In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Aliens, a panel was held at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 featuring those involved with the movie.
The panel included writer/director James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, Terminator 2), producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead), and cast members Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest, Avatar), Bill Paxton (True Lies, Apollo 13), Lance Henriksen (Millennium, The Terminator), Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Tombstone), Paul Reiser (Red Oaks, Whiplash), and Carrie Henn, who played Newt, looking back at the iconic science fiction classic.
Check out some of the highlights below, along with a Q&A video.
We’re currently in Hall H for all of today’s panels, so keep it at Geeks of Doom as we bring you news all day from SDCC.
At first Cameron and Hurd were unsure if they could pull off the alien queen even with the help of Stan Winston. The queen became real only because of Weaver’s performance. She added that she’s roaming the world pretty pissed off.
Hurd talked about not having CGI at their disposal, so the queen model had two guys in it with 14 people helping operate the entire thing.
Weaver praised Hurd as being an inspiration.
When talking about their Aliens characters Paxton said his would have made it through the basic military training despite looking like a coward. However, he wasn’t afraid to say Reiser’s character was scared. He said he should have embraced Hudson. He and Cameron called it a pressure release valve for the audience.
Henriksen spoke about the iconic knife scene saying that Paxton was eager to be a part of it. Cameron said he wasn’t sure if it was fast enough to be superhuman. However that scene you watch is him doing it at full speed. No editing or illusions.
Biehn said Hicks is stoic, and unlike any other cast this one was special because of the bond they shared. He credited Weaver, who he called the head of the snake, for her beauty, sexiness, intelligence, and sense of humor, but above all she has an incredible work ethic. He said the cast made him feel welcomed from the beginning. As an actor he always wanted to support leading ladies, and he says Cameron wrote that into the script. So when he saw the movie he recalled the relationship his character had with Ripley. Cameron believes it could have gone somewhere if Fincher didn’t kill him off in Alien 3.
Reiser’s character, who is fun to hate in Aliens, was so good it was fun to read. He said his task as an actor in this film was not “screw the whole thing.” He said he isn’t a bad guy but more misunderstood. He got a little jealous that he didn’t get to wear gear or participate in boot camp.
It’s revealed that they got more notes on the costumes than anything else. “We basically said if you don’t like something, it’s going to be two weeks of reshooting. That’s 8 million dollars,” said Hurd.
Henn, who is now a teacher, said sometimes her fourth grade students will say they watched her film or ask her to sign their parent’s Blu-ray. Often times both parents would come to visit her when normally just the mother would appear.
At the time Henn wasn’t conditioned into the system and her performance brought a sense of realism to the film. Cameron credits Weaver with helping give her focus and the effort to help insulate her from the experience to help enhance that performance. One memory he recalled was when Henn was instructed to not move when Newt was captured and about to be facehuggered. So she was constantly slimed by Cameron to which she said, at the time, it should be illegal for you to do this.
On the future of the franchise Weaver said there was a script written by Neill Blomkamp. However it’s just a matter of working out people’s schedules.
Hurd said Aliens legitimized sci-fi films and mentioned the Academy Award nominations.