The movie Alien came out in 1979 and turned out to be the beginning of a sci-fi franchise. It was definitely the first movie of its kind and didn’t compare to anything that anyone had seen before. The screenwriters Dan O’Brannon and Ronald Shusett did an amazing job at delivering a gory and spine-chilling movie that would forever impact those who watched it. As a tribute to this amazing film, here are 10 things you didn’t know about the movie Alien.
The screenwriter Dan O’Bannon had originally chosen the name Starbeast for this film. He actually didn’t like that to be the title for the movie but count think of anything else at the time. One night while typing the dialogue for the characters, he noticed how often the word alien was used and decided to switch the name. Smart.
Help From Another Space Movie
During the time period of this film, sci-fi movies were not popular and it was hard for the screenwriters to find producers to sell their movie to. There was a lot of back and forth until finally, the legendary Star Wars movie came out in theaters. This sparked the love for sci-fi movies and helped Alien get its debut.
All Male Cast?
While coming up with all the characters, screenwriters O’Brannon and Shusett initially had all the cast as male characters. However they did have a note saying the crew was unisex and could be either male or female. Even then they just didn’t picture the main character, Ellen Ripley, to be a female. The actress playing Ripley is Sigourney Weaver, and we can’t picture anyone else to get the job done.
Spacesuits get hot, and that includes the costume spacesuits. They don’t let any air out, and the lighting on set mixed with the summertime heat just makes it worse! This caused the cast members to pass out over and over again. There was a nurse on standby with oxygen tanks, but the crew didn’t modify the suits until director Ridley Scott’s sons put them on and, you guessed it, passed out as well.
A Student Played the Lead Alien
One day in a pub in London, a casting agent saw Bolaji Badejo, a 6’10” student from Kenya. He immediately called associate producer Igor Powell. Powell and Scott had been having trouble finding someone to play the lead alien but thankfully Bolaji Badejo was their guy!
There is an iconic scene where a chestburster shoots out of character John Hurt’s torso. The cool thing about this scene is that the reactions from the cast were real and genuine! They all knew something would come out of his chest, but Scott hid specific details in order to get raw reactions for the movie.
How Did Test Audiences React?
If you haven’t seen the movie, keep in mind that it is bloody and gory. Don’t believe us? Well maybe you’d like to know that during the test screening for the film, things got hectic. People were vomiting during the horrid scenes and trying to exit the theater as fast as they could. Someone even fell and broke their arm while rushing out of the theater. If you have a weak stomach, maybe don’t watch this movie.
The original costume for the alien was supposed to be translucent so that the insides could be seen. However, once they made the costume, Scott wasn’t a fan of it. So instead the decided on a black costume and it worked out well. The black costume added yet another creepy feeling since the alien could hide and lurk within the shadows.
Upside Down Filming
Another iconic scene is when the crew members find a lair of alien eggs. One of the eggs is opening up and as Kane takes a look, a face-hugger jumps out at him and attaches itself to his face. This scene was actually shot upside down in order for the slime from the outside of the eggshell to drip upwards, adding to the terror of this sci-fi film.
As if it couldn’t get creepier, they used real animal guts for a few scenes. Yes, that’s right. The inside of the face-hugger egg was actually a mix of cow hearts and stomachs, and its insemination tube was sheep intestines. What?!
Did this motivate you to watch the movie or did it do the complete opposite? Whatever the case, these facts are an awesome behind-the-scene to this legendary sci-fi movie.