a) A bomb about to drop
They started to go into preproduction, budgeting, scheduling and looking for studios. Walter Hill, David Giler and Gordon Carroll came to london, everything looked as if it was really on the cusp of happening, they even had a provisional start date, they were beginning to think about casting and then suddenly around two months into preproduction Sandy got a call from Los Angeles from Gordon Carroll
Gordon said to him " Gee I'm really sorry, but Walter Hill is not going to be able to do the film, he's not going to be able to direct it"
b) Walter Hill talks to Sandy
Sandy soon found himself talking to Walter Hill himself over the phone, he had generally lost interest in the script and didn't have the temperament for special effects, and also he had something else lined up and so Walter told Sandy "Sorry Sandy, I'm not going to direct it, I've got my own script that I've written called Southern Comfort and I'm going to direct that film , so I'm not available to direct Alien."
Other directors also turned Alan Ladd down.
Sandy replied "What do you mean, we're in pre-production here?"
Walter's response was "Well, I didn't write Alien and I didn't really ever really want to direct it because I didn't particularly like it, but I agreed to do it in order to get the film made,"
Sandy's response was "Oh Okay. Well that is bad news, because we've already invested a lot of money into developing it," and then left off with "well, let me think about it"
This left certainly left Sandy alone with a problem because he couldn't go to his colleagues at Fox and tell them about the situation with at least a suggestion for other directors
- (slightly rough transcription and if you listened to the talk on youtube, you would see why ` problem should arise) Sandy Lieberson: They
approved the budget and they gave a green light, and they said okay, it
went into production and this is it. We've come all the way and I would
say about er, two months eight weeks into preproduction, I got a call
from Walter Hill, he said "sorry Sandy, but I'm going to make another film"
I said, "what do you mean, we in pre-production here"
"Well, I didn't write Alien and I didn't really ever really want to direct it because I didn't particularly like it, but I agreed to do it in order to get the film made."
I said "Oh Okay."
I didn't know what the hell to do and I knew that I couldn't tell my colleagues "Well Walter wasn't going to do it." without having at least a suggestion for other directors and then, (Sandy Lierberson in Master Class ESPACI J&B, youtube.com)
- Sandy Lieberson: so we got the film
budgeted in England and we got a greenlight to make the movie, except at
a final moment, Walter Hill said "I'm
not going to direct it, I've got
my own script that I've written called Southern Comfort and I'm going to
direct that film , so I'm not available to direct Alien."(FICVIÑA 2012 · PRESENTACION SANDY LIEBERSON _ PARTE 4, youtube.com)