Sigourney Weaver made the behind-the-back half-court basketball shot successfully after 3 weeks of basketball practice, tutored by a basketball coach. Her conversion rate during this time was 1 of overt 6 shots. When the day came to shoot the scene, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have the ball dropped in from above, rather than wait for Weaver to sink the shot herself, which "would probably take about 200 takes." Weaver insisted she could get the shot in herself, and was allowed to do. Though it is commonly said that she sunk the basket on her first attempt, it actually took her endless takes to complete the stunt. Jean-Pierre Juenet gave her one last try to sink the basket before they would give up and use CGI or a second ball. The very next take, Sigourney Weaver successfully managed the trick. Ron Perlman was completely stunned (and thoroughly impressed), and turned directly at the camera and broke character, saying; "Oh my God!" The editors looked at the shot, and decided there was "enough room to get the scissors in." Weaver was excited about making the shot, but Jeunet was concerned audiences would believe the shot to be faked due to the ball leaving the frame. Upon Weaver's insistence, he kept the shot as it was. Weaver described the miracle shot as "one of the best moments in her life", after her wedding day, and the birth of her daughter.
Actor Ron Perlman nearly drowned while filming the underwater sequence. At one point, when trying to surface, he hit his head on a sprinkler in the ceiling, knocking him out cold. He was rescued by nearby film crew members.
When pre-production was underway, the original 'Alien Queen' could not be located and the molds that were used to build the original were damaged beyond usefulness. Fortunately, the original life-size puppet was located... in the personal collection of an avid Alien (1979) fan.
The studio wanted to cut the scene preceding Ripley's encounter with the alien queen because of its rather sexual nature. They decided to keep it when Sigourney Weaver threatened to not promote the film if the scene was cut.
In order to heighten contrasts, cinematographer Darius Khondji added silver to the printing process. This had the result of making the dark colors richer and giving everything else a metallic tinge. He also used an electric blue tint for the underwater sequence.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have a scene where a mosquito stings Ripley, then vanishes into smoke because of her acid blood. Eventually, he dropped the idea after the SFX team told him how much it would cost.
When Johner says to Ripley; "So I hear you, like, ran into these things before. What did you do?", Ripley replies, "I died." Left on the cutting room floor was Johner's retort; "That's not exactly what I was hoping to hear."
Winona Ryder agreed to do this film even before reading the script. She stated that she "didn't care if she died in the first scene", she'd do it. Ryder claimed that then she could boast about being in an "Alien" movie to her younger brothers.
The underwater sequence marked the first time that Winona Ryder had gone underwater since a near-drowning incident that happened to her when she was 12 years old. The actress suffered a complete anxiety attack on the first day of filming in the underwater set.
Ron Perlman did most of his own stunts, particularly the scene where he hangs upside-down off a ladder by his legs whilst firing two guns at an alien. The next day, when he went to take a shower, he discovered he had severely lacerated the backs of his knees in doing so.
Joss Whedon has commented on his dissatisfaction with the movie. Fans had speculated that the finished movie deviated from his original script in some fatal manner, however he put such rumors to rest. His dialogue, action and plot were essentially intact. However he had written with a playful, tongue-in-cheek tone, which didn't work when the director decided to "play it straight." Eventually, Whedon created Firefly (2002) and Serenity (2005), which was also about a group of pirates on an old space ship, and captured the tone he had aimed for in this movie. He said that he never realized the similarities with the Betty and her crew until someone pointed it out to him. As irony would have it, the series was shot on the same stages at Fox Studios where 'Alien: Resurrection' was filmed, with the Serenity built over the pit that was dug for the underwater scenes.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet spoke almost no English at the time of shooting and had translators on set at all times. By the time the Special Edition DVD was released in 2003, he had learned enough English to record a director's commentary.
In her initial scenes with the Newborn, Sigourney Weaver makes a point of not looking in its eyes. This was a lesson learned from when she made Gorillas in the Mist (1988) in not making initial eye contact with a potentially dangerous animal.
The original idea for the movie was for Newt (the little girl from Aliens (1986)) to be cloned, not Ripley. She was to have considerable strength and fighting skills, so Joss Whedon was brought in, as he had experience writing an action series featuring a young heroine with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). Whedon wrote a 30-page story treatment, but the studio was concerned that fans would not accept an Alien movie without the Ellen Ripley character. When Sigourney Weaver agreed to reprise her role for $11 million, Whedon's initial story was scrapped, so he re-wrote it with the focus on a cloned Ripley.
In the scene where Dominique Pinon appears out of an elevator, his line originally was "Who were you expecting? The Easter Bunny?" However, Pinon kept saying "Eastern Bunny", to which his fellow actors would break out in laughter. The crew printed T-shirts with the line. Interestingly enough, the new line; "Who were you expecting, Santa Claus?" had also been used in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's previous movie, The City of Lost Children (1995), where it was directed at Ron Perlman as well.
The $50-60 million budget was significantly lower than the director and writers originally imagined. Therefore, sets were toned down in scale and a more claustrophobic shooting approach with a lot of close-ups to characters' faces was taken.
Joss Whedon was unhappy with everything about the film. He later commented in 2005: "It wasn't a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong they could possibly do. That's actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking. Because everything they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from it. And people assume that if I hated it then they'd changed the script...but it wasn't so much they changed it, they executed it in such a ghastly fashion they rendered it unwatchable."
The actors were subjected to about 15 underwater training sessions in swimming pools around the Los Angeles area before arriving at the underwater set where they underwent a further 2 weeks of training before anything was shot. Sigourney Weaver missed most of this because she had been appearing in a play on Broadway just prior to filming.
The Newborn's skull was made of plaster so it could be sucked out of the window into space. Cast only at 1/8-1/4" thick, it was scored into various pieces. Each piece was individually attached to a wire, so when struck against the window and cracked, each fragment could be pulled out one-by-one.
Originally, the fourth alien movie was to be a rendition of the popular comic Aliens Vs. Predator, which combined the Alien creatures with Predator (1987) since 1991. It took another 7 years before AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) saw the light.
The script and promotional material reveal that the orbit of Auriga was beyond Pluto. The project was not approved by the Congress, possibly due to its hazardous nature. According to the script the USS military cultivated vast quantities of cannabis to fund the cloning program since they could not rely on the goverment for an official subsidization. The goverment could not observe the military beyond the boundaries of the solar system. Although this subplot was dropped from the film there are still hints of this backstory when Elgyn remarks that the operation was not authorized by the Congress and that Auriga is located in unregulated space. This also explains the assertion of Call that Dr Wren is conducting illegal experiments.
One of the concept designs of the Newborn involved the creature sporting a likeness of Sigourney Weaver's face. This was abandoned as it bore too much of a similarity to Sil, the alien creature in Species (1995).
Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to shoot additional action scenes using a fully digital Newborn creature. He wanted Ripley to be chased by the Newborn in the escape from the Betty scene, but could not realize it due to budget constraints. In the final film, a full-size Newborn creature can be seen in only one scene and almost all of the scenes involving the creature are animatronic.
During the production of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, Frantic Films was brought in to re-shoot the title sequence, where a bug's teeth give way to a shot of the Auriga as it drifts into space. This shot was featured in the special edition of the movie.
All four "Alien" movies featuring Sigourney Weaver have a scene in which Ripley is seen dining with the ship's native inhabitants, and a sexual comment is made by someone at the table (in this movie, Ripley is prompted to say "fork" and says "f*ck" instead).
The Auriga interactive computer is named "Father." In the original Alien (1979), the computer's name was "Mother." There are even comparable scenes where people yell at Mother or Father for not responding to them.
Ripley's outfit was going to be a different one than the dark red uniform she is wearing for the most of the film. After Sigourney Weaver saw Kim Flowers (Hillard) on the set, she wanted to wear the same costume. Hillard can be seen in the exact same outfit in the underwater scene.
Nigel Phelps based the design of the spaceship "Betty" on a jackhammer. The "Auriga" was originally to be a vertical structure, but he abandoned this idea once he realized the difficulty of capturing the scope of such a ship design on film.
The film's model miniatures were shot at a former Howard Hughes aircraft plant in Los Angeles. Visual effects supervisor Erik Henry and visual effects director of photography Rick Fichter used an advanced motion control camera system that required constant vigilance and re-alignment as the area was prone to small earthquakes and tremors.
For the luckless human victims which the renegades find, as if already having had the aliens burst out of their stomachs wasn't enough, the crew devised costumes which had stomach entrails stitched onto the outside. This was directly inspired by a T-shirt that was popular around the time of the release of Alien (1979) in which an alien fetus (and a lot of blood) was attached to the front.
The scene with Ripley waking up gradually was not in the script. It was an addition by the director in order to symbolize the creation of the clone as a larva which transforms into a butterfly and tears up the cocoon.
Paul W.S. Anderson was in talks to direct but was unable to take part due to scheduling conflicts. Anderson would still get his chance to direct an outer space opus the following year with Event Horizon (1997). And of course he would visit the Alien franchise several years later with AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004).
The gaps between the four Alien films steadily decreased. There was seven years between the release of Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986), six between Aliens and Alien³ (1992), and five between Alien³ and Alien Resurrection (1997).
The tube where the clone of Ripley is created was scripted as a regular bed like case, much like the cryo tubes in which the hosts of the aliens are carried by the Betty crew. It was an artistic choice to render the glass chamber vertical shaped.
The first draft of the script contained an action sequence which took place in a garden contained within the spaceship "Auriga," with Ripley driving an electrically-powered jeep to avoid aliens attacking from all sides. This was to take place after the scene in the chapel but before the sequence where the Newborn is introduced. The sequence was cut due largely to budget constraints.
Danny Boyle was Fox's first choice to direct after the success of Trainspotting (1996). He and screenwriter/frequent collaborator John Hodge turned it down because they couldn't agree with the studio on a story line, and chose to work on A Life Less Ordinary (1997) instead.
The USM Auriga was originally designed by artist Nigel Phelps and resembled a medical instrument. This design proved to be too vertical for the film's opening shot, in which the camera pans out to show the ship, and did not appear satisfactory in the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Three days before the design had to be finalized, Jean-Pierre Jeunet rejected it. Phelps, production illustrator Jim Martin, and concept artist Sylvain Despretz were tasked to redesign the ship. Jeunet felt Martin's design was too much like a space station, while he accepted Despretz's design due to its streamlined and horizontal appearance.
In the novelization of the movie, Johner has a phobia of insects and as a result is deathly afraid of the Xenomorphs, often shaking uncontrollably with fear whenever they appear. This is contrary to his portrayal in the film where he seems to show little concern for the horrors around him (although he still blasted a spider off of its web with a shot from his pistol after the upside down shooting scene).
Appx. 1h 25 mins, Leland Orser's character is called Larry Purvis in the credits. In the original script, he was supposed to have his last name on his jumpsuit, and Christie calls him by that name. This scene was changed in the final cut, and the only person who refers to him as Purvis is Call, when they get ready to put him in the Betty's freezing chamber towards the end of the film.
In the film, Call is revealed to be a "Auton". In the long-running BBC science fiction series "Doctor Who", the Jon Pertwee, Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith incarnations of the title protagonist The Doctor fought living plastic dummies called The Autons. John Hurt, who played Kane in the original film, played The War Doctor in the series' 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor (2013); and Paul McGann, who played Golic in "Alien 3", played The 8th Doctor in the 1996 TV movie, and returned in the mini episode Night of The Doctor (2013), which saw The 8th Doctor regenerate into The War Doctor.
Originally, it was Newt who would be resurrected, not Ripley. There are 3 flaws behind that: Carrie Henn was 21 in 1997 and she never acted again after Aliens (1986). Newt had not been impregnated by a facehugger and had drowned in her cryotube and her body was cremated.
Johners knife was made from resin and hand-painted to look like metal and wood. The knife is currently for sale at Movie Bits for $495.00 it has been mounted in a box frame with laser-cut display showing the film's title and description along with two stills from the scene the knife was used in. It comes supplied with a Certificate of Authenticity.
The Betty Crew led by Elgin are space pirates. Screenwriter Joss Whedon later created the short-lived science fiction TV series Firefly (2002) which was produced by 20th Century Fox Television. The series followed the crew of the spaceship Serenity led by Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) whom are space pirates. Summer Glau whom played River Tam in that series had been called by some fans online "a young Sigourney Weaver". In real life, Sigourney Weaver is 33 years older than Summer Glau.
At around 55 mins) When Ripley discovers all of the other "failed" alien/hybrid clones of herself, she finds one still alive who begs Ripley to mercy-kill her, which Ripley does, with a flame thrower. This idea was recycled from a deleted scene from Alien (1979), wherein Ripley finds Dallas, and he asks her to mercy-kill him, which she does with a flamethrower in a similar manner.
At appx. 1h 35 mins, to achieve the shot where the camera travels inside Leland Orser to see the alien fetus about to be birthed, Orser had a camera down his throat and then pulled out. This was then reversed.
In an early draft of the screenplay, an unnamed soldier was to be sucked through a small hole in a window after corrosive Alien blood ate a hole in it. In a later script version, General Perez (Dan Hedaya) was scripted to die this way. Special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics worked on the effect for several weeks, but when director Jean-Pierre Jeunet saw test footage, he thought this was a much too spectacular death for such a minor character. The idea was instead used for the death of the Newborn. Perez's eventual death scene (with him being bitten in the back of his head, and observing a piece of his own brain) was not approved by the studio, but kept in the movie after test audiences responded quite favorably.
Joss Whedon originally scripted the Newborn creature as a deadly spider-like four-legged, eyeless, bone-white creature with red veins running along the sides of its head. It had an inner jaw, similar to the all the other aliens. It also had a pair of pincers on the sides of his head. These pincers were used to hold its prey still as it drained the prey of blood with its inner jaw. The creature was much larger, nearly the size of the queen alien. It was also very hostile towards Ripley. Whedon was not involved in later script revisions, where the creature was changed into a "more believable" hybrid of human and alien that has a love scene with Ripley.
The film originally ended with the Betty landing on Earth and Ripley and Call viewing the ruins of Paris. The scene was shot but the idea was abandoned for the theatrical release. When Jean-Pierre Jeunet was invited to create a Special Edition of the movie, the idea was revived and the scene's visual effects finished.
In the scene which Ripley kills a Xenomorph by shooting it in the head. Call argues with the Betty crew that they cannot trust Ripley, which Christie answers "I don't trust anyone.". This is a nod to a scene in the original Alien (1979), which Ripley has a argument with Dallas about Ash bringing the facehugger back to Earth. Ripley tells Dallas that she doesn't trust Ash and Dallas replies by telling he doesn't trust anyone.
The first draft of the script included a different climactic fight between Ripley, Call, and the Newborn that was cut for budgetary reasons. Originally, the Betty crash-lands on Earth, with Ripley, Call, two other crew members and the Newborn as the only survivors. Ripley decides to lure the Newborn away from a nearby city, and battles it with a grenade launcher in a snowy forest. The creature nearly kills her, but then Call comes to the rescue, driving a "Harvester", a reaper-like farm machine which they had found during the garden chase sequence on board the Auriga (a scene also cut from the film due to budget limits). Together, they drive the Newborn into the grinders of the Harvester, which tears the creature apart. The film also ends with Ripley facing an uncertain future.
Joss Whedon was determined to have Ripley and the Alien end up on future Earth, as the series had never gone there. He went through five different script versions of the final battle with the "Newborn" creature, all taking place on Earth. The first took place in a snowy forest; the second in a futuristic junkyard; the third in a hospital maternity ward, and the fourth in a desert (to which he initially objected, because it looked too much like an alien world). When the studio told him that the budget would not allow for an ending set on Earth, he scripted the climax taking place aboard the Betty. Whether coincidence or not, the later spin-off movies AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) finally took place on Earth, in locations such as a snow-covered village and a maternity ward.
The film ends with the Newborn being sucked out of a tiny hole in the spaceship's hull, an idea that was considered as a death scene for Lambert in Alien (1979), but abandoned because of budgetary constraints. It was also proposed for dispatching a minor character in one of the drafts of Alien³ (1992).
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was given license to change the script as much as he wanted, and the final film is substantially different than Joss Whedon's original script. Characters and situations were merged, simplified or removed, and the overall tone was made more fanciful and less realistic. Things changed or removed include: An Asian assassin called St. Just (pronounced "San-Jhoost") was original part of the Betty's crew. Johner was described as being more of a crazy, psychopathic character. After the underwater sequence, the characters were then forced to climb up a 50 story lift-shaft, with aliens attacking them. After the Chapel scene, there was an action sequence in the ship's "farm", including a moment were the crew discovers the army has been growing cannabis. The Newborn alien was originally extremely deadly, the size of a Queen alien, and there was little emotional connection between it and Ripley. The final action sequence took place on Earth, ending with the surviving characters (including Ripley) deciding to stick together.
The Special Edition includes a scene which eliminates controversy about the extent of damages caused by the collision course of Auriga. Call re-calibrates the velocity and the coordinates of Auriga so the space station will crash onto an uninhabited quadrant of Earth. Not only is this consistent with Call's intentions of saving mankind and not inflict any human casualties, but this also ensures that after the impact, the repercussions of the wave will not cause any harm.
In Call's back-story: When the android industry declined. The second generation androids or Autons (androids designed by androids) were developed, after an attempt to revitalize the android industry. The Autons rebel and only a few androids escaped the massacre and Call was created as a Auton secret agent and joined the Betty crew as a mechanic, so she could destroy the cloned xenomorphs aboard the Auriga.
The film had originally been scripted with the Betty arriving on Earth, landing in the ruins of Paris, with Ripley and Call sitting down and trying to decide what they are going to do. Ripley says she doesn't know what to do, because she is a stranger to Earth. The scene was storyboarded and filmed, but never finished in post-production. Instead, it was re-written as Ripley and Call looking at Earth from above, aboard the Betty. It wasn't until 7 years later that director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was approached to make a special edition of his movie. Although he was quite happy with the old version, he remembered the originally scripted ending and agreed to finish the old scene.
The final chestburster was not intended to die during the climactic gunfire. According to the script the leads would chase the chestburster inside the Betty not wanting to risk damaging the hull with bullets. Call would stab it with her stileto.
It is unclear how the Auriga scientists got samples of Ripley's DNA on 'Fury" 161, the prison planet where Ripley died in Alien 3 (1992). At the end of the previous film, Ripley committed suicide by jumping into a gigantic furnace. The molten lead in the gigantic furnace would had vaporized Ripley's blood and DNA when Ripley fell into the gigantic furnace along with the newborn alien queen. It's possible Clemens (Charles Dance) may had taken a sample of Ripley's blood when she crashed landed on Fury 161.
This movie was originally going to be the set-up for a fifth film that was going to follow Ripley and Call back on Earth. Joss Whedon was set to write it, and both Ridley Scott and James Cameron were attached at various points. None of this materialized when Fox Studio decided to make AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), a cross-over with the "Predator" franchise. Whedon later stated that he was no longer interested in making someone else's franchises anymore, instead focusing on projects of his own.
In the narrative behind Ripley killing the newborn alien/human hybrid. Ripley had to kill the newborn because if the newborn had arrived on Earth, it would had been captured and experimented on by the government.