Alien Production Timeline July 1978

Leading from

still collating

Saturday.  1st July 1978
  1. Giger draws the plan of the alien head for Rambaldi 
Sunday.  2nd July 1978
  1. Giger works on the interior of the egg silo. Giger has finished one side of the Alien III monster 
Monday.  3rd July 1978
  1. Mold of Alien head sent to Rambaldi. 
  2. Giger is modelling on cast of Bolaji's body. Head and plan sent to Rambaldi, 
  3. Second head for Watling is prepared by Voysey and Eddie before Eddie continues with the hand and then Giger and Voysey work together on the Alien III. 
  4. Mia works on the Facehugger. Andrew has come to work on the transparent skin. They're shooting on the bridge in C stage. 
  5. The cats and handlers are expected in at 8.30am
  6. Five operational video monitors were used, including video software
  7. Dennis Ayling at Bray is doing lighting tests with the towers including "Silver Tower". 
  8. Today the first version of the shooting of scene 14 where the crew check their position Lambert homes on on the Nostromo's position with Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, Tom Skerrit as Dallas, Ian Holm as Ash, Veronica Cartwright as Lambert, Harry Dean Stanton as Brett, Yaphet Kotto as Park and Jon Finch as Kane. Scene 15 on the bridge with close up of the TV monitor, scene 17 with the crew viewing their current position and scene 24 where they begin the landing procedure. All are to be picked up by car at 7am apart from Sigourney Weaver who would be picked up at 7.45am, to be in makeup by 8am and on set by 9am.
  9. Stand-ins include Aden Harrenton for Tom Skerrit, Quentin Piere for Yaphett Kotto, David Murphy for Jon Finch, Angie Dane for Veronica Cartwright, and unnamed people for Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm and Harry Dean Stanton
  10. Prop department supplied charts and navigation equipment
  11. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions covering scene 20, 114-117, 171
  12. Paul Ibbetson was assistant director

(sheet 1, July 3rd 1978 . Source: Nostromania Fred on Facebook)
Tuesday 4th July 1978
  1. Giger receives word from Michael Seymour that the space jockey skeleton was going to go back in the chair, Voysey continues with the other half to the alien. 
  2. Giger works on the egg silo the interior from 6am to midnight. 
  3. Jon Finch the actor who plays Kane falls ill during filming, he collapsed, Ridley talked to him and Jon said "I'm a diabetic" He had gone yellow an couldn't get up. they had to lift him out of the scene. is taken to Hospital. He was fine but he had to recuperate. He hadn't taken his insulin and was drinking too much Coca Cola. But later it turned out to be pneumonia. (See Initial casting of Jon Finch as Kane)
  4. Giger is aware that the prop department are about to make a big mistake with the modelling of the derelict, and Voysey will fix it the following day. 
  5. That night Ridley Scott contacts John Hurt and stays up until midnight pitching Kane the role and he agrees (See Casting John Hurt as Kane)
  6. HR Giger: Tuesday, July 4th. In the morning with Mia in Londo at the Tate Gallery and the British Museum. In the H stage, the people in the prop department are about to fuck up the space craft.  Bill instructed them to build the struts with ribbed tubes. It looks disasterous. Voysey promised to fix it tomorrow. Eddie is still working on the hand. Voysey has modeled the shoulders and arms on the other side of Alien III. I am working on the interior from 6 am to midnight. Mia is working on the lower bony part of the facehugger Alien I.  Jon Finch, the main actor is sick again and had to go to hospital. Michael Seymour is delighted because this gives him at least three more days to build sets. Another change. They want the skeleton of the Alien space jockey to lie the cockpit again This was also communicated to me by Michael Seymour.(Giger's Alien Diaries p81)   
  7. Does the change in ceiling height for the Nostromo control room take place around now?
Wednesday 5th July 197 to 8
  1. John Hurt turns up 7.30am to take over the Kane role. Voysey alters the derelict after yesterdays muck up. 
  2. The fingers of the Alien I go to the plaster ship. 
  3. Mia worked on the Chestburster, while Giger continues with the egg silo interior, panting it.
  4. Revelation that there was an Alien article in the Los Angeles Times featuring a sketch of the Facehugger. 
  5. HR Giger: Wednesday July 5th, 1978. Peter Voysey did a very good job of changing the spacecraft decoration made of ribbed tubes with burlap dipped in plaster. Eddie began to cover the head of Alien III with clay to design the transparent hood that covers the brain and skull of the Alien.  Gave the fingers of Alien I facehugger to the plaster shop and coated the plaster mold for the outer skin with latex. Mia worked on Alien II chestburster, while I painted the egg silo interior. There was an article in the Los Angeles Times about the Alien film illustrated with a sketch of the Facehugger. No one knows how the newspaper got hold of the photograph (Giger's Alien Diaries p82)
Image of p257 from Los Angeles Times, Sunday 2nd July 1978

Thursday 6th July 1978
  1. Filming today would involve the int. bridge "A" deck., scenes number 14: Interior bridge scene where they're looking for the position of the Nostromo,  15: showing a moving starfield on the screen, 17pt: where Ripley tried to radio Earth 21: the scene where they listen to the alien transmission and locate its source, 22pt: The Nostromo moves towards the planetoid, 28pt,: Moving the Nostromo from the refinery, 29Apt: Nostromo enters the planetoid atmosphere, 33pt: Interior bridge scene dealing with turbulance, 35pt: a scene where the Nostromo lands and the control deck short circuits, 46B: they examine the transmission and plan the the trip to the transmission source. 59pt: Ripley interupts Ash in the blister, 60, Ripley talks to Ash about putting the transmission through the ICIU, 67A: Ripley runs the transmission through the ECIU as Dallas comments about the dererelict ship over the radio, 71pt: Ripley discovers that the transmission may be a warning .
  2. The whole crew were on set with Binkie Morris doubling for Ian Holm and Lou Hooper doubling for Tom Skerrit. 
  3. Cat and handler were required to turn up on C stage by 8.30 as usual. 
  4. Special effects were the practical console lights.
  5. Scott wants Giger to look at the Nostromo and refinery since the crew are in the process of filming the model. It is finished down the finest detail..
  6. Brian Johnson drives Giger and Mia to Bray studios .
  7. HR Giger: 6 July 1978, Shepperton Studios While most of the sets I've painted have either been altered to save money or scrapped altogether, I am continually being assured that the eggsilo will really be left in its original form and fully fitted out. At that time l was finishing off the design for this set in my unroofed studio-box on Stage B. I had discussed this with Scott and knew pretty well what he wanted. He had always liked my entrance passage to the cockpit (plate 376) and, since that had after all not been produced in that form, he wanted something of the ame sort for the eggsilo. The interior of the eggsilo, which now forms a circular contalner, is divided into segments of equal size by rods running from the top of the wall to the mid-point of the floor, and each segment is filled with eggs. I'm in the middle of my work when O'Bannon and Carroll come into the studio to see how my 'omelet' is getting on. They praise my work very highly again, but it sounds suspicious to me, and I'm on my guard. When O'Bannon turns up with Carroll he's always planning some alterations and using Carroll's authority to get them past me. And once again my suspicion proves to be justified. Following all the praise we now get the criticism, which is enough to make it necessary for me to start the whole job over again. In such cases I just can't restrain myself. When I don't like anything, you can see it at once from the expression on my face. I suppose I'm not polite enough, or not enough of a strategist to play the 'game'. Scott's tactics are quite different. "Interesting", he says, and I know at once that what he really means is "Shit". For reasons not clear to me, O'Bannon wants only six more eggs. 'Carroll now confirms this - he is a very polite man, but absolutely determined. I've never yet been able to convince him with my arguments when I've been unlucky enough to find him with his mind already made up. A film is first and foremost visual, and consequently it's my view that even the script should be changed it that will result in important visual effects. After this senseless bickering, I urgently need fresh air (Giger's Alien p43)
  8. Dennis Ayling is doing lighting tests on the Nostromo . 
  9. Giger works on the egg silo and then the alien until midnight. 

call sheets 4 & 5

Friday 7th July 1978
  1. They want to deduct the money from Giger's flights to Switzerland because they are not part of the film work. 
  2. Watling demonstrates the mechanical alien tale. 
  3. Andrew displays lack of success with showing adequate samples for the transparent alien skin
  4. Dennis Ayling does a test with the sun and the space ship, (check date). 
  5. Ridley tells Giger about his plan to have a laser beam for the egg membrane 
  6. Filming on 'A' deck took place. Scenes 14,pt, 15, 21, 29Apt, 46B, 59pt, 60, 67a, 73pt, 76, 77pt, 80, 81pt, 82, 90pt, 91, 92pt 100B, 102 . 
  7. The full crew of the Nostromo were being filmed, and Lou Hooper would stand in for Tom Skerrit, Binkie Morris for Ian Holm and Sue Gentle for Veronica Cartwright. 
  8. Props were charts and navigation equipment. 
  9. Cat and handler were required to turn up on C stage by 8.30am as usual. 
  10. Special effects were the practical console lights. 
  11. Art department would supply scorching and electrical fire damage to the consoles. 
  12. Five operational sources and live videos by Anthony Gambier-Parry for the video monitors, along with software provided for all videos.
  13. Sound crew provided public address system for C stage and Motorola radios.
Photo of the navigation table
(Image posted by Mykel Solo at 
on May 15th 2019
Saturday 8th July 1978

  1. Day of rest

Sunday 9th July 1978
  1. Day of rest
  2. Giger worked on painting the derelict despite the lack of the proper lighting and works on the egg silo painting. 
Monday 10th July 1978
  1. They finally install the right lighting. Discussion about additional set part that is supposed to be constructed in front of the cockpit. 
  2. Voysey works on a new model of the cockpit 
  3. Situation regarding flight fare is settled when Mia talks about it with Hauser the lawyer. 
  4. Now Giger is now accused of altering the details on Alien III that someone supposedly spent half a day working on. 
  5. Dennis Ayling does tests with the space ship jet lights .
Tuesday 11th July 1978
  1. Dennis Ayling continues with the Nostromo ship jet lights 
Wednesday 12th July 1978 
  1. Dennis Ayling works on the lighting for the side of the Nostromo. 
Thursday 13th July 1978
  1. Giger flies back to Zurich and takes painting of egg 381 for Uldrey to make a proof of and returns to England in the same day and has brought his mother over.. 
  2. Dennis Ayling does sun tests 
Friday 14th July 1978
  1. Voysey worked on the egg silo. 
  2. Giger finds that he has to modify the derelict space craft, give it an entrance the same as the one that they are building and find a way to make it stand out from the surrounding landscape. Giger is sure that this is Dan O'Bannon's doing using Carrol as a mouthpiece. 
  3. Giger's hieroglyphics are now no longer needed. 
  4. Dennis Ayling continues with sun tests. 
Saturday 15th July 1978
  1. Continuation with the entrance ovals and Giger tries to insert pipes into the bone mountains.
  2. Eddie and Shirley worked on the Alien III, Giger modifies the belly and then works on the feet. 
Sunday16th July 1978.
  1. Mama and Mia visit the stage before flying off back to Switzerland 
Monday 17th July 1978
  1. Dennis Ayling does lighting tests on a refinery tower known as the "black tower", later the "grey tower" and the sun. 
  2. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions covering scenes 174 cont.

Tuesday 18th July 1978
  1. Giger moves to a new studio in the car park now that his old studio has been torn down to make room for the landing leg set. 
  2. Andrew was now no longer allowed to work on the Facehugger and they settle for Dicken's facehugger. 
  3. The detailed work on the Alien III takes a long time and drives the studio bosses crazy. 
  4. Peter Voysey finishes the plaster model of the egg silo interior. 
  5. Mia returns from Zurich.
  6. Dennis Ayling does work with the camera travelling underneath the Nostromo, and also the planet 
Wednesday 19th July 1978
  1. Giger is asked to design another derelict since there are confusion about his previous design.
  2. However the urge to restrain the eggs to only six has been dropped, but the pregnant capsules concept has also been dropped. 
  3. HR Giger: 9 July 1978, Shepperton Studios, Stage A Luckily the wretched idea of only having six eggs has been dropped. Scott has somehow managed to persuade O'Bannon, or else he's simply acted on his own authority. This victory is followed by another defeat. During my absence someone has attacked me in the rear and has decided to do away with the big 'pregnant' capsules (plate 386), the symbol of tertility in this set. The reason: 'They're superfluous" Superfluous? When Voysey, who has to be working in five places at once, has prepared a scale model in meticulous detall (plates 386d and e)? I suppose I shall never master the secret of how such decisions are taken. It is getting clear to me that my creative capacity is slowly but surely being numbed. I'm still convinced that the best critic of an artist's work is the artist himself. On top of this disappointment, I'm told that the cockpit has now also got to do for the eggsilo, so that the background can be used again. What I've objected to in most science fiction films has been the rough and ready production. They make the hero rush boldly through the same passages and try to kid the audience that there is really a huge, invisible network of passages. I've always criticized this cheap workmanship, and now I've got myself involved in a production where the same thing is going on. I go out for a walk, to prevent myself doing something more stupid. (Giger's Alien p45)
Thursday 20th July 1978.
  1. Dennis Ayling works on the rolling planet shot 
Friday 21st July 1978.
  1. Artificial landscape is looking much more real. 
  2. Scott inspects derelict set, decision to make underside of derelict a corridor. 
  3. Dennis Ayling still works on the shot dealing with the the Nostromo in space 
Saturday 22nd July 1978.
  1. Giger tries to alter the egg silo painting but has problems because of the paper.
  2. Meanwhile he paints the tube that leads from the cockpit to the silo 
 Shaft and membrane (work 383) (1978) by HR Giger

Sunday 23rd July 1978

Monday 24th July 1978
  1. The full Nostromo crew turn up for filming, all picked up at 7am by car, in makeup by 8am and on set by 8.30am. 
  2. Roy Scammell comes to double for Ash and Wendy Leach for Ripley. 
  3. Victor Galuchi was Tom Skerrit's stand in, Jules Walter for Yaphet Kotto, Jackie Thompson for Sigourney, Binkie Morris for Ian Holm and Sue Gentle for Veronica. 
  4. Props included coffee. Special effects required the breakaway TV screen and repeats.
  5. Cats and handler were on the set by 6.30am. 
  6. Catering for 100 was required. Sound department supplied motorola radios and PA System for 'C' stage.
call sheets 17 &18

Tuesday 25th July 1978.
  1. Giger works with Voysey on the pilot. 
  2. He finds out from Michael Seymour that Beale has scrapped the tube between the silo and the pilot chamber is to be scrapped. 
  3. Dennis Ayling continues with the shot of the Nostromo and the planet and the star in the distance. The Nostromo is the same as from the 18th. He also comes to deal with the laser beam shot that Scott wants to use on the egg silo. 
  4. Filming of the Interior of Airlock scene 51, exterior of airlock and landing leg, scene 52pt, 53 pt, 76a, 77a and 80pt and well as planet exterior for scene 54pt and 55pt. 
  5. Today only Tom Skerrit, John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright were required. Rockey Taylor doubled for Dallas, Dickie Greyson for Kane and Tracy Eddon for Lambert , while Victor Gallucci stood in for Tom Skerrit, Bob Booker stood in for John Hurt and Sue Gentle for Veronica Cartwright. 
  6. Props included emergency packs and a travois. 
  7. Special effects that day were the storm effects, the Face Hugger alien, lights, and the exhaust effect from the spacesuit helmets. 
  8. Changing facilities were set up outside "H" stage for artistes and doubles.

Wednesday 26th July 1978.
  1. Giger integrates chest elements into his castrated design. 
  2. Eddie and Shirley are both working on the egg. Shirley the quarter size model and Eddie the full size. Then Eddie worked on the metal fingernails for the Alien III while Shirley worked on the teeth. 
  3. Watling demonstrated the new mechanised Alien head with a tongue that didn't tilt. Giger wanted to know if he could replace the jaw with the new one that he built and made Watling angry. Giger would only replace the teeth with chromium ones. He has not yet mechanised the teeth and the tongue. 
  4. Andrew has not made any progress with the alien suit and has gone onto the Facehugger. 
  5. Dennis Ayling focuses on the Planet's revolving atmosphere. 
  6. HR Giger: 26 July 1978, Shepperton Studios With little pleasure and little courage, I get back to work. I integrate the chest-elements, already consigned to the dustbin, into my castrated design (plates 388b-m), and the producers are delighted. They have decided to spare them in spite of the expenditure of materials and working time. The small chest piece that I've modelled is made in full size by the modellers and prepared in clay (plates 388a-m). As with all models, a rubber mould is made of it. To make the cast positive more resistant, strips of jute are laid in the plaster
    and reinforced at the back with a wooden framework. About 120 of these elements have to be
    made to build the whole wall. Each one is hauled up with the block and tackle and fixed to the basic steel tube frame. Built - filmed - scrapped. Why should I get so steamed up about something so ephemeral! Everyone is satisfied with the solution. and Scott will know how to make the best of it. All's well again
    (Giger's Alien p44)
Thursday 27th July 1978.
  1. Dennis Ayling continues working on the Planet's revolving atmosphere. 
  2. Andrew cast the entire arm of the alien II in rubber. 
Friday 28th July 1978,
  1. Landscape and derelict are filmed.
  2. Andrew is still working on the skin. Andrew's assistant Dick was able to show a new skin for the face hugger that was transparent with a good structure. 
  3. Concern by man in the producers room about the monster being finished. 
  4. Dennis Ayling continues working on the Planet's revolving atmosphere and did tests on the theatre projector. 
Saturday 29th July 1978
  1. Further work on parts and Shirley was still working on the descending tube into the egg silo. 
  2. HR Giger:  29th July 1978m Shepperton Studios, I agree with Scott to make the Aliens translucent. One should be able to see the skeleton, the blood circulatory system, the organs etc.. The skeleton has been cast in plaster and I am starting to design face hugger when how could it be otherwise - the order arrives in production to stop work on the Facehugger immediately and devote myself exclusively to designing the large monster Alien III (Giger's Alien p54)
Sunday 30th July 1978.
  1.  Giger makes the entrance to the tunnel high in his picture for the new egg set, so it can't be seen and it will be built into Brian Johnson's model. 
Monday 31st July 1978.
  1. Eddie works on the Alien feet for the second day. 
  2. Dennis Ayling worked on stars tests and then planets and atmosphere revolving sideways across screen with the theatre projector  
Ron Shusett by Dan O'Bannon,  July 1978 (Heavy Metal , July 1983)

No comments:

Post a Comment