In 2010, Ridley Scott spoke to the Directors Guild of America quarterly magazine about his career. He revealed that before he saw Star Wars, he didn’t have a very high opinion of science fiction movies. And that it was George Lucas’ 1977 movie that persuaded him to do Alien.
Scott says that producer David Puttnam said to him; “‘Hey, there’s a film on at the Egyptian Theatre. The only time we can get in is about 2 o’clock, it’s called Star Wars.’ So, I go to this place called The Egyptian where I’d never been before in my life, and I had never experienced a thrill like that. It was like a Super Bowl. There are queues around the block, the theater is jammed, and the room is like ‘aaaahh’ in anticipation. And when it comes on, I’m thinking, what am I doing?”
“After seeing Star Wars, I backed off doing [period film] Tristan & Isolde, and about three months later I was offered this thing called Alien. And I went, ‘I’ll do it.’ And because I’d been interested in all these European comic strips from Heavy Metal magazine, I thought, I know how to do this, I’ll do it. And I was the fifth choice.”
Scott continued; “I’d been kind of enamoured of the visual effects in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and when Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001 came out I took an afternoon off and walked down to a theatre and saw it in 70 mm. I was completely by myself, there was no one there. And I watched it thinking, ‘holy shit!’ He just crossed me into the zone. This feels so real and so logical and so clever and magical.”
“But aside from that, science fiction was always Them and It and something out of the bog and all that shit. I thought they were vaguely aligned to bad sex movies, vaguely not nice to watch.” Ridley Scott’s Alien evolved into a franchise that brought in James Cameron and David Fincher. Scott returned to the story with the prequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
Check out our guide to the best alien movies, some of which are Alien movies – but not all!