Fact File – No.1 – Aliens (1986)

In the first of a new Film ‘89 feature we put a classic film or TV show under the microscope to unveil some juicy trivia. Some of these facts you may already know but hopefully you’ll find something new to enrich your experience and understanding of an important work of popular culture. Starting off we have a science fiction classic that is regarded by many as one of the greatest sequels ever made:

Aliens (1986)

Director: James Cameron

1. Aliens was inspired by the Vietnam war:

Writer/Director James Cameron drew inspiration from the Vietnam War, it being a situation where a technologically superior force struggled to fight a supposed less capable enemy in a hostile foreign environment.

2. Sigourney Weaver salary for Aliens was 28 times more than that of the first film:

Weaver was paid $35,000 for the first film and $1 million for the sequel. (she went on to earn $4 million for Alien 3 and $11 million for Alien: Resurrection).

3. The word ‘f*ck’ is used 25 times in Aliens with 18 of them being spoken by Bill Paxton’s character Hudson. He also says ‘man’ 44 times.

4. Ripley’s daughter is actually her mother:

The portrait of Ripley’s daughter (in the special edition cut of Aliens) is Elizabeth Inglis, Sigourney Weaver’s real-life mother.

5. For a science fiction film, it did usually well at the Academy Awards:

Aliens was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver. It unsurprisingly won for Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.

6. Hicks wasn’t played by Michael Biehn at the start of filming:

Biehn was cast a week after filming had started as James Remar was originally cast as Hicks. Remar has stated that he was replaced due to being fired after he was arrested for drug possession.

7. A few shots of James Remar remain in the film:

A few shots of actor James Remar as Hicks remain in the final film, including when the team first enters the alien hive (although only his back is seen). This was because those sequences were too expensive to re-shoot.

8. Carrie Henn got the part of Newt by not smiling:

Approximately 500 schoolchildren were auditioned for the role of Newt, but many of them had acted in commercials and would always smile after saying their lines. Henn had no previous acting experience so was not accustomed to this. He unintentionally stoic demeanour got her the role.

9. Paul Reiser’s portrayal of Burke caused his sister to hit him:

At the film’s premiere, Paul Reiser’s sister physically struck him due to his character, Carter Burke being so awful.

10. The Aliens are covered in lube:

Believe it or not, a KY Jelly like lubricant was used to give the Aliens their distinctive slimy look.

11. And they scream like baboons:

The Xenomorph screams are actually Baboon shrieks altered in post-production.

12. James Horner wrote the entire score in just three weeks:

Horner thought he’d have six weeks to write the Oscar nominated score but he actually only had three weeks and had to write some parts overnight. Because of this he thought it very unlikely he’d work with Cameron again, but of course they teamed up to Oscar winning effect for 1997’s Titanic.

13. Like most films, the movie wasn’t shot in sequence:

But for added realism, James Cameron filmed the scene where we first meet the Colonial Marines (one of the earliest scenes) last. This was so that the camaraderie of the Marines was realistic because the actors had spent months filming together.

14. It was the last roll of the dice for one of its stars:

Lance Henriksen had privately pledged to quit acting if this part didn’t work out for him after years of journeyman roles. It proved to be one of his most successful films.

15. Aliens Vs Batman:

The Alien nest set was kept intact after filming. It was later used as the Axis Chemicals set for Batman (1989). When the Batman crew first entered the set, they found most of the Alien nest still intact.

16. An iconic line wasn’t in the script:

According to Bill Paxton, he improvised many of his lines including “Game over, man! Game over!”

17. Neither was an iconic scene:

The knife trick scene was not in the original shooting script. According to Lance Henriksen, the adding of Hudson’s hand to the knife trick was discussed with almost everyone, except Bill Paxton.

18. Keeping it real:

In both the theatrical and Special Edition cuts, the fifteen minute countdown at the end of the film is indeed fifteen minutes.

19. Inspired thinking:

None of the models or the original designs of the Narcissus (the Nostromo’s shuttle) from Alien (1979) could be found, so set designers and model-makers had to reconstruct the model of the ship and the interior set from watching Alien (1979).

20. A piece of history:

One of the alien eggs used in the film is now exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Sources; Go Social, IMBD.