The alien was always regarded as a C- movie which I was the fifth choice. I had done The Duellists and erm, got a prize at Cannes, and erm I think by being being fifth choice they were definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel and er, they sent me this script, 'cause I remember by the reaction, when I said "I love the script",
"any change? "
What I did, I went to Hollywood, I was in Hollywood within about twenty two hours from making that call
So I was standing in the office at Fox, what do you want to do with this and that. no no no, I don't want to touch it no, but I'd like to do this and that, and they said, while we negotiate why don't you go back to London and I went back to London and I storyboarded the whole film, I went to spend the next month storyboarding, my negotiation took forever and I storyboarded the movie and then I took it back, it was this thick and like this and erm, the budget was 4.2 million. The Duellists was £800,000 and the erm, and the alien would be 4.2, I went back and we doubled the budget, we went straight to 8.6, just shows the power of a little bit of pen on paper, 'cause they went wow, 'cause they had no idea what could be done, everything, just a sequence where, you know, guys in space just wakin' up, where they have breakfast, where they, all these things of, brought all that to life, and erm, do the budget doubled and suddenly became a... I think it was well done so it became an A movie.
The thing I was really... most concerned about was, not about cast and getting a great cast, you can always get, there's some great actors out there so I, apart from having a really really good cast, erm the, the biggest headache would be the Alien himself, the eighth passenger. If I hadn't had that , I wouldn't have been able to save the film, I knew that.
When I saw Giger's stuff, I thought, this is it, and he wanted to redesign it and I said no no no. It was a book called Necronomicon.
I said "no no this is it",
He said "but I could...",
I said "no, this is it, you don't change it , you just make it wor,. If we could make it work, that's a big enough challenge, because then all the other elements have to be designed in between like.. what is the chestburster effect? What does the face hugger look like? What does the egg look like?"
And oddly enough he couldn't get the chestburster right, so we we we took that away and went somewhere else for that. We worked out the chestburster on the back of an envelope. The chestburster became a, a, a erm, the baby, it has to be a birth on the kitchen table