*- H.R. GiBefore ger became involved with ALIEN, artist Ronn Cobb contributed early designs for the creatures. Three other science fiction films he would later work on: Star Wars (including the ALIENS in the Cantina scenes), Conan the Barbairan, and the Last Starfighter.
*- Screenwriter Dan O’Bannon had a classmate at the University of Southern California Film School (1968 – 1970) who would become well known for his own horror films. His name? John Carpenter!
*- Walter Hill was responsible for the character named ‘Ripley’ in the ALIEN screenplay.
*- Joseph Conrad’s novels have inspired the names of many ships in the ALIEN series, such as the ‘Nostromo, Sulaco, and the Narcissus.’
*- Ridley Scott’s first movie, “The Duel” was also based on a Joseph Conrad novel.
*- Hemant J. Naidu. passes along the more universal definition of the Narcissus: Narcissism is loving one’s self, that is, being infatuated with one’s self. Loving one’s mother is based on the “Oedipus Rex” syndrome. It is the myth of the boy who killed his father so he could marry his mother.
Andy C. clarifies this further: Narcissism is an hellenic word not a latin word. Narcissism comes from Ancient Hellas and means to be in love with yourself not your mother there is another hellenic word for this. So the connection to the name of the ship and the Mainframe called Mother simply does not exist. K. Murphy clarifies: The real myth says that he (Oedipus) went to a prophet who said that he would kill his father and marry his mother. To prevent this, he left his adopted home, and travelled to the land where his real father ruled. His father had been recently killed (accidentally by Oedipus), and his mother, not recognizing him, married him. When he found out about this, he found that his mother had hanged herself (she had just found out, too) and he gouged out his eyes. Their four children that they had ended up all dying except for, I believe, the youngest daughter.
*- “In space, no one can hear you scream.” This famous tag line for ALIEN is not only chilling but accurate. In the vacuum of deep space, there is no atmosphere to carry vibrations, which are what the human ear translates into sounds. Every movie in the ALIEN series, other than ALIEN 3, breaks this physical property.
*- Art Director Carlo Rambaldi earned three Oscars, including one for ALIEN. His other awards came from DiLaurentiis’s King Kong (1977), and Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial (1983).
*- Early in preproduction, a serious candidate to wear teh suit required to perform the role of the adult Alien was Peter Mayhew, well known for his other role dressed up in a costume to play an alien – Chewbacca the Wookie in Star Wars.
*- Giger’s conception of the adult alien, as molded into life-size props, was kept a tremendous secret during filming, not only from the press and public, but from the cast and crew of ALIEN as well — even up to the first day of shooting.
*- Giger’s miniature topographies, props filmed as the planetoid background in ALIEN, were constructed in part from actual human skeletons.
*- The life-size wuit that represents the adult alien incorporated bits of human bones.
*- The navigational coordinates for the planetoid in ALIEN is “Quadrant points QBR 157,052.” That line was to have been spoken by Dallas, but is not in the finished film.
*- Director Ridley Scott’s original idea for the actor to play the role of Dallas, captain of the Nostromo, was Harrison Ford, who had just finished playing another Space Jockey, Han Solo in Star Wars. Although Ford was not cast, he went on to star in Scott’s next film, Blade Runner.
*- In 1980, Sphinx Verlag of Switzerland published Giger’s Alien, describing the Oscar-winning work of the orignal designer. The American “guru” of psychedelic drug use, Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary is also actress Winona Ryder’s (Alien Resurrection) godfather.
*- The Spanish version of the title translates as “Alien: The 8th Passenger.”
*- The Polish premiere of ALIEN was August 21st, 1980; a full year after its North American debut.
*- The Polish title of Alien is Obcy Osmy Pasazer Nostromo, which translates to ‘ALIEN: The 8th Passenger of the Nostromo.’ [Thanks to Martin S.]
*- Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.
*- Roger Dicken, who designed and operated the “face hugger” and the “chest burster,” had originally wanted the latter to pull itself out of Kane’s torso with its own little hands, a sequence he felt would have produced a much more horrifying effect than the gratuitous blood and guts in the release print.
*- The alien’s habit of laying eggs in the stomach (which then burst out) is similar to the life-cycle of the tsetse fly.
*- A lawsuit by A.E. van Vogt, claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story “Discord in Scarlet” (which he had also incorporated in the 1950 novel “Voyage of the Space Beagle”), was settled out of court.
*- An early draft of the script had a male Ripley.
*- In the scene where Dallas, Kane and Lambert are leaving the ship, the actual actors walking past the Nostromo’s landing struts are 3 children (two of whom were Scott’s children dressed in scaled down spacesuits. This has the effect of making the ship look bigger.
*- A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was in the script, but was not filmed.
*- The front (face) part of the alien costume’s head is made from a real human skull.
*- The rumour that only John Hurt and the crew knew exactly what was going to happen during the stomach-bursting scene is false.
UPDATE: Thanks to Paul for this: You state that the rumor that only John Hurt and the crew knew what would happen during the chest-bursting scene is false. However, the 20th Anniversary DVD includes a comment that supports that “rumor.” Since Scott probably had to approve everything on the disk (his “signature” is on the booklet insert) you would think he would have removed that if it weren’t true.
*- Scott is reportedly quoted as saying that originally he wanted a much darker ending. He planned on having the alien bite off Ripley’s head in the escape shuttle, sit in her chair, and then start speaking with her voice in a message to Earth. Apparently, 20th Century Fox wasn’t too pleased with such a dark ending.
*- The Polish title, translated back to English, is “The 8th passenger of the Nostromo.”
*- The reported budget of ALIEN was $11 million dollars.
*- ALIEN made $60.2 million dollars in the US and Canada during its initial release, and $40.3 million dollars from rentals.
*- Production Dates for ALIEN were from 5 July 1978 – December 1978, and Filmed at Studio Location Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey (UK).
*- Dan O’Bannon employed elements from his movie ‘Dark Star’ into the ALIEN script. Click Here for more info on that. Also, the computer in Dark Star was named ‘MOTHER’, the same as in ALIEN. Click Herefor a comparison and pictures. It states: “This is the main screen of the ship’s computer, named “Mother.” If that name sounds familiar, it should. The main computer of the starship “Nostromo” in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) is also named “Mother.” Alien was written by Dan O’Bannon, who also co-wrote Dark Star with John Carpenter and portrays Pinback in the film. Mother is a female version of HAL-9000, speaking in a calm soothing voice while the ship and the mission come apart at the seams.” [Special thanks to Matthijs!]
* Sigourney Weaver was on ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ and mentioned the following (thanks to tonyman):
*Sigourney was supposed to be nude during the final sequence of “Alien.” The Alien was supposed to be curious about her nude form. This sequence was not filmed due to time/budget constraints. It was the last day of shooting and the orders were to finish the filming by that day.
* As a CO-producer of “Alien3″ she agreed with the decision to kill “Ripley.” She thought it was cruel to keep bringing the character out of hypersleep, just to have to face mortal danger again.
* She retold the story of her responses to Ridley Scott when she was being interviewed for the part of Ripley. The casting director kept trying to get her to shut up, so she wouldn’t blow the audition.
* Sigourney also said that Ridley Scott hid the Alien on the set during the Shuttle scene. She was flipping buttons to prepare the shuttle for her to go to hypersleep when the Alien’s hand suddenly shot out. She said it caused her to jump back a few feet. She did not indicate whether this was filmed or not.
*-H.R. Giger, Carlo Rambaldi, Nick Allder, Denys Ayling, and Brian Johnson for Best Visual Effects (winners).
*- Who is the only actor/actress to be killed by the Alien *twice*? It is John Hurt, who not only died due to the chestburster in ALIEN, but had a rather traumatic alien experience again during the diner scene in the comedy ‘spaceballs.’