Some interesting trivia about Aliens (1986) I’d learned from watching the dvd extras:

  1. Cameron had been hired to write the script through a mutual friend, but only after they’d read the first 90 pages of his incomplete draft. He was only hired as a director after Terminator was released.
  2. The studio heads weren’t interesting in making a sequel to Alien, and it was only when they left that the project got started, probably due to the box office failure of The Thing and Blade Runner, and the success of ET.
  3.  Fox studios wanted Cameron to remove Ripley character from the script after Weaver refused to do the film unless she was paid more for the part. Cameron then refused to do the film either.
  4. Cameron did not ‘get on’ with the British crew at Pinewood studios and tried to sack them for having to many tea-breaks and publunches, something which the US producers and actors found baffling – Bill Paxton remarked ‘In Hollywood you don’t have a bar on set’.
  5. The Brit crew threatened to quit when Cameron complained about the tea-breaks.
  6. Alot of the cast were local US ex-pats who still had American accents.
  7. The girl who’d played Newt was chosen because she was the only one who did not smile during the audition but had never acted before.
  8. Weaver hates guns and action films and didn’t realise that these were in the film despite the long description of weapons in the script.
  9. Cameron had worked as SFX supervisor for Roger Corman on Galaxy of Terror and The Escape from…..  so was an expert in FX technology, and this made life difficult for Stan Winston’s FX team who were heavily criticised for any mistakes.
  10. Alot of the sets and military equipment were made from industrial plane parts and helicopters. Cameron wanted the rusty look he’d seen around the crumbling Pinewood studios.
  11. Cameron fired the DOP after two weeks because they’d disagreed about what the film should look like and was replaced with someone from Ridley Scott’s advertising company.
  12. Weaver and Michael Biehn who plays Hicks did not meet the cast and crew until three weeks after ‘grunt’ training when shooting began.
  13. Michael Biehn was hired after the original actor was fired, and he hadn’t read the script or prepared for the role.
  14. The Composer threatened to quit after the producer threatened to fire him when they demanded he finish the final score 3 days before rap. He’d described the sound studio as ‘stone-aged’, but worked with Cameron again on Titanic.
  15. Steve Norrington (Blade) was a member of the FX team, similarly Michael Bay had worked on Predator 2 for Fox Studios.
  16. The cast were almost killed when the roof of the armoured tank fell off.
  17. The cast were almost killed when the set caught fire releasing toxic poison, and actors started choking and shouting they couldn’t breath, Paxton thought they were improvising, until he started choking.
  18. It completed on schedule and only cost 18 million.
  19. Actors thought the Brit crew didn’t respect Cameron because he was an unknown and because Scott had been British and Alien was a classic.
  20. Cameron designed most of the aliens and military equipment himself, and wanted to juxtapose the themes of motherhood with the Vietnam-style futuristic military.
  21. Lance Henriksen got sick from drinking bad milk during his death scene.
  22. The marines emblem appears on the vehicles as ‘Bug Stomper’, a cartoon eagle, but is too small to see.