Written by Reuters
23 May, 2019 | 10:15 am
Reuters – Sigourney Weaver was an unknown 28-year-old stage actress when she landed the career-defining role of Ripley in director Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi horror ‘Alien.’
The film, which on Saturday (May 25) celebrates 40 years since its release, follows the crew of the spacecraft Nostromo who end up fighting for their lives after an alien infiltrates their ship.
“I thought it was a small movie,” Weaver recently told Reuters. “It had a tiny cast and a brilliant young director. I liked the part. I felt like it was, you know, I didn’t think I was going to play Henry V, but I thought I can play Ripley.”
Ripley, the sole survivor of the alien attack, turned out to be one of the most powerful and well-loved female protagonists in science fiction, celebrated by fans as a tough, complex heroine. But she was originally written as a man.
“I think the original script was all men. When they came to write the new script, they did talk about who should be the survivor. And I think the reason they ended up making Ripley a woman was that, at that point, no one would think an unknown would be playing the survivor,” she said.
The movie’s most famous moment is known among fans as the ‘chestburster’ scene, where a small alien erupts from the chest of a supine John Hurt. Weaver said the shock on the actors’ faces was real.
“We really did not believe what we’d seen. It seemed so incredibly organic. So, you know, bravo, special effects team,” she said.
‘Alien,’ which was first given a limited release on May 25, 1979 in the United States, won an Oscar for best visual effects and best production design.
It spawned numerous sequels and prequels, including 1986’s ‘Aliens,’ which bagged Weaver her first Oscar nomination, for best actress.
To mark its 40th anniversary, 20th Century Fox released a newly remastered 4K edition on Blu-ray disc.
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