Trivia / Aliens

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Jenette Goldstein (who played Private Vasquez) originally thought Aliens was going to be a drama about immigration and showed up to audition wearing short skirt and high heels. This incident was directly referred to in a crack Hudson makes about Vasquez during the briefing.
    Hudson: Yeah, when they said "aliens", she thought they said illegal aliens and signed up!
    • This is the second James Cameron film where Michael Biehn is injured in the third act and the film's heroine has to help him walk as part of her Adrenaline Makeover. He also gets bitten on the hand in both those movies and his third Cameron collaboration - The Abyss.
  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • Cameron let the actors playing the Marines customise their costumes much like soldiers in Vietnam did to their combat gear. Bill Paxton wrote 'Louise' on his, as a dedication to his wife. Cynthia Dale Scott (Dietrich) wrote "Blue Angel" on the back of her helmet (as a Shout-Out to a film starring Marlene Dietrich). Jenette Goldstein wrote a Spanish phrase onto hers, translating as "the risk always survives". The exception was Michael Biehn, who was a late addition. He wasn't happy that his gear had a heart on it, because he felt it looked too much like a bullseye.
    • Sigourney Weaver gave James Cameron several notes after reading the script - detailing how she thought Ripley would react to certain situations. Cameron was all too happy to listen to her ideas.
    • Subverted in another case. Lance Henriksen wanted to wear double pupil contact lenses for the scene where Spunkmeyer gets creeped out by Bishop in the med lab. He came to set with the lenses but the director assured him he was creepy enough already.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Al Mathews plays Sgt Apone. In real life he was the first black Marine to be promoted to sergeant during the Vietnam War.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Sigourney Weaver had turned down offers to do sequels to Alien for years, afraid of Sequelitis. However once she saw the script - particularly the motherly bond between Ripley and Newt - she signed on immediately.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Ripley doesn't say "Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure," she says "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." What's worse is that the line is often attributed only to Hicks instead, who was repeating it in concurrence with Ripley.
  • B-Team Sequel: To Ridley Scott's Alien. Hard as it is to imagine now, James Cameron was a newcomer when he was tapped for this film; The Terminator was finished but not yet released, meaning he couldn't even point to that as a successful project yet.
  • Casting Gag: Lance Henriksen as the synthetic Bishop is a nod to the fact that he was supposed to play the titular cyborg villain of The Terminator until Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast.
  • Cast the Expert: For his Vietnam allegory, Cameron cast Al Matthews, an actual Vietnam veteran.
  • Creator Backlash: Carrie Henn, who played Newt, has said that she hates the line "They mostly come at night. Mostly."
  • Creator Cameo: James Cameron's is the voice that speaks when the salvage crew finds Ripley at the start of the film.
  • The Danza: All the actors playing Marines (except Michael Biehn) used their real first names for their characters.
  • Defictionalization: The M41 pulse rifle.
  • Development Gag: Hudson teases Vasquez by saying "When they said 'alien', she thought they said 'illegal alien' and signed up." Vasquez's actress actually did make that mistake; she showed up to the auditions dressed as a migrant worker.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: All the actors who played the Marines attended a two-week training session with S.A.S. officers, except Michael Biehn, who was a last-minute addition. The other main actors, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, and William Hope, were deliberately excluded from training, to generate a sense of detachment between their characters and the Marines.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • The scenes on board the Sulaco were filmed last, so that the actors playing the Colonial Marines would have had time to build up a realistic rapport with one another over the course of shooting.
    • Bill Paxton was unaware that his hand would be used in the knife trick. His look of panic is real.
  • Executive Meddling: The film had many scenes cut from it (though they were restored later in the home video release of the film) that expand upon many plot points in the film. Though some were legitimately dropped (giving away the likely existence of the Queen, for example, or the sentry gun scenes), removing the parts dealing with Ripley's daughter subtracts a major emotional element from the film.
  • Fake American: Played with. Newt is meant to be American and Carrie Henn is likewise American. However he family had lived in England for a while and she had picked up a hybrid between the two accents - which is audible in a few scenes.
  • Fake Nationality: Jenette Goldstein, who plays Vasquez, is NOT Hispanic.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The spear gun Ripley uses at the end of the first film can be seen at the beginning - still stuck at the bottom of the escape pod door.
  • Image Source: This film provides the page image for:
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • Paul Reiser laments having played a character so hateful that his own mother whispered "good" when the Aliens killed him.
      • According to IMDB, his sister hit him at the movie's premiere.
    • Hudson is a bit of a cocky Jerkass. Bill Paxton repeatedly apologised to Carrie Henn for swearing in front of her during takes. She later admitted she didn't mind - since she had no idea what a lot of the curse words meant.
  • One-Book Author: An acting variant. Carrie Henn (Newt), despite winning a Saturn Award for her work, decided not to act again after being bullied due to her role in Aliens.
  • The Other Marty: James Remar was originally cast as Cpl. Hicks, but James Cameron had him replaced with Michael Biehn shortly after shooting began. A few shots of Remar, mostly from behind, still made it into the movie.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Bishop for Lance Henriksen. Retroactively, yes; but this is so far the only character in Lance Henricksen's career who is a gentle, polite and kind sweetheart. Everyone else is at best a tired and burnt-out cynic, but as a rule heartless and violent monsters. Until he played the first Weyland years later.
    • Michael Biehn later said that he almost never got to play heroic characters like Corporal Dwayne Hicks, saying that people who look at him must see something wicked in his eyes and assume there's something wrong with him. These days, he's arguably best remembered for playing heroes like Hicks and Kyle Reese in The Terminator for James Cameron.
    • Paul Reiser, who's known as a stand-up comedian and normally plays comic roles, excels in this serious role as sleazy, slimy Burke.
  • Production Posse: Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen are all James Cameron regulars. Jenette Goldstein joined Cameron's regulars starting here.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • The picture of Ripley's daughter Amanda was of Sigourney Weaver's real life mother Elizabeth Inglis.
    • Newt's brother Timmy was played by Carrie Henn's actual brother Christopher.
  • The Red Stapler: Many businesses wanted to buy Power Loaders as forklifts; sadly none were to be bought, since it's a combination of a stunt man sitting in the loader behind Ripley moving the limbs, wires holding it up, and some miniatures work.
  • Role Ending Misdemeanor: James Remar was dropped from the film and replaced with Michael Biehn after getting busted for drug possession.
  • Romance on the Set: James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd married during production.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • As far as directors go, this and The Terminator made James Cameron a household name.
    • Subverted with Michael Biehn. Despite well received roles in both those films, he wasn't launched onto anything bigger afterwards.
  • Throw It In:
    • The "Game over, man!" line was improvised.
    • Bishop's little knife trick wasn't in the script. According to Lance Henriksen, it was discussed amongst everyone except Bill Paxton.
  • Troubled Production: Cameron didn't get along with the English film crew at all, who thought he was a poor substitute for Ridley Scott and disliked him for the simple fact that he was American [actually Canadian] and not British (ironically, Scott himself would have similar problems when he didn't mesh with the American crew of 1982's Blade Runner). The crew was openly hostile to both Cameron and his then wife producer Gale Anne Hurd, whom they openly mocked by claiming she wasn't the real producer and only got the credit because she was married to Cameron. Actor Bill Paxton later said that British film crew drove Cameron nuts with their "indentured" work ethics, stopping filming just so they could have tea and the like; Michael Biehn made fun of the British crew in the audio commentary by saying that they "weren't used to working" (a remark he threw in when Paxton was talking about the "indentured" work ethics). Things eventually hit their breaking point when Cameron clashed with an uncooperative cameraman who refused to light the Alien nest the way Cameron wanted (Cameron wanted dark lighting to create an eerie atmosphere while the cameraman kept going with bright lighting to show off the intricacies of the set) and finally Cameron, fed up with the bad attitudes of his crew, yelled at the guy "YOU'RE FIRED!" and threw him off the set, which led to the crew walking out, requiring Gale Anne Hurd to coax them back once they had all cooled down. The film went over-schedule and over-budget, and James Horner had barely any time to throw his (very memorable) music score together - to the point that he swore to never work with Cameron again. He recanted later.
  • Wag the Director: The special edition was a result of this. After Sigourney Weaver saw the finished cut (which deleted the subplot about Ripley's daughter), she threatened to never do another Alien film. Thus the edition was released.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Stephen Lang, who'd later work with Cameron on Avatar had auditioned for Hicks. And funnily enough Michael Biehn was considered for his role in that, but turned down out of fear of making people think too much of this movie.
    • Early on, Sigourney Weaver was still reluctant to do a sequel. The studio asked Cameron to develop an alternate plot excluding Ripley - just in case Weaver didn't sign on. Cameron refused, on the basis that the series is all about her.
    • The initial draft of the script didn't feature Carter Burke. His dialogue would have been given to someone called Dr O'Neil - who would not have gone with the Marines. Ripley's daughter would also have still been alive - and had a heart-breaking conversation over the phone where she yelled at her mother for abandoning her. There would have been a separate set of aliens to do the cocooning - and Ripley, Hicks and Newt would have been cocooned. Additionally Bishop was far less heroic - refusing to pick them up because of the risk of contamination.
  • Word of God: According to James Cameron, Drake and Vasquez are childhood friends who grew up in a slum together - and they're serving in the marines as an alternative to prison.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/Aliens