Day 3 of the Hero Complex Film Festival revisited two of the most critically acclaimed science fiction movies of all time, Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). Along with the screening, guests were blessed by the presence of Ellen Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver. For all intents and purposes, this was the first female action hero to grace the silver screen in such a bad-ass fashion, paving the way for actresses light years to come. During the Q & A section, Sigourney revealed the brilliance behind the character, the films and the creative forces driving them with charmingly comical insight.
In shaping one of the most iconic film roles of all time, Sigourney attributed much of her success to Alien director Ridley Scott. With this being her first major feature film, the actress confessed she was still a bit green around the gills by mentioning how repeatedly Ridley would tell her to “stop looking at the camera”, to which she replied to “stop putting it in front of my face.”
Aside from the acting lessons, Mr. Scott was influential on the overall appearance of Ripley. Originally, her character was to don the blue and pink flight suit worn predominantly by the android science officer Ash, though that didn’t go over quite well with Ridley.
“You look like fucking Jackie Onasis in space!”, he said.
James Cameron (from our very own page 2!) had a different effect with his script for Aliens, directing her to her first Oscar nomination. The excitement grew when the actress read “this very complex script with my character’s name on every page”, in turn leading to a very successful partnership.
“We’re a couple of old shoes” she said, when referring to her relationship with the Titanic director. In the same vein, she also spoke to how Cameron allowed her a lot of freedom to do what she wanted by saying “he’s so good at everything on set, but he still doesn’t feel like he knows anything about acting– which is great for us.” The dynamic duo are currently working on the sequel to the box-office smash Avatar, tentatively scheduled to arrive in 2016.
One of the points that this Father of Film Geek was personally thankful for was Weaver’s mention of the growing significance of science fiction, a notion often overlooked by critics. And there’s no quetion she has done her fair share for the genre, appearing in four Alien films, two Ghostbusters, possibly four Avatars, Galaxy Quest, and…even Wall-E and Futurama for that matter!
Since society is more than apparently “moving closer and closer to what’s happening in these films”, I can only be encouraged by what the future will bring… which I’m assuming, like the twin pair of Alien flicks witnessed this past Sunday afternoon, is a ton of cool shit. Great stuff from the great Ripley, including a HINT that Sigourney may be down for another go at the franchise.
“I do feel like there is more story to tell.”
Whoa! Peace be with you, and don’t forget to worship weekly — if not daily — at the Altar of Awesome. Father Ford, signing out.
Special thanks to our friends over a the LA Time Hero Complex #HCFF: John Conroy (LA Times Communications @juanitoelgato), Rebecca Keegan (LA Times film writer @ThatRebecca), Gina McIntyre (Hero Complex lead writer @ginamcLAT), and photographers: David Groves (facebook.com/GalacticowboyPictures) and Jay West (who discovered the picture of the ALIEN egg from his very own collection! – facebook.com/WorldOutWest).