It’s been a big year for fans of the “Alien” franchise, not only is a new movie coming out in 2017, but the franchise itself is celebrating its 37th anniversary. Even the popular follow-up film ‘Aliens’ celebrated a major milestone this year, reaching its own 30th anniversary. Ridley Scott first brought us ‘Alien’ back in 1979, starring the talented Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt, and while the franchise has seen a few ups and downs since its first debut, the talented director is returning for ‘Alien: Covenant’ next year. As part of the FOX showcase this month, producer Dave Karger interviewed Katherine Waterston (who is set to star in the upcoming installment) and she spoke about Alien’s long-lasting characters, working with Ridley Scott, and shared a few details about the upcoming secret project.
The showcase did share some footage of the film, offering a grisly look at the new aliens and of the crew. “Oh, God. I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” Waterston joked after appearing on-stage following the clips. Waterston admitted that this was the first footage from the film that she had seen, joking that watching the clips was, “nauseating on two levels”. Waterston explained, “I can’t really handle scary movies,” adding, “it’s also just overwhelming just to see it.” The ‘it’ Waterston is referring to a particularly thrilling scene that will most likely appear in the trailer when it’s released. When asked if Waterston knew that she had signed on to a thriller she joked, “I didn’t get the memo.”
The conversation quickly turned to Ridley Scott, the famed director that masterminded hits like “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise,” “G.I. Jane,” “Gladiator” and most recently “The Martian”.
Scott has worn almost every hat available in the art of filmmaking, dominating the sci-fi drama series from behind the camera for four decades. While hits like “The Martian” and “Blade Runner” featured iconic male-roles, Ridley Scott has done the same for women, including casting Sigourney Weaver as the lead in the original “Alien” film. When asked about Scott’s consistency in creating strong female characters Waterston was quick to reply. “Yeah, I mean, people are talking a lot these days about the progress we’re making, or, you know, storytelling, with great roles for women.” Waterston added, “But, I mean, I don’t know, maybe Ridley’s not getting enough credit.”
Waterston has proven to be a terrific talent, crafting strong roles for herself with the characters that she has brought to the screen over the years. The actor has been appeared in noteworthy films like “Inherent Vice,” “Steve Jobs,” and the recent Warner Bros. Pictures’ hit “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.
One of Scott’s most notable films, “Thelma & Louise,” just celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. At the time, and even still to this day, the film is considered to be a fantastic example of how well-crafted female characters can propel filmmaking. Waterston added, “I think (Scott’s) attitude about it is very similar to my own. It just seems obvious. It’s not — it’s interesting”. Waterston also made it a point to remind listeners, “there are a lot of cool, complicated women out there,” pointing out that this wasn’t “rocket science”.
Wateston is playing the role of ‘Daniels’ in the new Alien installment, and while the story is still underwraps, the actor did share a few details about her character with the crowd. Waterston explained that Daniels had “good instincts,” and that she had “concern” about her ship’s destination.
“She’s questioning leadership there a little too, I think” explained Waterston, speaking about the previously shown clip. The short scene featured Daniels and an unnamed pilot-character being played by actor Amy Seimetz. Waterston explained that both characters were “colonists” in the film, pointing out that they were not “military experts,” but explained that they were “scientists”.
Waterston did seem to have fun spilling a few of the beans stating, “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, but I’m gonna say it anyway — like, most of the people on the ship are couples.” She then explained that the ship also contained citizens that were in cryosleep, which is a common way to travel within the Alien franchise. Waterston then went back to describing her character in the film saying, “I think she’s just one of those people, who, if her kids were in a car that was on fire, she’d be able to lift up the car”
As we mentioned before, Ridley Scott will be returning to direct this new film, a delight to both fans of the franchise, and to any actors eager for a part in one of his sci-fi epics. “I don’t think anyone ever has to convince any actor to work with Ridley Scott,” Waterston told the crowd, “or to be a part of something like this”.
Stepping into a powerful-female role in an Alien franchise means that you have some big shoes to fill. Sigourney Weaver played the role of Ripley in four Alien installments, and Karger asked Waterston about the similarities between her characters and Ripley. Karger asked if there were conversations with the director on the topic, and if calling back to Ripley was a choice within the filmmaking process.
“We never really talked about it,” Waterston replied. “I mean, I — obviously I love her, and I love what she did,” Waterson explained, adding that there were “obvious parallels” to be found between the two characters. Waterston made sure to add, “But we never — we never talked about that.”
As for Waterston’s haircut in the film, which could be seen as a nod to Ripley’s iconic locks, the story isn’t quite what you may be thinking. Watestong told Karger, “actually the haircut was my idea, because I had this like, goofy bob from Fantastic Beasts.” The haircut actually came about thanks to one Ezra Miller, who played the role of Credence Barebone in the film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” alongside Waterston.
Waterston explained that one of Miller’s backup wigs for Fantastic Beasts was lying around, and after trying it on, later showed it to Ridley who let her use it as production got underway. “I’m just ripping off Ezra,” Waterston laughed. “There were a couple of other ideas that I had there, but for that, I didn’t really think about her (Weaver)”. Waterston did notice the resemblance, adding, “actually, in the first film, she had that great, big curly business, yeah”.
Scott will be directing a new trio of actors in this new thriller, which is set to star Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and possibly James Franco. Michael Green and John Logan have both worked on the screenplay, and the event even shared a trailer for the new film. A trailer that fans should see over the next few weeks/months.
A short interview was also released by the studio after the event, in the video Waterston talks more about working with Scott and the worlds that he creates for fans. You can watch that interview below, or on our YouTube channel.
In the new ‘Alien’ installment, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise. It’s not long before they find that the planet is a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, a survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.