Alien Production Timeline September 1978

Leading from

still collating

1st, Friday September 1978
  1. Giger is struggling with back pain. 
  2. HR Giger: 1 September 1970, Shepperton Studios Scott, Carroll, Dilly and Powell appear to Inspect my work.
    I had just started to apply a texture, The lid of the egg, which in O'Bannon' sketch sprang up at a
    touch (plate 1), I changed it into an organic, vagina like opening (plates 363 I| and 381), When i take off the plastic cloth in which my work is draped, there is a howl of laughter from the whole group, I had lovingly endowed this egg with an inner and outer vulva. To make It all look more organic, I filled some more preservatives with clay and arranged these semi-transparent little sausages on the pink aperture,
    When the gentlemen are beginning to get over it, l allow myself to ask whether they like it. Scott
    thinks It' too good, and Carroll too specific. He's afrald it will get them into trouble, especially in
    Catholic countrles, Dilley would rather have something more like a flower opening, This suggestion gives me the idea of doubling the bud effect and laying the two one across the other. Seen from above, they would form the cross that people in Cathollc countries are so fond of looking at. Once
    again I can satisfy the producers, myself and the public at home and abroad (plate 3810-a),
    (Giger's Alien p46)
  3. Giger is not happy about the fact that the ape like aspect of the aliens face is still there
2nd Saturday September 1978
  1. Rambaldi and his crew return to the USA. 
  2. Giger produces a transparent shell for the Rambaldi alien head. 
  3. Eddie was occupied with the tail and Patty worked on Watling's mechanical head in his workshop. 
  4. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions cover scenes 118-132 
  5. HR Giger: 2 September 1978, Shepperton Studios Besides the essential plaster cast of the egg, they also make a rubber negative. The cross-vagina bit is now made in rubber latex from the plaster negative and dried in an oven. The rest of the egg is cast in the rubber mould in transparent polyester. The polyester egg and the rubber vagina are joined together and the whole thing finally handed over to the special effects department, which has to fit the opening mechanism to the egg. The other 130 eggs are made ether of plaster or of polyester. (Giger's Alien p48)
     
3rd, Sunday September 1978
  1. Dennis Ayling continues with the work from the day before. Patty is working on Watling's head still instead of the so Giger had to replace the spine on the Rambaldi head. 
  2. HR Giger: 3 September 1978, Shepperton Stuálos, plasterers' workshop in the original film the floor where the eggs stand was meant to give the impression of being slimy and full of worms. Working in day, I model a sort of carpet with streaks and snaky folds, in the shape of a half-segment of a circle. The plaster form is spread with a thin coat of latex (plates 381a-d) and then frothed up.
    Even before it's painted, one begins to get the feeling that this long shape could become life-like.
    (Giger's Alien p48)
  3. Giger painted Rambaldi's alien head. The main egg is cast and 130 other eggs are to be made.
4th, Monday September 1978
  1. HR Giger: 4 September 1978, Shepperton Studios The cocoon in the Alien story is a stage through which a victim of Alien Ill passes before he himself becomes an egg. Ever since I've been in the studlos I've been landed with all the most complex, difficult jobs, which even the chief designer and the art director have difficulty in carrying out. I pass them on smartly to Voysey; that is, we share them between us. We brood together over Scott's rough sketches and try to produce something subtle from them (plates 393a and b). Since shooting began, Scott has been busy filming from morn till eve, and it's a job to interrupt him even for a few minutes to talk about our problems. Often we simply have to work things skull and disappears into the plasterers workshop. He wants to use my clay sausage method to make the cocoon. For the fresher cocoon, only partly enveloped, he takes a plaster impression of the crouching actor (Tom Skerritt), who of course has got to be recognizable. The other victim (Harry Dean Stanton) of the murderous Allen Ill is almost completely cocooned, so Voysey can use the invaluable rubber latex for the figure. (Giger's Alien) (See: Alien: Human To Spore )
  2. Dennis Ayling works on a closeup of tracking the down side of the refinery. 
  3. Today they were trying to film the scene with the alien and the cat which would have been the scene of Brett's death and the alien is ready for today although the cat is not.
  4. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions cover scene 133
  5. Plan: Filming on C stage. C deck of the Nostromo Interior of Engine. Scene .100A Take off. Scene 107pt.109 Watching Guages. Scene 111b "We fix something, it stays fixed." Scene194 Ripley shuts down engine coolers. Scene 197 Too late to re start coolers
5th, Tuesday September 1978
  1. The alien performed for the first time today. Watlings head didn't work in the end so that was left behind but the three others were brought in. Eddie the stuntman was hanging from the wires in his alien costume, and the oily water from the leg room set affected the costumes paintwork. Giger suspected that they were trying not to use Rambaldi's heads because of studio politics trying to not use the Americano-Italian products..Dennis Ayling works on a shot of the refinery.
  2. Plan: Filming on B stage.B deck of the Nostromo. I
    nterior of Maintenance Undercarriage room, (a redressed set)
    Scene 190, Ripley kills Dallas
6th, Wednesday. September 1978
  1. Filming of Brett's death with Eddy Powell in the alien costume continues. Giger shows Ridley the egg surroundings 
  2. Dennis Ayling works on shot of refinery with lighting the same as the previous day.
  3. An earlier shooting plan for the day included, Interior of B deck corridors,  scene 86 Chasing Acid through the decks, Scene 88 Acid Stops reacting, Scene 127 Searching for chest burster, Scene 128 Tracker confused. Scene 168 Ripley runs to rescue Parker
  4. When the day came, it because filming of the Int. Maintenance Garage area "C" deck, with scene 132 to complete, along with 135b, 138, 141, 143a, 148, 149, 149Bpt and 151 
  5. Special effects required that Saliva drip from the alien's mouth 
  6. Yaphet Kotto is picked up at 7.45 in the morning and in makeup for 8.15, his dressing room is number 74 and then is on set by 8.45. Sigourney Weaver and Harry Dean Stanton are picked up at 7.30 to be in make up at 8.15, their dressing rooms are 91 and 93 respectively and so they are on set by 8.45. Veronica who shared dressing rooms with Sigourney was due in that day as well as Bolaji Badejo who had dressing room 69.

    Roy Scammell came in for makeup at 8.30 using dressing room 67, he would be stunt double for the Brett character and and Eddie Powell using room 68 would be there to be the stunt double for the alien. Andrew Scott was stand in for Yaphet Kotto, with Kay Power-McGowan standing in for Sigourney, Alan Gibbs for Harry Dean Stanton and Sue Gentle for Veronica Cartwright all were to be on set for 8:30. Ben Dennison the mime artist was picked up at 7.30 to be 8.30. Cat and handlers were on the set from 8.30, as well as Derek Botell's crew for the kirby wires. The Sound department were there with the Motorola radios and P.A.systems.
    Props to be used included trackers, prod sticks, net and flame thrower.

    Catering for 80 people was required
Call sheets 47 and 48 for 6th and 7th of September 1978
7th, Thursday.  September 1978
  1. Voysey finished modelling the cockpit in stage A. 
  2. Dennis Ayling works on shot traveling along the side of the refinery. 
  3. Work on the cocoons for the cocoon scene goes ahead.
  4. Unit call on "B" stage at 8.30. Int. Maintenance area/ Garage Area "C" deck. Special effects included saliva drip from the alien's mouth.

    They finally used Rambaldi's head since Watling's head wasn't working and so Watling and his clique couldn't stop them using it, but the gelatine was affecting the functions of the mouth part of Rambaldi's head.

    Scene 132 had to be completed, and there were also scenes 135b, 130, 141, 143a, 140, 145a , 149Bpt and 151.

    Yaphet Kotto is picked up at 7.45 in the morning and in makeup for 8.15, his dressing room is number 74 and then is on set by 8.45. Sigourney Weaver and Harry Dean Stanton are picked up at 7.30 to be in make up at 8.15, their dressing rooms are 91 and 93 respectively and so they are on set by 8.45. Veronica who shared dressing rooms with Sigourney was due in that day as well as Bolaji Badejo who had dressing room 69.

    Roy Scammell came in for makeup at 8.30 using dressing room 67, he would be stunt double for the Brett character and and Eddie Powell using room 68 would be there to be the stunt double for the alien. Andrew Scott was stand in for Yaphet Kotto, with Kay Power-McGowan standing in for Sigourney, Alan Gibbs for Harry Dean Stanton and Sue Gentle for Veronica Cartwright all were to be on set for 8:30. Ben Dennison the mime artist was picked up at 7.30 to be 8.30. Cat and handlers were on the set from 8.30, as well as Derek Botell's crew for the kirby wires. The Sound department were there with the Motorola radios and P.A.systems.
    Props to be used included trackers, prod sticks, net and flame thrower.

    Catering for 80 people was required
8th Friday  September 1978
  1. Voysey works on the cocoon and Giger had completed the large sketch of the cocoon for Voysey to use.  (See: Alien: Human To Spore )
  2. Dennis Ayling continues with the previous day's work. 
  3. Work continues on the cockpit, the turntable is almost finished. 
  4. And also a shot of the Nostromo with all lights on travelling from right to left in a night sky with the planet below moving from left to right at the bottom of the screen. There would be no landing legs in this shot. He worked on what he would call the New York shot 
  5. Charles Lippincott interviews Ron Cobb for "Book of Alien"
  6. An earlier plan for that day's shooting includes Plan: Stage C Interior Airlock Vestibule,  Scene135a Ripley selts up trap, Scene139 Ripley opens duct, Scene142 Ripley waits, Scene146 Waiting, Scene 150.151pt Ripley hears Dallas scream, Interior of passage near airlock,
    Interior Passage near airlock, Scene 155 Parker turns corner and see alien, Scene 156a "Keep noise down", Scene 157 "The alien is by airlock", Scene 157b "Open it slowly"
  7. Two days before hand it was, Plan: Stage C , Engine Cubicle, scenes 2, 18, 24a, 32, 37, 38pst and 30
9th, Saturday September 1978
  1. Giger films Bolaji's leg costume being stripped.
  2. Plan: Rest day
10th, Sunday September 1978
  1. Giger works on matte painting of the landscape while Voysey continues work on the cocoon.
  2. Mia returns from Switzerland.
  3. Plan: Rest day
11th, Monday September 1978
  1. Eddie Butler is fired, his work was good but slow and it is because of his work that the Alien III is perfect down to the last detail. 
  2. Voysey works on the second cocoon. 
  3. Giger works on the pattern for the egg, the egg is supposed to lend shape to the formless looking figure of Brett.
  4. Dennis Ayling continued working on a shot of the refinery and conducted a test with a new paint. 
  5. Plan: Stage C. 
    B Deck
    Interior airlock and vestibules and adjacent passage.

12th, Tuesday September 1978
  1. Bolaji in his Alien III costume is supposed to be filmed today. 
  2. Dennis Ayling worked on the same as the day before 
  3. Early Shooting Plan: Stage C
    B deck
    Scene 159 Alien examines airlock
    Scene 159a Parker watches Alien
    Scene 159b Alien moves into airlock
    Scene 159c Parker says "Now, now"
    Scene 159d Alien gets trapped in door
    Scene 160 Alien escapes and smashes Parker down
13th, Wednesday September 1978
  1. Clinton Cavers leaves today. 
  2. Dennis Ayling worked on a shot of the painted down refinery
  3. Early Shooting Plan:Stage C
    B Deck
    Interior Airlock vestibule and passage way
14th, Thursday September 1978
  1. Dennis Ayling worked on a a tracking shot along the refinery
  2. Early Shooting Plan:Stage C
    B Deck

    Scene 161 Acid eats through door
    Scene 164 Parker unconscious
    Scene 165 Acid eats through door
    Scene 167 Metal bubbles
    Scene 169 Acid burns through airlock, explosive decompression, Rupley unjams emergency bulkhead door
    Scene 169B Rescue
    Scene 171 Re-Pressurization - Oxygen Administered
15th, Friday September 1978
  1. Mia returns to Zurich with five of the paintings and 3/4 hour of film. 
  2. Alien lettering by Giger has been stolen
  3. Early Shooting Plan:Stage B
    C Deck

    Interior of food locker and passageway (Redress of maintenance area)
    Scene 175Bpt Parker and Lamber load up supplies
    Scene 175E They fail to notice tracker
    Scene 185 Alien grabs Lambert
    Scene 186 Parker Rushes in.
    Scene 187Apt Ripley descends into corridor
    Scene 187B Ripley sees carnage
16th, Saturday September 1978
  1. Giger works on the costume for Bolaji all day long. Mia returns from Switzerland.
  2. PlanStage B
    Complete Friday September 15th 

 

 

17th, Sunday September 1978
  1. The cocoons are taken and integrated into the set on B stage 
  2. Giger continues to work on the Bolaji alien suit.
  3. Plan Stage A
    Rest day
18th, Monday  September 1978
  1. HR Giger: In the morning, R Scott and his crew showed up at the leg room and cursed. He doesn't like the nest with the two cocoons at all. I don't particularly like it either. It would have been better if I had taken a look at it on Sunday. A lot could have been changed. (Giger's Alien Diaries, Monday, 18th September , 1978)  (See: Alien: Human To Spore )
  2. Dennis Ayling worked on shot traveling along underneath the refinery.
  3. Scene 69: Interior Derelict Chamber - Trio Inspect Role - Kane drops into hole

 

19th, Tuesday September 1978
  1. Giger works on the stuntman's costume. 
  2. Bolaji complained about the treatment from 20th C Fox. 
  3. Dennis Ayling worked on further tests on the Nostromo
  4. Plan: Scene 70pt, 72pt, 73, 74 Interior Chamber - Dalls & Lambert talk to Kane and they way Scene 75 Interior chamber. Dallas and Lambert haul Kane up - They see Face hugger
  5. Giger works on another elaborate doodle in his diary while at The King's Head pub

20th, Wednesday September 1978
  1. Seymour drives Giger to Bray to see the derelict built by Dick Butten. 
  2. Bolaji performs today in the suit. 
  3. Dennis Ayling continued to work on the work from the 18th.
  4. Shooting Plan: Stage C
    B Deck
    Scene 96: Interior Narcissus- Dallas listens to music, Ash interupts
    Scene 125: Interior Narcissus- Ripley and Dallas make love
    Scene 175a: Interior Airlock/Narcissus - Ripley says "Get the cat"

21st, Thursday September 1978
  1. Bijan Aalam arrives from his flight over to England. 
  2. Filming with Bolaji is still taking place. 
  3. Dennis Ayling worked on the shot with star background painted stars
  4. Early Shooting Plan: Stage C
    B Deck

    Scene 194b: Interior B Deck Corridors. Ripley remembers the cat
    Scene 194c: Interior B Deck Corridors - Ripley remembers the cat
    Scene 195: Interior Airlock passage - Ripley puts cat down and heads for engine room
    Scene 198a: Interior 'B' Level corridor, Ripley picks up cat
    Scene 199: Interior Airlock passage/Airlock - Ripley staggers toward Narcissus with cat and flame thrower.
    Scene 200: Interior Narcissus - Ripley scans decks
    Scene 201: Interior Airlock - Ripley runs back and grabs catbox
    Scene 202: Interior Narcissus - Ripley hurls catbox in corner - hits launch buttons
22nd, Friday. September 1978
  1. Giger fixes the Alien costume and Bolaji is still shooting his scenes. 
  2. Construction in stage A.
  3. Voysey has made a clay model of the pilot.. 
  4. Dennis Ayling worked on test shot travelling underneath refinery
  5. Plan: continue with September 21st's plans 
  6. HR Giger: The cocoon still looks shitty despite the fact that we worked on it all week. I should do some more work on it, but I don't like the feel of it. One of the parts will be broken up and filled with maggots, so that you get the impression that the entire nest is crawling with maggots. (Giger's Alien Diaries)
 
23th, Saturday September 1978
  1. Giger is still not happy with the cocoon (See: Alien: Human To Spore )
  2. Giger draws a small doodle in his diary while at The King's Head pub
  3. Plan: Rest days
24th, Sunday September 1978
  1. Construction manager Bill Welch's party. 
  2. The revelation is about Saturn III being John Barry's movie and Voysey is working on the film. 
  3. Giger gave Bill Welch an airbrush drawing of the cockpit as a present.
  4. Plan: Rest days
25th, Monday September 1978
  1. Also today the pilot seat has been mounted on the set. Giger creates latex porous skin. Worked 'til late to finish the set.  
  2. Carlo De Marchis, the man left behind by Carlo Rambaldi changed the shell of the Alien III so now it looks like a fish in profile.
  3. Dennis Ayling continued with the work from last Friday, using Nickey new Motor 4.5 frameless, using planet slide number 7.
  4. Plan: D Deck
  5. HR Giger: 25 September 1978, Shepperton Studios The pilot inthe seat has been mounted on the set and is now lifted on to the turntable by the scaffolding workerswith the help of a block and tackle. To make things easy for the painters, a scaffold is erected round the figure (plates 377b, 380n). I can't move about enough on the scaffold and work directly on the pilot's head sitting down. Struggling a bit to keep my balance, I coat the transparent body with a sepia glaze, and when the glaze is dry put a coat of rubber latex on it. The latex is liquid, like milk. When it dries it becomes a thin, transparent skin, and I smooth it down here and there with my hand. What I'm aiming at is the impression of a porous decayed skin. While I'm making the last 'cosmetic' improvements to the pilot, the painters give a final polish to the telescope - and none too soon; they are actually starting to film tomorrow. It's so difficult, so tiresome to achieve one's best work under all this pressure of time. (Giger's Alien p38)
  6. HR Giger: 25 September 197B, Shepperton Studlos A full-size leg of the Nostromo's landing-gear has been bullt where my studio-shed used to be. Allen Ill has chosen the inside of the leg for its nest and the more or less living cocoons are glued to the bottom of it with the Allen's slime, I have a problem. I had intended to fill this nest with thin strips of latex. But since the script contains a scene in which the half-cocooned astronaut, still alive, begs for his death agonies to be cut short with the flamethrower, there is a risk that the whole of Stage B will go up in flames. As a precaution, therefore, it is decided to film this burning scene in the specially equipped rooms in the Bray studios, and my problem with the latex strips is solved. (Giger's Alien p50) 
  7. Giger's studio shed has been replaced by the landing-gear for the nest scene and Giger works on this. The cocoon scene is being filmed  (See: Alien: Human To Spore )


26th, Tuesday September 1978
  1. The burning of the cocoon scenes has been filmed and reshot at Bray. (See: Alien: Human To Spore )
  2. Filming begins with children in the suits, and air is filled with smoke from burning oil Dennis worked on a shot tracking down the left side of the refinery, using planet frame no. 8
  3. HR Giger:  26 September 1978, Shepperton Studios Yesterday we worked late into the night to get the set looking more or less finished, A truck with a camera crane that can be ralsed and lowered has been get up at the edge of the set for the camera team, The 'speclal effects' men veil the whole scene in smoke from some kind of burning oll, It smells horrible and makes it very stuffy on the stage,
    The lighting men crouch in the scaffolding bathed in sweat and light up whatever they are told,
    Meanwhile Scott hovere on his airy seat with the cameraman, Derek Vanlint, and gives instructions,
    All the preparations are complete and filming begins, The three actors playing the astronaute are
    replaced by children, wearing miniature copies the astronaut's clothes, This makes the enormous
    figure of the pilet look bigger still (plate 377 d), Everything runs as if by clockwork, although
    even as late as yesterday I was still doubtful whether the set would be ready in time, Hewever, Mia and I still can't relax; we have to get material from this scene for our documentary film and photographs.
    (Giger's Alien p38)
  4. Giger works on another elaborate doodle in his diary while at The King's Head pub 
27th, Wednesday September 1978
  1. Giger works on painting the cockpit with Ken Hill's crew. 
  2. Voysey attached the helmet to the space jockey (which must have been removed) and worked on the hole of the space jockey's chest. 
  3. Dennis continued the work from the day before but changed to Nicky's Motorised tracker and used Planet frame no. 8 still.
  4. Giger goes to eat at the Vecchia Roma, an Italian restaurant in East Molesey that opened in 1971

28th, Thursday September 1978
  1. Dennis Ayling focused on the star background with painted stars and galaxy
  2. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions covering scenes 133-139
29th, Friday September 1978
  1. Scenes of the cockpit are still being filmed. 
  2. Giger works on the space jockey covering it with a layer of latex rubbing holes in it to make it seem like a mummy. 
  3. Voysey works on the egg interior for the mechanised effect when Kane touches it. 
  4. Dennis Ayling focused on painted star and galaxy background, and the refinery once again.
  5. Giger works on another elaborate doodle in his diary while at The King's Head pub

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