Alien3: In Space, They’re Still Screaming

Ron Magid
Unit Photography by Rolf Konow and Bob Penn, courtesy of 20th Century Fox
July, 1992
American Cinematographer

Alex Thomson, BSC — one of Britain’s premier cinematographers — creates images of dazzling perfection, richness and clarity, images which have graced some of the most exquisite-looking films in recent memory: Legend, Ridley Scott‘s epic fairytale; Eureka, Nicholas Roeg‘s influential retelling of Citizen Kane; and Excalibur, John Boorman‘s visually magnificent approach to the King Arthur legend.

Though Alien3 is ideal subject matter for Thomson’s rich photographic style, he might never have lent his expertise to the project had it not been for one of the greatest triumphs and tragedies of his career. Late in 1990, Thomson had been chosen by one of the world’s undisputed filmic masters to photograph what promised to be his final masterpiece: the director was David Lean; the project was Joseph Conrad‘s Nostromo

Unfortunately, Lean took ill and died, Nostromo shut down and a saddened Alex Thomson returned to London, wondering what he would do next. “I came back from France on a weekend and they called me on Monday to see if I could take over on Alien3,” Thomson recollects. “I started work on Tuesday, which was about a week and a half into production. I was happy to do it; it kept my mind off what might have been.” (There is a certain karmic irony to Thomson’s twist of fate. As fans of the first Alien film will recall, the spaceship in that picture was dubbed the Nostromo.)

Behind the camera, Alex Thomson, BSC watches intently as operator David Worley lines up a shot on Charles Dance as Sigorney Weaver stands by.

The production history of Alien3 is a troubled one. Before Thomson joined the film, its first director, New Zealander Vincent Ward — one of a slew of directors who had been attached to the project during its lengthy pre-production phase — had been replaced by rock video director David Fincher. Thomson was hired when the film’s original cinematographer, Jordan Cronenweth, ASC (Blade Runner) left the production.

Many cinematographers might feel stifled by a production where the original look had already been determined, but not Thomson. “I had no problem with following in Jordan’s footsteps because his approach was so right,” he enthuses. “It was marvelous to be pointed in the right direction by a man of his caliber.” 

First-time feature director Fincher, for his part, is an award-winning rock video director with a background in visual effects storyboarding at ILM. “To take something over like this at 28 must’ve been quite awe-inspiring, but he handled it as if he’d done 20 pictures,” Thomson relates.

Read the full profile

NetWorkWise: Holt McCallany, Bringing Hollywood Down to Earth

Adam Connors
July 10, 2019
NetWorkWise

Audio version:
NetWorkWise Presents: Conversations with Connors (PodBean)
Holt McCallany: Bringing Hollywood Down to Earth

Original Post

Fincherphilia & Beyond

Cinephilia & Beyond - Logo

Just a small sample of all the precious filmic resources bestowed by Cinephilia & Beyond:

1993. Alien3 01

Alien3: “Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame”

1995. Se7en

Se7en: A Rain-Drenched, Somber, Gut-Wrenching Thriller that Restored David Fincher’s Faith in Filmmaking

1995. The Game

Downwards Is the Only Way Forwards: Welcome to David Fincher’s The Game

1999. Fight Club

Fight Club: David Fincher’s Stylish Exploration of Modern-Day Man’s Estrangement and Disillusionment

2007. Zodiac

Fincher’s Zodiac As Easily One Of The Best Thrillers Of The Millennium So Far

1982. David Fincher at ILM

Cinephilia & Beyond, one of the finest websites dedicated to the art and craft of Film, is struggling financially and needs your support: DONATE

Alien 3. Expanded Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Limited Edition 2-CD Set)

La-La Land Records

La-La Land Records, Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Music and Universal Music Special Markets present the expanded and remastered re-issue of the original motion picture score to the 1992 feature film ALIEN 3, starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, and Charles Dance, and directed by David Fincher.

Renowned composer Elliot Goldenthal (Batman Forever, Pet Semetary, Heat) composes an astounding musical tapestry of suspenseful atmospherics and pulse-pounding action – featuring some of the most effective cues ever composed for the legendary ALIEN franchise. Goldenthal’s artistic triumphs here would propel him into a series of acclaimed scores to important genre films that continues today.

Expanded by more than 40 minutes beyond the original 1992 album assembly (which appears here remastered on Disc 2), the presentation showcases the film score in all its glory, along with bonus alternates. Produced by Nick Redman and Michael Matessino, associate produced by Neil S. Bulk, and remastered and mixed by Matessino from original digital masters, this special 2-CD set is limited to 3500 units and features exclusive in-depth liner notes by writer Jeff Bond and sharp art direction by Mark BanningStarts Shipping May 3.

Order it now on the La-La Land Records official website

Goldenthal himself once called the score to be his “Symphony No. 1”. Whilst creating the score in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles riots of 1992 were going on and he has noted that the wild and tempestuous atmosphere in the city was an influence on the music’s dark and visceral sound.

Interview with Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. of Studio ADI

JM Prater
January 15, 2018
Perfect Organism: The Alien Saga Podcast

As Alien fans, we’ve become used to change. Different directors; different scripts; different planets; different eras; different timelines; even different film studios. With everything so constantly in flux, it’s easy to forget that Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. have been there since nearly the very beginning. From their pioneering work on Aliens, to the foundation of the legendary Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., Gillis and Woodruff have been at the vanguard of the effects industry for more than three decades.

In this exclusive, unprecedented interview, our very own JM Prater visited Gillis and Woodruff at Studio ADI in Hollywood for a sit-down conversation about their love for the Alien Saga, their relationships with the fans, and much, much more.

Listen to the full interview (01:18:40)

studioADI: ALIEN 3. Dressing the Whippet

studioADI
Published on 6 Dec 2017
YouTube

One unused attempt at a running chestburster in Alien 3 included this adorable whippit. It didn’t quite work on camera the way that we hoped, though and the effect was scraped.

Be sure to check out some of new Fox approved Alien art pieces, available December 1st.