|Winona Ryder as Annalee Call|
a) Winona the fan of Alien
Winona Ryder was a science-fiction nut.
She loved "Invaders from Mars" which she saw when she was a small child, she liked the scene when the boy sees the knobs on his parents' necks, and this turned her on to SF.
Later she to the work of Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451.
She was also raised on Twilight Zones, but considered Star Wars to be more of a boys' thing.
Then, there was ALIEN. She saw the first ALIEN when she was eight or nine, she actually sat through it twice.
She and her brothers hid in the wings while the cinema auditorium was being cleaned between showings, and it would remain of her favorite movies of all time.
For her it was completely revolutionary because it was the first SF movie ever made where the woman survives and is the hero and it was a big deal for her.
Ripley seemed to be really the last person who would be expected to survive, and she thought that Tom Skerrit as Dallas or one of the other men would be the survivor.
When Dallas died, she thought 'OK, everybody's going to die.' not expecting the survivor to be a woman. She also loved the fact that Ripley went back to get the cat and kills the alien.
Ripley didn't die, and she didn't need to be saved by a man and get sent back to Earth.
Perhaps she had seen Alien about fifteen times, and was obsessed that a woman could fight her way through the film.
The impact that it had on her led her to have an Alien poster on the wall of her room at home until she was 17 and it would still be on her room at her parent's house for years to come.
She thought that the first Alien was great because the Alien wasn't seen a great deal but it's presence was felt, it was lurking all the time.
It had wonderful performances by all the actors, and it wasn't just a bunch of actors screaming and running around, it had characters that she card about.
She considered it to be an SF movie, while Aliens was instead and action movie, which was more about people shooting at things and seeing aliens, she enjoyed it but it wasn't as fun and creepy as the first one
When she got to the third one, she didn't get really get the film and people would say to her, 'Oh, that's because Ripley died.'
She was really upset about it and it took her a long time to get over it.
With all the action in the second one, she could at least see that Ripley had a soft side.
In the third film, it was set in this strange prison and it had all this religious content that she didn't understand.
Then Ripley had sex with the character Clemens, that she thought was someone "gross" and it didn't seem like Ripley to her, and so basically she thought that Alien 3 didn't work.
|Winona Ryder as Annalee Call|
b) Conversations with Winona
One day later, Winona Ryder's phone rang.
Executives at 20th Century Fox, the studio for whom she had just finished The Crucible, the studio who owned the rights to the Alien franchise, wanted Ryder to visit with them.
They didn't inform her of why.
They were keen to explore doing something with, they were meeting with her to have discussions,, perhaps developing a scifi vehicle for her because they knew she was a fan on the genre, they also knew that she was an X-Files fan, but there wasn't a way to include her in the X-Files movie.
So they were talking to her about doing something in the genre of horror or scifi, kicking around ideas.
An idea about what went on, when she went in they said "Would you ever consider doing SF?"
She replied "I love SF, but it's usually so bad and cheesy. The only way I would do it is if it were something along the line of ALIEN, but that's over because Ripley's dead and nobody can replace her."
And they said, "Actually, we're bringing her back.'
She thought, 'OK.'
In the conversation, producer Jorge Saralegui thought "Joss is about to turn in the first draft of Alien Resurrection, so maybe she would be good for the part of Call"
He brought the subject into the conversation "Hey you know, there's this part in the Alien movie that might interest you. Do you like the Alien films?"
Jorge gave her a rundown on who or what Annalee Call the android was.
She reacted with excitement, but she thought that she could never be in it, how could she, but since she was a big fan of the Alien films, she said she would love to do it.
She told them that she loved the alien moves.
While Saralegui might have recalled that she loved the script and said she'd do it, Winona registered that fact that it was the first time in her life that she agreed to do a film without ever reading a script.
Her thought was that she didn't even care if she died in the first scene but she wanted to be able to tell her brothers that she was in an Alien movie.
That's all she wanted.
|Winona Ryder as Annalee Call|
c) Receiving the script
Later the script would be finished and she managed to get to read it and she thought it was really good.
She interested in the way that Ripley was brought back and relevant to what is going onthen with cloning.
She was interested in the idea of making this futuristic SF movie and at the same time it wouldn't be too far off from reality
- Jorge Saralegui: We were meeting with her because we knew she was an X-Files fan. We knew she couldn't be in the X-Files movie and were were talking to her about doing something vaguely horror or Sci-fi-ish. In the middle of the conversation, I kind of thought 'Joss is about to turn in the first draft of Alien Resurrection, so maybe she would be good for the part of Call. ..' I gave her the rundown of what - and who - Call was and she flipped out, said she loves Alien, but figured she could never be in it, how could she? This was way before she even read it. She waited for the script and loved it, She was thrilled to be in it (Starburst Special #35 p84-85)
- Winona Ryder was. is and will forever be a science-fiction nut. "I loved Invaders from Mars. I saw that when I was a little kid. When the boy sees the knobs on his parents' necks, that turned me on to SF," recalls the actress. "Then, I really got into Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451. I was also kind of raised on Twilight Zones. Star Wars was more of a boys' thing."
Then, there was ALIEN.
"I saw the first ALIEN when I was eight or nine," enthuses the actress. "I actually sat through it twice. My brothers and I hid in the wings while they cleaned the theater between showings. It remains one of my favorite movies of all time. It's a completely revolutionary movie because it was the first SF movie ever made where the woman survives and the woman is the hero. That was a really big deal. Ripley [Sigourney Weaver] was really the last person you expected to survive. You think it's going to be Tom Sker-ritt or one of the other guys. When Skerritt dies, you think, 'OK, everybody's going to die.' It just did not enter your mind that the woman would actually survive. "Then, Ripley goes back to get the cat and blows up the Alien. That was incredibly exciting for me as a girl who wanted to be an actress and who wanted to be an actress in an SF movie. Ripley didn't die. Ripley did not get saved by a guy and get sent back to Earth. I saw ALIEN about 15 times. I was obsessed that a woman had kicked ass in a movie. It really had a huge impact on me, so much so that I still had the poster in my room at home until I was 17—and it's still actually there. I moved out at 17. When I go home to my parents' house, it's still in my room."
Now, of course, Ryder's name figures prominently on the poster for ALIEN Resurrection,in which she co-stars with her hero, Weaver. As an avid fan, Ryder looks back at the merits of the first three ALIEN features. 'The first one was great because you didn't see the Alien a lot," she says. "But you felt it. It was lurking all the time. It also has this incredible actress and these other wonderful performances. It wasn't just a bunch of actors screaming and running around. It had really great characters that you cared about. I consider the first film to be SF and ALIENS to be an action movie. The second one was more shooting at things, seeing the Aliens, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as fun and creepy.
"I wasn't a fan of the third one. I just did not get it. People say, 'Oh, that's because Ripley died.' I was really upset about that. It took me a long time to get over it. With all the action in the second one, you at least saw that Ripley had a soft side. And then, in the third one, it was set in this weird prison and it had all this religious stuff that I didn't understand. Then Ripley has sex with that gross guy. It just didn't seem like Ripley to me. I hate saying that about ALIEN3 because I love Sigourney and I know she's very close to all three films, But it's my personal opinion that Alien 3 didn't work"
One day not long ago, Ryder's phone rang. Executives at 20th Century Fox, the studio for whom she had just finished The Crucible, the studio who owned the rights to the Alien franchise, wanted Ryder to visit with them. They didn't inform her of why.
"When I went in, they said,'Would you ever consider doing SF?' I said, I love SF, but it's usually so bad and cheesy. The only way I would do it is if it were something along the lines of ALIEN, but that's over because Ripley's dead and nobody can replace her,' " Ryder remembers " "And they said, "Actually, we're bringing her back.' I thought, 'OK.'
They said, "There's a part for you in it." It was the first time in my life I agreed to do a film without every reading a script. I don't really care if I died in the first scene. I just wanted to be able to tell my brothers I was in an Alien movie. That's all ll I wanted. When I read the script [by Joss Whedon], I thought it was really good. The way Ripley was brought back was pretty interesting and relevant to what is going on today with cloning. It was kind of interesting to know we were making this futuristic SF movie but weren't too far off from reality (Starlog February 1998, p44-45)
- Major casting began with Ryder. When rumors first circulated that the award winning actress would star in the fourth "Alien" film, most people naturally assumed that she would take over the series from Weaver. Not a chance, according to Ryder, "When they brought this up, "says Ryder, [doing] another 'Alien,' at first I thought. 'Well they can't. Ripley's dead.' I'd never try to take over the series, I'd never do it without Sigourney Weaver. And I'd never get try to replace her, 'cause I'd get booed off the screen. (Sci-fi invasion. fall 1997 p20)
- Jorge Saralegui: We had been meeting with Winona about developing a sci-fi vehicle for her because we knew she was a fan of the genre. We were kicking some ideas around a meeting and about halfway into it, I said "Hey you know, there's this part in the Alien movie that might interest you. Do you like the Alien films?" She said she loved them and love the script and said she'd do it. (The Making of Alien Resurrection)
- Winona Ryder: I was nine or ten when I went to see the first Alien movie. I'd never seen a woman as the hero. I wanted to be Ripley. It made a huge impact on me. I had to do it. (The Making of Alien Resurrection)