Sigourney Weaver made the behind-the-back half-court basketball shot successfully after 3 weeks of basketball practice, tutored by a basketball coach. Her conversion rate during this time was 1 of overt 6 shots. When the day came to shoot the scene, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have the ball dropped in from above, rather than wait for Weaver to sink the shot herself, which "would probably take about 200 takes." Weaver insisted she could get the shot in herself, and was allowed to do. Though it is commonly said that she sunk the basket on her first attempt, it actually took her endless takes to complete the stunt. Jean-Pierre Juenet gave her one last try to sink the basket before they would give up and use CGI or a second ball. The very next take, Sigourney Weaver successfully managed the trick. Ron Perlman was completely stunned (and thoroughly impressed), and turned directly at the camera and broke character, saying; "Oh my God!" The editors looked at the shot, and decided there was "enough room to get the scissors in." Weaver was excited about making the shot, but Jeunet was concerned audiences would believe the shot to be faked due to the ball leaving the frame. Upon Weaver's insistence, he kept the shot as it was. Weaver described the miracle shot as "one of the best moments in her life", after her wedding day, and the birth of her daughter.
Actor Ron Perlman nearly drowned while filming the underwater sequence. At one point, when trying to surface, he hit his head on a sprinkler in the ceiling, knocking him out cold. He was rescued by nearby film crew members.
Sigourney Weaver originally refused to do a fourth Alien film. When asked why she changed her mind, she replied, "They basically drove a dumptruck full of money to my house".
When pre-production was underway, the original 'Alien Queen' could not be located and the molds that were used to build the original were damaged beyond usefulness. Fortunately, the original life-size puppet was located... in the personal collection of an avid Alien (1979) fan.
The studio wanted to cut the scene preceding Ripley's encounter with the alien queen because of its rather sexual nature. They decided to keep it when Sigourney Weaver threatened to not promote the film if the scene was cut.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have a scene where a mosquito stings Ripley, then vanishes into smoke because of her acid blood. Eventually, he dropped the idea after the SFX team told him how much it would cost.
In order to heighten contrasts, cinematographer Darius Khondji added silver to the printing process. This had the result of making the dark colors richer and giving everything else a metallic tinge. He also used an electric blue tint for the underwater sequence.
The opening shot of Ripley cloned, albeit as a young girl, was based on photographs which Sigourney Weaver had given the special effects crew of herself as a child.
Winona Ryder agreed to do this film even before reading the script. She stated that she "didn't care if she died in the first scene", she'd do it. Ryder claimed that then she could boast about being in an "Alien" movie to her younger brothers.
The underwater sequence marked the first time that Winona Ryder had gone underwater since a near-drowning incident that happened to her when she was 12 years old. The actress suffered a complete anxiety attack on the first day of filming in the underwater set.
The full-size Newborn animatronic puppet was originally filmed with genitals that were a mix between male and female genitals. They had to be digitally removed on studio orders.
Sigourney Weaver signed on to the film largely because of one scene in particular - when Ripley 8 encounters her previous 7 aborted genetic incarnations.
Ron Perlman did most of his own stunts, particularly the scene where he hangs upside-down off a ladder by his legs whilst firing two guns at an alien. The next day, when he went to take a shower, he discovered he had severely lacerated the backs of his knees in doing so.
Joss Whedon has commented on his dissatisfaction with the movie. Fans had speculated that the finished movie deviated from his original script in some fatal manner, however he put such rumors to rest. His dialogue, action and plot were essentially intact. However he had written with a playful, tongue-in-cheek tone, which didn't work when the director decided to "play it straight." Eventually, Whedon created Firefly (2002) and Serenity (2005), which was also about a group of pirates on an old space ship, and captured the tone he had aimed for in this movie. He said that he never realized the similarities with the Betty and her crew until someone pointed it out to him. As irony would have it, the series was shot on the same stages at Fox Studios where 'Alien: Resurrection' was filmed, with the Serenity built over the pit that was dug for the underwater scenes.
Sigourney Weaver was paid $11 million to come back as Ripley, which was the entire budget of Alien (1979) (not adjusted for inflation).
Although it appears that the cast spend most of the time wandering up and down endless spaceship corridors, in reality there were only two built for the film.
This is the only Alien movie not to be shot in the United Kingdom. One of the reasons for this was that co-producer Sigourney Weaver didn't want to travel.
The original idea for the movie was for Newt (the little girl from Aliens (1986)) to be cloned, not Ripley. She was to have considerable strength and fighting skills, so Joss Whedon was brought in, as he had experience writing an action series featuring a young heroine with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). Whedon wrote a 30-page story treatment, but the studio was concerned that fans would not accept an Alien movie without the Ellen Ripley character. When Sigourney Weaver agreed to reprise her role for $11 million, Whedon's initial story was scrapped, so he re-wrote it with the focus on a cloned Ripley.
The character of Dr. Wren was originally written for Bill Murray, with the intent of reuniting him with Sigourney Weaver, his co-star from the Ghostbusters series.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet spoke almost no English at the time of shooting and had translators on set at all times. By the time the Special Edition DVD was released in 2003, he had learned enough English to record a director's commentary.
When Johner says to Ripley; "So I hear you, like, ran into these things before. What did you do?", Ripley replies, "I died." Left on the cutting room floor was Johner's retort; "That's not exactly what I was hoping to hear."
H.R. Giger was openly displeased that he wasn't given a credit for his alien designs and fired off a letter of protest to 20th Century Fox.
In her initial scenes with the Newborn, Sigourney Weaver makes a point of not looking in its eyes. This was a lesson learned from when she made Gorillas in the Mist (1988) in not making initial eye contact with a potentially dangerous animal.
The underwater segment was shot on a specially constructed sound stage on the Fox lot, which was converted into a permanent water-tank. It took nearly a week to fill it with water.
The $50-60 million budget was significantly lower than the director and writers originally imagined. Therefore, sets were toned down in scale and a more claustrophobic shooting approach with a lot of close-ups to characters' faces was taken.
In the scene where Dominique Pinon appears out of an elevator, his line originally was "Who were you expecting? The Easter Bunny?" However, Pinon kept saying "Eastern Bunny", to which his fellow actors would break out in laughter. The crew printed T-shirts with the line. Interestingly enough, the new line; "Who were you expecting, Santa Claus?" had also been used in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's previous movie, The City of Lost Children (1995), where it was directed at Ron Perlman as well.
Milk had to be added to the underwater set as the water was simply too transparent to be convincing.
To play Ripley 7, Sigourney Weaver stuck her head up through a hole in the floor so it could be seamlessly grafted onto the grotesque body that the make-up department had created for her.
The first lines of the movie, "My mommy always said there were no monsters. No real ones. But there are." is taken from Aliens (1986). Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden originally said it.
The production had trouble finding enough studio space as major productions like Titanic (1997), Starship Troopers (1997) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) were all taking up most of the available studio space in Hollywood.
All of the spaceships in the film were miniatures, as visual effects supervisors believed CGI was not effective enough to create realistic spaceships.
Joss Whedon was unhappy with everything about the film. He later commented in 2005: "It wasn't a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong they could possibly do. That's actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking. Because everything they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from it. And people assume that if I hated it then they'd changed the script...but it wasn't so much they changed it, they executed it in such a ghastly fashion they rendered it unwatchable."
The actors were subjected to about 15 underwater training sessions in swimming pools around the Los Angeles area before arriving at the underwater set where they underwent a further 2 weeks of training before anything was shot. Sigourney Weaver missed most of this because she had been appearing in a play on Broadway just prior to filming.
The Newborn's skull was made of plaster so it could be sucked out of the window into space. Cast only at 1/8-1/4" thick, it was scored into various pieces. Each piece was individually attached to a wire, so when struck against the window and cracked, each fragment could be pulled out one-by-one.
Winona Ryder was a big fan of Alien (1979) and jumped at the chance of appearing alongside her idol, Sigourney Weaver, for that reason.
In Conan: The Day Lincoln Joined LinkedIn (2013), William H. Macy revealed that the last time he'd done an audition was for the role of Dr. Gediman. During the audition with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, he felt the scene he was reading was so ridiculous, he said "You know what guys, This is never going to happen," got up and left the room.
Although Jean-Pierre Jeunet has stated to be proud of the film, he swore off Hollywood after his experience on it.
As the film progresses, the walls of the ship's corridors become darker and more ominous.
One of the concept designs of the Newborn involved the creature sporting a likeness of Sigourney Weaver's face. This was abandoned as it bore too much of a similarity to Sil, the alien creature in Species (1995).
Originally, the fourth alien movie was to be a rendition of the popular comic Aliens Vs. Predator, which combined the Alien creatures with Predator (1987) since 1991. It took another 7 years before AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) saw the light.
Writer Joss Whedon wrote Christie's character with Yun-Fat Chow in mind. Yun-Fat's manager and producer Terence Chang turned down the role for him.
H.R. Giger, designer of the original Alien, was pleased with Resurrection, describing it as an "excellent film", but was disappointed about not being credited in the film.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to shoot additional action scenes using a fully digital Newborn creature. He wanted Ripley to be chased by the Newborn in the escape from the Betty scene, but could not realize it due to budget constraints. In the final film, a full-size Newborn creature can be seen in only one scene and almost all of the scenes involving the creature are animatronic.
The script and promotional material reveal that the orbit of Auriga was beyond Pluto. The project was not approved by the Congress, possibly due to its hazardous nature. According to the script the USS military cultivated vast quantities of cannabis to fund the cloning program since they could not rely on the goverment for an official subsidization. The goverment could not observe the military beyond the boundaries of the solar system. Although this subplot was dropped from the film there are still hints of this backstory when Elgyn remarks that the operation was not authorized by the Congress and that Auriga is located in unregulated space. This also explains the assertion of Call that Dr Wren is conducting illegal experiments.
All four "Alien" movies featuring Sigourney Weaver have a scene in which Ripley is seen dining with the ship's native inhabitants, and a sexual comment is made by someone at the table (in this movie, Ripley is prompted to say "fork" and says "f*ck" instead).
Angelina Jolie turned down the role of Call, which was subsequently given to Winona Ryder. Two years later, both actresses worked together on Girl, Interrupted (1999).
At appx. 18 mins, the money General Perez passes to Elgyn, portrays the face of producer Bill Badalato. The prop money was handed out to the cast and crew after the film was finished shooting.
During the production of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, Frantic Films was brought in to re-shoot the title sequence, where a bug's teeth give way to a shot of the Auriga as it drifts into space. This shot was featured in the special edition of the movie.
In the theatrical release, H.R. Giger is not credited for his part in the design of the Aliens. The video release has his name in the closing credits.
The characters of Ripley and Call and the relationship between the two characters were strongly influenced by Xena and Gabrielle, the main characters from the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess (1995).
The Auriga interactive computer is named "Father." In the original Alien (1979), the computer's name was "Mother." There are even comparable scenes where people yell at Mother or Father for not responding to them.
The film's model miniatures were shot at a former Howard Hughes aircraft plant in Los Angeles. Visual effects supervisor Erik Henry and visual effects director of photography Rick Fichter used an advanced motion control camera system that required constant vigilance and re-alignment as the area was prone to small earthquakes and tremors.
WILHELM SCREAM: A soldier in the last escape pod when the alien enters it, right before Perez asks for the grenade.
The alien eggs were made to appear more vivid and pulsating at the request of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. After watching Alien (1979), he thought the eggs were too static.
Ripley's outfit was going to be a different one than the dark red uniform she is wearing for the most of the film. After Sigourney Weaver saw Kim Flowers (Hillard) on the set, she wanted to wear the same costume. Hillard can be seen in the exact same outfit in the underwater scene.
Nigel Phelps based the design of the spaceship "Betty" on a jackhammer. The "Auriga" was originally to be a vertical structure, but he abandoned this idea once he realized the difficulty of capturing the scope of such a ship design on film.
In the Special Edition, when Number 8 refers to the company, she is told that the Weyland-Yutani corporation had been bought out of Wal-Mart.
The Newborn was specifically given eyes to answer some of the criticism which had been made about prior iterations of how the alien could actually see, as it had no apparent eyes.
The bullet which takes out a soldier standing behind Gary Dourdan was an unused idea from Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The City of Lost Children (1995).
Jean-Pierre Jeunet originally wanted to cast a woman as the main villain but the studio refused, seeing as the film already had two female leads.
For the luckless human victims which the renegades find, as if already having had the aliens burst out of their stomachs wasn't enough, the crew devised costumes which had stomach entrails stitched onto the outside. This was directly inspired by a T-shirt that was popular around the time of the release of Alien (1979) in which an alien fetus (and a lot of blood) was attached to the front.
The name of the girl Ripley was trying to remember near the end of the Special Edition of the movie is Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden, who appeared in Aliens (1986).
The scene with Ripley waking up gradually was not in the script. It was an addition by the director in order to symbolize the creation of the clone as a larva which transforms into a butterfly and tears up the cocoon.
Paul W.S. Anderson was in talks to direct but was unable to take part due to scheduling conflicts. Anderson would still get his chance to direct an outer space opus the following year with Event Horizon (1997). And of course he would visit the Alien franchise several years later with AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004).
The USM Auriga was originally designed by artist Nigel Phelps and resembled a medical instrument. This design proved to be too vertical for the film's opening shot, in which the camera pans out to show the ship, and did not appear satisfactory in the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Three days before the design had to be finalized, Jean-Pierre Jeunet rejected it. Phelps, production illustrator Jim Martin, and concept artist Sylvain Despretz were tasked to redesign the ship. Jeunet felt Martin's design was too much like a space station, while he accepted Despretz's design due to its streamlined and horizontal appearance.
The gaps between the four Alien films steadily decreased. There was seven years between the release of Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986), six between Aliens and Alien 3 (1992), and five between Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection (1997).
The tube where the clone of Ripley is created was scripted as a regular bed like case, much like the cryo tubes in which the hosts of the aliens are carried by the Betty crew. It was an artistic choice to render the glass chamber vertical shaped.
The first draft of the script contained an action sequence which took place in a garden contained within the spaceship "Auriga," with Ripley driving an electrically-powered jeep to avoid aliens attacking from all sides. This was to take place after the scene in the chapel but before the sequence where the Newborn is introduced. The sequence was cut due largely to budget constraints.
In the novelization of the movie, Johner has a phobia of insects and as a result is deathly afraid of the Xenomorphs, often shaking uncontrollably with fear whenever they appear. This is contrary to his portrayal in the film where he seems to show little concern for the horrors around him (although he still blasted a spider off of its web with a shot from his pistol after the upside down shooting scene).
Danny Boyle was Fox's first choice to direct after the success of Trainspotting (1996). He and screenwriter/frequent collaborator John Hodge turned it down because they couldn't agree with the studio on a story line, and chose to work on A Life Less Ordinary (1997) instead.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet's long time partner, Marc Caro, with whom he had made Delicatessen (1991) and The City of Lost Children (1995), had no interest in taking part in the film. Caro did fly out to Los Angeles for several weeks to provide some costume and art direction designs.
Peter Jackson was asked to direct, but declined as he could not get excited about an Alien film.
The first "Alien" film not to be filmed and made in the United Kingdom at Pinewood studios. It was filmed at Fox studios in Los Angeles, California.
The crew of The Betty are space pirates. Joss Whedon would later create a space pirates series called Firefly (2002).
Ron Perlman also played a space pirate in The Ice Pirates (1984). Michael Wincott voiced another space pirate in Treasure Planet (2002).
The Betty Crew led by Elgin are space pirates. Screenwriter Joss Whedon later created the short-lived science fiction TV series Firefly (2002) which was produced by 20th Century Fox Television. The series followed the crew of the spaceship Serenity led by Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) whom are space pirates. Summer Glau whom played River Tam in that series had been called by some fans online "a young Sigourney Weaver". In real life, Sigourney Weaver is 33 years older than Summer Glau.
Appx. 1h 25 mins, Leland Orser's character is called Larry Purvis in the credits. In the original script, he was supposed to have his last name on his jumpsuit, and Christie calls him by that name. This scene was changed in the final cut, and the only person who refers to him as Purvis is Call, when they get ready to put him in the Betty's freezing chamber towards the end of the film.
Johners knife was made from resin and hand-painted to look like metal and wood. The knife is currently for sale at Movie Bits for $495.00 it has been mounted in a box frame with laser-cut display showing the film's title and description along with two stills from the scene the knife was used in. It comes supplied with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Originally, it was Newt who would be resurrected, not Ripley. There are 3 flaws behind that: Carrie Henn was 21 in 1997 and she never acted again after Aliens (1986). Newt had not been impregnated by a facehugger and had drowned in her cryotube and her body was cremated.
In the original script and the novelization of Alien Resurrection, it is mentioned that the Queen's secondary reproductive cycle was introduced as a result of tampering with her genetic code by Dr. Wren's team in an attempt to stop her laying an endless number of Eggs; according to a cocooned Dr. Gediman, "We thought we could alter its reproductive system. Obviate the egg-laying cycles. But the beast doesn't trade. It just added a second cycle."
The Cloned Queen's head was in fact the very same head used to portray the Acheron Queen in Aliens, sourced from collector Bob Burns and repainted with a new shimmering, pearlescent paint scheme incorporating brown and green tones. The original molds for the creature's arms, legs and tail were recovered from a replica company in Colorado, but the molds for the Queen's body were found to have been destroyed beyond repair in the ten years since Aliens was made. However, this did not prove to be a major issue, as for most of her screentime in the fourth film, the Queen's torso and abdomen were to be grotesquely distended as a result of her new live-birth reproductive mutation.
The film's script was laid out similar to a comic book, with pictures on the left and dialog and descriptions on the right.
In the Special Edition, Ripley mentions her experience with Newt in Aliens (1986), before saying that now she can't even remember her name. This is a reference to the Aliens (1986) sequels published by Dark Horse Comics and Bantam Books, which featured Newt and Hicks prominently. After both characters were killed in Alien 3 (1992), later printings of the comics and novels renamed the characters as "Billie" and "Wilks".
Ever since the 1990's, there was been two Alien movies every decade. This includes Alien3 (1992) and Alien: Resurrection (1997), moving on to AVP (2004) and AVP: Requiem (2008), and ending with Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017). That also means within every decade, the year of release ended with either 2 or 7 (with the exception of AVP).