Aaron: Did it ever come up in like any of the discussions with Sigourney or Charles or Lance or anything like that? Did any of them see the AC and commented on it?
I don’t remember to be honest. Definitely not Charles because that was a very brief session. Sigourney perhaps… I think with Sigourney, that might have come up. She seemed very curious about what we were doing and then Lance… I don’t remember exactly because there were a lot of people in the room at Fox because he was there but it’s not like we hang out afterwards. Like go out for a beer and talk about stuff. I just think they were all kind of curious like “Why are we doing this so many years after the fact?” And then how to explain that to them to some degree but we never would have had a conversation of Sigourney asking me the same questions you have been asking me in the last hour.
Aaron: Have you seen the Gibson comic?
I was talking to Steve Tzirlin at Fox a year or two ago and when he was talking about that, I said why not do a comic or even like an animated short of the of the wooden planet version of Alien 3. The Vincent Ward version. It doesn’t have to be the entire script but to give us a sense of that world alive would be fascinating to see. I don’t think any progress has ever forwarded on that but we talked about it and I said that would be really cool but again who’s your audience? Who’s gonna pay for it? It boils down to that.
Ridgetop: OpenMaw asks was [Bishop II] a droid?
No, it was not a droid. I just don’t think he was a droid because I don’t know if Weyland-Yutani would send the real guy. Why would he not have white ash milk coming out? It makes no sense. Again Alien 3 is such a weird anomaly in of itself because for instance you see the cryofreeze chambers in Aliens on Sulaco in one design but then in the EEV they’re totally different.
You could argue maybe somewhere along the way, there’s like a little sub pod inside the cryo chamber that spits out into the EEV. I just feel like Fincher was trying to tap into his love of the original Alien so a lot of his choices were kind of already didn’t care about continuity the way a fan cares about continuity. So, I would say he’s probably human and by the way this isn’t a preamble, it’s a post amble because I answer the question.
I think he’s human just because it’s red blood and he seems really generally concerned for Ripley, especially when she sacrificed herself. You could argue “Oh no she’s killing the Alien inside of her but I just feel like it’s a testament to Lance Henriksen’s performance that you don’t really know except he seems like a friendly face. I think he’s human but I do think it’s weird that his ear’s just hanging off and he doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.
I think that if you look at Alien 1, Ash has white liquid, Aliens, Bishop has white liquid, Resurrection Call has white liquid I believe. So, I think that’s a common staple to Androids in the Alien universe that it’d be weird that somewhere along the line Weyland-Yutani decided to send out a Bishop-style droid that had red blood just in case he got wounded.
Ridgetop: What is your perfect cut of Alien 3 and was that the Assembly but could you take it further do you think?
Well again prefacing this by saying it would be total fan edit territory but I feel like take the Assembly Cut, use the dog burster instead of the ox burster even though I love that footage. I think it’s essential to see as a fan but if you’re like looking at just a cut of the film, I would say basically somebody cut but with the dog instead of the ox, with… I’m really torn on the chestburster at the end, Ripley’s chestburster because I feel like not seeing it, kind of really emphasizes the sacrifice she’s making but it’s not as satisfying because what if she was wrong or what if she misread the bioscanner.
There’s any number of things you could think about not seeing the chestburster, the queen burster at the end so I think I would include the queen burster. I get why people hate it but I would go with that probably. That’s probably mostly it in terms of what my perfect cut would be. I probably watched the Assembly Cut more than the other version just because I think it’s more interesting. I’m not saying it’s better. I’m not saying it works better. I just think it’s a more interesting failure than the theatrical and look there’s amazing craft at work in this movie and I mean beyond Fincher’s direction.
I mean the production design that Norman Reynolds did. The cinematography that Alex Thompson did. I mean just like everything Jordan Cronenweth did a lot of in the early days. I mean just the work, the costumes, everything, the actors. I mean it’s such a beautifully crafted film. They used like the wrong glue to keep it all together. That’s why it kind of falls apart and that glue is usually a combination of studio, producer and just overall oversight because another thing, if you look at it, the Alien films even though Walter Hill and David Giler were kind of like in many ways overseeing a lot of it as producers, I don’t really feel like they ever got the presence established.
They didn’t quite plant the flag as the George Lucas style creator of it all or the person who’s gonna like really decide the future. I think they interfaced with the CEO whenever there was talk of a new Alien film. They threw in their two cents. They probably try to exert some sort of creative impact on the project. I don’t feel like they were ever there as like the sage that you go up to the mountaintop to get the real answer from. So, the Alien series really never had that kind of oversight until I would arguably say until Ridley came back with Prometheus. I can’t really say that there’s an official version. I think just watch the version you want to watch. I feel like seven out of ten times I’d watch the Assembly Cut over the theatrical.
Aaron: Forum member Evanus would like to know your opinion on the Fox and Disney merger and what that means for the Alien franchise?
Yeah, it’s really interesting given that Disney is famous for more four-quadrant family friendly entertainment. I mean at least as far as PG-13 being kind of like the cap on what a lot of their titles have been. I’d be curious to see what direction they could go in presumably using 20th Century Studios. I would love to see more Alien just long as it’s done well and it’s hard to really lock in on what well means anymore when it comes to Alien cuz it’s been all over the map. There’s been some really great work in that universe and there’s been some questionable work and then sometimes both in the same movie.
So, it’s tricky. All I can say is I think if you get not just a filmmaker who has a really sharp take on what you could do in this world. I don’t think you need someone necessarily who is beholden to what’s come before. I don’t think you want a fanboy director to go in and say “Oh look I’m using the Weyland-Yutani logo on the background here, isn’t that cool?” I don’t care about that stuff or “Here’s the beer can”. That stuffs not that important. It’s more about what’s true to the universe, what’s true to the characters and how does the Alien impact their life, their survival, their moment-to-moment existence in whatever pressure cooker situation they find themselves in.
I personally think they should keep it simple and go back to basics. I don’t mean go back to space jockeys, engineers in terms of like prequel territory but I mean like go back to making it about interesting characters who are put into a possible survival situation. Hopefully if Disney wants to continue Alien, they will tap into that versus over complicating things and trying to make it more about the overall lore of all the films and the comics and the games and everything else we’ve seen from Alien.
Aaron: Did you ever see the 40th anniversary shorts?
I did. I thought a couple of them were really good. I was really impressed with a couple of them and I think that they all had their hearts in the right place. You could tell they didn’t have any money but having said that, I thought they did a hell of a job with the little money that they did have and I think like one or two of them, I was really impressed by.
Aaron: J.W. Rinzler joined the rank of Alien historians recently with this fantastic Making of Alien which was last year that got released and he’s got Aliens on the way this year. I know you’ve read Alien but you had a chance to read Aliens? If so, I was wondering about your thoughts on his work and how you’d feel about seeing him perhaps try and tackle Alien 3?
Well I’m a big fan of Jonathan’s. I really love is his deep dive approach but not just in terms of like facts and figures and data but also just you feel like you’re there, you feel like you’re in the room. It’s kind of a more intimate read to me because I feel like that, you’re not a participant exactly but you’re definitely a fly-on-the-wall. I read his Star Wars books and some of his other books, I was expecting the Making of Alien book to be really good but I was blown away by how good it was because Alien has been so I don’t say over documented but it’s been pretty well documented over the years.
Multiple documentaries, multiple approaches to the making of the movie and I was fortunate enough to read. He sent me a copy early on because we had spoken on the phone when he was just starting on the Making of Alien and just to kind of like talk a bit about what to look for. What things that maybe I wasn’t allowed to go into or include in the documentaries or the special features. So, we had a really great conversation and I gave him a lot of the photography that my team and I had amassed for the DVD and blu-ray Alien releases.
So, when the book came out, I was floored by like how much material and like again really closed-door material, he managed to dig up and get into the book. So that it felt like I was still learning about Alien and I was really excited about that so he then approached me with the same kind of phone call conversation on Aliens when he was starting his Making of Aliens book and again, I kind of like gave him my thoughts on some of the stories we covered in the documentary that are interesting or fun or maybe some other things he wanted to look into.
Once again, he sent me an early copy of the Making of Aliens book last year and I love that as well. The guy can seemingly do no wrong when it comes to going deep on some of these books. I mentioned to him I said if you ever want to get around to Alien 3, my joke was the book would be the size of a Volkswagen because there’s a lot to go into on Alien 3. He didn’t seem sure that maybe the studio, especially now the Disney is calling the shots, would be interested in that but if I think if there’s a good reaction, if there’s a lot of strong sales and positive feedback on the Making of Aliens book, then perhaps somewhere along the line someone might ask the question “Oh how do we continue this?”
And then boom Alien 3 has like the most juicy behind-the-scenes story of all and with someone as talented and thorough as Jonathan tends to be I think, he would go deeper than I could ever go in my documentary. I think he’ll dig up all kinds of new great stuff for that because as a writer, he has the ability to kind of harvest quotes from other sources, from other magazine articles and other sources and I can’t really. I mean the only sources I can use are what the studio has in its vault.
What it owns and anything else would be “Well if I get lucky and an audio recording with an interview with somebody, maybe I could incorporate that somehow” but to just put a block of text on a TV screen? That would get pretty dry and pretty ho-hum. I feel like in a book when that’s the world you’re in, he can go much deeper. So, I hope he gets to do it but I will say his Making of Aliens book is fantastic and I hope everyone checks it out when it comes out.