continuing to collate, and develop article
|Alien 3 plan|
a) The meeting
On the 25th of July 1990, Gordon Carroll telephoned Giger about working as a designer on on Alien 3. Giger responded that he was working on a new creature and he could probably combine it with a design for an alien in Alien 3.
He imagined that because he had so successfully done the first Alien, they would give him a little more freedom to bring in some new ideas and indeed he would come to realise that he was completely naive and stupid to think this.
David Fincher, accompanied by Gordon Carrol and one Fred Zinneman came over to Zurich, and met Giger on 28th July 1990.
Also present were Mia Bonzanigo acting as Giger's secretary and agent, as well as Cornelius De Fries who Giger trusted with the task on sculpting maquettes of his work.
In the conversations that they had Giger told them that he did not want to be involved because everyone would see a man in a monster suit, however he was asked to make it less humanoid and more like a beast and Fincher reassured him saying "There would be remote controlled robots".
Fincher showed Giger some sketches made by the people who would be responsible for the 'execution' of the work, but to Giger looked more like a bird than his own design for an Alien, and they were far from his ideas.
Fincher though insisted that Giger should not be restricted by such reference points adding "We want you to feel free to give your Giger all".
Seeing those images was for Giger a first indication that his was not the only design input being solicited Gordon Carroll asked Giger if he was interested and his own response was "Yes. Why not.?"
Giger wanted to show him his new product that was The Mystery of San Gottardo, a comedy story and they said to him "No we don't need it"
Then it was just a case of "Do that, do that and that!" as it was at the beginning of Alien. Back then though with Alien, they first asked him to design the creatures, and then later one do more and more and he hoped it would happen that way with Alien 3.
b. The Contract
A contract was made using Giger's contract with 20th Century Fox for Alien back in 1978 as a basis. It would last for one month with the option of prolonging the contract if the work took longer.
The day of the meeting was the first day of work but however after one month it was over and he heard nothing more from them after he completed his designs.
He gave all of his energy because Alien was his baby.
The contract required that he provide new designs for an aquatic facehugger, a baby Alien, a full-grown Alien and some Alien skin
Giger set to work on his designs which he did this work at his home in Zurich, making detailed sketches in pen and ink on paper that was the right size to use with a fax machine and these he faxed to the director David Fincher every day.
c. The new beast
c.i) See: Giger's Alien 3 beast version 1
|Alien 3 beast version 1|
|Giger Sketch of the beast for Alien 3 version 2|
|Giger's Aquatic/Super Facehugger|
d) Hired for his copyright?
However it would be to be that H R Giger thought that when 20th Century Fox hired him, they did it so that could get the copyright for his Alien designs and use it again in the future.
With the first film, that was okay because they had hired him, but with the second Alien movie, Aliens, they used his design without saying a word to him. At the time of Aliens, he was busy working on Poltergeist 2, and later James Cameron wrote an apology in the form of a nice letter explaining why he had not been hired. However they payed him for the merchandise use in Aliens and this reassured him.
For the third film they told Giger how much it would cost for a month to hire him, so he had an arrangement for so much per month. When it came down to the final deal, they only hired him for one month. This really brought Giger to think that they hired him to just get his copyright. Indeed in this third film he felt that he was not being treated by Fox very well. If it had been an honest deal, it would have been crazy to expect Giger to come up with a finished design within the space of a month. The short contract confused him very much.
e) Beast in the Basement
When Gillis and Woodruff found out that Giger was involved, they were thinking "Oh, good, we're going to get to work with Giger, that's going to be a trippy experience, because he's a genius."
Then they discovered that he wanted to stay at his home in Switzerland. They then thought "Okay then that's that kind of takes sculpture out of the arena, he's not going to be sculpting. It's not going to be practical to move sculptures back and forth"
They then wondered if this meant he would be doing airbrushings which was something that they hoped that to see. However this was at a point after Giger had basically given up using an airbrush, and he proceed to create drawings of the alien using pen and ink.
However, Giger came up with the design for his four legged beast, and he employed two people including sculptor Cornelius de Fries who would sculpt the maquette and they would build a life size creature in the basement.
Soon the month was over, Giger had made a lot of drawings and plans, and he worked quite a lot because he wanted to make something really good, an alien with an anatomy that did not correspond to that of a man, but Giger's time was up.
There was a point where Fincher looked at everything Giger had sent and said "Okay, I think we’ve got enough."
The Alien was still unfinished and he couldn't leave it like that. he continued like mad to finish the work but they didn't to give him any more money for further work.
During the time he constructed this thing, by phone Giger even invited Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff to come to Switzerland to come to see the thing. This appeared to be a point of confusion for them because they didn't know that he was still involved. From Gillis and Woodruff's memory, the additional part of the conversation appeared to be that Giger had sculpted this creature that he had designed in his basement at his house.
Woodruff and Gillis understood that Giger was saying to them words to the effect of " Can you come to Switzerland to see this sculpture I made? I did this sculpture of an Alien. It’s in my basement, and too big to take out. I don’t have the money to mold it. If at least you could pay for the modelling, then you could have the big Alien, the four legged creature, how about that?"
Despite the many millions of dollars being pushed around to make the money, mysteriously they were not prepared to hand out something near two extra thousand dollars that Giger wanted to finish it.
Although the fact that Giger wanted to send this thing he created to them, the idea formed in Gillis and Woodruff's minds that Giger couldn't get it out of his basement. They might have even been forgiven for such thoughts firing off in strange directions having just been informed that Giger had this thing in his basement, since they thought he wasn't actually involved in the production anymore.
This meant that they would have to make a mould of this creature, but it would be too expensive for Gillis and Woodruff to go over there taking all the materials and make the mould, Fox just wouldn't allow them. Giger's other offer was that the material was theirs, meaning that he and his co-workers would swallow the costs of materials and time if they'd pay for the transport, but still they had to turn him down.
In terms of the offer to go and visit Giger's studio, the two were under the gun schedule-wise, so they respectfully responded "You know, we can't do that right now." They were both fans of Giger and to have to turn down an invite to his studios was a slightly difficult thing to live with. Of course had they been a little bit cockier, they would have jumped on the plane over their immediately and this story may well have gone off in a different direction.
They were also basically being told by the production manager words to the effect of "You know what, things are a little strained with Giger right now, it would be better if you guys did not engage in, you know" which left Gillis and Woodruff wondering what that was all about, and straying into battles over studio politics was not a wise idea.
In their memory, Gillis and Woodruff recalled that Giger phoned up asking for his paycheque and they handed him over to the Accounting department
|Giger's four legged Alien 3 beast in the basement|
f) Telephone conversations
In their phone conversations with him, Gillis and Woodruff as fans they were eager to converse with him and pick his mind about the various aspects of the alien since they were fans of this creature design.
Giger told them that he never liked the tongue of the alien in the first film, and that it came about because there was a concern about what the alien creature did once it grabbed the human. Such a question might be whether it just gnawed on the victim or something like that.
He also spoke of his idea for a slithery tongue that grabbed that went down the victim's throat and pulled the victim's brains out as if it were a deadly French kiss. Gillis and Woodruff thought this was fantastically macabre.
One revelation though from the phone conversations was that this strange box like tongue that worked as an air piston that was used in the first movie turned out to be something that Giger credited to Nick Allder who was in charge of special effects.
g) Bifurcation by Neglected information
Fincher took Giger's drawings sent through as faxes, pinned them up on the wall running through them, telling Gillis and Woodruff what he liked and didn't like from the drawings telling them "I'm not crazy about this, he's doing what he did with Ridley Scott"
Giger would come up with with tons of ideas for Ridley to as it were corral, and it appeared as if he hoped for such a relationship with Fincher but it wasn't going that direction. Looking at Fincher's situation where he did have a lot of his plate and was fighting an unbearable battle to keep it down to one plate, it might appear that he had to keep it all as simple as possible, and he couldn't extend himself out to Giger who wished to remain in Switzerland. Meanwhile he had neglected to inform Giger that Woodruff and Gillis were also contracted to take care of the redesign of the Alien which wasn't about following his new designs.
He mistakingly thought that they would follow his own new designs, but he would find out the truth much later. Over the phone, Gillis and Woodruff told Giger that they had their own ideas, that they loved his work and might use some of his sketches but they would make their own interpretation as if was their job and would accept Giger's "suggestions" with pleasure.
It might have looked as if they believed that all his effort put into his drawings and his discussions on the telephone was based on an abstract huge love for the matter of the Alien, since he worked extra hard even when the contract was over, while in fact Tom Woodruff Jr who was busy getting on with his own work was unaware of the fact that Giger was under a month contract to come up with designs.
While Giger was left in a very confusing situation about what exactly he was supposed to be doing. He consoled himself with the idea that it was a game played by Fincher to keep both sides happy and obtain a maximum for the movie, but when he heard that Fincher listened to them more than him, he wondered why.
Woodruff would later reveal that they were at a point where they just have to dive in because they had lost time during the months while the script was being revised without a start date being pushed, and once they had the script ready. Since HR Giger was somewhere in the distance, they had to jump on it right away without working in tandem with him.
h) Giger's assumptions
Back in the time of Alien, the American based Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi and English special effects man David Watling had both been contracted to mechanise the Alien head without one another's foreknowledge.
Back in that time Giger found himself caught in a small war between those who wanted to support the use of British Products only against those who were willing to use Italo-American products.
(See Creating the Alien)
It was also happening in the Alien 3 production when Fincher managed to have two groups of people designing a crucifix structure.
i) The other direction taken
In the end, whatever was going on, there was certainly a decision to not make use of Giger's availability to work on set with the visual effects team and discuss alternative ideas if what Giger had come up with as a design in the space of a month was not the direction that they wanted to go.
They obviously had no plans to work with Giger as their boss. As they worked longer on it, they could do their own things and so it was not necessary to engage Giger any longer after the first month.
j) Other problems with the contract
Also Giger realised that there were problems with the contracts, the fact that they wanted to give him less, and they didn't want to give him merchandise for the third film.
Amongst the excuses that they offered him, they said "Well, people who work behind the scenes, they don't get merchandising any longer".
The poster that Giger saw for the film described his work as if it hadn't been used in the film at all
k) First signs of the new beast
And then in the first photo shoot shown in a magazine, Giger saw a man in a suit, and it was the worst things that he had seen, although he thought that the head had been done well.
|An Alien 3 Publicity still revealing a man in a suit|
l) Design Improvements
Someone along the line quoted Gillis and Woodruff as saying that they were improving Giger's work rather than properly conveying that they were improving what had been done before to look more like Giger's work in his own original art.
Giger's publicist Leslie Barany ran with this misquote which obviously looked like an insult, voicing his opinion in the magazine Imagi-Movies. It took a number of letters from Gillis and Woodruff to Giger before they finally heard that he understood the miscommunication.
m) A bad taste in Giger's mouth
This whole affair created a foul taste in Giger's mouth when coming to think about his dealing with 20th Century Fox. It looked as if Giger's point of view was inflamed by a report that " Fincher at one state gave Gillis and Woodruff extra money to improve the alien models because he through they looked tacky" as if it was claim that Giger's own alien designs were the tacky creations that needed improving, and he personally didn't see an improvement in the film's final used creations.
There was no Alien 3 design by HR Giger, but instead Alien Effects by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr, as if Giger hadn't been involved at all. Gillis and Woodruff found themselves stepping into the role of Giger's competition.
20th Century Fox broke the contract and so Giger only found himself credited for the basic original design of the Alien and there was no mention of the fact he was an Oscar winner either with the original Alien and he found that very strange as well if they were trying to sell a film with such a fabulous monster to the public.
The fact that he got a credit for the basic original Alien design in Alien 3 appeared to be helped by Gillis and Woodruff but they were battling for their own credit, Woodruff was going back and forth with this and originally his lawyer told him "Well they're not going to give it to you", Tom Woodruff responded pointing out Aliens "Look, Stan Winston had a credit." He pushed and got his credit.
Gillis and Woodruff insisted that they only be credited for Alien effects rather that be credited for the Alien design, to make sure that Giger has a credit up front that says "Original Alien Design" and not attempt to be perceived as taking over Giger's role.
However, wishing to receive a credit for his work on Alien 3 rather than just for the original design from Alien, Giger made a complaint through his lawyers and later there was a change made to the credits in the videocassette version, but by then, Giger felt that the adjustment was simply too late.
n) Gillis and Woodruff's transformation into the enemy
As time would go by, Giger would generally not respond favourably towards Gillis and Woodruff's work apart from their head designs for the alien creature itself because it looked enough like his old design.
After the movie, Giger came to realise that he wasn't involved in the film, his relationship with 20th Century Fox had become strained and unfortunately Gillis and Woodruff had become part of the enemy. While it appears that they were totally oblivious to what was going on in terms of Giger's concerns, they continue to state that they had Giger's interests at heart as they believed that they were trying to be respectful of his work. If they had been able to meet face to face and discuss the matter, perhaps they would have understood each others situation more and another side to it would have been understood.
- Fincher at one state gave Gillis and Woodruff extra money to improve the alien models because he through they looked tacky. Gillis and Woodruff declined to discuss their work on the film. (Cinefantastique, June 1992, p14&19)
- Based on a decision made by the producer, namely Gordon Carroll, Giger was asked telephonically on July 25, 1990, to work as designer on ALIEN III. This was confirmed in writing by Giger. Soon after that, the newly hired director, David Fincher, accompanied by Fred Zinneman and Gordon Carroll, visited Giger in his house in Zurich. Also present were Mia Bonzanigo, Giger’s secretary and agent, and Conny de Fries, Giger’s long-time collaborator and a specialist in model construction. The meeting took place on July 28, 1990, which was also Giger’s and de Fries’ first day of work, a fact confirmed in writing by Fred Zinneman. Since work had to start immediately, it was decided to use Giger’s 1978 contract as a contract basis - with the appropriate financial adjustments, of course. For the time being, the agreement was to run one month, with the option of prolonging it if the work took longer.(http://www.hrgiger.com/alien4f.htm)
- HR Giger: Gordon Carroll, he asked me to do some, erm, creatures, new creatures, they want redesign the Alien monsters (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Alec Gillis: David,,er, was very interested, er, in bringing Giger back on this one to get his take on, on the concept. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Giger: That's the design I did, for A..Alien 3. During one month...er... sketches. Um yeah, they're all er... for the fax machine. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Alec Gillis: He didn't come to London, wanted to stay in Zurich, and he was doing...erm.... sketches... erm... from his... erm... studio in Zurich. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Giger: I made drawings with ink and the size that they go through the machine and I made a lot of this drawings and I worked very close together with Connie De Fries and he is modelling in erm... plasticine the things, and so we discussed everything, and that.. that's much better than to work alone. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Cornelius De Fries: The purpose of the figure, oh it is, of course it is easier for David Fincher probably to see how it is really like from the top, from the back, from all that how it functions 3D ma... three dimensions figure because this, you will see then in the movies. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Woodruff: If we were to incorporate all of Giger's designs, it would have, I think it would have been impossible, he had so many ideas. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Woodruff: But we were at a point where we just had to dive into it. You know, we had, we had sort of lost time during the months while the script was being revised without the start date being pushed and and, when that script was ready, it's like we had to jump on it right away so there was no more time to really develop things in tandem with Giger, and Fincher was looking at sculptures we were doing and and he was totally, you know, satisfied where we were going (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Giger: It was just one months time to talk and then was, I didn't hear anything. I think they had no time to do it, I think I did much too much for... for them and the time was short and er... I think the ideas came, bit I think it would be great to have it. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Woodruff: So our goal on.. on Alien 3 became, since there's one alien, to really focus on that alien, to make it everything that Giger's artwork says it is, you know. All those images, what they evoke and and how we could tie that in to, you know, a world of a... a... you know, foam rubber and fibre glass and everything. We needed to make the thing move, you know, and and make kit seem alive. Even down to the whole paint scheme, the whole paint scheme was derived from from what we interpreted as his palette that he was using on these, on these er, characters. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Woodruff: We had a couple of phone calls where we actually spoke we Giger, and at the time he told us he was working on a sculpture, he was working on a full size maquette of... of the alien in his studio, so he invited us to come to Switzerland, invited Alec and I to come to Switzerland, and at the time we were so under the gun schedule wise that we you know, respectfully said "you know, we can't do that right now, " and that is the one thing I always regret to have, to have had the invitation, you know and just kind of put it off for now and say, maybe when the film is done, maybe afterwards, and then of course by the time the film is done, he wasn't involved at all and the offer was no longer there and and I think things were strained by the... between... between Giger and Fox and unfortunately we became, to Giger we became part of the enemy, you know, ironically our best interests were "How can we present Giger's work in a way that is respectful of Giger's work ", but... but by the end, I know, subsequently the years since then... he's... he's just not responded favourably to.. to ah... to what we've done, you know in terms of how we've looked at the alien. (The Making Of Alien 3, xeno-erotic)
- Tom Woodruff: When we were told it was Giger on the line, we really didn't know what to expect. We'd been fans of his work for years, but we'd heard a lot about him being temperamental, and we didn't know whether he liked or hated what we did in ALIENS. We didn't know if he was calling to congratulate or abuse us. (laughter) As it turned out, he couldn't have been nicer. (Imagi Movies vol 1, no 3, Spring 1994, p18)
- Alec Gillis: The Alien is Giger's baby, and he was calling to find out what we planned. After we stayed in contact and he faxed through drawings and ideas that proved very helpful when we were deciding how the Alien was going to develop. We all seemed to be on the same wavelength in terms of directions in which we were taking the character (Imagi Movies vol 1, no 3, Spring 1994, p18)
- Imagi Movies: One example of this is the decision to dispense with the long extensions of bone that had adorned the Alien's back in the first two films. Woodruff and Gillis made the decision to remove the "tailpipes" for practical reasons, because with the Alien on all fours, they interfered with the movement of the head. The day they made this decision they received another call from Giger (Imagi Movies vol 1, no 3, Spring 1994, p18-19)
- Alec Gillis: He called to say that he hoped we'd get rid of the tailpipes. He'd just put them there to break up the human form of the suit and had never liked them. it was a very welcome coincidence. (Imagi Movies vol 1, no 3, Spring 1994, p19)
- Sauve Qui Peut: Quand Alien 3 êtait en plein réalisation, vous
étiez très faché. Vous pensiez que l’équipe de tournage interprétait
mal vos dessins, que le film allait être médiocre. Maintenant vous
l'avez vu, votre jugement a-t-il change?
translation:When Alien 3 was in full realization, you were very pissed off. You thought the crew misinterpreted your drawings, the film was going to be mediocre. Now you have seen, your judgment has it changed?
Giger: Oui. A présent, je trouve que c'est bien meilleur, ils se sont donnés de la peine. Quand David Fincher, le réalisateur , est venu à Zurich, je lui ai dit que je ne voulais pas, qu'on voit qu'il y un homme dans le monster, il m'a rassuré en me disant qu'il n'y aurait que des robots télécommandés. Et puis dans les premières photo de tournage, on voyait un homme dans un costume, c'etait pire que tout ce que j'avais vu. Seule la tête était tres bien faite
translation:Yes. Now I think it is much better, they are given the penalty. When David Fincher, the director, came to Zurich, I told him I did not want to, we see that there is a man in the monster, he reassured me by saying that there would that remote-controlled robots. And then in the first photo shoot, a man in a suit we saw, it was worse than anything I had seen. Only the head was very well done.
- Interviewer: What happened to your work on Alien 3?
HR Giger: I think that Century Fox hired me, so that they could get the copyright, so that they could take my Alien, use it again in the future and with the first film, that was okay, they had hired me and so for the second film they used my Alien, but I didn't say anything. I didn't know how or what, I was busy with another film and what's-his-name apologised, Cameron wrote me a nice letter and explained why I hadn't been hired and so on , she he had, oh well, various reasons but a very nice letter, and, but I did think how this was going to work, and then they payed me for the second Alien's merchandise use, yes, that reassured me. For the third film they told me how much it would cost for a month to hire me. And so I had an arrangement with them, so much per month, and they only hired me for one month. And I have to say I had the feeling, they only hired me because they wanted to be sure of getting hold of the copyright for the Alien, by hiring me. In the third film, I wasn't treated very well by Fox; First of all, there was the short contract. I found that rather strange. Then, when I heard that I was only given one month, worked like crazy because of course I wanted to.... I had to design the Alien in that time, as a four legged creature this time, and so on, and actually, I employed two people, they helped me, and we built the Alien down in the basement. After that, the month was over, because of course it wasn't enough time, was it? And of course, I made quite a lot of plans, drawings and so on, during that time and I worked quite a lot because I wanted to make something really good and I also had problems with the contracts, they wanted to give me less, they didn't want to give me any merchandise for the third film and so on, they said, well, people who work behind the scenes, they don't get merchandising any longer, and stuff like that and all the rights and they also wouldn't give me my salary for ages, and wanted to force me ... it was an unpleasant affair. And you never knew how it would all end, all of a sudden, you see my time was up, but I wanted to, I mean, I can't leave something only half finished. I wanted to finish it and somehow I ended up working like mad, and they didn't want to give me anything for that. And then I said "If at least you could pay for the modelling, the you could have the big Alien, the four legged creature, how about that?" But then they weren't prepared to cough up the extra two thousand or whatever it was, that was mean. And what else, oh yes, and then they strangely enough in the film when it came out, my work in the film, when it came out, they described it on the poster as if I hadn't been involved at all. And what they did was they put: basic Alien design by H R Giger, and of course that means that I might as well not have been involved at all. That's what they would have put if I hadn't been hired at all, they would have put it like that, but actually it must be phrased differently. they should have put: Alien 3 design by H R Giger, whereas these words have been used by Woodruff and Gillis, my competition who suddenly turned up and made themselves at home, and then I put a complaint in via my lawyer and then, that's when they finally deigned to, after the film, the way my name came up which was obviously wrong, because in the contract it was different, well so they changed that at least later on in the video thing, but on the film posters and so on it says basic design by HR Giger there, And that was wrong, and they didn't mention my Oscar either. In contrast to to the others, that was strange. (unused material from Alien: Evolution documentary)
- Fincher to HR Giger: This creature is a... mixture of intelligence, curiosity and viciousness. (ImagiMovies 3 1994, p17.)
- What Giger did not realize then (because he had not been told)was that ADI had been contracted during Ward's term not only for the execution of the new Alien but for its design as well. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p17.)
- Tom Woodruff: The Alien was so well know that there wasn't a lot we could do with it except try to make it look even more alien than in the first two films. Most of our changes were stylistic, because we wanted to go back to the original paintings and designs for Giger, which hadn't been fully realised. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p18.)
- Tom Woodruff: Giger's paintings tap into something that's frightening and at the same time very fascinating. Things like car parts and mechanical features are integrated loosely into his original designs for the Alien, and I think this weird combination of human, machine, and bone is one of the things that make it so unique and terrifying. We tried to suggest these same shapes, but in a very organic way. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p18.)
- Tom Woodruff: When we were told it was Giger on the line, we really didn't know what to expect. We'd been fans of his work for years, but we'd heard a lot about him being temperamental, and we didn't know whether he liked or hated what we did on Aliens. We didn't know if he was calling to congratulate or abuse us. As it turned out, he couldn't have been nicer. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p18.)
- Tom Woodruff: The Alien is Giger's baby, and he was calling to find out what we planned. After that we stayed in contact and he faxed through drawings and ideas that proved very helpful when we were deciding how the Alien was going to develop. We all seemed to be on the same wavelength in terms of the direction in which we were takiing the character. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p18.)
- Tom Woodruff: He called to say that he hoped we'd get rid of the tailpipes. He'd just put them there to break up the human form of the suit and had never liked them. It was a very welcome coincidence. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p18.)
- Fincher: We did what we had time to do, and we had a lot more interesting ideas that we would have liked to do... and we ran out of money. Unfortunately, when you have no prep time you spend a lot of money on stuff that never gets shot or does get shot and isn't properly thought out. It never moved quite as quickly as I wanted it to, But we wanted it to be fast and big and dumb. (ImagiMovies 3, 1994, p17.)
- HR Giger: David Fincher neglected to inform me that Woodruff and Gillis were also contracted to take care of the redesign of the Alien— I found out much later, I thought I had the job and that Word and Gillis would work from my plans . On their side, they were convinced that it was their job and accepted my 'suggestions' with pleasure . They believed that all my effort was based on a huge love for the matter, because I worked hard even after my contract was over . Today , I am convinced that it was a game by Fincher to keep both sides happy and obtain the maximum for his movie. (ImagiMovies 3 1994, p17.)
- HR Giger: I can understand that they would not have wanted me as their 'boss' - I know it's probably not everybody's wish to work with me. Because they worked longer on it, they could do their own things, so it was not necessary after the first month to engage me anymore. (ImagiMovies 3 1994, p17.)
- HR Giger: I wish Ridley Scott had come back. He had said to me, "If we ever do another, you'll create a new monster." Working with him would have been wonderful - not a man with no experience. They told me that the Alien this time would be intelligent; it would be special. But in the end, it was just a slimy creature. (ImagiMovies 3 1994, p17)
- Leslie Barany: That not all of Giger's ideas were implemented in the final film was their, perhaps mistaken, decision. Equally, their decisions not to take advantage of Giger's availability to work onset with the visual effects team, as it was specified in the contract. It was, perhaps for these reasons that much of Messrs. Woodruff and Gillis's design 'improvements' and effects has to be trashed and that Mr Woodruff himself had to slip into the Alien suit to bring it to life, in spite of all the assertions that it would be an unacceptable solution. (Imagi-Movies, Spring 1994, p20)
- HR Giger: In the contract it states exactly how I should be credited and this was a mistake. They broke the contract because they're saying in the movie that it's only 'original design' by Giger (ImagiMovies 3 1994, p20)
- SECONDS: I understand that you have had problems with the producers of Alien 3 over your omission from the credits.
GIGER: That's right...SECONDS: Is that something you can discuss?GIGER: These are things I don't like to discuss because it's horrible. I've had a lot of bad experiences with people not being honest.SECONDS: So will you shy away from film work?GIGER: I no longer have any illusions about Hollywood and the movie-making process . I worked hard on Alien 3 improving the creature from the first movie. They tried to hide the fact that I was the designer. When it was shown in the theatres, nobody knew that I worked on it. My credit, as promised in the contract, was not there. Shit, after a long argument between lawyers, it was finally fixed for video, but it was too late for me. I hope it's better next time ( Seconds 1994, Issue #25)
- Yet, even given the tight schedules, Giger still managed to create a model of his Xenomorph with the assistance of sculptor Cornelius De Fries, as well as draw up and fax sketches to Fincher. "I worked with some people here in Zurich on our own monster," he elaborates. "When we'd finished we told the studio that the material was theirs, and that we'd swallow the cost of materials and time, if they'd pay for transport. They turned us down." Why? Giger's own theory is that with t he hiring of Fincher came Tom Woodruff Jr and Alec Gillis, ALIEN 3's creature effects team. They believed their ideas to be more appropriate to the new screenplay than his. Says Giger: "when I'd heard that Woodruff and Gillis has their own version of the Alien, I began to think that they didn't appreciate mine and that they probably had already sold Fincher on their ideas. But it just seemed the my role in the movies never got to the right people."(Aliens comic #12, June 1993 "The Giger Sanction" , transcribed at http://weyland-yutaniarchives.blogspot.co.uk)
- Jean-François Micard: Que s'est-il passé pour Alien 3 ? What has happened to Alien 3 ? HR Giger:Travailler sur Alien 3 a été un cauchemar. Ma principale erreur a été de penser que mon travail sur ce film se déroulerait comme celui que j'avais effectué sur Alien. La Fox ne m'a jamais réellement embauché sur ce projet, tout ce qu'ils ont été capables de faire, c'est de me signer un contrat d'un mois et je me suis retrouvé à dessiner des croquis et à leur faxer. Ils m'ont toujours empêché de venir sur le plateau de tournage et ne se sont pas gênés pour modifier mon travail au gré de leurs envies. Et pour couronner le tout, j'ai juste été crédité comme le créateur original de l' Alien, ce qui laissait entendre que je n'avais pas été impliqué du tout dans cette production. Il a fallu une longue procédure légale pour que ma participation soit reconnue sur les copies vidéos du film. Working on Alien 3 was a nightmare . My main mistake was to think that my work on the film would be as one I had done on Alien . Fox never actually hired me on this project , all they were able to do is to sign a contract to me a month and I found myself sketching and fax them. They always kept me from coming on the set and did not bother to change my work according to their desires. And to top it all, I 've just been credited as the original creator of Alien , which suggested that I had not been involved at all in this production. It took a long legal procedure so that my participation is recognized on video copies of the film. (Elegy #4, 1999, p43)
- ITA: You had problems with Alien 3?
HR Giger : Yes. That was a mistake, in a way. While I was working on my idea for The Mystery of San Gottardo, Gordon Carroll contacted me about doing Alien 3. I told him that I was working on a new creature and I could probably combine it. I had imagined that because I had done the first Alien, this time I would have a little more freedom to be able to bring in some new ideas. But that was completely stupid to think.
ITA: Naive of you?
HR Giger : Very naive!
ITA: Did they want you to do something very specific?
HR Giger : Yes, they told me exactly what I had to do and didn't even give me a chance to show them San Gottardo. They said, "No, we don't need it." My story was a comedy, theirs was definitely not. Gordon Carroll asked if I was interested. Yes, why not? Then it was, "Do that, do that and that!" just like when I started Alien. First I should only do creatures, then later on I could do more and more. I had hoped that it would be true, and develop the same way with Alien 3.
ITA: But it didn't?
HR Giger : It didn't. After one month of work it was over. I heard nothing from them after I completed my designs. I gave all my energy to this and put all my other projects aside, because the Alien is my baby.
ITA: You haven't had very good luck with film projects.
HR Giger : No. It only worked out well once with Alien.
ITA: It's amazing that it's only now, two years later and mostly from your own interviews, that we discover that you designed the creature in Alien 3. Normally such news would be highly publicized.
HR Giger : Yes, I would think so.
ITA: I never read any of the usual interviews with you when the film Alien 3 came out and the screen credit only said "Original Alien Design by H.R. Giger."
HR Giger : In my contract for Alien 3 it states exactly how I should be credited and the studio broke that contract by crediting me with "Original Alien Design by H.R. Giger." It looks like I didn't work on the film at all. When I first saw this at a Fox screening of the film in Geneva I was shocked, horrified! We contacted 20th Century Fox and they said it was too late for changes. I also realized that my name was missing from the credits at the end.
ITA: What could have been the studio's explanation for screwing up the credit for the designer who had previously won the Oscar for creating the same creature?
HR Giger : We received many excuses, but never a satisfactory explanation. We are still waiting for that.
ITA: What exactly did you do for Alien 3?
HR Giger : My contract required that I provide new designs for an aquatic face hugger, a baby Alien, a full-grown Alien and some Alien skin, all of which I did. I did all my work at home in Zurich, making detailed sketches in pen and ink, and faxed them to director David Fincher every day. I was asked to make it look less humanoid and more like a beast. My new creature was more erotic and much more elegant and beastly than my original. It was a four-legged Alien, sort of like a lethal panther. It had skin that was designed to make musical notes, and how the Alien felt would be expressed by sound. I assumed that all of my changes and improvements would be used.
ITA: Weren't they hired to execute your designs?
HR Giger : I thought so, but obviously they didn't. I found out much later that they were convinced it was their job to redesign the Alien 3 creature and accepted my "contributions" believing that all my efforts were based on my huge love for the matter. I now believe the director was playing a game with both sides to get the best result for the movie. In the end they used many of my ideas, but what was finally in the movie was very much different from what I imagined Alien 3 to be. In a way, they went back to my designs for the original Alien, and that was disappointing.
ITA: The Baby Alien sculpture I saw at the exhibition at the Alexander Gallery was great, but it wasn't in the movie.
HR Giger: Unfortunately it wasn't. This was my "Bambi" Alien, very cute and very frightening at the same time. With my assistants in Zurich, I also built the life-size Alien 3 creature at my own expense, which I offered to David Fincher but he didn't want it, only photos of it. Because of this, it was not the same. It is still my creature, but it could have been more special.
ITA: What finally happened?
HR Giger : After strong pressure from my lawyers and my agent, Leslie Barany, 20th Century Fox finally made the corrections on the videocassettes and the laser disks and then on the master print so it reads "Alien 3 Creature Design by H.R. Giger," but it was too late for me and too late for the audience that saw it in the theaters. I was not asked for any interviews, but the creative team of Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Gillis was.
ITA: They also got the Oscar nomination for Special Effects, didn't they?
HR Giger : Yes. Normally I would have also been nominated since I received the Oscar for the exact same work in Alien.
ITA: Whose responsibility is it to decide who is nominated?
HR Giger: The director.
ITA: I thought these things only happened in the movies.
HR Giger: No, not only. (International Tattoo Art Feb 1995)
- During the initial meeting, Fincher showed "some sketches made by people who would be responsible for the 'execution' of the work, " Giger recalls " These looked rather like a bird. There were no similarities to the Alien, and they were far from my ideas." Although Fincher would insist that Giger not feel restricted by such "reference points," adding, " we want you to feel free to give your Giger all, " Giger now recognizes this as the first indications that his was not the only design input being solicited. (Imagi-movies - Spring 1994, p14)
- HR Giger: The Alien had been my baby, so when I was asked to change the creature into a less humanoid shape, I hoped that my decisions would be done without other ideas. I was naive about Hollywood. I thought, since I got an Oscar for my Alien, it would be me who gave advice on how it would look. When Woodruff and Gillis said they had their own ideas, I was very upset. They said that they liked my work and might use some of my sketches but that they would make their own interpretation. When I heard that Fincher listened to them more than to me, I wondered why. (Imagi-movies - Spring 1994, p14)
- Outpost 31: The recent passing of H. R. Giger was a terribly sad loss to
cinema and art as a whole and I'm aware that your relationship with him
was not as good as you would have liked it to have been. I understand
that this is a consequence of what happened on Alien 3. Would I be
right to imagine that the real problem here was that David Fincher asked
both you and Giger to do the same job (of designing the new Alien?)
Did you ever reconcile with Giger?
Tom Woodruff Jr: I think this has been addressed a number of times in the past. Giger was sending work to Fox in London, not actually employed by the studio or the production company to be involved. You can't blame him for his passion. The Alien was certainly 100% his creation. People often look for the drama in this event but the simple facts are that we designed the Alien effects (the method and mode of how each effect was achieved) while at the same time inventing a couple of new evolutions of Alien creatures. We returned the approach to the Alien after what had worked for Aliens in providing dozens of warriors in very simple ways. Our approach was to recreate the art of the Alien as we saw it in Giger's own work in a form that worked for a man inside the suit. Someone along the line quoted us as saying we were improving Giger's work rather than properly conveying that we were improving what had been done before to look more like Giger's work in his own original art. His publicist ran with this "affront" and it took a number of letters from us to Giger before we finally heard that he understood the miscommunication. (http://www.outpost31.com/QATWJ.shtml)
- Gillis: Leaping forward then to Alien 3, erm, erm where Giger was involved and Giger was designing erm stuff with Fincher er that was more kind of like feminine and sleek and erm, it's funny 'cause Fincher wanted to remove you know what people call the smoke stacks, er, you know, off the back, and and erm, I think we had two conversations with Giger, one was about erm, he was wondering if were coming to pick up a full scale, erm, sculpture that he had done in his basement, that I think he couldn't get out of the basement, so I think it had to be moulded or something like that. It was too expensive for us to go to , erm, er, go to Switzerland and take all of the materials and mould it and all that kind of stuff, we just didn't have it in the schedule so, as much as we would have liked to have had that thing, we had to, we had to pass on it. And the other one he called up and asked if we where his pay cheque was and so we referred him over to accounting, but those were the two times that we had conversations
Woodruff: There was also the one, there was one conversation where he actually said, he never liked the smoke stacks
Woodruff: And again, the story being that they were added, in in in in for the initial design of the alien to help disguise the form of a man in a suit, so they had every practical reason and, and you either love them or you hate them I guess, erm, erm, erm, for Fincher to use, the Alien was going to be down on all fours and the head, long head gets kicked back, he didn't want the, that long head dropping in between these, these branches of, of whatever this anatomy is and being caught, so, that was also part of the reason for pulling them
Gillis: Yuh, Fincher also felt that they were, they were in in horizontal position, they were too upright and and we had proposed like why don't we mechanise them so that they lay down like as he goes into full speed even thought they lay down and that clears the movement, but he thought, i don't think Fincher like the the smokestacks anyway. The other part of that conversation with Giger was, we, we got a chance to pick his brain a little bit about the various aspects, 'cause, you know, we're fans of this, er of this character. He said that that he never liked the tongue, er coming in and out, you know, the piston tongue. He said that um it was, it came about, because um, there was a concern, about uh, once the alien grabbed you, what did it do to you, did it just gnaw on you, whatever. Giger's ideas was the slithery tongue, you guys are familiar with this, but the slither tongue that goes down your throat and rips your insides out through your, to him it was a French kiss, a deadly French kiss, which we thought was a pretty fantastically macabre idea, but er, production didn't go for that, Ridley Scott maybe I don't know, but he credited Nick Alder, er, the physical effects guy with this piston idea, you know, as an air piston, er, and , er, I I thought that was a pretty interesting, I've never heard that, I don't think I've ever heard that ever since, (WAR CRIMES Alien Talk With Tom & Alec, 12 Feb 2017,)
- Woodruff Jr.: Where we parted, it was amicable. I think where the real hotbed happened was 20th Century Fox. They basically cut ties to Giger. This is a painful story to relate: Giger called us and said, “I did this sculpture of an Alien. It’s in my basement, and too big to take out. I don’t have the money to mold it. Can you guys come to Switzerland to see this sculpture I made?” And Fox told us we had to say no. Can you imagine? If we’d been a little cockier we would have jumped on a plane! (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/alien-creature-design-duo-takes-us-inside-20-years-xenomorph-ing-174139859.html)
- Gillis: There was some disconnection and confusion on the Giger side. We only spoke to him two or three times during the whole production. There was a point where Fincher looked at everything he had sent and said, “Okay, I think we’ve got enough.” And it was after that that Giger called us [about the statue] , and we were sort of taken aback. We thought they had closed it up and that Giger was off the show, but Giger never realized he was off the show. After the movie came out, there was a hatchet job article in a [special-effects]magazine, so I think that might have inflamed him a little bit. From our point of view, it was too bad because we considered Giger an absolute genius who revolutionized creature effects forever. It was a shame that he felt he was being disrespected. (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/alien-creature-design-duo-takes-us-inside-20-years-xenomorph-ing-174139859.html)
- Alec Gillis: He was included in the credits very specifically
Jaime Praeter: And in the first
Alec Gillis: The film
Jaime Praeter: The first time
Alec Gillis: In the film, yeah
Jaime Praeter: Because I mean, we were there
Alec Gillis: We were very specific (See transcript Perfect Organism podcast number 75)
- Alec Gillis: Where the the the the bifurcation started was that um, Fincher would show us what Giger was doing of the Alien warrior and say I'm not crazy about this, his his, I, he's going off, he's doing what he did with Ridley Scott, Giger is doing what he did with Ridley Scott which was to provide tons of ideas, all this, you know, brilliant insanity, and Ridley would kind of corral him right, so , I think, I think, that is what Giger expected, from what I've read about Giger, that's what he thought this relationship with David Fincher was going to be, but he never had to leave his house, you know, and when it didn't turn out that way for various reasons, some of which Tom alluded to, which was the studio going "yeah yeah" and all that, erm, you know and and we like this, we don't like that, it, then at some Giger decided we were the culprits because he had a great relationship with Fincher, (See transcript Perfect Organism podcast number 75
- Jaime Praeter: And they say "Screw these guys!"
Alec Gillis: Yeah, there was, there was even a video of a girl online "Tom Woodruff," no, what's'e saying "Tom Gillis and Alex Woodruff Jr should be put in jail because they claim to have to have designed the Alien, " we never did. In fact, the the credit that we insisted upon out of respect for Giger, and we don't control Giger's credits, that was up to him to negotiate, but we said "For us, make sure you say Alien effects created by..." because there's a difference between an Alien effect" and "Original Alien design by..." that's the credit that Giger got, as I recall
Tom Woodruff: And I, and I would go further because I was going back and forth, we were fighting to get our credit, an up front credit on this film and and basically the uh, the time our lawyer said "Well they're not going to give it to you" so this went on my own and I had to dig up, I had to show them "Look, Stan Winston had a credit, and and this is the level of movie, and at that point, that's when I told them that that Gi... not only should ours say "Alien Effects" because we're not claiming to have invented the Alien, but in addition to make it clear, make sure Giger has a credit up front that says "Original Alien Design" because again like Alec said, we don't know what Giger's involvement was in doing his own deal. Everything we knew, going back to Aliens was that production was hands off at that point with anything to do with Giger, um, I. He wasn't involved in any of the design and he wasn't, he was doing work at the very beginning of Alien 3 (See transcript Perfect Organism podcast number 75)