Making of alien vs predator
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(man) I've wanted to make an Alien movie
since I saw the first one at schooI.
I crept into it cos I wasn't oId enough to see it
- and it scared the Iiving dayIights out of me.
And I had a crush on Sigourney Weaver,
who I thought was the sexiest woman aIive.
So I've been into Aliens right from the start.
And I had an idea for
an ''AIien versus Predator'' movie
pretty much as soon as I read
the first AVP comic books,
which was right after Predator 2 came out.
Aliens Vs Predator has its origins in a meeting
where we were trying to think of a team-up
that we couId present to DC.
We were starting to achieve
some notoriety as a company,
we'd had a great success
with both the Aliens and the Predator books,
and the reason we went after Predator is
we saw the traiIer on teIevision for the movie,
and Randy and I just drove to the theatre cos
we wanted to dupIicate the success of Aliens.
We Iiked the movie.
We waIked out, I said to Randy,
''I know the sequeI. I know the comic book.''
''We just saw predators in the jungIe,
we'II put predators in the steeI jungIe
on the hottest day of the year.''
We sat around and we fIeshed out a story
and did the Predator book.
So we were Iooking to do a team-up with DC,
and Chris Warner, who's stiII here working,
said, ''Why don't we just
use our own characters?''
''AIiens and Predator are both
Fox characters. Let's put 'em together.''
King Kong Vs Godzilla - cooI.
We did the Iicence and we were very excited.
After Alien, when Predator was out
and it was such a hit,
we got a photo from the set
of the Predator 2 movie.
Someone on the set sent it to me, and it was
a picture of an aIien head in the predator ship.
It was a wink at the Alien Vs Predator comics
someone there thought it wouId be fun to do.
We knew the movie
wouId come sooner or Iater
because just the fan base
behind the property was so strong.
You are one ugly mother...
It was very difficuIt to try to bring them
together because between Predator and Alien
there were six warring producers, and some
of the most powerfuI producers in HoIIywood.
Once I had secured those rights, itjust
remained putting together a reaIIy great story.
PauI Anderson waIked in my office one day
and pitched me a story that
he'd wanted to do for eight years.
He was aIso a Predator Vs Alien fan,
and he started to pitch me this story,
and it was one of those stories, Iike Jaws,
thatjust drew you in and drew you in.
This is a key image for the AVP movie.
Something that's aIways fascinated me
is the work of Erich von Däniken,
who wrote Chariots of the Gods?
and other books,
who taIks about the simiIarities between
Egyptian, Cambodian and Aztec pyramids -
three separate cuItures that reaIIy
have nothing to do with one another,
that shouId never have seen each other,
but they ended up buiIding pyramids
that Iook surprisingIy simiIar.
Of course, Däniken's answer
was that aIiens buiIt the pyramids.
Or humans buiIt the pyramids with aIien heIp.
And, of course, we agree with him.
This shows exactIy how
the Aztec pyramids were buiIt.
You've got predator spaceships
hovering above pyramids,
you've got aII the Aztec priests
Iining up to worship their gods.
And in Aztec mythoIogy they beIieved that
their gods came from the skies in giant ships.
So those are the giant ships from the skies
and these are their gods,
which are, of course, predators.
That's the backbone of our story.
The movie starts 5,000 years ago
in Cambodia 3,000 BC
and you see aIiens and predators
on the Earth.
And the idea is that predators
use the Earth for their manhood rituaIs.
What happens is, every thousand years,
because predators have a very Iong Iife cycIe,
they drop five teenage predators at a pyramid
and they have to fight aIiens for their survivaI.
If they survive the battIe against aIiens,
they become men.
Here is what happens when things
don't go quite so weII for the predators.
So the idea is you'd start tight
on three predators fighting
and, as you puII back,
you see that they're fighting aIiens.
You think maybe there's six aIiens,
a dozen aIiens, maybe 20 aIiens.
But as the camera continues to puII back
you see there are hundreds and hundreds,
then thousands and thousands of aIiens
swarming up this pyramid, trying
to get to these three surviving predators.
Come even wider and
you just see so many of these things.
They're Iike ants swarming over one another,
trying to get to the fresh meat at the top.
You puII back so far, you see
the whoIe Aztec city is infested with aIiens.
Then you go back to the predators -
there's no hope for them.
One of them gets impaIed with an aIien taiI,
so they activate their seIf-destruct device.
And here you have the atomic expIosion
from the seIf-destruct device,
and eventuaIIy this wiII
sweep across the Aztec city.
PauI pitched this story that was so scary
and so suspensefuI and so unraveIIing
that by the end of the pitch I said,
''I'm gonna taIk Fox into doing this, PauI.''
''I've heard 45 pitches on this movie.
I've heard 45 pitches from terrific writers.''
In fact, I even hired a writing team
that had a good story,
but wasn't abIe to execute it
in a way that was good enough.
And on the first draft PauI naiIed it.
We're not quite in Antarctica.
It Iooks a IittIe Iike it.
We're in Prague,
but it's bIoody coId in Prague.
Our approach to the sets in the movie
was very much inspired by the originaI Alien.
If you Iook at the originaI Alien,
as weII as affecting the design of the aIien,
HR Giger aIso reaIIy affected
the Iook of the whoIe movie.
And as a resuIt the Iook and design of the sets
was reaIIy Iike a character in the fiIm.
We wanted the environment of the movie
in this fiIm to be as scary and as striking,
but in a different way, as it was in Alien.
That's why the movie's set in Antarctica -
it's probabIy the most dangerous
and hostiIe environment on Earth.
It's certainIy the cIosest on Earth you can get
to the surface of an aIien pIanet.
It's notjust aIiens and predators trying to kiII
humans in this fiIm. It's aIso the environment.
(Anderson) The first time I actuaIIy saw
a predator and an aIien in a room together
in the ADI workshops was fantastic.
It IiteraIIy sent chiIIs down my spine.
That's what I've been
so excited about for ten years -
the idea of seeing those two creatures
on the same piece of ceIIuIoid.
One of the reasons why I decided
to go mainIy with peopIe in suits
is because I preferred that Iook
to using a Iot of CG.
For me, the strongest movies in
the Alien franchise are Alien 1 and Aliens.
The reason for that and why
they stiII hoId up very weII now
is that those creatures are reaIIy there -
they're reaIIy in the frame
with Sigourney and with the others.
Bruce here is working on a scuIpture of
the new predator mask based on this artwork.
The idea is to come up with new predator
characters different from the originaI.
The way we did that was to keep the overaII
shape of the predator heImet the same,
but we've added a Iot of technicaI detaiIs,
incIuding this pounded-metaI Iook
which is reminiscent of the originaI.
Bruce is working in cIay now.
Once the scuIpture is done, it gets mouIded
and then we make fibregIass copies that are
finished with the right paint and weathering
to give it the Iook of aged metaI,
which is what the predator Iook is aII about.
Andy is working on one of our predator
eIders, which shows up at the end of the fiIm.
These are to Iook Iike predators
that have been around for centuries
and gone through many fights.
This is being done as a scuIpted appIiance
over the top of our base predator character.
So we're adding age wrinkIes in the forehead,
piercings here, bigger tusks,
and we'II end up putting decoration here
and scars aII over the face.
Nick is working on the prototype of the wrist
computer from the first two Predator movies
that the predator uses when
he starts the countdown sequence
that uItimateIy Ieads to this thing bIowing up
and, in those cases, ending the movie.
This is actuaIIy the first mock-up
that Nick created.
It's just made out of cardboard, some foam.
This is aII a Xerox copy
of the originaI artwork.
We've aIso added the three eIements here
that wiII project a hoIographic image
of the map or Iayout of the environment.
That's something new on this piece.
This is the gauntIet and the duaI-bIaded
weapon that the predator wears on his arm.
This was aII basicaIIy started as
a cIay scuIpture
which was then mouIded and cast,
in this case, in fibregIass,
with the idea being that the Iook wiII be that
of metaI once it's finished, painted and aged.
AIso, for something different, PauI Anderson
had us increase the Iength of those bIades,
so now they shoot out four times as Iong
as we've ever seen them before.
So this is the Iaser cannon - the weapon that
the predator uses, mounted on his backpack.
What Eric is working on now
is a bit of an improvement on that system,
where we have a mechanicaI arm.
We're aIso gonna have different caIibres
of these Iaser cannons -
a Iarger one and an even Iarger one
that the main character uses.
So it has to be beefy enough
to take the weight of that gun
and stiII give us performance capabiIities
swinging around and targeting on its victims.
This is the predator under-skuII.
This is the mechanicaI skuII our actor,
Ian White, wiII wear under the predator skin.
It's responsibIe for aII the faciaI articuIation
which is gonna bring that character to Iight.
This is aII radio controI - it aII works
with radio signaIs to operate everything.
ReaIIy, the big difference we've got over Iast
time is we have a wider range of movement.
Servos have gotten smaIIer, more powerfuI,
so we can have more throw in the mandibIes.
We've aIso got articuIation in the brows
and nose, hopefuIIy to give it more character.
We don't wanna tamper with it too much - it's
such a recognisabIe character to start with.
So reaIIy what we're trying to do is give it a
IittIe extra expression we haven't seen before.
We've buiIt the hero aIien. It's a combination
hydrauIic and animatronic puppet.
When this thing is up and running it wiII take
three puppeteers just to give it aII the moves.
It wiII aIso take two more
to be abIe to operate the arms
and a sixth person
operates the computer consoIe
to make sure aII of the signaI information
is being transmitted properIy to the puppet
and getting a corresponding signaI
back in return.
It'II reaIIy give us a Iot more use.
The movements are faster and
more powerfuI than what I can do in the suit.
We can have aII of these fast, powerfuI, broad
moves, and do it aII day Iong if we need to
without worrying about
the exhaustion factor creeping in.
PIus, it gives us the opportunity to come up
with a body that's a bit more sIimmed down,
a IittIe more skeIetaI in pIaces.
The arms and Iegs are Ioose, they're fIoppy.
They can be puppeteered to give it more Iife.
(Anderson) We've been carefuI to make sure
nothing in this fiIm contradicts what was said
in RidIey's, Cameron's, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's
or David Fincher's movies.
The aIien is the aIien and obeys the ruIes set
out in the Alien movies, as does the predator.
That was one of the questions a Iot of peopIe
asked: ''How can you make a movie set now
when Sigourney Weaver
onIy meets the aIien in 150 years' time?''
And ''How can you have
Lance Henriksen in this movie now
when he's in a movie in 150 years' time?
How can you do that?''
I'm not back. I'm the beginning
of the stories that wiII happen in the future.
So it's a prequeI to things
peopIe have aIready seen.
(Anderson) The eviI corporation
in the Alien movies is WeyIand Yutani,
and Lance, present day, is the owner
and the founder of the WeyIand Corporation.
I am CharIes Bishop WeyIand and I have
biIIions. Made aII my money in robotics.
(Anderson) The idea is, he is the creator. He is
Iike BiII Gates, his company is Iike Microsoft.
It's aImost Iike Microsoft buiIding an android
of BiII Gates 50, 60 years in the future.
SeVen days ago one of my satellites
oVer Antarctica discoVered this.
The red lines indicate solid walls.
My experts tell me it's a pyramid.
So he puts this whoIe team together
to go and expIore it,
and he thinks he's found
the Iost Iink in civiIisation.
So they aII turn up there with
driIIing equipment and aII this hi-tech gear
to driII a hoIe 2,000 feet in the ice,
onIy to find there's aIready a tunneI there.
lt is my job to keep you aliVe on this
expedition, and l need your help to do that.
They go into this underground pyramid and
they meet up with some pretty scary things.
(Anderson) They discover the very heart
of the pyramid, the sarcophagus chamber,
and in there they discover a sarcophagus,
but instead of containing a body,
it contains three futuristic weapons,
and these are
predator weapons, predator guns.
Our humans don't reaIise
that by taking these guns
they've put themseIves directIy in the battIe
between the aIiens and the predators.
The predators are chasing them and the
aIiens are chasing them, so it's pretty hairy.
(man) Come on!
(Anderson) The thing that
reaIIy I Ioved about Alien
was that movie doesn't have
a singIe weak cast member in it.
Sigourney, Harry Dean Stanton,
Ian HoIm, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt.
What a fantastic cast.
And the same with Aliens.
When I first taIked to Fox about this picture,
one of the things I made cIear was
that's what impressed me
about RidIey's and Cameron's movies,
and that's what I wanted to do with this fiIm -
ensure there wasn't a singIe weak actor in it.
The person I'm most excited about,
as a huge Alien fan,
is, of course, working with Lance Henriksen.
I'm Iike the oId geezer on the set and it's Iike,
''Here he is, CharIes Bishop WeyIand.''
But they associate me with Bishop, so
I don't have to do much. They kinda Iike me.
(Anderson) It's obviousIy very intimidating to
try and find a foIIow-up to Sigourney Weaver.
One of the things we tried to do was not
to find someone to compete with Sigourney,
but someone who'd be different to Sigourney,
who brought a different set of quaIities,
cos we're making a different kind of picture.
We're not trying to make Alien or Aliens again,
because I'd be a fooI to try and do that,
cos those movies are cIassics, masterpieces.
And I wanted a new actress
for a new kind of fiIm,
and I think that's exactIy
what we found in Sanaa Lathan.
This is a woman who I wanted to pIay.
I feeI Iike I'm Iearning a Iot from her.
She's smart, she's a Ieader,
she is quick, has quick instincts,
and she has Iots of integrity.
So, you wanna hear about Bishop?
(Anderson) RaouI's onIy acted in one
big American movie: Under the Tuscan Sun.
Of course he's a huge movie star in ItaIy,
so it's impossibIe to go into
an ItaIian restaurant anywhere
and not have everything grind to a haIt for an
hour whiIe everyone is introduced to RaouI.
(Raoul) Each character is something
very speciaI, he has his own story,
and I think you Iove the characters.
very exciting about this script.
He's a reaIIy charismatic actor.
I think he's potentiaIIy a massive movie star.
The guy just exudes sex appeaI
and he's aIso got a rugged-Iike abiIity.
He's one of those actors - it's great for him -
he's Iike a guy's guy,
but aIso he's a Iadies' man as weII.
(Anderson) We've buiIt big sets
and huge miniatures.
The miniatures and sets
in this movie are enormous
because I Iike the feeIing of reaIity
in a picture.
I think that's what was reaIIy strong
about the finaI battIe in Aliens
between Sigourney in the power Ioader
and the aIien queen,
and the reason for that is
Cameron used miniatures.
John Bruno, who's our
visuaI-effects supervisor, is just a genius.
He's Cameron's guy who worked on
The Abyss, T2, True Lies, Titanic.
He reaIIy is the best visuaI-effects
supervisor in the worId, I think.
As compared to the other movies,
this is quite visuaI-effects heavy.
Even with the direction we've taken -
PauI has asked that we try to do
as much in camera as possibIe -
stiII at this point I think
we're approaching 400 effect shots.
That's more shots on a fiIm
than I've ever done.
(Anderson) The whaIing station is fuII-scaIe,
but aIso we buiIt third-scaIe miniatures.
PeopIe taIk about miniatures
and usuaIIy think they're Iike miniatures.
A third-scaIe miniature means
the buiIdings are this high. It's enormous.
(Bridgland) One thing that worried me
about doing this fiIm
is I've hardIy ever seen snow or ice
that Iooks reaIIy reaI in a movie.
It's probabIy one of the hardest things
to try and recreate.
We came up with a soIution that, according
to the snow peopIe we were working with,
has never been used before,
so we were reaIIy pIeased
about where we pushed that.
For aII the sets, we've had, in totaI,
about three artic-Ioads of snow deIivered,
so there's probabIy just short of 600,
700 bags of snow that have been used.
We're probabIy taIking about
anything between 15 and 20 tons of snow.
(Anderson) I'm the biggest Alien and Predator
fan, I'm the most criticaI of our work.
Without doubt we've made these creatures
Iook better than ever before
and you see a Iot more high-impact action.
You see these creatures going at it.
I think it's a major achievement of this movie
that the first fight scene between an aIien
and a predator we took a month to shoot.
A month for one scene -
aIien and a predator going head to head.
And it was worth taking aII that time because
when you see these creatures go kapoom,
they're reaI - they reaIIy Iook Iike two
fast, vicious, scary, enormous creatures
that are in a chamber
where they just tear the pIace apart.
AII my friends, when I toId them in LA that
I was gonna go do AVP, were thriIIed for me
because they even wanna see it.
You know what I mean?
This is Iong in coming
and, boy, is it gonna arrive.
This is gonna be a great big,
exciting summer-event fiIm.
It's gonna be scary,
it's gonna be cooI and a great story.
(man) Oh, God, that's great.
It's gonna deIiver.
(Anderson) AVP is designed as
a stand-aIone franchise.
It's not designed to repIace
Predator or Alien movies.
As a fan, I'd Iike to see Alien 5. I'd Iike to see
another Alien movie with Sigourney Weaver.
I'd Iove to see another
Predator movie with Arnie.
And this movie doesn't stop
either of those fiIms being made.
What did you say this room was called?
Seat beIts onIy, you know.
There's no air bags in this theatre.
(Anderson) When I saw Alien I feIt, ''This is
the kind of fiIm I wanna do when I grow up.''
So it's finaIIy good to have finaIIy grown up.
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