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James Cameron Once Explained How Sigourney Weaver Reversed Her ‘Aliens’ Role in ‘Avatar’



Movie maker James Cameron reunited with Sigourney Weaver for the Avatar series. But the filmmaker noticed the irony between her roles in Avatar and Aliens.

James Cameron noticed an interesting parallel between ‘Aliens’ and ‘Avatar’

Cameron and Weaver already collaborated for a sci-fi feature years before Avatar. Cameron directed the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien, with Weaver once again battling extraterrestrial invaders in deep space. In an interview with Vulture, Weaver briefly recalled having a pleasant experience with Cameron on set. Which might’ve been a bit surprising given the director’s notorious temper in the past.

“Well, he was always so sweet to me during Aliens,” Weaver said. “And that was a tough picture for him, because the crew had this big Ridley Scott obsession, and it took him a while to get their attention as a filmmaker. But with me and the other actors, I always felt, he cast so well; he’s so devoted to his actors. He does get impatient with filmmaking in a way, but he always pushes himself harder than anybody else, so even though he can be a little growl-y, it’s over in a second when you move on. He operated on every single shot in this movie.”

Despite the fond memories, the two didn’t really reconnect for a film until 2009’s Avatar. Weaver shared that Cameron simply sent her the movie’s script to lure her to the feature. Like Aliens, Avatar saw humanity going into battle with an alien species. But this time, the humans were depicted as the villains of the story. Cameron noted this presented an interesting parallel to Aliens.

“But there’s an irony in the sense that in Aliens she was the human hero against the aliens, and in this film the humans are the invaders,” Cameron once said according to Conversations with Filmmakers. “They’re invading the alien planet and the story is kind of told from the other side. So in a sense, she’s one of the invaders, although she loves the Na’vi people, she loves the world of Pandora, and she means them only—means only to help them. But still, she’s kind of on the wrong side, if you will, in this movie.”

How James Cameron tricked Sigourney Weaver into being in ‘Aliens’


Weaver had some reservations about starring in an Alien sequel without its original director Scott at the helm. But Cameron had his heart set on Weaver reprising her role. So, to make sure Weaver accepted his offer, he played a few mind games with the actor.

“I called up Lou Pitt, Arnold’s [Schwarzenegger] agent, and I said, ‘Lou, we’re kind of over this. So, we’ve decided that we really like the story and all the Marine Corps characters and the world we’ve created and everything. And really, we’ve thought about it, and we really just don’t need Sigourney,” Cameron recalled to GQ. “I’ve created all these characters, and my pride of authorship tells me I should go ahead with this, and we’ll just cut her out of it, and we’ll just cut her character out of it. We won’t recast it; I’ll just rewrite it. So, I’m going to start on that tonight.”

This was enough to create the urgency the Holes star needed to claim the lead role.

“Now, did I have any intention of doing that whatsoever? No, not at all. But I happen to know that Lou is at the same agency as Sigourney’s agent, who was in New York. And I knew that the second he hung up with me, he called him and said, ‘Sign Sigourney now.’ And guess what? The deal was done in 12 hours after that. So, I never wrote a word of that hypothetical story that I said I was going to do, that I had no intention of writing anyway. Anyway, it worked, and Sigourney got her million bucks, and everyone was happy,” he said.

Source: Cheat Sheet


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