Alien Trivia

Alien Trivia

This section includes both common and little known trivia about Alien, including outtake information, cast secrets, director quirks, and more. If you have trivia of your own submit it to us and have it added to the site (with full credit, of course):

  1. The Spanish version of the title translates as Alien: The 8th Passenger.
  2. Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.
  3. 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.
  4. The alien’s cycle of laying eggs in the chest (which then burst out) is similar to the lifecycle of the tsetse fly.
  5. A lawsuit by A.E. van Vogt, claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story Discord in Scarlet (which he had also incorporated in the 1950 novel Voyage of the Space Beagle), was settled out of court.
  6. Much of the dialogue was ad-libbed.
  7. An early draft of the script had a male Ripley.
  8. Veronica Cartwright was originally to play Ripley, but producers opted for Sigourney Weaver. Unbeknownst to Cartwright at the time.
  9. In the scene where Dallas, Kane and Lambert are leaving the ship, the actual actors walking past the Nostromo’s landing struts are three children (two of whom were Scott’s children dressed in scaled down spacesuits. This has the effect of making the ship look bigger.
  10. The compression suits were very hot, causing Tom Skerrit, Veronica Cartwright, and John Hurt to lose weight during the filming of the scene in which Dallas, Lambert, and Kane venture to the derelict. Only after Ridley Scott’s own children collapsed wearing the suits was something done.*
  11. A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was in the script, but was not filmed.
  12. The front (face) part of the alien costume’s head is made from a cast of a real human skull.
  13. “Nostromo” is the title of a Joseph Conrad book. The shuttle that Ripley escapes on is called the “Narcissus”, a reference to another Conrad book.
  14. Conceptual artist H.R. Giger’s designs were changed several times, because of their blatant sexuality: the top of the eggs resembled a vagina too closely.
  15. Extra scenes filmed but not included, due to pacing problems: Ripley finds Dallas and Brett; Dallas is covered in maggots and begs Ripley to kill him; She does so with a flame thrower; Ripley and Lambert discuss whether Ash has sex or not; alternative death scene for Brett; Parker comes across an alive Brett being lifted from the ground.
  16. Scott is reportedly quoted as saying that originally he wanted a much darker ending. He planned on having the alien bite off Ripley’s head in the escape shuttle, sit in her chair, and then start speaking with her voice in a message to Earth. Apparently, 20th Century Fox wasn’t too pleased with such a dark ending.
  17. The Polish title, translated back to English, is “The 8th Passenger of the Nostromo.”
  18. During production an attempt was made to make the alien character transparent or at least translucent.
  19. Three aliens were made: a model and two suits. One of the suits was for the seven foot tall Masai tribesman Bolajo Bolaji, and the other was for a trained stunt man. The models had to be repainted every evening of the shoot because the slime used on-set removed the acrylic paint from their surfaces.
  20. The vector graphics that appear on Ripley’s screen showing the undocking sequence for the Nostromo was also used for the aircar launch sequence in Blade Runner (1982).
  21. 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 example, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.
  22. The thin layer of mist that “notified the eggs” was made possible using a pulsating laser and smoke, borrowed from the band The Who?**.

Sources

  • Internet Movie Database: Alien (1979).
  • *Talking with Veronica Cartwright , Richard Knight Jr., Windy City Times, November 8, 2006.
  • **Official website for the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Villains CBS special, air date June 3, 2003 at 8 pm.
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