continuing to collate and develop article
continuing to collate and develop article
a) Hopes for a new direction
Early on in the design process, Gillis and Woodruff felt that they should take the alien in a different direction.
The day they got the job, they each went home and started sketching basic designs before faxing them to Fincher. Their idea was that the creature was constantly mutating to adapt to whatever the environment, and it gave them a reason to have an alien that was considerably different from the adult aliens in either Alien or Aliens. However they were willing to let these ideas go, in favour of approaching the director with a blank slate and saying "What are you looking for? How can we support you to tell the story?"
Ultimately, David Fincher decided that he wanted to remain with what have been seen in the first film. His idea what this it wouldn't be so quite a high technological looking thing because it wasn't trying to blend in with a spaceship's surroundings because now they were in a prison environment with concrete walls.
b) Tom Woodruff's interpretation of the biomechanical style
Tom Woodruff's belief was that ever since Alien came out, people have misinterpreted the Biomechanical style.
He thought that the alien is a monster with tubes and cardboard stuck all over it and that, so he said, was the only construction technique that Giger used when he sculpted for the first Alien movie.
Gillis and Woodruff had access to many pieces of the original Alien creature suit and head for reference on Aliens, and it literally had plastic parts upon which one could read the catalogue numbers along with valves and plumbing pieces .
The idea for the alien of Alien 3 was that the creatures were growing into a mechanical being, and one might wonder what to make of that.
- Behind the Scenes of David Fincher's Alien³ (1992).
Alien creature effects by studioADI. ADI founded by two of our teachers, Alec Gillis & Tom Woodruff, Jr. https://www.facebook.com/StanWinstonSchool/photos/pcb.2170957766273212/2170932592942396/?type=3&theater
c) Moving away from Giger's vision
Their idea was that not even Alien was completely true to Giger's vision, his own suit wasn't accurate to his paintings. Their idea was to sculpt Giger's designs into repeating organic textures, almost like deer antlers.
They also put more colour into the Alien, which was originally just black and sepia and wanted to add colours from his original artwork to be found in the Giger's Necronomicon book and the Giger's Alien book.
There was a rust colour in the prison environment and so that would be used in the palette for the alien beast.
Since the effects of Alien 3 wouldn't have the spectacle of the last film, they wanted to make this creature into a believable organism and its biomechanics would be achieved in a different way
d) Still Giger's Alien
Despite all the changes that they were making, their idea was that this was still Giger's Alien, and they had done very little to change it.
They claimed that they went as far as to draw inspiration from Necronomicon at the finishing stages, since his monster would be scrutinized more than ever and it looked as if they went even as far as Giger's New York City series not found in the book.
e) New alien doglike
They were keen to point out that the earlier alien was insect like and now the new alien was more dog like having gestated inside a Rottweiler.
The Alien's picked up the dogs instincts and took on its characteristics, and so they wound up with an alien that was more of a quadruped and could run around on all fours, while still being able to stand up on two legs
|Whippet in Alien suit without alien head|
f) ADI's Bambi-Burster
They found the most conceptually interesting stage to be the 'Bambi Burster, a puppy like creature that jumps out of the Rottweiler's chest and scampers across the floor.
David Fincher thought it would be more sleek if the monster came out of a dog, and the Rottweiler is a pretty brutal animal to start with.
David Fincher needed something that could walk and be photographed from every angle, which made him think about putting a dog in a suit to supplement a cable-controlled puppet.
Woodruff thought that it seemed very much an idiotic idea but this dog in a suit became at least something exciting to try out, whatever the result. Woodruff saw possibilities in what they produced and would have liked it to have been liberally painted with more deep, dark shadows and have some creepy sounds added
Originally for the Bambi Burster, they planned to have a Whippet dog in a suit, but it wouldn't perform on set. Once they put him in the latex costume, the animal locked up. All they wanted him to do was trot down the hall, but it stood there unable to movie. So they ended up sliding the dog into shot.
|Whippet in Alien suit with alien head|
(To be completed)
The final creature they decided was David Fincher's baby and incorporated what Fincher was looking for in terms of the way it moved around and in terms of the body design were incorporated into the sculpture.
The final adult alien would look like a man in a suit and other times a puppet and never did the two look as if they were the same entity.
|ADI's alien adult puppet.|
- Tom Woodruff: Early on in the design process, we felt that we should take the alien in a different direction. The idea was that the creature would be constantly mutating to adapt to whatever the environment was, which gave us a reason to have an alien that was considerably different from the alien warrior in any of the other films. But, ultimately, Fincher decided that he wanted to remain with what we'd seen in the first film. Supposedly the creature takes on characteristics of the host's body that it gestates in. So this time we wound up with an alien that was more of a quadruped and could run very fast on all fours, while still being able to stand up on two legs.(Cinefex #55/ Alien The Special Effects)
- Tom Woodruff: You're working with set parameters on a sequel, so there isn't a whole lot of flexing your design muscles, But ever since Alien came out, people have misinterpreted the 'Biomechanical' style. They think it's a monster with tubes and cardboard stuck all over it. That's only a construction technique that Giger used when he sculpted for the first movie. We even had one of this original creatures for references on Aliens, and it literally had plastic parts that you could read the catalogue numbers off of! We wanted the monsters in Alien 3 to look like they were growing into a mechanical being. (Fangoria # 114)
- Tom Woodruff: The Alien was so well known 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 really wanted to go back to the original paintings and designs for Giger, which hadn't been fully realised (Imagi-Movies Spring 1994, p18)
- Alec Gillis: Giger's paintings tap into something that's frightening an at the same time very fascinating. Things like car parts and mechanical features are integrated looksely into his original designs for the Alien, and I think this weird combination of human, machine, and bone is one of the things that makes it so unique and terrifying. We tried to suggest these same shapes, but in a very organic way. (Imagi-Movies Spring 1994, p18)
- Strangeshapes: The Alien in the third movie traded in many biomechanical
details for a different aesthetic; you once said that you aimed for “an
organic, sculptural feel.” Can you talk about what you tried to do to
make this Alien look different from those that came before? (I believe
you mentioned looking at Giger’s original paintings and drawings?)
Tom Woodruff: I think people throw around the term “biomechanical” without really understanding what it means. It was a term manufactured to describe Giger’s amazing and fresh style of art. It was his theme in a lot of his work. What changed was the method in which it was achieved. During the build on Aliens, Fox provided us with many pieces of the original Alien creature suit and head. Within those pieces, you could actually see castings of mechanical bits; valves and plumbing pieces, some with catalogue numbers visible that had been etched into the pieces that were molded. (source: alienseries.wordpress.com)
- Alec Gillis: Even Alien wasn't completely true to Giger's vision, I don't mean to be pompous, but his own suit wasn't accurate to his paintings. Our goal was to sculpt Giger's designs into repeating organic textures, almost like dear antlers. We also put more colour into the Alien, which was originally just black and sepia. Since the effects of Alien 3 wouldn't have the spectacle of the last film, we wanted to make this creature into a believable organism. (Fangoria # 114 and Horrorzone Magazine, Issue #1 (August 1992).)
- Tom Woodruff: This is still Giger's Alien, and we've done very little to change it. In fact, we were breaking out his Necronomicon at the finishing stages, since his monster would be scrutinized more than ever. Aliens' theatrical lighting turned them into moving textures. This beast is animalistic instead of insectlike, since it's gestated inside a Rottweiler. The Alien's picked up the dogs instincts, and can run around on all fours. (Fangoria # 114)
- Alec Gillis: Fox never had a problem with coming back and saying 'Sorry guys. We know you built these things, but theres a new direction, and we're not going to use them'. We had to keep ourselves and the crew orally afloat, because people but their blood, sweat and tears into the stuff, and have a tendency to get upset when an effect's cancelled. There were six stages of Aliens, count em! But we're not griping about the script changes, because any story should constantly be honed. That only shows us the film's getting better, and if the effect doesn't serve the ploy, then there's no reason for it. (Fangoria # 114)\
- Tom Woodruff: The most conceptually interesting stage is the 'Bambi Burster', a puppy like creature that jumps out of the Rottweiler's chest and scampers across the floor. David Fincher thought it would be more sleek if the monster came out of a dog, and the Rottweiler is a pretty brutal animal to start with. David needed something that could walk and be photographed from every angle, which made him think about putting a dog in a suit to supplement a cable-controlled puppet. That seemed like a pretty dumb notion at first, but the more we thought about it, the better this idea sounded. (Fangoria # 114)
- Gillis: So the other aspects of that alien in Alien 3, were that um, because it was birthed originally from an ox, then that was changed, it came from a dog, it was a four legged creature, so it took some of the characteristics of that host and speed and it could run, agility and all that kind of stuff, and um, Giger, um um, Finchers, um, Finchers idea was that it er, it wouldn't be such quite a high tech looking thing, because it wasn't in er a spaceship surrounding, so it wouldn't need that as much to blend in, so there was fair amount of kind of organic quality to that one too compared to the original or even Alien, although really, or Alien, Aliens, Aliens' suits had a fair amount of sculptural aspects, the hand became more sculptural, ribbed and fewer fingers, things like that, so there was a history of it, of it morphing , but we always liked the idea of it no only take some of the characteristics of its host, but it also takes, mimics its surroundings, so in Alien 3, there were concrete walls that were this sort of rust colour, right , so that rust colour is also where the sepia is started coming in. (WAR CRIMES Alien Talk With Tom & Alec, 12 Feb 2017,)
- Woodruff: Fincher also in addition to that, the sepia colour was in a lot of uh, a lot of Giger's art from, un, Necronomicon and also , the, the pictorial look from making the first Alien movie, and he had done a lot with blacks and browns and warmer, warmer, brown tones, and the idea was to, to sculpt a suit that had the look of of Giger's work, and then to put it into colour tones that match his original work, thinking "Oh this is great, we'll take, we'll take a. as much as we can, that , that, that we can pull out of the original Alien, but give it the ability to move because we're using different technology." It was, it was as simple as Giger creating latex suits, latex rubber suits that were reinforced with cheesecloth and had made them strong but, and and even though they were latex, they, they wouldn't flex and they wouldn't move very well and and and the performer inside didn't have a lot of control, especially over subtle small movements, he could he could move his arms and move his legs but there was nothing performance based as opposed to the, the, erm, the foam rubber , full body suits that we would do, that would allow a lot more movement, a lot more precision. Yah, Ridley, when we were working on erm, on erm, I am Legend, Ridley Scott, I asked Ridley Scott a bunch of questions too, erm, but he said that the, the suit was, uh, less mobile than would be ideal, so had to kind of change his way of shooting it, erm, I think in one of the earliest scripts, there was kind of a hand to hand combat fight with the alien by the airlock and throwing people around and stuff, so he had to come up with a new way to shoot it to compensate for the fact, it didn't , it couldn't really do as quite as much stunts stuff as he wanted, but acknowledged that that had made the movie better, that it was working around the limitations of the, of the that made it creepier and all that stuff like, you know, with the motion sensor, and its right behind you and all that, it's great and you didn't even see the alien moving, you see it its that.(WAR CRIMES Alien Talk With Tom & Alec, 12 Feb 2017,) .
- Tom Woodruff: The Whippet looked great, but it wouldn't perform on set, We couldn't even get it to trot down the hall, which was all it had to do! So i ended up sliding the dog into shot. (Fangoria # 114)
- Tom Woodruff: The images were then transferred to video, so the effect would be like looking through Sigourney Weaver's body, We even had her heart pumping at one stage. The embryo was made out of translucent urethane, and lit from behind gave it a glow that revealed the creature's nervous system, including it's beating heart. We took the chestburster's design and worked backwards, accentuating the head while making the arms and legs smaller. (Fangoria # 114)
- Alec Gillis: This beautiful sculpture is the dog alien from Alien 3 and it is from the molds from our sculpture that we did back in 1990 for David Fincher. It was intended as the rod puppet version because we knew that we wanted to create an alien that would be very spindly in proportions and Tom was playing the creature in the man in a suit version, so this was much more drawn out, you can see how delicate and long thin the limbs are
Tom Woodruff: This allowed us to attach rods to the actual puppet on set so the puppeteers would move the limbs, all we had to do was remove those rods in post production so that the alien existed on its own.
Alec Gillis : The design on the face of this one was very much influenced in David Fincher's mind by Michel Pfeiffer. He wanted it to have her lips, so that's what we gave it in sculptural form. This was nice that we were able to work with HR Giger on that. We had several phone conversations with him and he was sending us sketches, and it was fun to be able to interpret what he envisioned for the next iteration of it, but really I have to say that this is really David Fincher's baby here. A lot of the things that David Fincher was looking for in terms of the way it moved and in terms of the body design are incorporated into this sculpture. The Dog Alien from Alien 3 (Sideshow collectibles podcast)
- Tom 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)
- Anne Zladovic: Vous n'êtes jamais allé sur le tournage d'Alien 3?
You've never been on the set of Alien 3?
HR Giger: Non. Un jour, je leur ai demandé l'autorisation d'aller faire des photos. Ils m'ont répondu :« On va vous en envoyer. Ce n'est vraiment pas la peine de venir! »
En réalité, j'ignore complèment si la créature d'Alien 3 ressemblera à celle que j'ai dessinée. De par mon contrat, je n'ai pas un droit de regard sur son apparence définitive à l'écran. Il est vrai que ce serait terrible pour eux que je puisse interrompre le tournage. D'un autre côté. vous leur soumettez vos idées les plus originales et ils peuvent en faire qu'ils veulent.
No. One day, I asked permission to go take pictures. They replied: "We will send you. This is really not the time to come! "In fact, I do not know further if the creature from Alien 3 will resemble the one that I designed. From my contract, I do not have a right to inspect its final appearance on the screen . It is true that it would be terrible for them that I can stop shooting. On the other side. you submit to them your most original ideas and they can do what they want.Yet you had helped to build it yourself you first alien...
Anne Zladovic: Vous aviez pourtant aidé à construire vous vous-même le premier alien...Yet you yourself had helped to build the first alien ... HR Giger: Oui, mais, cette fois-ci c'est l'équipe d'Aliens, le retour de James Cameron qui a construit la créature. J'espère en tout cas qu'ils n'ont pas utilisé à nouveau les accessoires de ce film. C'est dommage que je n'ai pas pu participer davantage à Alien 3. J'ai en effet construit avec des amis une créature dans mon propre sous-sol que je proposais de leur envoyer en Angleterre (ndlr où a eu lieu une partie du tournage). Ils ont refusé, allez savoir pourquoi... J'ai de bonnes idées, mais probablement sont-elles trop coûteuses à réaliser. D'après ce que j'ai compris, la plus grande partie du budget a été consacrée à Ripley, interprétée par Sigourney Weaver
Yes, but this time it is the Aliens team, the return of James Cameron who built the creature. I hope in any case that they have not used new accessories for this film. It's a shame I could not be more involved in Alien 3. Indeed, I built a creature with friends in my own basement that I proposed to send them in England (note that there was a part shooting). They refused, for some reason ... I have good ideas, but they are probably too expensive to produce. From what I understand, most of the budget was devoted to Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver.(Oxygen, March 92, no 5)
- Woodruff Jr.: Back in those days, the design aspect was purely creative, and never political. The day we got the job, we each went home and started sketching basic designs and faxed them to Fincher. Compared to today where every aspect is so closely monitored in a micro-managing way. Every image has to be carefully groomed by a team of businesspeople, but not the artists that live and breathe creature effects. For us, it’s become very frustrating. (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/alien-creature-design-duo-takes-us-inside-20-years-xenomorph-ing-174139859.html)
- Gillis: For us, we’ll go in with a blank slate and interview the director: “What are you looking for? How can we support you to tell the story?” (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/alien-creature-design-duo-takes-us-inside-20-years-xenomorph-ing-174139859.html)
- Ethan Alter for Yahoo:There’s very funny footage on one of the behind-the-scenes documentaries included on the Alien Quadrilogy box set showing you guys putting an Alien costume on a dog to film certain sequences. Does any of that footage survive in the film?Gillis: That was an idea that Fincher had, and we loved taking chances. Why not? Make a dog suit and put a dog in it. That’s the beauty of special effects; you might discover something really unexpectedly cool or you might end up with hilarious video 25 years later. It’s a win-win.Woodruff Jr.: I have to be honest: To this day, I think it’s kind of cool. If it had been liberally painted with more deep, dark shadows and some creepy sounds had been added, I think there’s something there that makes my heart beat faster.Gillis: I’m sure he’s passed away by now, so I’m going to blame the dog! [Laughs] He just did not perform. Once we put him in the latex costume, he locked up! He stood there, and did not move.Woodruff Jr.: On set they kept blasting these nitrogen tanks to make the smoke, so it was very loud. I remember that every time the dog would start his trajectory, they’d blow those tanks and the dog would jerk, and his rear end would speed up faster than his front end. It looked like he was running sideways! That took away the scary aspect of the Alien, too.(https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/alien-creature-design-duo-takes-us-inside-20-years-xenomorph-ing-174139859.html)