James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, Carrie Henn and Lance Henriksen – for a legion of fans everywhere, those names are everything. This past Saturday at SDCC, they all came together to discuss one of the genre’s most important films, Aliens, entering into a packed Hall H, reminiscing on the film’s shoot and their fondest memories of the horror epic.
With the cast and crew in good spirits, Cameron began by stating that the only major character missing from the reunion was the Alien Queen herself, crediting Stan Winston for making such a seminal movie monster. “I always say that the Alien Queen was real because Sigourney, through Ripley, made us believe she was,” Cameron said. He then told us of the Queen’s humble beginnings, a makeshift prototype tested outside of Winston’s office with the help of 16+ puppeteers!
Recalling the cast’s great chemistry, Michael Biehn talked of how the the cast and crew were close both on and off the set. “I think it could have gone somewhere if Fincher hadn’t killed you off,” Cameron added of Hicks’ eventual fate in Alien 3. We also got to hear of how Biehn and Bill Paxton snuck into a press screening of the film, watching from the projection booth and having their minds blown by the completed effort.
Another cool tidbit was that Bishop’s infamous “knife game” was in the script but didn’t initially include Paxton’s Private Hudson. Lance Henriksen told the audience that getting Hudson to put his hand underneath Bishop’s was thought of on the day it was filmed. Camera tricks were used to speed up the film so that Henriksen’s movements could appear inhumanly fast, but they proved to be too fast. As it turns out, the take used in the film has no camera tricks or effects, and was done for real.
During the audience Q&A a fan asked Weaver about the next Alien film, revealing that Neill Blomkamp has written a script that “gives the fans everything they’re looking for.” About the timing of it all, she remarked, “He has work to do and I have work to do and I’m hoping when we finish those jobs we’ll circle back and do it.”
The last surprise came during the Q&A portion, when a man talked about the inspiration Aliens had on him. It made him want to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in filmmaking, leading him to meet his girlfriend – he proposed to her right there, in front of everyone in Hall H. She said yes, of course, and Cameron congratulated them by saying, “May you have many spawn.”