Ridley Scott says he was the 5th choice to direct ‘Alien’

If you’ve been on social media at any point over the last 12 hours, you may have seen Ridley Scott’s name come up on your timeline, with Twitter blasting the filmmaker for claiming that his historical epic The Last Duel bombed at the box office because of those damned millennials and their damned cellphones.

The truth is that almost every movie geared towards older audiences has flopped during the pandemic regardless of how strong the reviews are, and it’s not a coincidence that every title to have bucked the trend since March 2020 is either a high concept blockbuster or a sequel.

Not that Scott is averse to constantly expanding properties that he initially launched, after confirming very recently that both Alien and Blade Runner are in the midst of being redeveloped as live-action TV shows. The 83 year-old has been increasingly involved in the former during the last decade, but he revealed in an interview with The AV Club that he was actually the fifth choice to helm the 1979 sci-fi horror classic.

Alien landed on my desk. I was fifth choice. The guy before me, bizarrely, was a great filmmaker called Robert Altman. But what on earth would you offer Robert Altman Alien for? He must have got to the breakfast scene and started thinking, ‘What??’ But because of where I come from, which was fundamentally being a pretty good art director, I could see what I could do with it immediately. So I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ So, you know, it’s horses for courses.”

As much as we’d love to have seen Robert Altman’s take on Alien, it’s probably for the best that he didn’t get the job. Scott is now the franchise’s go-to guy having helmed Prometheus and Covenant, before boarding Noah Hawley’s Hulu series as an executive producer, so he’s still integral to the brand 42 years down the line.