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Feature: Alien vs Predator

When Aliens Collide

Paul WS Anderson and friends

Director Paul WS Anderson discusses his dream project…

Paul Anderson, director of such films as Event Horizon and Resident Evil, sees Alien vs Predator as his last and best chance to achieve cinematic immortality and follow in the footsteps of directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron. It was the work of these film-makers, in Alien and Aliens respectively, that had a big impact on Anderson when he saw the films as a child. Anderson is certainly under a lot of pressure to live up to the expectations of fans of the Alien series – and, indeed, fans of the Predator series as, although, Alien vs Predator is a prequel to 1979’s Alien, it is a sequel to the Predator films. “The pressure’s enormous, but it’s a dream come true,” says Anderson, who also handled scripting chores on the monster blockbuster along with credited co-writer Shane Salerno. “I saw Alien when I was a kid and, being on the set of Alien vs Predator in Prague, it’s just unbelievable to see Tom Woodruff in the Alien suit and think, ‘Here I am directing a film with Aliens and Predators and there’s an Alien walking right by me. Wow.’ The idea for Alien vs Predator is one I’ve had for 10 years, a dream project of mine. The biggest pressure is trying to follow in the footsteps of great directors like James Cameron and Ridley Scott.”

Alien vs Predator is set in the present day which, in an unusual twist, makes the film both a sequel to the Predator films (the last of which being 1990’s Predator 2, and a prequel to Alien). Unbelievably, Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s heroine, isn’t even a gleam in her parents’ eyes! Anderson’s goal was to have the Aliens and Predators fight on present-day Earth, a setting he’d always envisioned for the two creatures to do battle in. “There were lots of Alien vs Predator scripts floating around over the years and I didn’t look at any of them except for the script that was written by Peter Briggs which was very similar to the comic book,” says Anderson. “I believe the first script written was set out in Space and I think that’s because the studio, Fox, considered the Alien franchise the more profitable of the two since there’s only been two Predator films. I liked the idea of having the battle take place on Earth. I first got the idea when I saw the trailer for Alien3 and the trailer said, ‘this winter, you’ll discover on Earth everyone can hear you scream’ which hinted that Alien3 was going to be set on Earth. That’s what Aliens was leading to I believe – the Aliens finding a way to get to Earth. It’s the natural progression. Maybe not invading New York City – although that’s a great idea – but being on Earth.”

by David Grove

Journey with us via many more fact-finding articles on the movie and more new releases in
Film Review Special #53

Photo © 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Film Review Special #53
Alien vs Predator 2004
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