Dont expect Sigourney Weaver to show up to your Walking Dead viewing party any time soon.
At a Comic-Con International panel celebrating the 30th anniversary of Aliens, the 66-year-old actress admitted to being a bit squeamish, despite having played Eleanor Ripley, the steely space-explorer who fends off acid-blooded monsters in the 1986 sci-fi/horror hit.
I just told [Aliens producer Gale Anne Hurd], who produces The Walking Dead, that in spite of what Ive played, I do not have the courage to look at even five minutes of [that show], Weaver told a packed crowd at the events Hall H auditorium. Im so suggestible, I would see zombies everywhere on the New York streets, or in the woods, or whatever.
So [Ripley] was all acting. I actually based her on a friend of mine whos an environmentalist. Its not that shes not kind or doesn’t have feelings, but shes very unsentimental about things, she just goes forward and gets things done. So she was my inspiration.
Aliens writer and director James Cameron added that Weavers focus on her role extended to her fight scenes with the titular creatures. There were hydraulics and mechanics and all kinds of crazy tricks, like a guy with fishing line on a pole to move the tail around Cameron said. And Sigourney didnt want to know about any of that stuff, because she wanted it be real in her mind.
Joining Weaver, Cameron, and Hurd on the stage were Aliens writer and director James Cameron, as well as costars Michael Biehn (Hicks), Bill Paxton (Hudson), Paul Reiser (Burke), Lance Henriksen (Bishop), and Carrie Henn (Newt). Henn, who was nine years old at the time of filming, earned an on-stage apology from her director, who reminded her of a particularly trying scene, in which Newt has been captured by the aliens, encased in alien slime.
Shes been in this [cocoon] for twenty minutes, [in the same] position, and Im pouring this goo all over her, Cameron remembered. And this quiet little voice says, You know, it should be illegal for you to do this to little kids. So Im sorry, [Carrie], thirty years later.
Paxton, who played a nervous-nelly Marine in the film, shouted Hudsons catchphrase from the stageGame over, man!and said that, during filming, I thought the character was just gonna wear out his welcome. [I thought] people were gonna say, When is this guy die already? But Jim used the character as a kind of pressure-release valve.
His fellow on-screen Marine, Biehn, was brought into the film at the last minute, replacing another actor, but he said the atmosphere on set was genial, thanks in large part to Weaver. I credit Sigourney, he said. Because Sigourneys sexy, she is a brilliant actress, she is smart, shes gotta great sense of humor. And I think one of the reasons Gale and Jim like her so much is that she has an incredible work ethic. (As for Ripley and Hicks never-consummated, low-simmer romance? I think it could have gone somewhere, Cameron said, if Fincher hadnt killed [them] off.)
Weavers work ethic will be tested again soon, as the actresswho received an Oscar nomination for Alienshas been working with Chappie and District 9 creator Neill Blomkamp on a new Aliens film, her first since 1997s Alien: Resurrection.
[Neill and I] started chatting about how the series left Ripley, Weaver said. I had not wanted to do a fifth one. I just didnt want [the film to take place on] EarthI thought going to Earth was a little boring. We started just talking about it, and four months later, I got a script that was so amazing, and gives the fans everything theyre looking for. [And it] innovates, in a lot of ways. He has work to do, I have work to do, and Im hoping when we finish those jobs, well circle back and start to do it. Which means that, thirty years after Aliens gave her one of the biggest lead roles of her career, Sigourney Weaver will be returning to Ripleybelieve it or not.