Aliens: Creature in the hive wall

leading from

a) Suits are the wrong colour
They had been painting the alien suits with a pallet of browns, bony white colours and dark blacks.

Tom Woodruff thought that the work that they had been doing was done and set.

During the time when they were shooting the scene where an alien warrior that has secreted itself in the hive wall with the biomechanic textures and extrusions, and a female marine Dietrich turns around before the creature leaps out of the wall and grabs here taking her away

So while their alien costume painted alien costume was brown and white, the set was painted near enough black, and Woodruff with John Rosengrant realised that there was something wrong.

They helped the alien performer into the wall

The alien suit being prepared

b) Blending the Alien in
While they were preparing an alien warrior for a scene in Aliens, Stan Winston was away doing second unit work elsewhere.

Woodruff wasn't quite sure if it was just Cameron's presence or the sound of his voice. 
He knew that something was wrong, and he wondered how he was going to get away with this situation

"No! No! What are you guys doing?" yells Cameron

The Alien warrior performer steps out.

"How is this ever going to blend with that?" he continues.

Woodruff thought "We did this months ago and these guys just painted your set wrong, it's that easy"

Thankfully he didn't say these words.
He thought he was about to throw up because his career seemed likely over, but then he grabbed a can of spray paint. 
The alien warrior performer got back into the wall and Woodruff dusted the suit over with black spray paint.
He did it despite the days and hours he spent just painting the suit right to the finest detail, but this would work for the cinema screen.

The alien warrior in the wall just about to pounce on Dietrich

  1. Tom Woodruff: Very early on Aliens, erm, working for Stan, again, I remember being on the set, and we're shooting the scene where you see an alien warrior, and er, I showed up on set and painting these things, building and painting these aliens now for a couple of months over in London. We were working in this pallet of sort of browns boney white colours and then dark blacks and I figured, this was all down and pretty well set and we show up on set and and the scene is the alien warrior who's kind of kind of secreted himself in the wall with all the texture you know and Alien extrusions and all this stuff and the one, the female marine er is turning around and the creature leaps out of the wall and grabs her. So we show up on set and the set is black and our alien is brown and white, and already I kinda knew something was up, and it was just, it was me and John Rosengrant on set. Stan was off, I think he was by that time was already doing second unit work, I don't know how he did it all, but we're on set and you know it's not going to work but you go okay, get up on this box and grab hold of a, and we start pushing him in, and I just sort of, I just remember, I don't remember if I was just hearing the sound of Cameron or just knowing he was there, just the presence and just knowing we're not not going to get away but you just keep trying and all of a sudden it was "No! No! What are you guys doing?" and the alien steps out and he goes ,goes "how is this ever going to blend with that?" and I'm thinking, "But we did this months ago and these guys just painted your set wrong, you know and I'm thinking it's that easy", and thank god I didn't say anything 'cause wow, what a stupid thing to say, so I think er, how do you turn this situation around, and I remember, one of my responses, I was going to throw up, 'cause I thought "My career is over", and then we just ended up, we had some , some spray cans of a of black spray paint, and after you spent hours and days painting an alien suit, and and and you put the guy back in the wall and you grab a spray can and start dusting them in black spray paint, you suddenly realise that there's more to getting this stuff built properly than doing clean precise, erm really super detailed work, because it's more about how it exists on film than how it exists when its in your hands carrying it to the set.

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  1. "Aliens: Creature in the hive wall" was posted on 4th November 2019