|Danny Boyle who almost directed Alien 4|
a) The Alien Experience...
Danny Boyle was offered Alien Resurrection, it wasn't the money that tempted him so much but his love for the story by Joss Whedon, the story featured the cloning of Ripley and he found it both psychological and sexual. He compared Whedon to Alex Garland, a writer that he had worked with who was also a fan of the Alien series, since both writers were both very imaginative and wonderful cinematic writers in his view.
He actually got very close to making it. He met up with Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder, even having French fries with Winona. Sigourney told him about how she was attracted to the sexual and psychological elements of the script. He admitted that he was terrified of the special effects and the fact that he couldn't handle the mechanics of the whole set-up. It was a huge operation and Danny was used to working on smaller operations. CGI was being introduced at the time and he felt that he needed to have knowledge of it along with CGI puppeteering, but unfortunately he had no experience or interest in working with it, and he wasn't suddenly going to pick it up as he went along.
At the time he was being handed the script, writer John Hodge and producer Andrew Macdonald handed him the script "A Life Less Ordinary" which he thought was much more his cup of tea, and with that he backed out of Alien Resurrection, going into preproduction with this other script
Danny thought about how the fourth Alien directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet turned out was very different to the original script that he had read. He himself would have loved to have focused more on how they recreated Ripley and perfected her.
However he didn't think that he would have had any influence on the film if he made it, because it was like a machine in its own right. He would have tried to steer it in the direction of the original film, but with the executive producers around him, he would not have had a chance to make it that way. He thought that the only person who could have done that was Ridley Scott.
Billy Badalato the producer thought that if Danny had directed the movie, it would have contrasted with Jean-Pierre's plot orientated visual style, the characters would have been different and even more character driven in some supporting roles, but it was hard for him to tell. Still he thought that Danny's film would have been good but different
- FW:So you're not making Alien 4 as has been rumoured.
Danny Boyle: Well, we were talking about it, and then it suddenly got very, very serious, and the people involved were terrific, but the sheer size of it means planning so far in advance, I just thought we wouldn't do a good enough job of it, really. (Danny Boyle: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers Keith Hopper interviews Danny Boyle, p30)
- Danny Boyle: There was a great script by Josh Whedon, more like the first film – very psychological and quite sexual. I remember talking to Sigourney Weaver, and she said that’s why she wanted to do it, the studio really wanted something like the second film – an action movie, for the crew to chase the alien and be chased by the alien. (See: https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2011/02/far-from-ordinary-danny-boyle-profile/)
- Hollywood is still beckoning. Boyle was asked to direct Alien 4 but finally declined the offer "because you can't contribute much; it's a machine."(http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,136217,00.html)
- Danny Boyle: I was a massive Alien fan, always at the first screenings in London's West End, so I was shocked to be sent the script for the fourth one. And it was a really interesting story about cloning; at the time, the technology to clone was becoming available. The scriptwriter who had written the Buffy the Vampire Slayer film and co-written Toy Story. You could tell he loved Alien like I did. So I agreed to direct and got into pre-production. I met the transcendent Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder. Then two things happened: I realised I'd be hopeless at directing Alien 4 because I had no knowledge of puppeteering. CG was just being introduced, and you have to have a knowledge of it. At that point I had no experience in - or real interest in - working with CG. So I very quickly understood I just wouldn't be able to do it properly. Simultaneously, John and Andrew gave me a script called A Life Less Ordinary. So I backed out of Alien 4 and started working on A Life Less Ordinary, which was more my cup of tea. I knew John had been working on it because we'd talked about it a bit. But he's not very talkative, John, he just does it. (Danny Boyle; Authorised Edition)
- Danny Boyle: I didn't know what I was doing, and I wouldn't have known how to handle all the special effects that would have been a huge part of it. So I backed out of it. (Time Out, London. Tom Charity "All the rage" October 30th to November 6th 2002)
- Boyle once contemplated directing “Alien 4.”. “I got involved briefly, with ‘Alien 4.’ After ‘Trainspotting’ my head was turned,” he admitted of the way the business affects one’s creative decisions. “Partly because I loved the ‘Alien’ movies, but I realized very quickly that I couldn’t make one. You wouldn’t get the best out of me at all.” (http://blogs.indiewire.com, March 13, 2013 )
- Danny Boyle: I got offered Alien Resurrection. It wasn't the money that tempted me so much as the love of the story. Joss Whedon has written a really good script using a franchise in an interesting way and I got close to doing that. I backed away in the end because I didn't really feel that I could handle the mechanics of the whole set-up. You've got this huge operation and I like working within a smaller on. (Sight and Sound April 2013 vol 23 #4 )
- Q. You were once lined with one of the Alien movies. So has this genre always been on the radar for you? And is Sunshine perhaps the Alien movie you would have made?
Danny Boyle: I was very intimidated by the special effects, I didn’t think I could handle them whereas I felt a bit more confident with this one, I felt I knew a bit more. I’m at the opening night of films like Contact, Starship Troopers, Alien Resurrection. I went to all those films on the Friday or Saturday night in Leicester Square and I don’t do that with other films, so I realised I was a bit of a fan really, particularly those real NASA-type films rather than the Star Wars fantasy sci-fi. So I guess I had a bug for it really.
Q. So is this your Alien movie?
Danny Boyle: I think Alex is a big fan of those Alien movies as well. The guy who wrote that fourth one, Joss Whedon, is an Alex-type of guy – very imaginative, a wonderful cinematic writer. But how the fourth Alien turned out is very different to the original script that we read..(http://www.indielondon.co.uk, 2007)
- Danny Boyle: I've been thinking about Alien recently. I couldn't have influenced Alien 4. When I read that script it had this amazing cloning idea. That they recreate Ripley... perfect her. I would have focused on that. With all those executive producers around, you had no chance - it had to be an action movie. The only guy that could possibly have done it is Ridley Scott - he could have taken it back to the first film (Empire, April, 2007, p86)
- Had Resurrection been directed by Danny Boyle, it would have been, no doubt, another film entirely. Badalato comments on just how different the movie might have been like had Boyle called the shots. "The characters would have been different. We're getting a visual style with Jean-Pierre. He focuses very deeply on visual style and he's very plot orientated." the producer says."Danny might have been more character-driven in some of the supporting roles. It's hard to tell. Danny's film would have been good, but it would have been a different film" (Starlog/January 1998, p47)
- Ruffcut asks: How close did you come to directing Alien 4?Danny Boyle: Oh my God, that one. Very close actually. In fact I met Sigourney and Winona, which was a great pleasure. Had chips – French fries I should say – with Winona. But I backed out of it. I was terrified of the special effects. (www.empireonline.com 2009)