannon's ending as possible in a way where Ridley would close the lid on the story and then let it out again so that when Ripley goes into that shuttle, there's a moment when the audience knows that the film isn't over when you're sitting in the seat.

d) Fourth Act filmed in Four days
He told the the studio bosses "I wanna spend X to give you a fourth act. "

They replied "How much? 

He added "it'll take us four days"...  

They replied "Four Days!" 

Ridley responded "you really don't even know what I'm going to do yet, let me explain to you what I'm going to do, then you'll go "how can you do that in four days?" as opposed to "four days!" 
We're not finishing the film when she jumps in the shuttle, there's a fourth act,"

They said "what do you mean, the film's over when she jumps in the shuttle and takes off and bingo!"

But Ridley's next response was "no, there's a fourth act in there that will change the way films are made"

e) See also: The Creature In The Wall


Source Quotes 
  1. Fantastic Film: The original ending was different. Can you explain it for us?Ridley Scott: The alien was going to be blown out the door of the Narcissus with Ripley trailing after it. It was an outrageous ending, but I thought it was wonderful. I thought it had to happen, but only if it could be believably done that it would be real. It had to become so openly outrageous that it wouldmake you want to cheer or clap (interview from Fantastic Films as  Reproduced in "Ridley Scott: interviews")
  2. (1:38: 19 /1:41:50) Ridley Scott: Now the film was meant to be over when she goes inside, ah, you take off, you do the signing off. Now clearly you can not end the film (1:42:00) here, even with a big bang behind her. And you know, the big bang's then are not the big bangs we could do today, but you know what, today it'd be CGI, this is all real inside the... inside the studio on the set which is you know, only firewood. Okay so this is all design as the end of the movie. So there's a one megaton thing going to go off in a second, and graphic design, interesting uh. Just a flat card , nothing happening, (01:39:00) it's just the sound and mixing between three cards, and I figure you've got to have two or three, but this, I've go... I've got the wobbling down now pretty good. Nobody's really wobbled the camera 'til this moment you know I remember til that, so I'm literally wobbling the camera. Bit unsure about the red ball. (1:43:00) And score. Now, this would be the end of the film. But that.. that's it, you would do a signing off there, and I had to say "no way, you can't do that, you canna possibly end there"

    Here we made it for 8.6, which even in those days was cheap

    (1:39:41 / 1:43:30) Sigourney Weaver: I didn't know that, I thought it was $14

    (1:39:43 / 1:43:32) Ridley Scott: 8.6

    (1:39:44 / 1:43:30) Sigourney: Aah, Wow!

    (1:39:45 / 1:43:32) Ridley Scott: Yeah, So at the end I said "I wanna spend X to give you a fourth act. "
    "How much? 
    And I said well, "it'll take us four days"...  
    "Four Days!" 
    I said "you really don't even know what I'm going to do yet," so I said, "let me explain to you what I'm going to do, then you'll go "how can you do that in four days?" as opposed to "four days!"(01:40:00). I said "we're not finishing the film when she jumps in the shuttle, there's a fourth act," And they said, "what do you mean, the film's over when she jumps in the shuttle and takes off and bingo!"
    I said "no, there's a fourth act in there that will change the way films are made" because at at , I think until this moment, it's almost fair to say, there's probably going to be some small independent film saying to me "you know, you're full of bull", but you know, today we've got an interesting idea of "now, the end, then the end and then the end, and by the way here's the other end", right and I always wanted to close the lid and then suddenly let it out again, babbam, okay. So when Ripley goes into that shuttle, there's a moment when you know that the film isn't over where.. when you're sitting in the seat.(alien anthology/quadrilogy A;ien commentary)
     

Life cycle of the alien

leading from

a) Short Lifecycle
Ridley went along wth the idea that alien creature has a limited lifespace like that of the life cycle like that of a butterfly or an insect. He wanted it to have a sort of timelessness. Once it jumps out of the egg as a facehugger, it has to reproduce and spread as fast as possible, maybe in a cycle of perhaps only four days.

b) Genetic traits
The original scenario was that a Space Jockey was infected and the spores in the basement of the derelict were what became of the other crew of the derelict. The creature lived to reproduce and in reproducing took on the characteristics of its last inhabitant and its new host. Thus the alien on board the Nostromo had the characteristics of the space jockey and Kane, because it was assumed at the time in the background story that the eggs in the chamber at the bottom of the derelict were what became of the other crew of the derelict ship. Thus if the facehugger had hit the cat, it would have been a hybrid of the space jockey and the cat, if it could have been a dog, there would be a dog version of the alien. If it impregnates a man, the you get a man version of an Alien. Eventually the idea became that the space jockey was the pilot of a vessel that had been carrying the spores in its hold since the start of the journey.

c)  A further dimension to the beast
And so Gordon Carrol and Ridley talked about it many times, should they indicated that the alien has intelligence , perhaps even great intelligence. Was it just a sort of a time bomb or even just a war machine. Perhaps it was another form of society adjusting itself like ants,  and as Ridley understood, ants had no sense of beginning or end, which goes back to his idea about the alien having a sort of timelessness. Perhaps they were just born, run around doing this thing like everybody else in the community and then dies, and Ridley thought that this may have been the alien, and if so the alien had no intelligence except pure intuition about survival. But there was the added question of what would you have if you given the fact that this creature that's making use of a man's brain capacity

d)  Getting on with its lifecycle
This idea helped explain why the Alien didn't attack Ripley in the Narcissus, when Ripley kills it, the idea was that it would have died anyway. Like a chameleon, it had found a protective corner in that ship and was working itself in there to die. It has to be provoked to attack because it had to get on with its life cycle. Slime emanated from its body as if it were sealing itself in again like a cocoon.

e) See also: The Creature In The Wall

f) See also: Human to Spore

Source Quote
  1. Ridley Scott: The thing that I was always frustrated about was the absence of sense of smell with the beast. It's a real element with him, because his odor must have been incredibly powerful. I wanted a sense of a timeless, slightly decaying creature that, maybe, only has a limited life cycle of, maybe, four days like an insect. The alien life form lived to reproduce and in reproducing took on the characteristics of its last inhabitant and its new host. Thus the alien on board the Nostromo had the characteristics of the space jockey on the derelict and Kane. If the facehugger had hit the cat, it could have been a hybrid of the space jockey and the cat. When Ripley blasts off from the Nostromo with the alien aboard, it's dying which is why it moves so slowly. She kills it, but it would have died soon anyway. It's like a butterfly (Fantastic Films)
  2. Ridley Scott: A way of explaining what had happened on the derelict [spaceship] and what was now happening on the NOSTROMO. And I think it provided some explanation for the Alien's killing spree -- like a butterfly or an insect, it has a limited lifespan in which to reproduce itself.  It also helped explain why it didn't attack Ripley in the Narcissus.  It's days were over.  Like a chameleon, it had found a protective corner in that ship and was working itself in there to die. ("Creating and Alien Ambience", Alien : The Special Effects)
  3. Ridley Scott: I want to show that the Alien has a limited life cycle, like a butterfly.  And within that period of time once it decides to expose itself - to coin a phrase - once it jumps out of the egg, it has to reproduce and spread fast as possible, maybe in a cycle of only days.  And so in the last sequence, you see slime emanating from the big Alien's body because we're trying to convey that maybe he's sealing himself in again, like a cocoon.  Also, by that point, he has to be provoked to attack, because he has to get on with his life cycle. (book of Alien)
  4. Ridley Scott: So whatever it impregnated, it could have been a dog and you would have had a dog version of alien. Impregnated with a man you get a man version of Alien. Which therefore maybe is even more lethal particularly if you’re picking up on man’s brain capacity as well. Because we never could work out…Gordon Carrol and I talked about this many times, you know, should we indicate the alien has intelligence. Or great intelligence. Or is it just a timebomb, just a time bomb, is it just a war machine? You know,…are those eggs simply war machines or are they ways of…another form of society adjusting itself like ants really…ants have…I think ants have no sense of beginning or end. They just are born, run around doing this thing like everybody else in the community and die. And I think that may have been the alien. So maybe the alien had no intelligence except pure intuition about survival. Right?  (Report from discussion with Ridley Scott for Alien Evolution)

The Creature In The Wall

 
Alien continuity polaroid from blu-ray set
a) One more amazing thing

Originally the alien was to be found in the closet of the escape shuttle that would later be named the Narcissus. Ron Shusett thought that it would be a great moment if it was done right, Ripley would run, get to the safety boat, and its launched, the ship explodes and it's in the escape shuttle with her in the closet, this would have been the payoff.

After Dan O'Bannon had returned to the US, Ron and Ridley were having a chat , perhaps two thirds through the movie production. The command module of the Nostromo as seen in the opening sequence had been economically converted and redressed so that it became the interior of the Narcissus which was the escape pod.

Ridley said to Ron "You know, wouldn't it be great if we had one more surprise because you've got a chestburster, and the robots head coming off. If we could have one more amazing thing in the lifeboat"

In view of the original alien in a closet ending, Ridley said "Can't we beat that?" Then he came up with another idea "She's somewhere, he's somewhere and she is there, but it's with her, can't it be somewhere she and the audience can't see it, it's camouflaged so well, and it just emerges!

"Right, okay, so where's the alien going to be?"

"The roof?",

They agreed "No, that's too easy because people don't look at the roof, it should be hiding in plain sight"

Besides that Ridley had already filmed the scene where the alien comes down like a bat on Brett, and wouldn't have been able to tolerate repeating himself

Ridley's view was " It should be that the audience can see it, but they don't know where they're seeing it."

Ron said "Ridley you're absolutely right"

Ridley replied, "okay, let's work on this"

Ivor asked "What if the alien is like a chameleon, and he's going into another stage? Giger's concept was biomechanoid, so if you front lit the alien, so the audience could see it, that would be an amazing coup. "

Alien continuity polaroid from blu-ray set
Alien continuity polaroid from blu-ray set
Alien continuity polaroid from blu-ray set

b) The creature in the wall
This idea went down well, was further developed, and so Ridley went with this idea because he figured out that like an insect. this biomechanoid alien would go for the cold pipes, and it was like a chameleon,  and it would have the sense was to look around and ask where it was the most safe, and so crawl into a place where it could be the most safe like all chameleons, and a chameleon will lie on the ground and change his colour according to the terrain, and so the alien would integrate itself with the surrounding machinery and the top of its head would be indistinguishable from the surrounding pipes even close to.

By this time, it towards the end of the September, and on the 21st and 22nd, according to the  schedule, they had filmed the scene when Ripley remembers the cat and goes to collect it, heads for the engine room and then heads towards the Narcissus with flame thrower and cat box, hurls the catbox into the corner in the shuttle and then hits the launch button. The alien was originally going to come out of the closet. Now when Ripley blasts off from the Nostromo with the alien aboard, it was dying which is why it moved so slowly. Like a chameleon, it had found a protective corner in the ship and it was working itself in there to die. So while she killed it, it would have died soon anyway.

So with the new idea, there was only one wall in the background that had to be changed , they had the alien hidden in there and they kept redressing it.





c)  Giger's concerns
Ridley started off using the Necronom IV image showing the alien creature with its tail over it's head as his model.

Giger had thought that this scene wasn't going to be something that Bolaji Badejo would be happy about this scene because it would surely be very uncomfortable. Giger felt for the situation that the suit performers found themselves in very much since these suits were not very comfortable

They agreed "okay, this is what we'll do, let's have the alien lay down in here longways, he's seven feet tall."

Ridley had drawn a sketch as a guidline, but by Giger's view it showed exactly the opposite of hiding the creature,  but this sketch was executed by six men over the weekend. However when Giger brought it to Ridley's attention by Monday, October 2nd, Ridley didn't want to make a fool of himself and change it any more since this would upset the workers.

Necronom IV
Giger made a sketch and asked Ridley for permission to change it his own way, which would mean removing all of the tubes that had been painstakingly attached. However Michael Seymour got mad with Giger, and accused him of creating confusion and told Giger that he should beat it and so they kept on following the wrong track.


d) Shot by their own arrow
They kept building the wall up so that it looks like the alien, and every night at the end of a days shoot, they would shoot the wall with him in it and see if they could see the alien hidden in there.

For about a week they made fools of themselves because every time they shot it. She was standing there, and they could see in front of her, a foot or two away, the alien

They were saying words such as "it's ridiculous! "and" This is stupid; we’ll never disguise it." . 

They knew that they couldn't chance it, it had to be invisible or they were going to make complete fools out of themselves. If they couldn't get it to work perfectly, they would have to have it come out of the closet again or from the roof and the viewer didn't see see it. But the best thing was to make it work here, and they kept rebuilding it every day and they would sit there for hours. Ridley and Ron would look at the wall separately and Bolaji would sometimes get so tired that he'd go on a coffee break in the monster suit.

Finally they had one version of the wall that they thought might work. They realised this because together Ron and Ridley were looking at it and Ridley said to Ron "Looks good to me, I think once Bolaji gets in there, it's going to be completely invisible. Let's put him in there now and then maybe we'll shoot it"

And so they called him, they yelled for him but to their surprise, he was in the wall next to them. They were shot by their own arrow and virtually jumped a mile

Their response was "God! Jesus, he's there, oh my god, it worked!"




e) Evolution of The Filmed Scene
They got around to shoot it on Wednesday 4th October, Giger painted up another costume for Bolaji to wear and it worked just as it was on the screen. It wasn't any particular person who discovered the solution to the person, it evolved, they figured it out, the set people figured it out. The secret though was the alien creature's head and when someone came up with the idea to put air ducts that were shaped enough like the head, two above it and one below it, and its mouth turned in so it couldn't be seen. When the viewer saw these air ducts, it was full of biomechanical patterns and ribbed pipes, and so on placed there by Ridley himself, and suddenly the first thing that one saw was the arm come out and over. It was as if the alien was behind the pipes but when the viewer looked, they'd find it was inside the pipes as one of the air ducts suddenly one of the air ducts turned and it had a mouth on it and that was that. Giger thought that the effect was enough like one of his biomechanoid paintings, he was very pleased with the way that Ridley did it, but since the scene was very dark, it was not something that Giger could take good photographs of.

f) Bolaji in the suit
As they filmed the scene, bursting out of that compartment wasn't easy.  It put a lot of strain on the suit Bolaji must have ripped it two or three times coming out and each time he'd climb down from the bulkhead, the tail would rip off! But it wasn't much of a problem for them, because they had more suits.  He did about fifteen takes of the shit and it got to a point where he finally said "No more!" There was a lot of smoke, it was hard for him to breathe, and it was terribly hot.  But as Sigourney watched Bolaji in his alien suit coming out from between the cooling pipes, she thought it was like seeing something coming out of a chrysalis.

g) See: Sex and the Alien




source quotes
  1. HR Giger: The Narcissus, the rescue aircraft of the mother ship Nostromo, which was built up in the C stage, is the reason for R. Scott's visit today. Usually, he stays at home on the weekend. It's about the scene in which Ripley, the sole survivor of the crew, escapes to the rescue aircraft and shortly thereafter discovers Alien III in a tangle of tubes and machinery parts. For this living image, Scott is using the image of the Necronom again with the tail above his head as a model. Poor Bolaji, who is caught inside Alien III, will not be happy about this beautiful, but for him very uncomfortable, scene. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries, Saturday September 30th, 1978)
  2. HR Giger: Giger causes confusion once again, Alien III is supposed to be integrated into a wall in the Narcissus. After Ridley Scott made a [illegible word] sketch that showed the exact opposite of hiding it, and the entire thing was executed by six men over the weekend. It's impossible, after realizing that he's on the wrong track, to change it again. He didn't want to make a fool of himself and to annoy other workers. I made a sketch showing how I imagined the thing and asked Scott if he'd give me permission to change it my way. That would mean  removing all the tubes that had been painstakingly attached, Michael Seymour got mad and accused me of creating confusion, and that I should beat it. Although everyone present agreed with me, they kept tinkering on the wrong track. They can lick my butt. No on, least of all [...] can ever admit that they made a mistake. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries, Monday, October 2nd, 1978)
  3. HR Giger: Painted a new costume for Bolaji, i.e. the arms as well as Watling's mechanized tail.  (HR Giger's Alien Diaries, Wednesday, October 4th, 1978)
  4. HR Giger: In the afternoon Bolaji will be filmed as Alien III in the C stage. Bolaji is now built entirely into the wall and garnished with tubes and cables by R. Scott himself. He did it very well. It looks like one of my biomechanoids. Unfortunately the scene is rather dark, which is not exactly conducive to taking photographs. (HR Giger's Alien Diaries, Wednesday, October 4th, 1978)
  5. Ridley Scott: When Ripley blasts off from the Nostromo with the alien aboard, it's dying which is why it moves so slowly. She kills it, but it would have died soon anyway. It's like a butterfly. (Fantastic Films)
  6. Ridley Scott: .... like a butterfly or an insect, it has a limited lifespan in which to reproduce itself.  It also helped explain why it didn't attack Ripley in the Narcissus.  It's days were over.  Like a chameleon, it had found a protective corner in that ship and was working itself in there to die. ("Creating and Alien Ambience", Alien : The Special Effects)
  7. Cinefantastique: Did you ever contribute to the plot or the script of Alien in any way?

    Ivor Powell:  I can very discreetly claim some credit for the film's ending. In most forms, the ending of the script had Ripley in the shuttlecraft, leaning in the back of the chair relaxing, when suddenly the alien's hand appears over the back of the chair.. She runs into the locker but the alien gets distracted by the cat box and begins to rip it to shreds. Ridley could never bring himself to film the Alien sequences in the way he had done before. He always resisted that sort of shock effect, where a door opens and there's the alien. When Ridley had the idea of the alien coming down from above like a huge bat, that took the film up another notch for me, and that ending had the same kind of approach.. They both fall out of the airlock, both hanging on a cord,  Ripley scrambling to get in, the alien leaking acid everywhere.  It gets its hand caught in the door as she closes it. You couldn't do that logically - the acid would eat through the airlock.

    So I said, what if the alien is like a chameleon, and he's going into another stage. Giger's concept was biomechanoid, so if you front lit the alien, so the audience could see it, that would be an amazing coup. I got team points for that idea, though the tragedy is that so few people realise it's there, amongst the machinery. 
    (CFQ vol9:1,  p32)
  8. Interviewer: what about hiding him in the wall? How did you hid that guy in the wall?

    Ridley Scott: I figured he’d go for…like an insect he’d go for either cold pipes, everything was cold, and he…it was like a chameleon. The idea of being a chameleon where he would crawl into, because he’s biomechanoid. So his sense of also being a chameleon was to look around and say where can I, where am I most safe? Like all chameleons. And so a chameleon will lie on the ground and change his colour according to the terrain. And so that was the idea. (Alien Evolution)
  9. Ron Shusett: Yeah, there’s a great serendipity that goes with the ending of the movie. We never had the idea when the script was written or even halfway through the filming, that idea was not in the movie that the creature would be disguised as part of the wall. Originally it was in the closet, it was a great classic moment that works if you do it right, where you run, you get to the safety boat, and it gets off, the ship explodes and it’s in the boat with her in the closet. And that would have been good enough we thought for a pay off. But halfway through the movie Ridley and I we’re just talking about it one day, Dan had already gone back, I’d say maybe two thirds of the way through the movie, and Ridley was saying, you know, wouldn’t it be great if we had some kind of a one more surprise because you’ve got the chest-burster, unquestionably the chestburster and the robot’s head coming off and being hooked up were the two most amazing things, if we could have one more amazing thing in the lifeboat and we were thinking yeah, what could it be and the obvious thing was well, she’s somewhere, he’s somewhere and she is there, but it’s there with her and we don’t see it’s camouflaged so well! And we said well where can it be and we thought the roof first, we thought, no, that’s too easy because people don’t look at the roof, it should be hiding in plain sight. It should be that the audience can see it, but they don’t know they’re seeing it. So I said, Ridley you’re absolutely right, he said ok, let’s work on this. Let’s say, and we’d already shot I guess part of this scene, but it was only one wall - the backdrop we had to change. We’d shot a lot of other action in it. And it was gonna come out of the closet. But the one wall, although it was shot, we could change it any way we wanted that one wall, we just had the alien hidden in there, so we kept redressing it.
    We said ok, this is what we’ll do, let’s have the alien lay down in here. Longways, he’s 7 feet tall, I played him, and build and keep building the wall so that it looks a lot like him and every night at the end of shooting, regular shooting, we’ll shoot it. The wall with him in it and see if we can see it. So for about a week we made fools of ourselves cos every time we shot it it was like Mad magazine. She’s standing there, you can see right in front of her, a foot away, is the alien. She’s going hmmmm, all this stuff, you’re saying you boom, it’s ridiculous! So we knew really that we couldn’t chance it it had to be invisible or it was we were complete fools out of ourselves and at the last moment fumbling at the goal line. So we thought it’s a great idea but if we can’t get it to work perfectly we’ll have to have it come out of a closet rather than - or from the roof and you just didn’t look. But the best thing, if we could only make it work here. And we kept rebuilding the wall every day and we would sit in there for hours. And Ridley and I would look at the wall separately and sometimes he’d get so tired he’d go on a coffee break in the monster suit.
    And so we finally had one version of the wall that we thought might work. I’ll tell you why it did later. It worked perfectly, but this is how we found out if worked. So we were looking at it and Ridley said looks good to me, he said I think once he gets in there it’s going to be completely invisible. Let’s put him in there now and then maybe we’ll shoot it. And so we called him. I think Badejo was his name, I forgot the name. Something like that. So we yelled for him and he was in the wall, he was next to us, not, as close to where you are to me now and he just kept right on the wall and we were shot by our own arrow. We’d go oh God! Jesus, he’s there, oh my God, it worked. And sure enough, we shot it and it worked just like you saw it on the screen! He was completely invisible and disguised, even in real life if you were two feet away. And the secret was one thing. I don’t know,  no one person discovered it, it just evolved, we figured it out finally, the set people figured it out. The secret was his head. We put air ducts, shaped like his head, two above it and one below it and his mouth turned in so you didn’t see it. And you saw these air ducts, it was full of these biomechanism things, and you saw this, first thing you saw was the arm come out and over. But you thought he was behind it and he shoved his arm - where is he? He’s back there! But then it was like double twist. And then all of a sudden one air duct turned and it had a mouth on it and that did it. And that was the only way we got it to work.
    Every day we thought we were gonna make fools of ourselves and we were about to give up on the idea until it worked on us in real life and it worked perfectly and that was serendipity. It was some inspired, sometimes the stars are all in the right place. Sometimes you do that and you do it wrong again and that wrecks the end of the movie. Or you never think of that one idea. So that was a mutual contribution creatively of Ridley and I both and the team made it work, they disguised it so well.
    (Report from the conversation with Ron Shusett for Alien Evolution documentary)
  10. Wmmvrrvrrmm: Okay, I've got a question, but... in the Alien comic book story, um, at the end there's a scene where the alien has kind of curled up into like a box shape, and um, nobody actually has seen any photographs of it, I wondered if you know anything about it?
    Ivor Powell: No I don't know anything about it, in Alien or anything that happened to a box., no i don't. The only story I know about the alien at the end, we were all standing having converted very economically, the erm the command module of the ship that you see in the very opening sequences, we converted that and redressed it into the Narcissus which is the escape pod, and we were all standing there thinking "right, okay, this is, so where's the alien going to be', and I remember just very timorously saying, "what if it's like a chameleon?" or something like that, and er, it was one of my few good ideas that got actually picked picked up upon on development and so they made the alien basically sort of like integrate itself, because it was biomechanoid, it was part organic, part... that was Giger's thing, so I guess it became part of the machinery, so as it, it wasn't a box, it was actually a chameleon (Alien Q &A, Genesis Cinema, August 23rd 2014))
  11. The shuttlecraft sequences at the end of the film were some of the most interesting and difficult shots of Bolaji, and provided most of the useable Alien footage. Climbing into the cramped shuttlecraft bulkhead and then out again for each take put a lot of strain on the suit, which kept splitting. "Bursting out of that compartment wasn't easy" exclaims Bolaji"  I must have ripped the suit two or three times coming out and each time I'd climb down, the tail would rip off! But it wasn't much of a problem for them, because they had more suits. I remember that I had to repeat the action for about fifteen take. Finally, I said "No more!" There was a lot of smoke, it was hard to breathe, and it was terribly hot." (Cinefantastique vol 9, no.1, p30)
  12. Ron Shusett: There were two things in that movie that weren’t in the very first script we wrote. During filming we decided that we wanted one more twist. Originally, we thought the alien would be hiding in the closet in the lifeboat [for the surprise ending]. But then Ridley said, ‘Can’t we beat that? Can’t it be somewhere she [Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver] and the audience can’t see it and it just emerges?’ So at the end of shooting every day, we changed the set around the monster. He’d lay in there and we’d rebuild the set over and over. Every time, it looked like Mad magazine – you could see [the alien] was two feet away from her! The guy who played the monster would lay there for hours and hours and we’d shoot it and look at it the next day and say, ‘This is stupid; we’ll never disguise it.’ The trick that really made it work was the [shape of the alien] head. Finally, somebody got the idea, We’ll put an air vent that looks like its head above and below it, so when the hand comes out, it’s not coming from behind anywhere – he’s in the wall. We had just built that. We didn’t know if it worked. So Ridley said, ‘Let’s get the guy back in here.’ We yelled for him – and he was in the wall! We were shot with our own arrow – we jumped a mile! So we filmed it, and it worked perfectly. (http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/2008/09/executing-alien/)