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Tom Skerritt Talks Alien’s Myths

With the 40th anniversary of Alien this May, Yahoo Entertainment spoke to the man behind Captain Dallas, Tom Skerritt, to ask him about some of the behind the scenes “myths” that have cropped up over the years.

False: The star initially turned down the film because there was no director attached and he felt the budget was too small. A little while later they came back to him saying Ridley Scott was going to direct and the budget had been quadrupled. The story goes that the actor read the new script and was so sure of its success that he asked to trade his salary for points in the movie.

“Ha ha ha ha! They just paid me and they went away!” laughs Skerritt, before revealing another cunning case of Hollywood accounting. “I remember bumping into Ridley a few years after that and he had points in the movie,” he recalls.

“Here’s this film that he knows is enormously successful financially, but they showed him documents that showed him the money was put over here and put over there and we’re still not profitable (laughs).”

 Tom Skerritt Talks Alien's Myths

Head on over to Yahoo Entertainment to see what Skerritt had to say about the infamous chest-burster scene, the Dallas/Ripley love scenes, Jon Finch and those damn spacesuits. Thanks to The Old One for the link.

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Comments: 35
  1. Hudson
    Quote
    It would just be filler , an opportunity for a sex scene and nothing more.

    Well I think the original idea was for it to be an opportunity for a jump scare, because Kane's body was supposed to smash into the porthole and interrupt them. I like the opportunity that it lends more to the characterization that returns during the cocoon scene. The cocoon scene, right now, is probably mostly just a confusing/gross moment for the average viewer. With more of the relationship, that scene can become heartbreaking. With the sex scene, her emotions are more dynamic in that moment (the cocoon scene).

    But I do have to say the moment Dallas 'protects' Ripley from the facehugger by putting his arm in front of her, and their contentious discussion about Ash getting replaced are satisfactory hints that the two of them have been boning. It's portrayed in a detached way, but so is everyone else's relationship aboard the ship, so it works well.

    However, I do think it's a telling statement that a family would be more uncomfortable watching something vaguely sexual (the typical Hollywood sex scene) than watching something graphically, hideously violent. You're not wrong, but our society is messed up.
  2. Huggs
    "Sex is boring unless you're doing it." -Ridley Scott

    It also makes for an uncomfortable vibe when watching with family.

    There are more tasteful ways to imply sex than to show it.

    This is true, but doesn't the logic in both of these sentences apply to violence, and to the chestburster scene in particular?

    No. In alien, the sex would have served no purpose other than to titillate the audience . It would just be filler , an opportunity for a sex scene and nothing more. As the film stands now , there is a subtle feeling that they may already have been intimate . This was effectively conveyed without a sex scene.

     The chest burst is integral to the plot. The audience is not ready for it, and is witnessing these events with the cast. It horrifies and shocks us at the same time.

    There are already several instances of implied violence in the film. Lamberts death in particular , what happens to Brett after he is taken, Dallas' kidnapping. Not a lot is really shown , and Alien still conveyed it all very well.

     It's one of those films that really mastered the art of implying fear and horror and violence and sex and many things and emotions that can make people uncomfortable, without demonstrating them excessively .
  3. Hudson
    I mean, there's footage of Jon Finch playing Kane that is not lost...so I would call that resolved.

    Or am I imagining this? Don't they show footage in the Quadrilogy doc?
  4. Ivan Morrison
    Only Captain Dallas brought a beard into the freezers ::)  ::)  ::)  ::) Tom Skerrit&Veronica Cartwright played Emilio Estevez's parents in Wisdom,&John Hurt &Tom were both in Contact :o  ???  ::)  ::)  ::)  :P
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