Sigourney Weaver criticized Alien‘s script during her first meeting with Ridley Scott. Weaver played the role of Ripley in the 1979 film directed by Scott, which followed the crew of the commercial space tugboat nostromo when an aggressive and deadly alien life form known as a Xenomorph is unleashed on the spaceship. Today, Alien is still widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction and horror films ever made, and its legacy looms large in both genres.
Weaver led the cast of Alien as Warrant Officer Ellen Ripely alongside Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto as fellow crew members. Famously the last survivor of the nostromoWeaver played the part of Ripley for three sequels: Aliens, Alien 3and Alien: Resurrection. Even when the franchise moved away from Ripley for the prequel movie Prometheusthe sequel, Stranger: Covenant, and Noah Hawley’s upcoming FX Alien series, there is still a lot of interest in seeing the 72-year-old actress return as the iconic female lead.
During a recent appearance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast reflected Weaver on her life-changing role as Ripely. The Alien actress recalls she was initially uninterested in the script because it featured ten male characters, but was rewritten with Ripley as the last survivor,”because no one in their wildest dreams will think it’s going to be a girl‘ says Weaver. She also recalled her first meeting with Scott when she brutally trashed the film’s script, most notably a free sex scene with Ripley. Read what Weaver said below:
We had a good chat about the script which I was quite critical of. I said, “Um, it’s kinda bleak, I don’t know about this love scene, would you really want to do it with this thing running around?” In any case, we had a good conversation.
How Weaver Helped Shape Ripley as a Leading Actor
destroy weavers Alien‘s script during her first meeting with Scott is noteworthy for a few reasons, though it should be noted that the director didn’t have much of a hand in writing it. Dan O’Bannon was given sole credit for writing the screenplay, while he and Ronald Shusett share the story. Producers David Giler and Walter Hill also revised and added the script. At the time, it was much more common for men to write and direct female roles in film with little to no input from female contributors.
Fortunately, Weaver wasn’t afraid to speak up during her first meeting with Scott, and the director listened to her concerns about the script. In the end, Weaver got the part, the unwarranted sex scene was cut short, and Ripely became an iconic female protagonist and the face of a franchise. But in light of Weaver’s recent comments, it seems she played a much bigger role in shaping Ripely’s character in Alien than previously thought.
Next: Alien didn’t originally contain Ripley (how it changes the story)
Source: WTF with Marc Maron