a) Avoiding the Michelin Man look
Originally Ridley Scott wanted a very feminine creature, and long limbed in the style of the model Verushka, something exactually the opposite of that sort of quintissential Creature from the Black Lagoon which is a big stocky stunt guy, they would put a latex suit over him and suddenly he's out there looking like a Michelin Man. So they started out with a stunt man who was quite thing, but in a rubber suit, to Ridley he looked like the Michelin Man.
b) Experimenting with body contortionists
Dan O'Bannon recalled that the first thing that Ridley did was have body contortionists come in who were circus performers. Ridley wanted to see contortionists tie themselves in every possible knot and walk around and see if they could build a costume around a contortionist. He had two contortionists tie themselves together and walk around, And he had three contortionists tie themselves together and walk around to attempt to get the monstrosity of the alien movement. Ridley finally concluded it was too awkward. Giger thought that they looked phony rather than frightening.
c) Enter Verushka
They started looking at women, and actually Giger claimed to have come up with the suggestion of using Verushka, the idea of associating danger and sexual desire, to have a creature that was at once desirable and lethal excited Ridley. It was the eroticism in Giger's work that had struck him immediately, where everything is merged in his organic looking paintings. Verushka herself came in, and so Ivor saw her there she was wearing a little pair of knickers and they always asked her to crouch down. Ridley thought about the form of a praying mantis, and how the knees would be impossibly high like a grasshopper. With great interest, Ivor found himself photographing her in various states of undress using the polaroid camera for the Alien.
d) Settling for a hermaphrodite form
For Ridley, two omen battling one another would have had a great sexual connotation, but there were practical problems, they couldn't find a woman tall enough for exactly what they wanted and by general agreement they had to give up the ideas. The alien became transformed into a man with a feminine shape, what in essence would be a hermaphrodite.
e) Go to Bolaji Badejo from the Gold Coast
- Ridley Scott: Originally I wanted a very feminine creature, long limbed in the style of Verushka . The idea of associating danger and sexual desire, to have a creature that was at once desirable and lethal and that was exciting. It was the eroticism in Giger's work that had struck me immediately. Everything is merged, it's a very "organic" painting. All the while there were practical problems and, by general agreement, we had to give up the original idea. The alien was transformed into a man with a feminine shape - a hermaphrodite. (Film Illustrated. v9. n99, Nov 1979, "Duelling with Death, The Alien World of Ridley Scott")
- Ivor Powell: "When we started out looking for the Alien, we were looking for something that had a sort of erm , the size , the build, that was incredibly slight, incredibly thin, erm, and exactly the opposite of that sort of quintissential Creature from the Black Lagoon which is a big stocky stunt guy, then you put a latex suit over him and suddenly he's out there like a bloody Michelin man, and they all look.. you know it looks ludicrous, so we had to start off, 'cause CGI didn't exist then, we had to start off with some... the person that put the suit on had to be A, impossibly tall, we wanted them to be incredibly long limbed, especially from the waist to the knee, and erm, so we started looking at women, and I...and it fell on my job to sort of er, you know, to try and bring in women on, I remember one of the tallest models, and quite a well known model of the time was this woman called Verushka, and she came in, and well literally, there she was, you know, in a little pair of knickers, erm and we always asked her like to crouch down, Ridley had this idea that it would be like a sort of praying mantis, and the way when you sort of crouch down, the knees sort of are impossible high, so, like a grass hopper, and so we went through all these pre-ambulations of trying to cast women so lucky Ivor, unfortunate Ivor had to photograph and take polaroids of all these women in various states of undress, you know, for the Alien," (Alien Makers II documentary)
- Ridley Scott: We started with a stunt man who was quite thin, but in the rubber suit he looked like the Michelin Man. So my casting director said, ‘I’ve seen a guy in a pub in Soho who is about seven feet tall, has a tiny head and a tiny skinny body.’ So he brought Bolaji Bodejo to the office, and he was actually from Somalia, funnily enough,” Scott remarks, having much later directed BLACK HAWK DOWN, which was set in Somalia. “I said, ‘Do you want to be in movies,’ and he said sure. And he became the alien. I had him for two months. In the cockpit, there’s a pack of cigarettes that says ‘Bolaji.’” (http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/2008/09/revisiting-alien-ridley-scott/ )
- Ridley Scott:When I started Alien I wanted to not only have a strong heroine, but I also wanted to make the creature female as well: two women battling one another would have had a great sexual connotation.(David Lewin, Daily Mail,1/10/79)
- Ridley Scott: I wanted the alien in human form very sensual and take on a female shape. I had to abandon the idea because we couldn't find a female tall enough. (David Lewin, Daily Mail,1/10/79)
- Dan O'Bannon: The first thing Ridley did is he had contortionists come in. He wanted to see contortionists tie themselves in every possible knot and walk around and see if they could build a costume around a contortionist. He had two contortionists tie themselves together and walk around, And he had three contortionists tie themselves together and walk around. He finally concluded it was too awkward. (source?)
- HRGiger: Because you never use your first design, we went onto experiment with other things. We used performers from a circus, joining two guys together to get the monstrosity of the alien movement, but it looked really phony, not frightening. (FX O7 1999)