The Alien franchise is one that has seen incredibly high highs (like Alien and Aliens), and incredibly low lows (like AVP: Requiem and Alien Covenant). But one entry that’s often caught somewhere in the middle of being praised and hated is 1997’s Alien Resurrection.
While most fans agree that Alien 3 and Resurrection weren’t on par with the first two, these movies have many defenders who argue that they have value in other areas. So in honor of its 25th anniversary today, we thought it would be fitting and fun to look at 25 fun facts about Alien Resurrection!
1. Sigourney Weaver initially didn’t want to do another Alien movie. The whole reason she wanted her character to die in the last one was so that she wouldn’t be in another one. According to Weaver, she changed her mind after, “They basically drove a dump truck full of money to my house.” She was paid $11 million, which was equal to the entire budget of the original movie.
2. Joss Whedon’s original script featured Newt being cloned, and it would have been much closer to his TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, the studio feared that fans wouldn’t see the movie without Sigourney Weaver. And once she agreed to star, Whedon rewrote the script where Ripley is cloned.
3. David Cronenberg, Paul W.S. Anderson, Danny Boyle, and Peter Jackson were both considered to direct at early stages of pre-production.
4. Another early concept was for this fourth installment to feature Xenomorphs fighting Predators (who were also owned by Fox). However, it wouldn’t be until 2004 that Alien vs. Predator was released.
5. At one point early on, the role of Dr. Wren was written with Bill Murray in mind, thus reuniting him with Weaver after Ghostbusters.
6. The original Xenomorph Queen props were lost, and the molds were far too damaged to be used. As a result, the studio sought out an Alien superfan, who had a life size Xenomorph in his personal collection and based the mold on that.
7. Winona Ryder reportedly accepted the role without reading the script because she was just so excited to be in an Alien movie.
8. Before the role of Call was offered to Ryder, Angelina Jolie was offered but turned it down.
9. Screenwriter Joss Whedon really wanted the third act to take place on Earth, since the franchise had never taken place there thus far. To date, the only installments to take place on Earth are the two Alien vs. Predator movies, which are set in modern day.
10. The iconic basketball scene was widely believed to have been done on the first take. The truth is Sigourney Weaver practiced for weeks, and they did wind up shooting a great many takes. Eventually, Weaver sank the shot herself and described it as one of the best moments of her life.
11. Ron Perlman almost drowned filming the underwater scene. As the actors were swimming, he knocked himself out by hitting his head and had to be rescued by crew members.
12. During the filming of that very scene, Winona Ryder had an anxiety attack. It was the first time she had gone fully underwater since she had a near-drowning experience when she was 12.
13. The entire underwater sequence took three weeks to shoot.
14. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet insisted that the Xenomorph eggs pulsate and be more vividly detailed, because he felt the ones in the original were “too static”.
15. In order to play the Ripley 7 clone, Sigourney Weaver’s head came up through a hold in the floor, and the rest of the entire body was prosthetics and animatronics.
16. No CGI was used for the spaceships because the VFX department felt they couldn’t make them look realistic enough. So miniatures were used instead.
17. The production was limited to only two hallway sets for the interior of the Auriga. At the time, other films like Titanic, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Starship Troopers were all shooting at the same time, and thus taking up a lot of studio space.
18. For the “newborn birthing scene”, the set wasn’t finished when it was time to shoot. So they had to shoot Sigourney Weaver’s shots in closeup first, while the crew finished the set in record time.
19. The original design for the Xenomorph/human hybrid featured both male and female sex organs. However, these were removed in post-production.
20. Grossed $161.4 million on a $70 million budget. While not a flop, it remains the least successful of the Alien franchise. It didn’t even open at #1 at the box office when released (Disney’s Flubber beat it).
21. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet didn’t speak English at the time of shooting and used translators to communicate with the cast and crew. By 2003 however, he was fluent enough in English to record a director’s commentary. While he remains proud of the film, he swore off working in Hollywood ever again due to bad experiences with the studio.
22. Upon the release of Alien Resurrection, it received largely mixed reviews. Critics praised Sigourney Weaver’s performance, but felt it didn’t try anything new or different from previous installments.
23. H.R. Giger (who designed the original Xenomorph) enjoyed the movie, but was upset that he didn’t receive credit. He even wrote a letter of protest to 20th Century Fox. As a result, his name was added to the credits for the home video release.
24. Joss Whedon essentially disowned the movie, citing issues with how everything from his script was changed. He blamed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet for making it “unwatchable”. Many years later, Jeunet responded by saying “[Whedon]’s very good at making films for American geeks; something for morons.”
25. Alien Resurrection was nominated for 6 Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress (Sigourney Weaver), Best Supporting Actress (Winona Ryder), Best Director, Best Costumes, and Best Special Effects. Unfortunately, it didn’t win any of them.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!