a) Down to the cocoon chamber
There is the scene where Ripley descends into the leg room chamber where Captain Dallas can be found cocooned. She is armed with He had maggots all over him and it was as if he were being eaten alive. ( see also : Alien: Human To Spore )
b) Plan and problems with the scene
To get to that area, she has to crawl down a metal ladder that's hung over a space about twenty or thirty feet above the ground. She begun the scene up inside a tube in the ceiling, and she would have a lit flame thrower put over her should by a prop guy, she had to catch it and come down with one hand. Of course for the purpose of visual effect, they put grease and water all over the pole.
c) Sigourney does the scene
For this scene, Ridley Scott was going to use a petite stuntwoman and she worked out what she had to do, but he was not happy with it.
He said "I can't use her, she's too short and I can see the wire"
So Sigourney had to do the scene instead, and without a wire. She was not in a position to say "Well, I'm sorry but I don't feel like it", that would have made her feel like an idiot. So, she had to do it, and thinking about the hazards, she most likely complaining in her own mind thinking 'I went to drama school for this? ' but still she realised that was why she went to drama school.
- Sigourney Weaver: Of course the scene that I risked my life for in the first Alien , was cut. There was a section where Ripley found Captain Dallas, and he had been cocooned. He had maggots crawling all over him. Anyway, to get to the area where I find him being eaten alive there was a metal ladder, hung over a space about 20 or 30 feet above the ground, and I had to be up inside this tube, and have a lit flame-thrower put over my shoulder by this prop guy - I had to catch it, and come down with one hand. Of course they put grease all over the pole, and water, because it looked better. (SFX Magazine, December 2003, p34)
- Sigourney Weaver: At first, Ridley Scott had this little tiny stuntwoman, and she worked it out. And the he said 'I can't use her. She's too short and I can see the wire.' So I had to do it without the wire. It was one of those things where you can't say to a director, "Well, I'm sorry but I don't feel like it.' You can't say that to Ridley, or Jim Cameron; you just feel like a total twerp! So you have to do it and you're thinking, 'I went to drama school for this? ' But, of course, that is why you went to drama school. (SFX Magazine, December 2003, p34)