A Terry Gilliam-directed Alien movie? Not in this timeline.
The esteemed director, who is currently bracing for the release of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, spoke to RogerEbert.com (h/t Bloody Disgusting) about his contempt for Alien, and why he believes the sci-fi franchise, arguably one of Hollywood’s greatest, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
His attention turned to Ridley Scott’s seminal hit from 1979, in which Sigourney Weaver and the crew of the USCSS Nostromo encounter the perfect organism – a being capable of slaughtering an entire starship with record speed. All of this is streamlined into an intense, visceral experience.
But Gilliam? He’s not buying it, and vented to RogerEbert.com about why the original Alien is overrated:
Alien is just a ghost train where something jumps out and you don’t know who’s going to die next. When I watched the first Alien, all I kept saying was, ‘Just kill them all and be done with it,’ because you just know that they’re all going to die along the way. In the end, Sigourney Weaver, who we’ve established is a really tough military officer, is running around in her underwear trying to find a cat. Give me a fucking break.
The filmmaker went on to criticize the third act, which included a shot of H.R. Giger’s famous Xenomorph being sucked out of the airlock. By this point, Gilliam could no longer suspend his disbelief, stating that the titular Alien had lost its scare factor – a fair point, really, as it’s pretty easy to spot the wirework and prosthetics when the beast is pulled from the shadows.
There are some great moments in it, but the shot that should’ve never been in the film is the one at the end showing the alien getting blown out of the airlock. You see the alien, and it’s just a guy in a rubber suit. Up until then, you only saw bits of the alien, and it seemed to be huge and vast and terrifying. That was so clever. It was like the shark in Jaws. I told Ridley, ‘You don’t want that shot of the alien at the end. Cut it!’
Last but not least, Terry Gilliam recalled the moment when he turned down an Alien movie that would eventually go on to become David Fincher’s ill-fated threequel. And the less said about that, the better.
I got offered an Alien sequel because I was hot at that time, as a result of Time Bandits and Fisher King, and I just don’t want to do films like that. They are factory jobs, working for a studio. My last factory job was on the Chevrolet assembly plant in Los Angeles, during my junior year of college, night shift on the line. Never again.
Overall, though, Fox is said to be exploring multiple avenues for Alien, one of which may result in a TV series for the iconic beast. An SDCC announcement appears likely, but we’ll have to wait for another few weeks before the studio’s plans are ready to hatch.