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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Entertainment Fact or Fiction - Alien Edition - 2/19/15

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2/19/15

Alien movies facts

Before "Alien," screenwriter Dan O'Bannon had written "Dark Star," an essentially comic treatment of the same plot, for director John Carpenter. His idea to rework it as a thriller/horror movie was the genesis of "Alien." He and writing partner Ronald Shusett pitched it to studios as "'Jaws' in space."

The cargo ship, the Nostromo, took its name from a Joseph Conrad novel.

H.R. Giger's initial designs for the xenomorph were so disturbing that his sketches were held up in customs at the Los Angeles airport. O'Bannon had to go the airport and explain to customs officials that they were designs for a horror movie.

Giger made a point of designing the creature without eyes, so that it would look even more chilling and soulless.

Veronica Cartwright had read for the part of Ripley but didn't realize she was to play Lambert instead until she arrived in London for costume fittings.

As a child, Cartwright had co-starred in another classic creature feature, Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." One of her co-stars in that movie was comic actor Doodles Weaver, uncle of Cartwright's future "Alien" co-star, Sigourney Weaver.

Weaver was all but unknown as a film actress when she auditioned. She was the last of the seven principal stars to be cast.

In an early draft of the film was a sex scene between Ripley and Dallas (Tom Skerritt), but it was never filmed.

Also never filmed: an ending in which Ripley's final confrontation with the alien ends with the creature biting off her head.

Ash, which proved a breakthrough role for Ian Holm after 20 previous films, was not initially supposed to be an android. The idea of making him a robot came from producers Walter Hill and David Giler.

For long shots involving the astronaut landing party, Scott and cinematographer Derek Vanlint put their own children in space suits to make the humans appear smaller next to the remains of the Space Jockey, the extraterrestrial pilot whose corpse is found in an empty ship on the planet's surface. The body was already 26 feet tall.

The space suits were bulky and poorly ventilated, so much so that the actors tended to pass out from heat exhaustion. A nurse had to be kept on hand to supply them with oxygen. Only after Scott and Vanlint's children found the suits unbearably hot and passed out as well did the filmmakers modify the costumes to make breathing easier.

The alien's various incarnations came by their slimy, pungent appearance honestly. The "facehugger" creature was made from clams, oysters, and other seafood. The alien that bursts forth from Kane included organ parts from a butcher shop and smelled of formaldehyde.15. The actors didn't know in advance how the scene of the alien's emergence from John Hurt's abdomen would play; Scott deliberately kept it a secret so that their horrified reactions would be spontaneous and real.

"All it said in the script was, 'The thing emerges,'"Weaver recalled later, adding that the crew's garb should have given the actors a clue. "Everyone was wearing raincoats," she said. "We should have been a little suspicious."

The fake torso containing the "chestburster" creature was bolted to the dining room table. Hurt was underneath the table with his head sticking up. Camera trickery made it look like his head was attached to the torso.

When the alien burst forth, stagehands pumped geysers of fake blood through the cavity. A jet hit Cartwright in the face, and she passed out.

to scare "Jonesy" (who was actually played by four different cats), the filmmakers hid a German Shepherd behind a screen, then suddenly removed the screen.

Scott meant for the full-grown alien to have a lanky and angular form that no human frame would possess. In fact, there was a man inside the suit, a 22-year-old Nigerian design student named Bolaji Badejo who stood 7'

Scott cast him after one of the production crew members met him in a bar.

Badejo had to stand on the set all day; his costume wasn't built to allow him to sit. A special sling was constructed to hoist him so that he could rest his feet.

The slime dripping from the alien's jaws was made of K-Y jelly.

The film's cost has been disputed; differing reports place it anywhere from $8.4 million to $14 million. Nonetheless, it was hugely profitable. It grossed some $81million in the United States. Its foreign grosses have also been disputed, with the film reportedly earning anywhere from $24 million to $123 million overseas.

"Alien" won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects and was nominated for another, for Best Art Direction.

In 2003, a longer version dubbed "Alien: The Director's Cut" was released, but Scott dismissed the title as a mere marketing tool, said the additional scenes were superfluous, and claimed the original version of the film was "pretty flawless."

The Alien script started out as a bare bones, half story written by Dan O'Bannon and was shopped around for years before several re-writes (by several parties). The story eventually became a collaborative effort that added an android, changed crew names, Ripley's sex, and the entire
ending. Saying it "helps him think on paper and pin down what he's doing," Ridley Scott storyboarded the full movie, which doubled the budget.

Scott was "the fifth or sixth director." He didn't know why he was chosen--"not a science fiction guy." Scott said he was a fan of story writer, Dan O'Bannon's (with John Carpenter) Dark Star and knew Dan would have loved to direct. The director wanted it to be "the most straight forward, unpretentious riveting thriller like Psycho or Rosemary's Baby, or even the most brilliant B level like
Night of the Living Dead and Texas Chainsaw Masacre, but I want it to look--and I'm going to do this--like 2001. We're going to watch together, all the classic scare movies so I can get the rhythm of how scares work." Scott decided to keep it minimal, "...like the shark, don't show too much of
the monster."

Executive Producer and writer Ronald Shusett related that the title sequence was originally bits of flesh and bone coming together to form the word, "Alien," but it was decided to be too gory. Ridley Scott came up with the idea of the word being hieroglyphic; "something...but you don't know what it is."

O'Bannon said the corridors were built without blind corners--he insisted they be put in. They wanted the feeling of an old, battered ship; Scott wanted the set to be circular ("beautiful, but more expensive"). With a small budget, the corridors were scavenged from parts found in aircraft graveyards, assembled like sculpture and painted.

When the ship landed on the planetoid, O'Bannon said it came very close to how he wrote it. He thought it would be novel to show the horrendous, dangerous process of landing, with the ship groaning and shaking, wrenching, and was very gratified by how it came out on film.

Scott highly recommended producers David Giler and Gordon Carroll; with them, "You'll find every party in town." The director acknowledged he is very meticulous about casting, saying "If you cast right, about fifty percent of your problems are over." Everyone was nervous, they were very close to production and the lead had not been cast. One night, they (producers and Scott) decided to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant, suggested by Sigourney Weaver. The actress had been doing a lot of
theater Off-Broadway. Scott described meeting Weaver: "This beautiful giant walked into the room...in she walked (before even speaking) and that was it." Weaver was surprised at the revelation and added, "I was wearing my hooker boots, so that helped." They did a whole test run through of the movie with Sigourney and ran it for 20th Century Fox President, Alan "Laddie" Ladd Jr. Ladd told
them to pick a bunch of girls from the office (secretaries, assistants, etc.) and run it for them--see what they think. The ladies all gave good comments--with one of them saying that Weaver was like Jane Fonda--and so Ladd gave the film the go-ahead with the actress starring as Ripley.

On the very first day of shooting, Scott noticed Jon Finch (Kane 1.0) didn't look well (but didn't say anything because he thought "Finch was just naturally pale"). Finally, Scott asked how he was and Finch said "Not well"; medics were called over and the actor had to be carried out and taken to the hospital. It turned out Finch had an extreme case of diabetes--he was out of the film. At lunch
time, Scott reconvened with his team and they tried to figure out who they could get. As it turned out their first choice for Kane, John Hurt, was in London. Hurt relayed that he had previously been asked to do the film but was unavailable, scheduled to do a film in South Africa. Strangely, he wasn't allowed to enter the country. Hurt said he believed he was confused with actor, John Heard,
who was (put on a list as) undesired because he disagreed with apartheid (Hurt: "Well, none of us do."). Hurt came back home. When they met, Scott pitched the film to Hurt until 12 at night...the actor was on set at 7 a.m. the next morning.

Editor, Terry Rawlings said that although he thought Jerry Goldsmith (Chinatown, The Omen, Planet of the Apes [1968], Total Recall, The Boys from Brazil) a genius, they didn't always agree with the composer's score. Instead of what Goldsmith submitted for Alien's ending, they used his music from Freud; this angered Goldsmith. The score was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and a Grammy Award.

Ridley Scott described a guy crouched down, "wobbling" the actors' seats (to simulate engine thrust), saying it irritated people and that everyone rolled their eyes. "Every step you make, everyone's a Doubting Thomas." Scott said he "...wondered how many people fall by the wayside because you can't push your point home and don't quite get what you want. Nobody respects you later for having been a nice guy and given up--you have to get what you want now, because you're going to wear what you got. You can be very unpopular on the root, but if you're right, all is forgiven."

The director described the planetoid set as "not so good." There was a little clump of rocks, only about a foot high and they just kept circling around them until he thought it was time to go in. He had someone get a domestic tape camera, used that, then fed the footage back into a film camera to get the effect and scale of the sculpture to look like more than it was. Scott said artist H. R. Giger's
(Swiss surrealist influenced by Dalí) illustrations were fantastic, but when translated onto film, they sometimes looked "too fancy." The director liked it better when they got inside (the ship), saying the helmet lights helped a lot, so it didn't look like a set.

Dry ice was one of the most useful effects, but it sucks oxygen out of tubes--they'd get out of breath even though they were assured it was safe. Of Scott, O'Bannon said, "Ridley is a master of atmosphere, texturing the scene. Without it, the movie would have been a much lesser picture." The director went to a great deal of trouble with lighting to make set look like Giger's drawings/paintings.
He made sure the smoke was uniformly distributed. "People walked around with incense burners filling the area with smoke, then Scott himself waved cardboard around to distribute the smoke so it looked like thickened air, not just billowing smoke. Finally, he lit it perfectly-- elaborate and careful lighting, with blue gray tone."

With no technology or the money to run air into the space suits or helmets, there were lots of problems--condensation, heat, the actors would become short of air or claustrophobic. Tom Skerritt (Dallas) and Veronica Cartwright (Lambert) said they damned near suffocated; that they were supposed to have oxygen (pumped in by tanks), but that the tanks would malfunction. Cartwright described the actors walking around in the suits and helmets, having to carry oxygen tanks, wearing heavy, painted hockey glovesand boots. She said they were practically passing out all the time.

Scott described basing the alien in nature; whatever the alien would drop onto, it would take on those
characteristics (dropped onto a human, it would look like a human, dropped onto an ostrich, it looks like an ostrich). He described watching footage of "a slice of bark--which, in our terms, to a human being, would be about 12 feet thick--and there's a grub underneath the bark, between the bark and the tree. There's always a space between the bark and the tree. Across the top of the bark was this insect,
which passes over the grub, stops, backs up, and "feels" the grub is there let's say, the equivalent of 8 foot below you. It goes up on its hind legs, produces a needle from between its legs, and drills through the bark and bulls-eyes right into the grub and lays its seed, so that the grub becomes the host of the insect. And does what comes out of the union between the grub and the insect, does that
become a version of both? That's what we basically went along with."

Anton Furst (Batman [1989], Full Metal Jacket, Awakenings) ran the laser beams in the egg chamber, an effect Scott was "blown away with." (Furst, who won an Academy Award for his Batmobile design, committed suicide in 1991.) The inside of the egg was made of steamed cattle and sheep parts (delivered fresh every morning) and the fluttering movement caused by Ridley Scott's surgical-gloved hand moving around.

Once they'd gotten going, with some money to start filming, O'Bannon (in LA) contacted Giger (in
Switzerland--O'Bannon met Giger while working on a failed production of Dune). O'Bannon wrote out simple parameters of what the facehugger was--a small octopus-like thing that would leap onto someone's face, wrap tentacles around a person's head-- and it would have an organ depositor, which
it would shove down a person's throat. A few weeks later, Giger mailed photographic transparencies that came through customs (who didn't understand what they were and were alarmed so O'Bannon had to personally go to LAX to pick them up). He finally got the photographs, held them up to
light and was stunned at what he saw. Instead of tentacles, there were fingers. As soon as O'Bannon saw those, "he knew he'd do whatever he had to to get it on film." After conferring with Scott on what the director wanted (Scott pointed to one of Giger's drawings) O'Bannan set himself up at a drawing board and drew a human head, then all views of the facehugger, copying Giger carefully. Concept Artist Ron Cobb helped O'Bannon draw out how the fingers would connect to the body, then O'Bannon finished it. After getting Scott's approval, the drawing was delivered to sculptors. A
few days later they had a clay sculpture, made a cast of it and noted it was the color of human skin. Thinking it novel and unusual, instead of painting the cast they left it flesh-colored.

as to the alien itself, as soon as O'Bannon showed Scott Giger's Necronomicon, the director knew it was what he wanted. Bolaji Badejo (a student) was discovered in a bar--he was just the right size (7' 2") to pull off the the look

The dinner scene was played as if nothing was going to happen. Tom Skerritt had seen how it was set up, so he had an idea, but the rest of the cast was kept "locked away." Four cameras were set up and the scene was done in one take. Veronica Cartwright was told she was going to get a little blood on her face. Everyone loved the look on Veronica's face; her reaction was completely real. There
was a guy on a skateboard under the table who had the alien on a dolly and whipped it out of the room.

Scott used a German Shepherd on a leash to get the hissing reaction from Jones (the cat) right before the alien kills Brett (Harry Dean Stanton).

O'Bannon didn't want the typical film where the alien was bullet-proof, with ammunition bouncing around in the ship--but they needed a reason why the alien couldn't simply be killed. Concept Artist, Ron Cobb came up with the idea of it bleeding acid that would burn through metal-- then they couldn't kill the alien because it would melt through everything, the ship would lose oxygen and they
would all die.

Though analysis over the intention of particular sexual connotations continues on, Scott himself described Ash's method of trying to kill Ripley as suppressed/inexpressible desire. The director liked the idea that Ash always sort of wanted to, but didn't have the part to have sex, so he does it with a magazine.

Ash's innards were were pasta, thin rubber tubes, glass marbles, cheap caviar and milk.

Scott said Veronica (Lambert) was great at being two steps away from complete terror and a heart attack. In fact, the director had planned for Lambert to crawl away, hiding in a locker and to die of a heart attack.

The shot of the alien's tail going between Lambert's legs is actually footage of Harry Dean Stanton's legs.

The film was meant to be over when Ripley goes into the ship, with the explosions (graphic design on a card!) and the ending score, but Scott said he couldn't possibly end it there. He asked the studio for four more days to add a fourth act, saying "It will change the way film is made" (referring to audiences thinking it's the end, but wait, there's another end!).

Weaver asked not to be told what was going to happen so she would be surprised. The actress said
they wanted to have more of a quasi-sex scene, but someone from Fox came and gave them a a stern look, telling them they had two days left to finish. Weaver wanted the alien to come and look at Ripley and be kind of turned on by her softness, but Scott said he never thought about the alien
in that way. It was Sigourney's idea to sing something (You Are My Lucky Star) to herself, to hang onto her own sanity.

The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.

Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast's ferocious jaws


According to Yaphet Kotto, Ridley Scott told him to annoy Sigourney Weaver off-camera so that there would be tension between their characters. Kotto regrets this because he really liked Weaver.

Harrison Ford turned down the role of Captain Dallas.

The inside of the alien eggs as seen by Kane was composed of real organic material. Director Ridley Scott used cattle hearts and stomachs. The tail of the facehugger was sheep intestine.

The chestbursting scene was filmed in one take with four cameras.

The dead facehugger that Ash autopsies was made using fresh shellfish, four oysters and a sheep kidney to recreate the internal organs.

Ridley Scott cites three films as the shaping influences on his movie: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) for their depiction of outer space, and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for its treatment of horror.

Ridley Scott stated that in casting the role of Ripley, it ultimately came down to Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. The two actresses had been schoolmates at Yale.

The creature is never filmed directly facing the camera due to the humanoid features of its face. Ridley Scott, determined at all costs to dispel any notion of a man in a rubber suit, filmed the beast in varying close-up angles of its ghastly profile, very rarely capturing the beast in its entirety.

Copywriter Barbara Gips came up with the famed tagline: "In space, no one can hear you scream."

In H.R. Giger's original illustrations the creature has eyes. For the movie, Giger insisted that the creature have no eyes, thus giving the bleak appearance of a cold and emotionless beast.

20th Century Fox doubled the budget from $4.2 million to $8.4 million on the strength of seeing Ridley Scott's storyboards.

The front (face) part of the alien costume's head is made from a cast of a real human skull.

A scene originally cut, but re-inserted for the Director's Cut shows Lambert slapping Ripley in retaliation for Ripley's refusal to let her, Dallas, and Kane back on the ship. According to both Ridley Scott and Veronica Cartwright, every time she went to slap Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney would shy away. After about three or four takes of this, Scott finally told Cartwright "Not to hold back.
Really hit her." Thus the very real shocked reactions of Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton.

The first day that she shot a scene involving Jones the cat, Sigourney Weaver's skin started reacting badly. Horrified, the young actress immediately thought that she might be allergic to cats, and that it would be easier for the production to recast her instead of trying to find 4 more identical cats. As it transpired, Weaver was reacting to glycerin sprayed on her skin to make her look hot and sweaty.

The original cut of the film ran 3 hours and 12 minutes. Dan O'Bannon's original draft title was "Star Beast", but he was never happy with this. It was only after re-reading his script that he noted how many times the word "alien" appeared, and realized that it was a perfect title: it works as both a noun and an adjective, and it had never been used before.

Ridley Scott did all the hand-held camera-work himself.

For the awakening from hypersleep segment, Veronica Cartwright and Sigourney Weaver had to wear white surgical  tape over their nipples so as not to offend certain countries.

Conceptual artist H.R. Giger's designs were changed several times because of their blatant sexuality.

In an interview for Métal Hurlant, Ridley Scott revealed that to make the action more realistic, the flight deck was wired so that flipping a switch in at one console would trigger lights somewhere else. The cast then developed "work routines" for themselves where one would trip a switch, leading another to respond to the changes at his work station and so on.

When casting the role of Ripley, Ridley Scott invited several women from the production office to watch screen tests, and thus gain a female perspective. The women were unanimously impressed with then-unknown actress Sigourney Weaver, whose screen presence they compared to Jane Fonda's.

After the crew awakens from hyper-sleep, the navigator Lambert announces that the ship is "just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli". Zeta Reticuli is a real double-star system about 39 light-years from Earth, and has figured prominently in UFO lore. In the 1960s, Barney and Betty Hill claimed to have been abducted by "gray" aliens from Zeta Reticuli.

The chestbursting scene was considered the second scariest movie moment of all time on Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments (2004).

All of the names of the main characters were changed multiple times by Walter Hill and David Giler during revisions of the original script by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The script by O'Bannon and Shusett also had a clause indicating that all of the characters are "unisex", meaning they could be cast with male or female actors; consequently, all of the characters are only referred to by their last name (Dallas, Kane, Ripley, Ash, Lambert, Parker, and Brett), and the few gender-specific pronouns
(he/she) were corrected after casting. However, Shusett and O'Bannon never thought of casting Ripley as a female character.

The movie's Hungarian title translated back mean "The 8th passenger is the Death", and all other Alien movies likewise had titles that end with the word "death". Aliens (1986): "The name of the planet: Death"; Alien³ (1992): "Final solution: Death"; Alien: Resurrection (1997): "The Resurrestion of Death". The original releases ignored the word "Alien" from the title, but it has since been
retroactively inserted back after more people became familiar with the franchise's English name. Despite this, the Alien is again referred to as "Death" in the Hungarian title of AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004): "The Death against The Predator".

Ridley Scott's original cut was a lot bloodier, but because of the negative reactions of test audience and possibility that movie will get X rating, scenes with violence and gore were cut down. Some outtakes that can be seen in making of documentaries show longer and bloodier versions of chestburster scene and Brett's death scene.

According to John Hurt in the DVD Documentary, he was considered at the beginning of casting to play Kane but had already committed to another film that was set to take place in South Africa, so Jon Finch got the role instead. However, two separate incidents occurred which got Hurt the role. First was the fact that he was banned from South Africa because the country mistook him for actor John Heard who strongly opposed the Apartied (Hurt points out that he was opposed to it too, but was lucky enough not to get blacklisted) so he was unable to do the other film. Second, Finch became seriously ill from diabetes and had to pull out. Ridley Scott immediately contacted Hurt, pitched him
the script over a weekend and Hurt arrived on the set Monday morning with little to no sleep to begin filming.

Conceptual artist H.R. Giger would successfully sue 20th Century Fox 18 years later over his lack of screen credit on Alien: Resurrection (1997).

Potential directors, who either were considered by the studio or wanted to direct, included Robert Aldrich, Peter Yates, Jack Clayton, Dan O'Bannon and Walter Hill. Aldrich in particular came very close to being hired, but the producers ultimately decided against it after they met him in person, and it quickly became apparent that he had no real enthusiasm for the project beyond the money he would have received. According to David Giler, the moment when Aldrich talked himself out of the job came when they asked him what kind of a design he had in mind for the facehugger; Aldrich simply shrugged and said "We'll put some entrails on the guy's face. It's not as if anyone's going to remember that critter once they've left the theater."

Originally, no film companies wanted to make this film, 20th Century-Fox had even passed on it. They stated various reasons, most being that it was too bloody. The only producer who wanted to make the film was Roger Corman, and it was not until Walter Hill came on board that it all changed. 20th Century-Fox agreed to make the film as long as the violence was toned down; even after that they still rejected the first cut for being "too bloody".

Aside from being an easy-to-remember moniker for the ship's computer, another reason for the crew referring to it as "Mother" is the actual name of the computer: MU-TH-UR. This is printed in red lettering on the small access door that holds the computer card that Dallas and Ripley use to gain access to the control console room.

The screen test that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of  Ripley was her speech from her final scene.

The Nostromo is supposed to be 800 feet long, while the craft she is towing is a mile and a half long.

Roger Dicken, who designed and operated the facehugger and the chestburster, had originally wanted the latter to pull itself out of Kane's torso with its own little hands, a sequence he felt would have produced a much more horrifying effect than the gratuitous blood and guts in the release print.

According to Ridley Scott in the DVD commentary, he had envisioned a moment in the ending scenes of Ripley and the alien in the space shuttle in which the alien would be sexually aroused by Ripley. Scott says that in the scene, after Ripley hides in the closet, the alien would find her
and would be staring at her through the glass door. The alien would then start touching itself as if comparing its body to Ripley's. The idea was eventually scrapped.

20th Century Fox Studios almost did not allow the "space jockey", or the giant alien pilot, to be in the film. This was because, at the time, props for movies weren't so large and it would only be used for one scene. However, conceptual artist 'Ron Cobb (I)' convinced them to leave the scene in the movie, as it would be the film's "Cecil. B. DeMille shot", showing the audience that this wasn't some low-budget B-movie.

There is no dialog for the first 6 minutes

During the opening sequence, as the camera wanders around the corridors of the Nostromo, we can clearly see a Krups coffee grinder mounted to a wall; this is the same model that became the "Mr. Fusion" in Back to the Future (1985).

Ridley Scott's 2003 director's cut largely came about when over 100 boxes of footage of his 1979 original were discovered in a London vault.

Three aliens were made: a model; a suit for seven-footer Bolaji Badejo; and another suit for a trained stunt man.

According to Ridley Scott, the mechanism that was used to make the alien egg open was so strong, that it could tear off a hand.

The grid-like flooring on the Nostromo was achieved using
upturned milk crates, painted over.

The character of Ash did not appear in Dan O'Bannon's original script.

The stylized artwork that Ridley Scott used to create the storyboards that got Fox to double the budget were inspired by the artwork of famed French comic book artist Jean Giraud AKA Moebius.

The screech of the newborn alien was voiced by animal impersonator Percy Edwards. He was personally requested by director Ridley Scott to do the sound effect and it was recorded in one take.

To simulate the thrust of engines on the Nostromo, Ridley Scott had crew members shake and wobble the seats the actors were sitting in.

Dan O'Bannon was hyper-critical of any changes made to his script and, to be fair, he defended some aspects of the film that ended up being most iconic (including H.R. Giger's designs). Although he would come on set and nitpick, O'Bannon was generally welcomed by Ridley Scott until O'Bannon lost his temper and insulted Scott in front of the whole crew. The producers, including Walter Hill,
had minimal respect for O'Bannon and largely ignored him, giving him little credit once the film became a success.

The alien's habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs "in the abdomen of spiders." This image gave Dan O'Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O'Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps or braconid wasps. The
ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O'Bannon's alien.

The original name for the spaceship was Snark. This was later changed to Leviathan before they finally settled for Nostromo.

During this production, only H.R. Giger and Bolaji Badejo were permitted to view the rushes with Ridley Scott, enabling them to better discuss and refine aspects of the beast's look and movements.

To preserve the shock-value of the alien's appearance, no production images of it were released, not even to author Alan Dean Foster when he wrote the film's novelization.

Dan O'Bannon requested that Ridley Scott and producer Walter Hill, both of whom had little knowledge of horror or science-fiction cinema, screen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
(1974) to prepare for shooting the more intense scenes. Scott and Hill were stunned by the horror film and admitted it motivated them to ratchet up the intensity of their own film.

When Ripley punches in the code to activate the scuttle procedure, one of the button tabs reads AGARIC FLY. While engineering sounding in name, fly agaric is actually a highly poisonous hallucinogenic mushroom whose toxin used
to be commonly used in flypaper.


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