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Trivia / Alien³

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  • Blooper: In the Assembly Cut only, where Murphy still calls out Spike’s name when he finds the Xenomorph despite the dog being nonexistent in that version.
  • B-Team Sequel:
    • At one point Ridley Scott was approached to direct but he turned it down due to his commitment to 1492: Conquest of Paradise. He had ideas of exploring the origins of the xenomorphs, which would later manifest in Prometheus.
    • Stan Winston was asked to work on this film, but was unavailable. Instead he recommended Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, two former workers of his studio who had just started their own company, Amalgamated Dynamics.
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    • H. R. Giger - the original designer for the first Xenomorph - was shafted in favour of Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis' designs. This didn't stop Giger from faxing his designs to his client, David Fincher, after he withdrew from the project.
    • By the time pre-production started, James Cameron was busy working on The Abyss.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Fox's attempt to keep Alien as this led to all the difficulties noted in Executive Meddling and Troubled Production, as the "Wreckage and Rage" documentary notes, they "didn't set out to make a movie, they set out to make a release date." The film was announced, the release date selected and locked in before Fox had a cast, director, script, writer, or even a concept (though the teaser, with it's tagline "On Earth, everyone can hear you scream" indicates at least one idea had popped up), meaning that every subsequent decision was made with the release date hanging over it like the Sword of Damocles. The end result was a film that was massively over budget, barely on-schedule, and so stressful for everyone involved no one has pleasant memories of the production (which probably only contributed to the film's nihilistic bleakness).
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  • Completely Different Title: The Hungarian title translates as Alien: Final Solution: Death.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • David Fincher disowned the film 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, though in recent years he has said that aside from that he thinks the movie is fine. 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 (so hefty, in fact, that it was more than his entire fee for Aliens). 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 Fincher.
  • Creative Differences: Fox tried to find the next James Cameron or Ridley Scott. The producers, David Giler and Walter Hill, prided themselves on discovering visionary talent and making each installment different and visually-striking. They went through multiple young directors and writers (cyberpunk master William Gibson turned in a draft) before eventually settling on Vincent Ward, who had some high-concept ideas. His initial draft, which reduced Ripley to a cameo, was nixed; Fox believed she should remain in the center. He came up with the 'planet of monks' concept, which was originally supposed to be a wooden planet covered in farmlands. Really far-out stuff, to the point where Fox got nervous and started asking questions about whether it made any sense, or if it was too different from previous styles. But at that point they had already released a misleading teaser, set a date (their first and biggest mistake), and started building sets. Neither Ward or Fox wanted to compromise, so Ward walked away. That left them with no director and no script a few weeks before shooting.
    • Hill rewrote the story and adapted it to his own gritty sensibilities. (He was the protégé of Sam Peckinpah before essentially making a series of brutal B-movies.) The monks were reworked into weird British convicts and the sets were repainted to that drab metal look. Michael Biehn and the Newt character were never included, since Ward wanted to wipe the slate clean and make it gothic horror with a PTSD Ripley, so they just stuck to that.
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    • Notably, Fox had greenlit the Ward/Fasano "Wooden Planet" script, and started building sets for it, before they decided to start questioning whether or not the basic premise and setting worked in the Alien 'Verse. Which means either the script was accepted without having been fully read, and thus the studio were initially unaware of the issues. . . or they accepted the script fully aware of the issues and intending to browbeat Ward into "fixing" them during production, instead of before. Ward walked when he realized that Fox had no intention of letting him make the movie they had hired him to make in the first place.
  • The Danza: Peter Guinness as Peter Gregor.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • Originally, the Sulaco was going to be seen partially exploding after the EEV jettisons, the intention being that this explosion is what damages the EEV's guidance systems, causing it to crash on Fiorina 161 instead of landing safely.
    • After Dillon says his prayer at the funeral, Ripley was to scratch her head and discover a horde of lice on her fingertips.
    • An actual sex scene between Ripley and Clemens was filmed, but not ultimately used. Instead, their union occurs off-screen.
    • A short but fairly well-known excision was made during the scene where Ripley goes to find the Xenomorph in the basement. After it drops down, the creature originally reared up over her as she lay on the floor before running away.
    • Footage was shot of Dillon discovering Troy's mangled body during the bait-and-chase sequence.
    • While on the gantry after killing the Dragon, Ripley is overcome with pain and nausea due to the embryo inside her. She collapses to the floor, after which Morse helps her back to her feet.
  • Dyeing for Your Art/Real Life Writes the Hairstyle: Sigourney Weaver 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: 20th Century Fox spent millions of dollars over a period of four years trying to get the script up and running — every director who signed up left, either due to Creative Differences or refusing Fox's mandates (such as the inclusion of Sigourney Weaver), and there wasn't even a finished script when filming started, so rookie director David Fincher, whom they believed they could control, had to make up the plot of the film as he went along by piecing together parts of the other unfinished scripts and improvising the rest. And Fincher had other plans regarding being a simple workman, and started several battles with the producers. Fox prevented Fincher from shooting key scenes (which he shot anyway, and made it into the final cut), sent him back for reshoots after a deliberately botched test screening (using, as actor Ralph Brown put it, "brain-dead kids from Southern California"), insulted him on several occasions and eventually locked him out of the editing room. The producers would also try to hide the story of the film's production, blocking the original version of the making-of documentary Wreckage and Rage (itself originally titled Wreckage and Rape,note  telling you what the creators thought of it). Fincher hated the final product and was even so discouraged from directing that he almost turned down Se7en.

    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.
    • Notably, one of the Fox executives was apparently dead-set on this film revolving around prisoners in some way. Early script treatments were set on a prison barge or transport of some kind (causing tentative director Renny Harlin to quit the project, as it was just "more corridors, more guns, more aliens," and nothing new he could get excited about). When Vincent Ward started doing his story treatment, it was suggested to change the monks from his version into prisoners. And of course, the finished film takes place on a penal colony.
  • 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.
  • Flip-Flop of God: Depending on the interview, Lance Henriksen can't decide if his character Michael Bishop is a human or a robot.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The opening scene was shot on a beach at Dawdon, an old pit community in County Durham, England - previously used for a chase sequence in Get Carter.
  • Hostility on the Set: As Ralph Brown revealed by posting excerpts of his journal online, Sigourney Weaver was aloof or outright hostile to most of the other cast members (especially with him, Brian Glover and Charles Dance) during filming. She did apologize after the premiere, and Ralph understood much of it was due to the overall tension everyone was going through during the films legendary production difficulties.
  • Image Source: This film provides the page image for:
  • Looping Lines: Averted in the original Assembly Cut. Some of the restored scenes were cut before the ADR was recorded, and since they didn't do any re-recording for the DVD, it can be difficult to hear the dialogue, but subtitles are available. The Blu-ray release fixed this and brought the actors back to record the dialogue.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailers have Ripley say "For the last time..." before dousing the alien with water. This was cut from the film.
  • 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. His experience was so horrible that he refuses to talk about it to this day, and has rejected several attempts to speak on-record for documentaries. His only comment since then has been "No one hated (the film) more than me. To this day, no one hates it more than me."
    • Producer David Giler had harsh words for the film in the DVD documentary "Wreckage and Rage", claiming that it wasn't that scary at all and that he regrets his participation. Notably, he attempted to leave the production at one point, but was forced back by a clause in Sigourney Weaver's contract. He and co-producer Walter Hill later abandoned Fincher midway through production and forced him to rewrite the script on the fly.
    • 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. He has even gone on record as saying, "FUCK Alien³!!!"
    • Elliot Goldenthal admitted that the score wasn't his best work, stating that he only had a week-and-a-half to compose the score due to the Troubled Production and had to rush through it without thinking of the quality.
    • On the flip side, Michael Biehn's Old Shame is not being more accommodating of the film using his likeness. He jokes that "I was very stupid when I was younger" when, upon hearing that there was a dummy mockup of him with his chest exploded like he'd been host to alien, he replied "I don't care how much money you give me, that alien is not coming out of me." More seriously, he says that if he had known David Fincher would end up being David Fincher, he wouldn't have fought as hard to be paid for his photograph, instead currying favor with a brilliant director in hopes of future work.
  • One for the Money; One for the Art: After getting the boot as director, Vincent Ward used his pay off to finance Map of the Human Heart.
  • 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.
    • As revealed in Hostility on the Set above, Sigourney Weaver did not get along with either Ralph Brown (Aaron) or Brian Glover (Andrews) during filming, which definitely carried over during their characters scenes with one another.
  • Saved from 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.
  • Spared by the Cut: Several script drafts had Bishop die after being bludgeoned by Aaron/Golic, following which one of the Weyland-Yutani scientists, named Dr. Matshuita, would take over and attempt to convince Ripley to come with them. It was eventually decided Bishop's death was an Anti-Climax and the script was changed to have him survive, while Matshuita was relegated to a background character.
  • Troubled Production: One could probably do an entire semester of film school class on the problems Alien³ faced. (just see all the other entries in this page; or for more detail, the dedicated Alien folder, as the franchise is a magnet for things going awry). Pre-production was a roulette of attached writers and directors, plus ideas thrown left and right (first it was two simultaneous movies, then just a third; Ripley would not appear, then Fox forced her inclusion, at great expense - Sigourney Weaver received $4 million and a co-producer credit, and Ripley was made less warmongering; the setting was changed from a monastery to a prison right as production begun, meaning there was already a church set built - some shuffling was made to still use it, as a chapel inside the facility). The film started without a complete script and an already set release date, making first-time director David Fincher to rush into production to make up for lost time, along the way clashing with both producers Walter Hill and David Giler and the Fox executives. The cinematographer also fell ill from Parkinson's disease a few days into filming, necessitating a quick replacement. Reshoots were plentiful, even forcing a custom-made authentic-looking bald cap to make Weaver bald again. Says something every part involved has bad memories or tries to distance itself from the film, and Fox executives severely cut down Charles Lauzirika's documentary on the film for the Alien Quadrilogy box set to remove parts that painted a too unflattering image of the studio (thankfully, they allowed the original cut to appear on the Anthology Blu-Ray set - albeit changing the title that was nixed from the DVD, "Wreckage and Rape", to "Wreckage and Rage", presumably to look less as a Take That! towards the studio).
  • 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: See the franchise's page.
  • The Wiki Rule: Xenopedia has information on Alien, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator.


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