Alien 3: Vincent Ward's final straw

leading from


a) Signs of mistrust
Over the months, Vincent Ward noticed that the producers were becoming more and more conservative  and so he became less comfortable about being supposedly responsible for the fortunes of an entire studio.

He started to notice how things were becoming more as it were political or perhaps it seemed more like espionage.

His line produccer warned him one day "you know, your assistant, you know the assistant that the studio organized for you"

Vincent very appreciative of her responded " yes tall beautiful, yes, love her, fantastic"

He then went on to add "she's phoning in every night to the studio. And you know your production designer gets phonecalls everynight from the studio behind your back, you're aware of this aren't you?"

Vincent responded "er, er er, er yeah sure. "

Then he phoned his studio executive to get rid of his assistant, saying "look, you know I need another assistant, I need something...she's over qualified"

To add to that there was also the claim that the studio was having phonecalls with production designer Norman Reynolds behind his back. However Reynolds would come to deny this stating that his dealing were only with the director as opposed to the producers

Still, there was something to this atmosphere of mistrust.   

b) Ward's final straw
It got to the point where even though Ward thought that he had a final word from everybody that they loved the idea that he had and he was getting close to hiring crew and so on suddenly the producers attack on his work began with "well, we like two out of three of your ideas".

Ward replied "Yeah"

They went on to say "well, we like the bit where in the alien movie, where you're going to scare the bejeezuz out of people have where you're going to have an alien and Sigourney. The bit about the world well"

One producers said "well, why couldn't they be convicts?"

Ward responded with an "uh"

And another producer who didn't necessarily agree with the first producers said "well, why do we need this wooden environment anyway, why don't we just have it as a mining colony."

Also came the suggestion "Let's have that guy who turned out to be a robot! "

Were they asking for another robot character or Lance Henriksen back as a robot, because Ward protested against the idea of another person who turns out to be a robot "Guys, you can't do the same thing in this film, another character that has milk come out of them - it's gonna be predictable! Try something else!"

And so it got worse and worse and Ward didn't want to let this go any further and said "hold on! what’s what’s going on here. Guys, well we signed off on this "referring to his own story, "this is what we agreed to"

c) Final disintegration
For a while they back off and then one day he was sent notes that were adamant about what could and could not happen in the script.  And so with this was the statement it should feel more like Alien or Aliens and they suggested 'Let's make it a mining community!'  and then it seemed that he was sent a list stating "we want the following changes....." . Was it the same note? Also there was a note that he was supposed meet one of the key senior executives at Fox about it the next day. Was this on the same note? However this list was very aggressive and it was basically you do, and you obey. However there he was made to wait outside a door for an hour like a school kid, and he found himself in a terrible mood by the end of that time.  He tried to talk his way around this list and was completely unsuccessful. He was told to do it or be fire and the firs thing he said was "You know what, I'd rather be fired"

Source Quotes
  1. Vincent Ward: My line producer who was fantastic, and erm, he war., he warned me one day, he said, "you know, your assistant, you know the assistant that the studio organized for you" and I went, "yes tall beautiful, yes, love her, fantastic". He said "she's phoning in every night to the studio. And you know your production designer gets phonecalls everynight from the studio behind your back," he said "you're aware of this aren't you". I went," er, er er, er yeah sure." (Alien Quadrilogy, The Making of Alien 3 )
  2.  Vincent Ward: So I said to my studio exec, look, "you know I need another assistant, I need something...she's over qualified," and it could, it was amazing, in the end it only takes one personal relationship, if it isn't this mixed agendas in that highly politically charged situation that can undermine everything. (Alien Quadrilogy, The Making of Alien 3 )(Alien Quadrilogy, The Making of Alien 3 )
  3.  Over the months, the producers, in Ward's words, "became more conservative". And he became less comfortable being supposedly responsible for the fortunes of an entire studio. Things started to become, as they say, political. Ward says he was warned by his line producer that his "tall, beautiful" assistant was "phoning in every night to the studio". He was also informed that the studio was having phone calls with production designer Reynolds behind his back. Reynolds, for the record, denies this: "I wasn't, actually! I'm really the director's man. My dealings are with the director as opposed to the producers." What is certain is that there was a growing atmosphere of mistrust. Eventually, Ward was sent notes that were, he says, "very adamant about what could and what could not happen in the script. Now it was felt it should be more like Alien and Aliens, so they suggested, 'Let's make it a mining community!' How boring! 'Let's have that guy who turned out to be a robot (Lance Henriksen)!'" Ward protested: "Guys," he said, "you can't do the same thing in this film, another character that has milk come out of them - it's gonna be predictable! Try something else!"
    Soon after, Ward received a message that he should meet with "one of our key senior executives at Fox" the next day. He was made to wait outside for an hour, "like a school kid". His mood darkened. The meeting did not go well. The Wooden Planet, he was told, had to go. Shortly afterward, Ward left Alien III. "Basically, the only reason I signed on was because I had a strong idea for the story," he sighs, "and the very fabric of that story had been chipped away. It just became a remake."
    "It was a weird situation to find myself in," reflects Ward. "I'm one of those people who like to see things through. I don't mind compromising if it will improve the story. But you're dealing with people where it's not known as a 'film' - it's called a 'franchise'. So you don't want your Kentucky Fried Chicken or your McDonald's to look different. You gotta have the same coloured walls, and the doors in the right place..." He pauses. "There's only so much you can say, really. It just comes down to creative differences."
    (www.empireonline.com/)
  4.  Vincent Ward: They suggested convicts instead of monks and a mining colony instead of a monastery - all out of fear that the film would be too religious, which certainly wasn't my intention. (Scifinow, p118)
  5. Vincent Ward: If anything I had a healthy scepticism, but the producers were under a lot of pressure to get it out as soon as possible , and I believe that studios can be very conservative beasts who go for what has gone before. That's the problem you face when you want to do something interesting. (Scifinow, p118)
  6. Vincent Ward: Even though I had a commitment from everybody that they loved this idea, the idea that I'd had, by the time I was you know hitting over to England, and beginning, getting close to, you know hiring crew and so on, they said "well, we like two out of three of your ideas" and I went "yeah", "well we liked the bit where the alien movie, where you're going to scare the bejeezuz out of people and you're going to have as, an alien and Sigourney. The bit about the world, well," one producer said "well, couldn't they just be convicts" and I went, "uh", and then another producer  said "um", who didn't necessarily agree with the first producer, but they kind of seemed to ...there seemed to be a trade off going, he said "well, why do we need this wooden environment anyway, why don't we just have it as a mining colon, colony." So, um, I went, guys, well we signed off on this, this is what we agreed to" and then, so they, for a while they backed off, and then I got this kind of list saying, we want the following changes, meet tomorrow with one of the key senior executives at fox. I was made to wait outside a door for an hour like a school kid, and I was in a terrible mood, I was in, say by the time I waited for an hour, I had seen this list which was very aggressive, it was you do, you obey, I tried to talk my way around it and was completely unsuccessful. I was told, do it or be fired. First I said "You know what, I'd rather be fired" (Alien Quadrilogy, The Making of Alien 3 )

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