10 Things You Might Not Know About ALIEN 3 - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About ALIEN 3

In an insane world, Geek Dave must appear insane.


1. After the box office success of Aliens, 20th Century Fox were keen to fast track another sequel in the franchise. So keen they agreed, in principle to two! The original idea was that two films be shot back to back, to lesson production costs, and also to maximise their money's worth from an already-reluctant-to-return Sigourney Weaver.

The plot of these two films would explore the duplicity of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and why they were so intent in using the Aliens as biological weapons. The treatment for the third film focused on "the underhanded Weyland–Yutani Corporation facing off with a militarily aggressive culture of humans whose rigid socialist ideology has caused them to separate from Earth's society" and would feature Michael Biehn's Corporal Hicks promoted to main protagonist, with Sigourney Weaver's character of Ellen Ripley reduced to a cameo appearance before returning to lead the fourth installment in "an epic battle with alien warriors mass-produced by the expatriated Earthlings." Weaver liked the Cold War metaphor, and agreed to a smaller role, particularly due to a dissatisfaction with Fox, who removed scenes from Aliens crucial to Ripley's backstory.

As the screenplay's languished in development hell, the fall of Communism made the Cold War analogies outdated, and Fox president Joe Roth decided he did not like the idea of Ripley being largely removed from the third chapter. Declaring that "Sigourney Weaver is the centerpiece of the series" and Ripley was "really the only female warrior we have in our movie mythology" he called Weaver offering her a reported $5 million salary, plus a share of the box office receipts to lead Alien 3. Weaver agreed on the condition that she received a co-producer credit, a new original story was to be developed and approved by her, and that the story would be non-dependent on guns.


2. During the long gestating period of development hell, prior to Sigourney Weaver finally agreeing to reprise the role of Ripley, original Alien director Ridley Scott was offered the chance to direct Alien 3. Scott thought the third film should explore the origin of the Xenomorph species, but this concept was deemed too expensive since most special effects work at the time still had to be done practically instead of by computer-generated images, so Scott declined to return.

Of course, Scott ultimately got his wish, returning almost two decades later with Prometheus, and then Alien: Covenant.

3. Unfortunately, even with Weaver fully on board, the development hell of Aliens 3 showed no sign of stopping. Mulitple treatments and screenplays were written and rejected. When production began in earnest, $7 was spent on sets that ended up never being used thanks to even more rewrites on the ever-changing script. During filming, the script was still constantly being re-written, with new versions faxed to the studio on a near-daily basis. Cast and crew often filmed a scene, and learned the next day that it had already been scrapped.


4. Along with Ridley Scott, Renny Harland was also approached to direct for Alien 3. Tired of the development hell, and unconvinced with the ever-changing script, he eventually quit the project to make The Adventures Of Ford Farlane. New Zealand director Vincent Ward was then bought in to both direct and draft a new story. Ultimately the production team felt Ward's vision was "more bent on the artsy-fartsy side than the big commercial one" that Ridley Scott and James Cameron employed with the first two Alien films, so Ward was fired (although the main plot of the finished film follows his story's structure).

Fox then approached David Fincher to replace Ward as director of Alien 3. Today, of course, Fincher is a well known and respected filmmaker, but in 1990 Fincher's directorial resume consisted entirely of music videos, albeit very stylish ones for Madonna, George Michael and Sting (and a whole load of 1980s pop classics). That's quite some gamble for a film which went into production with a budget of $45 million (although after reshoots ended up closer to $60 million!).

5. Charles Dance plays Jonathan Clemens, a former inmate of the foundry facility Fiorina "Fury" 161 who now serves as the facility's doctor. Fincher initially offered this role to Richard E. Grant, in the hope that he could reunite him with Withnail and I co-stars Ralph Brown (who plays Francis Aaron) and Paul McGann (who plays Walter Golic).


6. Michael Biehn stated in an interview that he was deeply hurt that he wasn't asked to return as Corporal Dwayne Hicks, his character from Aliens, but even more so that the film opened with Hicks immediately being killed off after escaping with the other survivors at the end of the previous movie. Especially since the original plan was for him to lead the third film.

Biehn stated that he didn't mind Hicks dying per se, but objected to the careless way that they did it in this film. He therefore refused the studio permission to use a dummy of a corpse in his likeness, but allowed them the use of his photograph. Biehn was reportedly paid more for the use of his likeness in that photograph than his work on Aliens.

Carrie Henn, on the other hand, was more cool about her character Newt's death, simply stating "Life goes on".

7. Whilst not on set working, Sigourney Weaver had to wear a wig when home with her family as her then two-year-old daughter became upset and scared every time she saw her mother bald.


8. Charles Dance revealed that an alternate ending for Alien 3 had been filmed due to fears that the original ending was too similar to that of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, released the previous year, but was not used

9.After release, first-time director David Fincher disowned Alien 3, stating in an interview with the Guardian:
"I had to work on it for two years, got fired off it three times and I had to fight for every single thing. No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me".
He cited constant studio interference during production, and actually walked out when the studio rejected his initial cut and ordered extensive re-shoots. He was not involved in the final cut, but his initial rough cut later became the basis for the 'Assembly Cut', a longer version of the movie released on DVD in 2003, and on Blu-ray in 2010. Although Fincher considered working on this Assembly Cut, he eventually decided against it, but gave supervising producer Charles de Lauzirika his blessing, as long as it was not called a 'Director's cut'. With regards to the new version itself, Fincher stated that he has no comments on it, as he has never seen it.


10. Alien 3's production process was so chaotic and its reception by fans and critics so unfavorable that it nearly ended David Fincher's career before he ever had a chance to gain momentum as a film director. Indeed, after release Fincher went back to music videos - for the likes of Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones.

However, two things ended up saving Fincher from a permanent career in pop promos. The first was that Sigourney Weaver publicly (and often angrily) sided with Fincher against 20th Century Fox, telling journalists that the studio had made decisions that resulted in an impossible situation for the young director, and that he would have an excellent career if given further chances.

The other thing was that producer Arnold Kopelson had little respect the management at Fox, and understood it was their interference that led to the negative reception the film received. Kopelson, having worked with Fincher first hand during Alien 3's production, offered him a new project a few years later. Fincher returned to Hollywood to take a second shot at directing for a studio. This time things turned out just a bit better for him. This new project was a little film called Se7en.You may have heard of it?

Previously
10 Things you Might Not Know About Alien
10 Things You Might Not Know About Aliens

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