Trivia / Alien³

  • Creator Backlash:
    • David Fincher disowned Alien³ due to all the Executive Meddling he had to endure during the movie's production.
    • James Cameron criticized the sequel harshly, specifically citing what became of Bishop, Hicks, and Newt. Michael Biehn was reportedly so annoyed about his character's fate that he only allowed the use of his likeness in exchange for a hefty paycheck.
    • Michael Biehn later regretted his angry decision to deny them any chance to use his likeness - in hindsight saying it would have been a great chance to work with David Fincher.
  • Development Hell: The tale of Alien³'s development is the stuff of industry legend, and a prime example of Executive Meddling in full force. A rotating lineup of directors who all got shunted aside by FOX, a lineup of writers working on screenplayers concurrently with no idea other writers were involved, delays, reshoots, disastrous test screenings, tensions between FOX and (then-newbie) director David Fincher, a "pay-or-play" deal between the studio and Sigourney Weaver, Fincher getting locked out of the editing room, executives and writers at odds as to how the story would play out, months spent building sets that had to be shoehorned into a completely different all added to a giant mess in its development.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Zigzagged in case of Weaver. She initially agreed to shave her head for the filming. However, as the Troubled Production stretched on, reshoots were done months later, and Weaver refused to shave her head again, which meant spending some thousands of dollars more for a custom-made authentic-looking bald cap.
  • Executive Meddling: By the time David Fincher was officially signed on to direct, the film had already gone though a dozen or so different writers and directors, and almost two million dollars worth of sets that had been constructed. With the release date looming, the studio had Fincher begin filming without even a finished script in place, ordering him to essentially make up the plot of the film as he went along by piecing together parts of the other unfinished scripts and improvising the rest. The studio constantly demanded reshoots and rewrites throughout the films production, and often blocked Fincher from filming key scenes (some of which he filmed anyway and made it into the final cut). When it finally came around to editing, the studio ordered that radical edits and reshoots take place in order to shorten the films runtime by 30 minutes, causing Fincher to become infuriated and walk off set. David Fincher has since ended up disowning the film because of his horrible experience working on the project.

    As a measure of how much it afflicted the film, no fewer than eight people attempted to claim credit for the screenplay during the WGA arbitration process, with a further four not bothering for various reasons. In particular, Rex Pickett, who wrote a significant portion of the shooting script, ended up being one of the ones not wanting credit largely due to how unpleasant the whole experience had been. This was so bad, even H. R. Giger - the original designer for the first Xenomorph - was shafted in favor of Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis' designs. This didn't stop Giger from faxing his designs to his client, David Fincher, after he disbanded from the project.
  • Fan Nickname: Alien3 tends to be jokingly referred to as Alien Cubed among the fandom due to the inexplicable superscript use of the number 3 in the movie's title.
  • Image Source: This film provides the page image for:
  • Money, Dear Boy: Michael Biehn was paid almost as much as he'd received for Aliens - for a picture of him that appears briefly in the film's opening.
  • Old Shame:
    • David Fincher doesn't list Alien³ on his resume and refused to record any interviews or commentary for the Quadrilogy box set, due to lingering anger over the Executive Meddling during production.
    • From comments he made on the commentary and in some of the footage for the documentary on the Blu-Ray, Lance Henriksen isn't overly fond of the movie, either, finding it nihilistic, most of the characters despicable, and finding Ripley sleeping with Clemens to be out-of-character.
  • One-Book Author: A minor (acting) example - this is the only film that Danielle Edmund (the girl who took over the "role" of Newt) ever starred in. She appears in a Freeze-Frame Bonus during the opening sequence.
  • The Other Darrin: Carrie Henn was too old to play Newt, so Danielle Edmund acted as a Fake Shemp for her in the opening titles. For the autopsy scene, a cast mould of Carrie Henn was made.
  • Playing Against Type: Charles Dance usually plays stern or intimidating authority types. Here he plays a bitter medic who's the Non-Action Guy of the bunch.
  • Reality Subtext: Charles S. Dutton (Dillon) is a real life former convict who cleaned himself up before getting into acting.
  • Troubled Production: One could probably do an entire semester of film school class on the problems Alien³ faced:
    1. Directors and writers kept getting hired and fired during pre-production because the studio couldn't decide what direction they wanted to take the story in.
    2. David Fincher had never directed a feature film and faced near-constant Executive Meddling.
    3. Shooting began before there was a finished script.
    4. Sets which had already been partially constructed when filming began had to be rebuilt or worked around.
    5. The production was $7 million in the hole on the first day of filming.
    6. And in the end the studio wound up editing the film into an almost unrecognizable mess.
  • Wag the Director: Sigourney Weaver pushed for the lack of weaponry in the film, as she was very anti-gun in real life. As a result, Ripley does not handle a single weapon in the whole film.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Alien 3 went through several writers, including William Gibson, Eric Red, David Twohy (who would later use some of the script he had written for Pitch Black) and Vincent Ward, before the final shooting script was thrown together using parts of all the previous drafts (mainly the latter three). Summaries of each can be found at The Other Wiki. For interested parties, the full version of Gibson's first draft can be found here. Gibson notes that the only part of his script that made it into the final film was his use of the Scannable Man trope.
    • At one point Ridley Scott was approached to direct but he turned it down. He had ideas of exploring the origins of the xenomorphs, which would later manifest in Prometheus.
    • The autopsy scene was a lot more detailed than appears in the finished film. A rough cut of the scene had so much gore, it made some crew members that had worked on it throw up and nearly slapped the movie with an NC-17 rating.
    • Even the man wrote the novelisation disliked the story. He tried to turn the novelisation into a Fix Fic where Newt survived. After the studio forced him to keep the story consistent with the movie's, he declined to write any more novelisations for the franchise.
    • The role of Clemens was written for Richard E Grant, in the hopes of reuniting him with his Withnail & I co-stars Paul McGann and Ralph Brown. Gabriel Byrne was also offered the role.