10 things you probably never knew about the Alien films
Brought to you by 20th Century Fox.
"In space, no one can hear you scream."
The release of Alien: Covenant seemed like a good time to look back at the groundbreaking film franchise.
Few creatures have terrified audiences like the Xenomorphs and watching an Alien film is every bit as nerve-wrecking today as it was 40 years ago. Most of us have watched the films but just how well do you know them?
We decided to see if we could dig out some hidden secrets about everyone's favourite alien films.
1. They found the Alien in a pub
Bolaji Badejo, a graphic designer who dressed up as the Xenomorph in the original movie, was discovered in a pub by a casting director. Standing at 7'1" tall, he was perfect for the role.
2. A galaxy far, far away
Harrison Ford turned down the role of Captain Dallas in the original Alien film. Well, he had just starred as a space captain in a little-known film called Star Wars so he probably wanted to avoid being typecast.
Another Star Wars actor who was considered for the role of the original Alien was Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca.
3. What's in a name?
The original script's working title was "Star Beast." Writer Dan O'Bannon wasn't too happy with it and adopted the iconic title after noticing how many times the word "Alien" appeared in the text.
When looking for a catchy way to sell the movie to studios, it was described as "Jaws in space."
4. Post-credits addition
Post-credits scenes may be all the rage these days but Alien was an early trailblazer. At the end of the credits, turn up the volume and you can hear the sound of an Alien pod opening (an Alien).
5. Android names
The names of the androids in the Alien films traditionally follow a definite alphabetical order that goes from A (Ash) in Alien to B (Bishop) in Aliens and Aliens 3 to C (Call) in Alien: Resurrection to D (David) in Prometheus.
Michael Fassbender will also play an android called Walter in Alien: Covenant, which is the first time that this pattern has been altered.
6. The chest-bursting scene
The cast didn't know what to expect during the infamous chest-bursting scene featuring John Hurt. The script didn't explain what was about to happen so their reactions are genuine, including the scream of Veronica Cartwright (Lambert) when she got splattered with blood.
"Everyone was wearing raincoats," Sigourney Weaver later recalled. "We should have been a little suspicious."
7. The origins of the Weyland Yutani name
The Weyland Yutani corporation was originally envisioned as an English-Japanese corporation that had moved from the motor industry to spacecraft. The name was based on Leyland-Toyota, but this obviously couldn't be used.
Instead, they simply changed a letter in Leyland and used the name of James Cameron's Japanese neighbour to replace Toyota.
8. Weaver's pay rise
Sigourney Weaver was paid just $35,000 for the original Alien . Her salary for Aliens was then bumped up to $1million and a share of the profits, thanks largely to James Cameron's insistence that she would star in the film.
She had been reluctant to do the fourth film, Alien: Resurrection, but she eventually agreed. When asked why she changed her mind, she replied: "They basically drove a dump truck full of money to my house."
9. A unique claim to fame
Bill Paxton and Lance Henrikson, who played Hudson and Bishop, are linked by a pretty unique cinematic bond. Both actors played characters who were killed by a Terminator, a Predator and a Xenomorph in the Alien series.
While Bishop was technically an android who couldn't be killed, getting ripped in half is surely enough to earn him membership to this exclusive club!
10. Backwards music
Backwards music is something that is normally reserved for seventies metal bands. However, composer Marc Streitenfeld use it to good effect in Prometheus, getting the orchestra to play his compositions backwards. This was then digitally reversed to give the film's score an unsettling quality.
Alien: Covenant stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Billy Cradup and it's out in cinemas from 12 May.
Brought to you by 20th Century Fox.