Alien Resurrection Trivia

Posted by Darkness on December 10, 2006 (Updated: 14-May-2015)

Below you’ll find various Alien Resurrection trivia.

Pre-Production

  • Ripley 8 Alien Resurrection TriviaProducer David Giler was initially opposed to the making of a fourth film.
  • Originally, the fourth alien movie was to be a rendition of the popular comic Aliens Vs. Predator.
  • The first draft of the script contained an action sequence that took place in a garden contained within the spaceship “Auriga,” with Ripley driving an electrically-powered jeep to avoid aliens attacking from all sides. This was to take place after the scene in the chapel but before the sequence where the Newborn is introduced. The sequence was cut due largely to budget constraints.
  • The first draft of the script included a different climactic fight between Ripley, Call, and the Newborn. Originally, after the Betty crash-landed on Earth, Ripley and Call were to battle the Newborn on a snowy mountain, using a “Harvester”, a reaper-like farm machine which they had found during the garden chase sequence (which was also cut from the film due to budget limits).
  • Writer Joss Whedon originally wrote five different endings. In an interview, Whedon said “The first one was in the forest with the flying threshing machine. The second one was in a futuristic junkyard. The third one was in a maternity ward. And the fourth one was in the desert. Now at this point this had become about money, and I said, “You know, the desert looks like Mars. That’s not Earth; that’s not going to give people that juice.” But I still wrote them the best ending I could that took place in the desert. And then finally they said, “Y’knowww, we just don’t think we need to go to Earth.” So I just gave them dialogue and stuff, but I don’t remember writing, “A withered, granny-lookin’ Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley.” Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts.
  • The character of Dr. Wren was originally written for Bill Murray, with the intent of reuniting him with Sigourney Weaver, his co-star from Ghost Busters.
  • When pre-production was underway, the original ‘Alien Queen’ could not be located and the molds that were used to build the original were damaged beyond usefulness. Fortunately, the original life-size puppet was located… in the personal collection of an avid Alien fan.
  • The $50-60 million budget was significantly lower than the director and writers originally imagined. Therefore, sets were toned down in scale and a more claustrophobic shooting approach with a lot of close-ups to characters’ faces was taken.
  • Danny Boyle was Fox’s first choice to direct. He turned it down to work on A Life Less Ordinary.
  • David Cronenberg was also an early choice to direct but later passed.

Production

  • Ripley Johner Alien Resurrection TriviaSigourney Weaver made the behind-the-back half-court basketball shot successfully after two weeks of basketball practice, tutored by a basketball coach. Her conversion rate during that two weeks was about one shot in from every six. When the day came to shoot the scene, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have the ball dropped in from above, rather than wait for Weaver to sink the shot herself, which “would probably take about 200 takes”. Weaver insisted that the she could get the shot in herself, which she was finally allowed to do. She sunk the shot on the very first take, even though she was six feet further past the three-point line. Ron Perlman was completely stunned (and thoroughly impressed), and turned directly at the camera and broke character, saying, “Oh my God!” The editors looked at the shot and decided that there was “enough room to get the scissors in”. Weaver was excited about making the shot, but Jeunet was concerned that audiences would believe the shot to be faked due to the ball leaving the frame. Upon Weaver’s insistence, he kept the shot as it was. Weaver described the miracle shot as “one of the best moments in her life”, after her wedding day and the birth of her daughter, of course.
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have a scene where a mosquito stings Ripley, then vanishes into smoke because of her acid blood. Eventually, he dropped the idea after the SFX team told him how much it would cost.
  • Ripley’s outfit was going to be a different one than the dark red uniform she is wearing for the most of the film. After she saw Kim Flowers’s character, Hillard, on the set, she wanted to wear the same costume. Hillard can be seen in the exact same outfit in the underwater scene.
  • Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet spoke almost no English at the time of shooting and had translators on set at all times.
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s long time partner, Marc Caro, with whom he had made Delicatessen and Cité des enfants perdus, La, had no interest in taking part in the film. Caro did fly out to Los Angeles for several weeks to provide some costume and art direction designs.
  • To play Ripley 7, Sigourney Weaver stuck her head up through a hole in the floor so it could be seamlessly grafted onto the grotesque body that the make-up department had created for her.
  • The production had trouble finding enough studio space as major productions like Titanic, Starship Troopers and The Lost World: Jurassic Park were all taking up most of the available studio space in Hollywood.
  • The film’s model miniatures were shot at a former Howard Hughes aircraft plant in Los Angeles. Visual effects supervisor Erik Henry and visual effects director of photography Rick Fichter used an advanced motion control camera system that required constant vigilance and re-alignment as the area was prone to small earthquakes and tremors.
  • The part where the two aliens kill the third to get out of their cell, the intestines and guts and blood ‘melting’ through the floor was actually a platform descending with the intestines over top of it to give the impression of it melting through the floor.
  • For the luckless human victims which the renegades find, already having had the aliens burst out of their stomachs, the crew devised costumes which had stomach entrails stitched onto the outside. This was directly inspired by a T-shirt that was popular around the time of the release of Alien in which an alien fetus (and a lot of blood) was attached to the front.
  • Ron Perlman actually did his own stunt of hanging upside down off a ladder with his legs wrapped around the rung, firing two guns. The next day, when he came to take a shower, he discovered that he had severely lacerated the backs of his knees in doing so.
  • To achieve the shot where the camera travels inside Leland Orser to see the alien fetus about to be birthed, Orser had a camera shoved down his throat and then pulled out. This was then reversed.
  • In order to heighten contrasts, cinematographer Darius Khondji added silver to the printing process. This had the result of making the dark colors richer and giving everything else a metallic tinge. He also used an electric blue tint for the underwater sequence.

Post-Production

  • The studio wanted to cut the scene preceding Ripley’s encounter with the alien queen that can be interpreted as a love scene, but decided to keep it only after Sigourney Weaver told them she would not promote the film if the scene was cut.

Afterwards

  • Purvis Alien Resurrection TriviaIn the theatrical release, H.R. Giger is not credited for his part in the design of the Aliens. The video release has his name in the closing credits.
  • H.R. Giger was openly displeased that he wasn’t given a credit for his alien designs and fired off a letter of protest to 20th Century Fox.
  • During the production of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, Frantic Films was brought in to re-shoot the title sequence where the bug’s teeth gives way to a shot of the Auriga.
  • The androids’ names in the Alien films follow a pattern-in Alien , the name is Ash; in Aliens it’s Bishop; and the third android in Alien Resurrection is Call – (A… B… C…).
  • Leland Orser has “crazed convulsions” when the Alien is about to burst out of his chest, similar to what his character experiences in Se7en.
  • The ricocheting bullet that takes out a soldier standing behind Gary Dourdan was an unused idea from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Cité des enfants perdus, La.

Other Notes

  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s first solo credit as a director.
  • The opening shot of Ripley cloned, albeit as a young girl, was based on photographs that Sigourney Weaver had given the special effects crew of herself as a child.
  • Elgyn’s spoken landing code for the Auriga is, of course, “EA-TM-E”.
  • This is the only Alien movie not to be shot in England. One of the reasons for this was that co-producer Sigourney Weaver didn’t want to travel.
  • SPOILER: The film ends with the Newborn being sucked out of a tiny hole in the spaceship’s hull, an idea that was considered for the first film but abandoned because of budgetary constraints.

Cast

  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet originally wanted to cast a woman as the main villain but the studio refused, seeing as the film already had two female leads.
  • Writer Joss Whedon wrote Christie’s character with Yun-Fat Chow in mind. Yun-Fat’s manager and producer Terence Chang turned down the role for him.
  • Sigourney Weaver was paid $11 million to come back as Ripley, more than the entire cost of Alien.
  • Sigourney Weaver signed on to the film largely because of one scene in particular – when Ripley 8 encounters her previous 7 aborted genetic incarnations.
  • Winona Ryder agreed to do this film even before reading the script. She stated that she “didn’t care if she died in the first scene”, she’d do it. Ryder claimed that then she could boast about being in an “Alien” movie to her younger brothers.

Underwater Sequence

  • Underwater Alien Resurrection TriviaWinona Ryder nearly drowned during the filming of the underwater scene.
  • Milk had to be added to the underwater set as the water was simply too transparent to be convincing.
  • The underwater scenes took three weeks to film.
  • The underwater segment was shot on a specially constructed sound stage on the Fox lot, which was converted into a permanent water-tank. It took nearly a week to fill it with water.
  • The actors were subjected to about 15 underwater training sessions in swimming pools around the Los Angeles area before arriving at the underwater set where they underwent a further 2 weeks of training before anything was shot. Sigourney Weaver missed most of this because she had been appearing in a play on Broadway just prior to filming.
  • Actor Ron Perlman nearly drowned while filming the underwater sequence. At one point, when trying to surface, he hit his head on a sprinkler in the ceiling, knocking him out cold. He was rescued by nearby film crew members.
  • The underwater sequence marked the first time that Winona Ryder had gone underwater since a near-drowning incident that happened to her when she was 12 years old. The actress suffered a complete anxiety attack on the first day of filming in the underwater set.

Newborn

  • Newborn Alien Resurrection TriviaJoss Whedon originally scripted the Newborn creature as a four-legged, eyeless, bone-white creature with red veins running along the sides of its head. It had an inner jaw, similar to the all the other aliens. It also had a pair of pincers on the sides of his head. These pincers were used to hold its prey still as it drained the prey of blood with its inner jaw. The creature was also larger, nearly the size of the queen alien. In later script revisions, the creature was changed into a “more believable” hybrid of human and alien.
  • Joss Whedon went through five different versions of the final battle with the “Newborn” creature, the first four versions of which all took place on Earth in such settings as a hospital maternity ward, a giant junkyard, a snowy forest and cliffside, and a desert.
  • The Newborn was specifically given eyes to answer some of the criticism that had been made earlier about how the alien could actually see, as it had no apparent eyes.
  • The genitals of the Newborn had to be digitally removed.
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to shoot additional action scenes using a fully digital Newborn creature. He wanted Ripley to be chased by the Newborn in the escape from the Betty scene, but could not realize it due to budget constraints. In the final film, a full-size Newborn creature can be seen in only one scene and almost all of the scenes involving the creature are animatronic.
  • One of the concept designs of the Newborn involved the creature sporting a likeness of Sigourney Weaver’s face. This was abandoned as it bore too much of a similarity to Sil, the alien creature in Species.
  • In her initial scenes with the Newborn, Sigourney Weaver makes a point of not looking in its eyes. This was a lesson learned from when she made Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey in not making initial eye contact with a potentially dangerous animal.

Auriga

  • Nigel Phelps based the design of the spaceship “Betty” on a jackhammer. The “Auriga” was originally to be a vertical structure, but he abandoned this idea once he realized the difficulty of capturing the scope of such a ship design on film.
  • Although it appears that the cast spend most of the time wandering up and down endless spaceship corridors, in reality there were only two built for the film.
  • As the film progresses, the walls of the ship’s corridors become darker and more ominous.
  • The Auriga interactive computer is named “Father.” In the original Alien, the computer’s name was “Mother.” There are even compatible scenes where people yell at Mother or Father for not responding to them.
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