Now in its fifth year, ‘The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex film festival once again screened fan favorites and held chats with some very special guests. To cap off the fun-filled weekend, attendees were presented with a double feature of ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ with a very special appearance by Ellen Ripley herself, the exquisite Sigourney Weaver.
Weaver talked to Hero Complex editor Gina McIntyre about her experience bringing Ellen Ripley to life and being a part of these seminal pieces of science fiction cinema.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Weaver expressed many reasons why Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ still resonates with audiences today. Whether it was through Scott’s ability to evoke a sense of realism aboard the Nostromo or the humanity and willingness to survive exhibited by its heroine, ‘Alien’ has a lot of elements that account for its longevity.
“I think one of the reasons it has lived on is that we have unfortunately a lot of corporations characterized by the same kind of greed. And this whole idea of the crew is expendable I think is unfortunately an idea that is very alive in our world. There are certain things culturally that have kept it relevant,” Weaver stated.
Similar to its impact on movie-goers, the scene that sticks out in Weaver’s mind from ‘Alien’ is the famous chest-bursting scene. Ridley Scott wasn’t too big on rehearsing with his talent before actual takes. When the cameras started rolling, the actors didn’t know what to expect in terms of how the scene would play out. Therefore, Weaver and crew were just as flabbergasted at the rupturing of John Hurt’s ribs as the audience.
“We can’t believe what we just saw, and I still to this day having been in movies where special effects play a certain part, I can’t believe that couple of guys got under the table with a few rubber things- I mean that’s what it was- and tubes- and they made that happen. You know, that was not CGI.”
Weaver lauded the special effects crew, along with Ridley Scott and James Cameron, for the legacy of the franchise. She acknowledged the visionary work of the recently passed H.R. Giger who was responsible for the design of the alien. “He’s mainly one of the reasons we’re all still here talking about the movie,” Weaver stated, adding that his designs were “uniquely disturbing.”
Obviously, many parties are responsible for the legacy that is ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’, including the character of Ellen Ripley for which Weaver was nominated for an Academy Award. Weaver excited the crowd a bit by alluding to the idea that maybe Ellen Ripley’s story isn’t over. “I do feel that there is more story to tell but I don’t know how to do that.” After meeting fans at cons and other events, Weaver feels she wants to please fans, and even herself, by giving Ellen Ripley’s path a sense of completion.
“I can imagine a situation where we could at least finish telling her story. I think that could be very satisfying, at least to me.”
Oh, Sigourney, I know plenty of other people who would be satisfied with another chapter from the tome of Ellen Ripley.