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Trivia / Aliens

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  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • James 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). Ricco Ross drew a heart with "Heath", short for his girlfriend Heather. Jenette Goldstein wrote a Spanish phrase onto hers, translating as "the risk always survives", perhaps a loose translation of the SAS's famous motto "Who Dares Wins". Colette Hiller (Ferro) wrote the phrase "Fly the Friendly Skies" (the slogan for United Airlines) on hers, appropriately for a dropship pilot. 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.
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    • Sigourney Weaver gave 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.
    • Lance Henriksen is a US Navy veteren.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Big Name Fan: Jhonen Vasquez cited this movie as a huge influence on his work. As a child, he was always borrowing his cousin's "making of" book of the film and loved studying the photos of gorn scenes.
  • 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; his filmography at the time had only spanned a few years and mostly consisted of under-the-radar B-movies, with his only major breakthrough prior to Aliens being The Terminator, just two years prior.
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  • Cast the Expert: For his Vietnam allegory, James 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." Mainly because her friends mocked her delivery with various derivatives. note 
  • The Danza: All the actors playing Marines (except Michael Biehn and William Hope) 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 her 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:
  • Orphaned Reference: Ripley shouting that they're going to nail Burke "right to the wall for this!" is supposed to foreshadow his death—being cocooned to the wall of the alien hive. However, that scene was deleted from the final cut of the film.
  • The Other Marty: James Remar was originally cast as Cpl. Hicks, but then he got arrested for drugs and 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 Henriksen'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.
    • Mark Rolston usually plays villains or Jerkasses, but here he plays Drake, who is neither.
  • Production Posse: Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen are all James Cameron regulars. Jenette Goldstein joined Cameron's regulars starting here.
  • Referenced by...: StarCraft's Drop Ship is a Captain Ersatz of the one from the film (minus the never-used missile racks). It's pilot is even a 1-1 translation who quotes a couple of lines.
    • Terran Space Marines ask "How do I get out of this chickemshit outfit?"
    • In the demo, the Zerg are labelled "Xenomorphs."
  • 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.
  • Shrug of God: James Cameron refuses to say what exactly Arcturian poontang is.
  • Sleeper Hit: The film wasn't expected to be a great success, as news of the Troubled Production circulated through the media. People also thought the Sequel Gap of 7 years was too much time after the original Alien - the film was only given $17 million as a budget after all. Everyone was surprised when it grossed over $100 million worldwide and got Sigourney Weaver an Oscar nomination.
  • Star-Making Role: Subverted with Michael Biehn. Despite well received roles in both this and The Terminator, he wasn't launched onto anything bigger afterwards. He regrets turning down Near Dark which was offered to him almost immediately after this in favour of The Seventh Sign and Rampage - which were critical and commercial failures, and killed off a lot of momentum for him.
  • Throw It In!:
    • The "Game over, man!" line was improvised. Paxton also ad-libbed "another bug hunt?" as a reference to Starship Troopers, which Cameron had all of the Marine actors read as part of their training for the role.
    • Hudson's participation in Bishop's little knife trick wasn't in the script. According to Lance Henriksen, it was discussed amongst everyone except Bill Paxton. The look of complete terror on his face is completely real.
  • Troubled Production: James 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. 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.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: A minor case. Being set in the future, the date of the film production can be told by the presence of some '80s Hair and Hudson making a joke about smoking or non-smoking seats.
  • 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 James Cameron on Avatar was considered for Carter Burke.
    • 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.
    • Cameron's original script was very different from the final film:
      • Carter Burke was absent, instead, his dialogue was given to someone named Dr. O'Niel, who did not join Ripley and the marines on their voyage to the colony planet.
      • Instead of being taken to the Gateway Station, Ripley was taken to Earth Station Beta. - The name of the colony planet was Acheron, taken from the script of Alien, instead of LV-426.
      • Ripley's daughter was alive, and Ripley had a disheartening videophone conversation with her, where she blamed Ripley for abandoning her by going to space.
      • There were multiple atmospheric processors on the planet.
      • The initial discovery of the aliens on the colony planet is much longer, where it is shown how Newt's father gets to the site of the eggs and is jumped by a facehugger.
      • An additional scene involves a rescue team going to the site of the alien eggs and being jumped by tens of facehuggers.
      • The aliens sting people to paralyze them before either killing or cocooning them.
      • At one point Ripley, Newt and Hicks get cocooned. - The aliens cocooning people are a different breed. They look like smaller, albino versions of the warrior aliens.
      • Bishop refuses to land on the planet and pick up Ripley, Hicks and Newt, indicating "the risk of contaminating other inhabited worlds is too great." Ripley ends up using the colonists' shuttle to get back to the Sulaco. Bishop tells her: "You were right about me all along."
    • The famous "Game over, man!" line was originally "Just tell me what the fuck we're supposed to do now? What're we gonna do now?"
    • Weyland-Yutani, who contribute just as much to the series' mythology than the Xenomorph (if not more), were written out of Cameron's original treatment. A throwaway line would've revealed they were bought out and shut down. Who can imagine how the franchise would have evolved without the cartoonishly evil Company and its numerous ill-advised attempts to capture a Xenomorph?
    • id Software was in negotiations to make a game based on this film, but pulled out because they wanted full creative control - a decision that worked out pretty well.
  • The Wiki Rule: Xenopedia has information on Alien, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator.
  • 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.


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