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Ridley Scott and Alien

Ridley Scott and Alien

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Apr-19-2019 6:53 PM

I felt the urge to open this topic, not in defense of Sir Ridley Scott, because he doesn't need any, but to make things clearer, after seeing that more and more people question Ridley Scott's huge contribution for the Alien franchise, by stating that he is merely the director.

While not minimizing the rest of the people involved their merits, we have to acknowledge, once and for all, that, without Ridley Scott, the Alien we all love would have been a totally different film. I summarized below some relevant facts about Ridley Scott's contribution during the production of Alien (big thanks to Strange Shapes, where I found most of the info compiled below).

Firstly, on the story, without Ridley Scott we would not have today the xenomorph of an alien origin, but created by the Company - it remains to be seen after Alien Covenant if David created the xenomorph or just his own variant (excerpts from Strange Shapes):

"Here is a breakdown of the two plots. Giler and Hill’s version is a summary of their script before O’Bannon and Shusett urged Ridley Scott to have the script revised.

Dan O’Bannon’s Alien, a synopsis: the crew of the commercial vehicle ‘Snark’ awaken from cryosleep on a return voyage to Earth. Their ship’s computer has detected an SOS beacon of unknown origin emanating from a nearby planetoid. The crew land, and find a derelict spacecraft containing the corpse of a dead alien pilot. Nearby they find another structure; an ancient pyramid, containing mysterious spore. One of them is attacked and impregnated; the creature erupts during a meal after the ship has continued its journey to Earth. The crew are picked off one by one until only Roby survives, along with the ship’s cat. The Alien is ejected from the emergency shuttle and vapourised. The Snark itself is destroyed. Roby enters cryosleep for the journey home.

Walter Hill & David Giler’s Alien, a synopsis: the crew of the commercial vehicle ‘Nostromo’ awaken from cryosleep on a return voyage to Earth. Their ship’s computer has detected an SOS beacon of unknown origin emanating from a nearby planetoid. The crew land, and find a derelict spacecraft containing the corpse of a dead human pilot. Nearby they find another structure; a concrete Cylinder, containing mysterious spore. One of them is attacked and impregnated; the creature erupts during a meal after the ship has continued its journey to Earth. The crew are picked off one by one, and the Science Officer Ash is revealed to be a Company robot. Ash reveals that the crew were led to the Cylinder deliberately, to serve as test subjects for the weapons division – the Alien is one of the Company’s bioweapons. In the end, only Ripley survives, along with the ship’s cat. The Alien is ejected from the emergency shuttle and vapourised. The Nostromo itself is destroyed. Ripley enters cryosleep for the journey home.

As already pointed out, O’Bannon and Shusett intervened to have Hill and Giler’s draft rewritten to incorporate the alien elements that they had excised. “Ridley read [the original script] and went, ‘Oh yes. We have to go back to the first way. Definitely.'” Though Giler and Hill acquiesced to Scott’s demand, they still managed to infuse the script with the paranoia of a Big Brother corporate entity whose sheer size and oversight leads to the deaths of its employees in some dark corner of space."

Secondly, on the creatures, although O'Bannon introduced Giger to the producers, the key to hiring Giger was Ridley Scott, as O'Bannon himself testifies (thanks to Strange Shapes again):

"The only problem with Giger was the reluctance of Twentieth Century Fox and the film’s producers to hire him. Giger had initially worked on a commission from O’Bannon and Shusett, and though he had begun preliminary design work, he had yet to be brought onto the film in an official capacity. “This man is sick,” producer Gordon Carroll is quoted as saying, having seen Giger’s designs. “I fought a year with Fox to hire Giger,” O’Bannon told Science Fiction Film Making magazine in the 1980’s. “I wrote the script so Giger could design those things, and then they picked up the script and said, ‘Naw, we don’t want this guy. When has he ever designed a movie?’”

“I had a heck of a time trying to get the producers to hire Giger,” said O’Bannon elsewhere. “They really didn’t want to get him involved because he’s not a movie professional; he was some ‘whing-ding’ in Zurich. They wanted to find somebody who had done this before, that they could count on.” Ron Shusett chips in: “The studio let us hire Cobb, because he was more normal. Giger, they were terrified of. They said, ‘these drawings are repulsive – people will stay away in droves.’ For eight months they refused to hire him.”

The key to hiring Giger was Ridley Scott, as O’Bannon explains: “When Ridley came to the project, Ronnie was rushing up with the original draft of the script [and] I was rushing up with copies of Giger’s work. Ridley saw Giger’s stuff he was snowed. He said, ‘This is it!’” Scott called up Fox and explained that he would not do the film if Giger was not hired as the creature designer. His threat worked, and Giger was hired. Later, producer David Giler would tell Cinefantastique, “[Alien’s] a richly textured film, thanks to HR Giger’s work.” Dan O’Bannon agreed: “Only because Ridley was hired on was Giger hired. He took a liking to Giger’s work. Without Giger, I don’t think we would have had much of a movie.”

The direction for the design of Alien was also indicated by Ridley Scott to Giger, he told Giger the Alien should look like the Necronom V painting (thanks, BigDave) below:

Before Ridley  Scott was involved, the Alien looked like in Dan O'Bannon's

and Ron Cobb's visions:

It worths a mention that Ridley Scott chose Bolaji Badejo to be the man in the Alien suit (Strange Shapes):

"While Ridley was trying to find his Alien performer, Roger Dicken was skeptical that one could be found, telling Cinefex, “I went to about three meetings in London and watched these characters rolling around on the floor and quite frankly, I thought it was a bit Mickey Mouse. I mean, it was obvious to me that none of this was going to work, but I had to just sit around wasting time while everybody else figured it out. I sat through a few more meetings while they ran through football players and wrestlers and tall men. Then, for a while, they thought they’d use an ordinary-sized guy so there wouldn’t be any problems with stunts and all. At that point, I even offered to be the monster myself. I figured if I was going to make the suit, I might as well be in it.”

The saving grace was a trip to the pub. “We started with a stunt man who was quite thin,” said Scott, “but in the rubber suit he looked like the Michelin Man. So my casting director [Peter Archer] said, ‘I’ve seen a guy in a pub in Soho who is about seven feet tall, has a tiny head and a tiny skinny body.’ So he brought Bolaji Badejo to the office … I said, ‘Do you want to be in movies?’ and he said, ‘Sure’. And he became the Alien.”

“As soon as I walked in,” Bolaji told Cinefantastique, “Ridley Scott knew he’d found the right person.” Prior to filming, Badejo was placed on the Nostromo set with a mock-up Alien head and roamed the corridors on film, slithering, pausing, turning, kneeling, and prowling through the corridors to nail an appropriate system of movement for the beast.

“It’s very difficult for an actor to relate to what is, essentially, a beast. They know what it is, and they know there’s a man inside the suit, and they know the odds are they’ll never have to experience anything like it in their real lives … I think you’d probably die before the thing touched you anyway. I mean, you’d have a heart attack, right? You’d turn and see it and last about four seconds before you had a coronary, okay? So with Brett’s death, and subsequent run-ins with the Alien, it was always done with the ultimate feeling of a heart attack. The rush of a heart attack, even if the thing didn’t ever touch them.”
~ Ridley Scott, Fantastic Films, 1979.


Then we come to the design for the Space Jockey, after the two variants proposed by Ron Cobb 

and Moebius:

"None of these concepts were taken too seriously by Ridley Scott, who commissioned HR Giger to design the Space Jockey, using one of Giger’s Necronomicon paintings as a launching pad for the final creature" (Strange Shapes):

Here is the testimony of the creature master himself: “From the script I knew he was huge and had a hole in his chest, but that was all. Ridley suggested another one of my Necronom creatures as a guide. They don’t look much alike now, but it was a starting point; and the Space Jockey kind of grew up from there in bits and pieces. The creature we finally ended up building is biomechanical to the extent that he has physically grown into, or maybe even out of, his seat – he’s integrated totally into the function he performs.”
~ HR Giger, Cinefex, 1979.

And for the derelict, after the ideas of the derelict by Chris Foss:

and Moebius:

"Scott eventually turned to Giger, fresh from designing the Alien, for other interpretations of the Jockey ship.

“What we were looking for here was a totally alien-looking spacecraft,” Scott told Cinefex in 1979. “I didn’t think it would something with a lot of lights on it and stuff like that. I figured it would be like nothing anyone ever imagines; either that, or extraordinarily familiar and slightly archaic looking.”

“Once the Alien was under control,” said Giger, “Ridley asked me if I could design a spaceship not made by human beings. Well how do you do that? I thought maybe it might look organic -something that could grow even, like a plant- but I didn’t know exactly what it should look like. Then early one morning I couldn’t sleep, I got up and started painting and the derelict ship was born in a few hours. It ended up like an aerodynamic bone with little technical stuff all over it, but it wasn’t anything I had planned – it just sort of ran out of my mind and my airbrush.”

Like the other artists, Giger brought his own style to the concepts, and his proved to be the most provocative. His Jockey ship rests atop a landscape of twisted metal and bone“I wanted it to look planted,” Giger told Famous Monsters, “perhaps in the process of maturing, a mixture of organic and mechanical stuff.”

Giger’s first drawing was just a knockout,” said Scott. “I took one look at it and said, ‘That’s it.’ Other people couldn’t quite see it though, so I had to keep digging my heels and saying, ‘You wont get a better derelict – don’t screw about with it.’ You know, Giger is a special case, and when something’s that good, you have to recognise it and leave it alone.’

"However, despite Ridley loving the design, some members of the production crew took issue with the derelict’s odd shape. First to object was the film’s writer. “O’Bannon,” Giger wrote in his diary, “who has just flown in from the USA, doesn’t think it’s technical enough. A battle of pros and cons begins. I keep my silence; I know that Scott will win the argument.” Of course, as it turns out, he did."

(Strange Shapes)

Thank you for your patience to read such a lengthy post.

And thank you, Ridley Scott, you are my hero!

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

51 Responses to Ridley Scott and Alien


Apr-25-2019 4:04 PM

What are you talking about???

I thank God every day for Ridley Scott has been able to give us Alien, Prometheus, Alien Covenant and... Blade Runner. The eyes Behind the camera were of Ridley Scott, not of anybody else. Fans of Jim Cameron, go watch "Piranha 2, the spawning". It's his best movie.


Ps: Ridley Scott gave US xenomorphs, Androids, engineers, neomorphs and replicants, and so much more. It's a human condition, don't get satisfaction about everything, and, when you get iT, it just doesn't last. We, humans, have so Many flaws.


Apr-25-2019 5:34 PM

Certainly i think we could all WONDER what would have happened if Ridley Scott had NEVER worked on ALIEN.

I certainly think we would NOT have had the Franchise we have now, ALIEN was a Labor of a Number of People. 

He had fought to NOT abandon all the ideas from O'Bannon and Shusett and Championed for HR Gigers input on all the NONE Human Elements. 

While there are some Visual Flaws... (Scale) you have to give RS Credit for giving us such a Wonder Work of Art on the Screen. 

Still 40 years latter it stands the TEST of TIME.

Thank You  Ridley Scott... Happy Alien Day

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


Apr-25-2019 7:30 PM

Thank you setaverde for you comment.

Here is something I am impatiently waiting for:

The Making of Alien by J.W. Rinzler will be released on July 23, 2019 and it's available for pre-order on Amazon for a special price of $37.42 (hard cover, 336 pages). It seems a truly remarkable must have for all the rabid Alien fans. And what better time to place the order than Alien Day. I just did it.

"A comprehensive and definitive volume telling the complete story of how Alien was made, featuring new interviews with Ridley Scott and other production crew, and including many rarely-seen photos and illustrations from the Fox archives. 

In 1979 a movie legend was born, as Twentieth Century-Fox and director Ridley Scott unleashedAlien - and gave audiences around the world the scare of their lives. 

To celebrate the movie's fortieth anniversary, author J.W. Rinzler ( The Making of Star Wars) tells the whole fascinating story of how Alienevolved from a simple idea in the mind of writer Dan O'Bannon into one of the most memorable sci-fi horror thrillers of all time. 

With brand new interviews with Ridley Scott and other key members of the original production crew, and featuring many never-before-seen photographs and artworks from the archives, The Making of Alien is the definitive work on this masterpiece of popular cinema."

Happy Alien Day, Sir Ridley Scott!

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


Apr-26-2019 9:00 AM

"Working off a design from Swiss artist H.R. Giger (who designed the full-grown Xenomorph as well), Christian’s team achieved the egg’s organic look by stuffing the shell with sheep intestines, which were then covered in a casing of cow stomach lining. Despite creating the world’s biggest, most terrible ballpark frank, the crew struggled to give their monster life. Eventually, Scott quite literally rolled up his sleeves and did it himself, putting on some rubber gloves and reaching up into the egg to give the shot the movement it needed.

“People around him were going, ‘Oh my God,’ but he was so focused,” Christian says. “He just put his hand in there and pushed up, and there it was. It looked gross, but it looked real. [The eggs] looked beautiful, really. And Ridley added smoke to soften the atmosphere.” (source)

He dug deep for us 40 years ago. 

Thank you Ridley Scott.


Apr-26-2019 12:56 PM


Ridley Scott thanks the loyalty of the fans, today.


Apr-26-2019 3:52 PM

Thank you for sharing setaverde.


Apr-29-2019 11:53 AM

Ridley Scott, you continue to inspire the Youth of the world in doing magnificent things like This One.


Apr-29-2019 6:31 PM

What is that link about, setaverde?

I can't watch any video now. Not even Alien: The Play.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


Apr-30-2019 3:55 AM


The LINK is.... 

Alien The Play Full Show North Bergen NJ High School 4K

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


Apr-30-2019 10:30 AM

Thanks, BigDave

I feel like an idiot.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


May-31-2019 5:38 AM

Who here could have predicted the amount of hatred Ridley's return to the ALIEN Universe has generated?

That hatred not only directed at Prometheus & Covenant, but towards Ridley himself. It's heartbreaking!


"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger


May-31-2019 7:58 AM

I think there is just as much Love too Lone ;)

One of those things in LIFE, where people tend to Voice what they HATE more than they LIKE.

Like we get Protests when we are not HAPPY.. you dont see people with Banners Standing outside of Governments Praising what Good things are being done... not as much as when something to Complain about we go out in FORCE!

I think RS was right in how to expand the Franchise... because indeed ONCE you Discover HOW/WHEN/WHY the Xenomorph was Created and Give it a Run Out in the Prequels..

Then what do you do?   More Alien Movies with Xenomorphs?  You cant keep doing this...

And so the Space Jockey Race was a NEW area to explore and expand, the PLOT was Bold, maybe Too Bold really.

Maybe some Fans would have liked to see the Space Jockey introduced as a Alien Race who was in a Conflict with another RACE that is FAR FAR away and Unconnected to Mankind, but  its HOW do you introduce Humans into such a PLOT!

Then expanding on Sequels... do we go and see WHO the Space Jockey was at WAR/Conflict with,  Maybe its Predators lol... but then HOW do you introduce Humans?

So they saw the Chariots of the Gods/Ancient Aliens like Plot as way to do this....

A Prometheus Sequel did-not have to give in to be Alien Covenant.... the Engineers Paradise could have been Thousands of Light Years away... and in a Part of the Galaxy with more HUMANS... do we just accept Earth is the ONLY Place where there are Humans?

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


Jun-03-2019 1:47 PM

Ridley Scott, H.R.Giger, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerrit in 23-minute interview on Alien (1979)


Jun-11-2019 6:33 AM

In a recent interview for AVClub Tom Skerritt praises Ridley Scott for making Alien the "cinematic juncture" that it is:

"The A.V. Club: Your career was already decades-long by that point. What about Alien made you know that it was going to be the cinematic juncture that it is? 

TS: Ridley Scott. I was given the script, and I read it, and $2 million was the budget. They had no director or anything else, and I looked at it and I thought, “Well, it’s solid, but this budget…” I thought maybe it would do well, jokingly, but I couldn’t really wrap my head around this thing for $2 million. What I did like was that there was a woman—a strong woman that rises and does that with a lot of chutzpah.

I liked that idea. I’d done Turning Point, which was about all these difficulties that women had, how strong they are, and so that’s what I liked about it. But I thought, “Ah, I don’t know. I have to think about this.” But it happened that a few weeks before, I’d seen The Duelists, that Ridley had directed. I only remembered his name because I thought, “Whoever this guy is”—and I’m told it’s his first movie—“this is unusually competent filmmaking.” And a few weeks after, they called me up and said that Ridley Scott was going to direct it. So now it’s a $10 million budget and Ridley Scott’s going to do it. I said, “I’m in.”

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


Jun-11-2019 4:24 PM

That shows the Influence and Confidence they had at the Time with Ridley Scott, also he had Influenced some Changes, which was also to Persuade the use of HR Giger.

Lets hope Disney have the same Confidence/Trust with Ridley Scott, and also think maybe Disney can come to a better agreement with the HR Giger Estate.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


Jun-11-2019 4:38 PM

This is Gigerish. Disney loves the man but they just don't know it! 


Jun-11-2019 4:49 PM

I can't imagine the implications in the making of a new alien film, now that gladiator 2 is happening. Perhaps Ridley Scott ONLY produces the new alien movie.


Jun-11-2019 9:05 PM

"Lets hope Disney have the sameConfidence/Trust with Ridley Scott, and also think maybe Disney can come to a better agreement with the HR Giger Estate."

I forgot about Giger Estate.

But, yes, Disney have the money to, why not, buy the Giger Estate as well.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


Jun-12-2019 7:27 AM

"Hovis has remastered its iconic "Boy on a Bike" commercial, directed by Sir Ridley Scott in the '70s, for a modern audience.

The spot was originally created by then-agency CDP in 1973, and was one of the breakthrough ads of Scott's career. It features a delivery boy pushing a basket of bread on a bike up Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset, then riding back down again to the bakery.

It has been digitally remastered in 4K by Ridley Scott Associates and the British Film Institute National Archive.

It's now set to a re-recording of Dvorak's "New World Symphony" by the Ashington Colliery Brass Brand, from a new generation of members of the original band who recorded it." (source)

I thought this was a wonderful way to view Ridley Scott's early work and looking back at Alien Day...I guess any big upcoming Alien film/series news would be washed out/cannibalized with the Avengers: Engame release on the same day.


Jun-12-2019 9:57 AM

Thanks, Ingeniero.


One more Alien film from Ridley Scott, please!

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


Jun-13-2019 2:58 AM

Great to see Ridley's classic ad has been restored...or should I say retrofitted? :)


"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

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