a) The need to get script done stalled by Ward.
Rupert Murdoch took over 20th Century Fox and then put his sights on Alien 3, declared a release date for the film.
Joe Roth the head of Fox at the time called John Fasano up and said “Johnny, are you ready to write Alien 3”.
Fasano said "yes."
The really wanted a script in two weeks so they they could go to England in a month and start prepping.
This seemed to be a repetition of what Roth said to Fasano over the phone to get him involved in the script writing.
Ward was saying words to the extent of "Let's talk about it"
While the studio was saying "no no no. you’ve got to like shoot this movie"
However this was not good for a film project where the director wanted to take time explore the movie considering that the Ward had taken four years to come up with the script for his previous feature The Navigator, and so Fox wanted to start the movie in October.
Fasano responded to Ward's situation by saying to him "look, you know, just do what they want and you’ll have made a big movie that made money, you’ll be able to do whatever you want".
b) John Fasano replaced by Larry Ferguson
Greg Pruss has been sacked and soon John Fasano was on the verge of going to England to do the final draft but suddenly out of the blue, a friend of Fasano's named Larry Ferguson turns out to be the man that they're doing the final draft with.
Ferguson had written Beverly Hills Cop II and the Presidio which starred Mark Harmon and Sean Connery.
For Fasano, this could have been the end of his career, he was freaking out over the whole matter, he was about to give it all up and go back to New York to do low budget horror movies since he had just done Another 48 hours with Walter Hill and worked on Alien 3 for a year, and they felt that they could just dump him like that.
However it would result in a bad relationship between Hill and Fasano for the next twenty years.
It turned out that Giler and Hill didn't like Larry Ferguson's script anyway and so fired him.
(However it seems that although Fasano told his story as if this was happening during the time of Ward, Ferguson was known to have worked on Fasano's draft with David Fincher. Perhaps the time when Ferguson started working on the draft was when Ward was still on board. )
c) Bosch considered not original in England
It seemed that while Ward was pushing his vision for a Alien 3 that felt like a Hieronymous Bosch painting amazing the American studios people. Bosch seemed all very groundbreaking over in America.
When he went to England to begin pre-production, the English seemed to have responded as it was something not so special, they were all rather familiar with Bosch, in fact it was old hat. John Fasano found this all to be very funny.
They were saying words to the extent of "Yeah, Bosh, we just did that for Terry Gilliam with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen", and also discussion about Time Bandits from 1981 entered into the conversation.
Terry Gilliam's vision was something very inspired by Bosch in general and his work was very popular with the British imagination of that time.
The British were calling the Americans back to tell them about Vincent Ward "This kid’s vision isn’t special!"
Another odd thing to point out of course is that Ward was actually considering making this a Monty Pythonesque movie involving the actual Monty Python team playing monks, but that didn't seem to come across as something that the producers and studio people knew anything about. (see Monty Pythonesque Alien?)
However Ward was indecisive and that was a killer in the film industry. They'd rather have someone take action whatever it led to.
d) Giler and Hill pull Ward's idea apart
Although Giler and Hill found Ward's idea interesting , once they tried to work with several different writers, they realised that it would be hard to make this idea make sense on paper.
It wasn't an idea that the studio would be able to work with.
Giler and Hill soon started attacking the ideas in Ward's script to make endless changes, and by the eighth month Vincent Ward realised that it was becoming less and less his film story.
The studio began have problems with Ward who seemed to be less interested in Ripley or the aliens than the monks.
It seemed that Pruss tried to get across to Ward that the movie's called Alien because it's about the alien.
He found himself in the middle of the argument going on between Ward and the studio.
Pruss quit and a few weeks later so would Vincent Ward.
- Interviewer: What were some of
the intriguing visual elements in your scripts? John Fasano: Vincent
was in love with Hieronymous Bosch, kind of like Gilliam with TIME
BANDITS (1981). In America, people didn't know what you were talking
about when you talked about Bosch. But when Vincent went to England,
the art department knew exactly what he was talking about. That was
funny. They thought Bosch was groundbreaking over here, but it was
old hat in England!
- Interviewer: At what point were you kind of brought in, and I know there were so many different scripts that were involved with that one
Fasano: But he figured that there were so many different scripts or they were trying to figure out who was going to be the director, at one point Renny Harlen was the director and I was working with him and then he went off to do Ford Fairlane or something like that, and the, and Walter Hill said “The new craze is bringing in these guys from Australia" that, there’s two guys in New Zealand, there was the guy George Miller who had done Dead Calm, did he do Dead Calm?.. and there was this guy that did the Navigator, Vincent Ward and he said “who would you hire as the” I said “I didn’t know who they were talking about , but I just remembered that I read the, the review of the Navigator and thought, this guy made a movie about some monk in New Zealand in the 1400s who would go into a cave and come out in New Zealand in 2000, I mean in 1990, and I thought, that guy’s got a good sense of something” so they hired that guy to direct Alien 3 and he came in and he said “Here’s my idea, a planet made of wood and it’s creaking in space he said, and they’re all monks, they’re all Trappist monks and they’ve left the Earth, he said books are dying out and they’re preserving all the books." If you ever saw his movie, what dreams may come, there’s a scene in a library, they’re floating in these huge stacks of books, that was supposed to be in the Alien, Alien 3, and so they said, we need somebody to get the script out in like two weeks, and so Joe Roth who was the head of Fox at the time called me up and said “Johnny, are you ready to write Alien 3”, so I said “okay” I met with Vincent and then I realised it had taken him four years to make The Navigator and they wanted a script in two weeks from him that they could shoot and they wanted to go to England like within a month and start prepping the movie and he was like “Let’s talk about it” and they were like “no no no. you’ve got to like shoot this movie” you know I would say to him, “look, you know, just do what they want and you’ll have made a big movie that made money , you’ll be able to whatever you want," and then but, and then so they did all these drafts of Alien 3 and then at one point they brought another guy for one draft who goes and interviews him and says he did all the drafts in Alien 3 which isn’t true, and then they brought me back again, and then they told me you know, you’re paper’s in order, you’re going to England, and then one day they said you know what Larry Ferguson is doing the movie and they’re doing the last draft with Larry Ferguson who is a friend of mine who had written Beverly Hills 3 or something like that and the Presidio with Mark Harmon and Sean Connery. And I just felt totally xxx and in fact that could have been the end of my career that day, so I could have just said oh fuck this and gone back to New York, you know, to do low budget horror movies, because I had just done Another 48 hours for Walter and worked on Alien 3 for a year and then they would just replace me without telling me why or anything like that, and then Larry Ferguson, he didn’t like his script, they got rid of him and then Walter and David Giler who’d written, rewritten the first Alien, he made and then rewrote it, I think they all got, everybody has credit on that movie except me, because I walked out, but afterwards, Vincent Ward got fired, Vincent Ward went to England. Now you’ve got to understand when he was over here in American and they’d say “what’s your vision for the movie”, he’d say “It’s Hieronymous Bosch”, it’s men with goats head and a dogs body, and they were like cool because they’ve never heard of that before, he’d show them these pictures and they said “awesome drawings”. When he went to England where Terry Gilliam makes his movies, the guys are like “yeah Bosch, we just did that for Terry Gilliam you know, in Mun…you know, in The Time Bandits", like to them it was nothing special and they started calling back to Americans saying “This kid’s vision isn’t special”, and the killer, he can’t make up his mind, like when you’re a director you have to, when somebody says, what colour is this and so on, you say "grey, no blue grey, no let’s try blue and see how that looks", they’re going to fire you, because what the director should say “it’s grey, fifty percent grey”. You know, you don’t even have to be right, you just have to be decisive, so then they brought in David Fincher, and David Fincher wanted xxxx, at this time I’m the writer of the movie, so I’d meet with Fincher, here, he’s trying to get Robert Bolt who wrote Lawrence of Arabia to do the rewrite because he wanted, you know because it was his first big movie, he wanted someone famous to do it, he doesn’t want me, he doesn’t know who I am. He said Robert Bolt wouldn’t do it. He talked to Larry Ferguson who laughed at me when I took the job to write Alien 3, he was like “That’s a crappy idea”, of course he took the job, ah, and then they went over and made the movie, buy you know, if I had, I had an opportunity to finish the draft I was working on for Fincher, and it would have put me in a better position to get credit, but I was so devastated that they had hired all these other people but not told me, I just went like “Oh like fuck it” you know and walked off, so, I mean, didn't any of them, they didn't notice because they already hired other people, but I would have had a script that I did for Fincher that would have helped me getting credit. I didn’t do that and now I, luckily, you know my agent got me a big deal at Sony to do three movies there, so my career could have stopped right there with Alien 3, but it didn’t.
Interviewer: I’m remembering your draft as you’re talking about it. Didn’t you have at the very end, someone in the audience saying or yell out the alien was in the dog
Fasano:The Alien was in the dog
Interviewer: Yeah, ‘cause I think the only people that are left are one of the monks and the dog, and you had a little thing that said like, a teenager in the back row of the show
Fasano: Oh, someone in the audience says “the alien is in the dog” yuh, yuh. You know, and also what was really fucked up was that, from the beginning of this process, Sigourney said "look I don't care what you guys do but at the end of this movie I have to die 'cause I fought this thing three time and beat it three times and I don't want to do another one of these movies" and I said "what if it's a huge hit." She goes "well they'll bring me back as a clone or say it was a dream. I mean she was very pragmatic". You know they got our script and they were like you killed Sigourney, and I said "well she wants to die and they said no so I had the priest give her CP, er, like CPR and such the Alien out of her oesophagus into himself and then he jumps into the fire or whatever" and but by then by then Vincent was gone and then Fincher comes in and my xxxx with Fincher, “well what’s your vision of the movie” and he goes "I'm going to kill Sigourney at the end" and they were like "that's a great idea" and "I was like you just fired that other guy for having that idea" and and by the way aliens 3 could've been the end of Fincher’s career
Fasano: You know. I remember a moment where the budget was something like $45,000... $45 million, and he had just done this Madonna video cost like $2 million a minute or something and he said you know you're only going to get like and hour-long movie for that much money, like he or they all laughed and he went to England I shot the whole movie, they cut it together, and came back and it was like an hour long, and in LA, they spent another $25 million and shot enough to make it long enough to be Alien 3, but he told them up front “that’s what you get for that much money”, you know, just nobody believed him, you know, nobody believed it (http://projection-booth.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/episode-228-alien3.html)