Alien Encounters – 25 Years of Aliens Convention Report

Posted by Corporal Hicks on October 13, 2011 (Updated: 23-Feb-2020)

The last panel of day one was the cast panel which was the only panel you had to pay for. And it cost an absolutely wallet-breaking £1. I must admit I was somewhat worried we’d just be repeating the same old stories but I was thankfully surprised. I think my favorite story had to be the pen mission. We all know that as part of their role, the majority of the marines took part in military training. Weapons handling, marching and etc.

Ricco Ross told a story where their instructor had the actors put their training to use and they had to infiltrate the Pinewood offices. The actors had to retrieve a pen in one of the offices, unbeknown to the Pinewood staff, and had to sneak their way in, holding formation, covering and etc and then they burst into the office and claimed the pen to the surprise of the poor workers.

 Alien Encounters - 25 Years of Aliens Convention ReportFrom left to right: Daniel Kash, Cynthia Scott, Ricco Ross, Trevor Steedman & Harry Harris. Photo by Richard Daborn

Daniel Kash talked about working with Al Mathews and his genuine military training. He recalled an incident in which Mathews had shouted at Kash for improper trigger discipline.

When asked about James Remar, Ross had seemed honestly shocked that that was known knowledge. The cast then went to talk about the differences between how Remar and Biehn’s portrayal of Hicks. Remar’s had been much more harsher and mean. They also mentioned that the rest of the cast wasn’t even told about the change in actors and had been wondering who this guy was.

Cynthia Scott talked about her death scene as well. She performed the first half of the stunt and actually fired the flamethrower herself. During the preparation for the stunt, the stunt actor in the Alien suit was cracking some very inappropriate jokes into her ear.

The flamethrower was talked about a fair bit. The actors had chance to use the practical weapons and they recalled the initial build being a very large flame that had to be dialed back. On a side note, this was also an issue during the shooting of Alien and their practical flamethrower which almost resulted in a fiery death for Ridley Scott.

James Cameron’s legendary attitude was also touched on briefly. While it wasn’t talked about in too much detail, they had recalled a day in which the entire cast and crew (Weaver included) had walked out off the set following Cameron having a temper tantrum.

The discussion turned towards set limitation at one point and the familiar story of the mirrors during the cryo-chamber scene was brought up. However, Daniel Kash, brought up something additional about the use of mirrors during Aliens that I wasn’t aware of. According to Kash a mirror was used to simulate two power-loaders during the dock scene as they had only constructed one. Kash also commented on how much difficulty he had while wearing the suit.

 Alien Encounters - 25 Years of Aliens Convention ReportThe guests laughing as Cynthia Scott tells a story. Photo by Richard Daborn

The group also briefly talked about other roles they had auditioned for and other small stories from their time on the set. Kash hadn’t been interested in Aliens at all as he disliked science-fiction which he feels helped him get the role. Cynthia Scott had originally auditioned for the role of Vasquez. Collette Hiller was also Carrie Henn’s acting coach.

Ricco Ross had mentioned that when he was auditioning for Aliens he had also been auditioned and been offered a role in Full Metal Jacket. He had intended to try and do both but was ultimately forced to choose one or the other. Cameron tried to persuade him by giving him additional lines (which as I recall were actually Wierzbowski’s originally) and he eventually accepted the job offer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the cast session and was pleasantly surprised at some of the stories. After this it was the last attraction of the day and that was a screening of Andrew David Clark’s Aliens Encounters – Superior Fan Power documentary. It was an earlier cut done before we even knew about Prometheus.

I really enjoyed it and found it to be a very personal documentary. It focused on some very interesting members of the Aliens community, including costuming through Abe T. Alien, the United Kingdom Colonial Marines, the couple who made Alien-style EVA suits (sorry, I can’t remember their names). It also included Darren Kemp and others that discussed fanfilms.

It then went onto talk about the Alien Legacy Gold Awards which is a community created award that the website gives to those involved in the franchise. This is where I think it kind of dragged. The thought and actions behind the awards are absolutely wonderful but in terms of the documentary, I think there’s only so many ways you can show the cast and crew’s reactions to the award so I feel ADC might want to look at condensing this section somehow.

 Alien Encounters - 25 Years of Aliens Convention ReportThanks to ADC for kindly providing the screen capture.

Trevor Steedman, who played Wierzbowski in Aliens, also narrated the documentary and he did a fantastic job with it. He really helped move the piece along and coupled with some fantastic green screen work it really brought a smile to my face. To think that all the segments with Trevor were filmed in ADC’s front room in front of a green screen is amazing. You’ll see what I mean when you see the documentary.

Unfortunately during this time a lot of photographic activity was going on including a guest photo which would have included me but I was hidden away watching the documentary so I was disappointed I missed out on this.

But stepping into the light and seeing all those Aliens and Colonial Marines gathered outside in one location was great. We all had a few snaps and poses and I received a very smelly and creepy hug from the every charming Abe the Alien before tinyeyes, Johnny Gore and I parted ways. Tinyeyes and I headed back to our hotel to get changed and ready for the anniversary dinner later on in the evening.

 Alien Encounters - 25 Years of Aliens Convention Report

From the sounds of it, the dinner is traditionally an event for the Alien Legacy boys but tinyeyes and I had purchased tickets and were kindly put on a table with fellow guests Chrissie Overs, Chris Trice, Charles de Lauzirika and organizers ADC, Darren Kemp and Harry Harris. It took place back at the Space Center in the canteen under the rockets. I’m not really a fan of fancy dinners so the food wasn’t a fuss to me.

What I really enjoyed the entertainment. They had managed to secure a pretty funny stand-up comedian that brought a tear to my eye at one point and then we moved onto the charity auction. There was all sorts of stuff put up for auction including signed copies of Alien Vault, guest signed posters, a crew Prometheus gym-bag, an AvPR SFX t-shirt (size humongous which was a shame as I collect Alien/Predator t-shirts) and etc. It was a good session made hilarious by Harry Harris’ role as the “lovely assistant”.

 Alien Encounters - 25 Years of Aliens Convention ReportHarry Harris modeling for the crowd.

I just wish I’d have had the nerves to get up and move around the table to talk to everyone. Tiny and I spent most of the night talking to Chris as we struggled to hear across the table.

And to wrap up the night Chrissie Overs and Collette Hiller were presented with Alien Legacy Gold Awards. All the stars were thanked and given additional gifts for coming. It was a lovely moment and I was really impressed with seeing the love that the guests were given for their role in the franchise we were all there to celebrate. I think the Alien Legacy board deserve a huge thank you themselves for returning the love to the cast and crew.

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