12 Behind The Scenes Stories From 'Alien 3'

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Alien and Aliens both have carved out their unique spots in cinematic history. The first was a groundbreaking sci-fi horror film - the second was fast-paced sci-fi action at its best. 

Then... there's Alien 3. From the get-go, Alien 3 was plagued with problems. Throughout its five-year development, the movie went through seven different writers and three different directors (eventually settling on the then-unknown 27-year-old David Fincher).

After releasing in May 1992 to lukewarm reviews, the film has since gained a cult following. This is in large part due to the release of an Assembly Cut version of the film in 2003, which included nearly 40 minutes of deleted and additional footage, which many argue filled the original plot holes. 

Despite the troubled production, Alien 3 has plenty of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories - from Sigourney Weaver's shaved head pay raise to a 'sexier' Alien design. Read on and vote up the most interesting Alien 3 facts!


  • Frequent Script Changes Put A Major Strain On The Cast
    Photo: Alien 3 / 20th Century Fox
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    17 VOTES

    Frequent Script Changes Put A Major Strain On The Cast

    With each new director and writer came a new version of the plot. These changes didn't stop when the cameras finally started rolling either. Script changes were regularly made on such short notice that it drove the actors mad. As Brian Glover, who played the prison warden Harold Andrews, said

    The director keeps changing the bloody script after I've learned the lines!

    Paul McGann, who played the mentally unstable character Golic, was equally as frustrated with the studio interference, saying: 

    There are more producers around here than actors. I wondered who the hell they were at first. It's like having an extra f**king audience for every scene. You can't get a clear picture of who wants what, it gets changed as we go along. I don't know what they're doing here. Rewriting some of the script? Getting in the way? F**k knows.

     

    17 votes
  • The Reshot Ending Cost $500,000 - And Ended Up Being Removed In The Assembly Cut  
    Photo: Alien 3 / 20th Century Fox
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    13 VOTES

    The Reshot Ending Cost $500,000 - And Ended Up Being Removed In The Assembly Cut  

    By the end of the film, Ripley has learned that she is carrying the embryo of the Alien Queen; additionally, the company she worked for wants to use that embryo as a weapon. 

    Faced with these options, Ripley heroically sacrifices herself by falling into a fiery furnace. 

    This was how the original ending was filmed. However, producers decided this wasn't enough. During expensive reshoots that cost upwards of $500,000, they added to this scene.

    Now, as Ripley is falling, the Alien bursts through Ripley's chest. Ripley holds down the creature, and they both fall into the rather unconvincing flames. The scene also rather undermines the sacrifice since it rendered her decision to reject the company's offer of help pointless. 

    In the assembly cut, they go back to the original version and remove the chest-burster. 

     

    13 votes
  • Some Of The Edits Of The Theatrical Release Left Glaring Plot Holes
    Photo: Alien 3 / 20th Century Fox
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    11 VOTES

    Some Of The Edits Of The Theatrical Release Left Glaring Plot Holes

    Rewrites and reshoots haunted Alien 3 - and these edits weren't all well-received when they finally released the movie in theaters.

    Major plot holes formed when the producers decided to cut back scenes. This includes the opening, which was originally filmed as an emotional scene of finding Ripley's unconscious body wash up on a beach.

    In this scene, we were also introduced to the ferocious lice that dominate the planet - explaining why Ripley was forced to shave her head. 

    Additionally, important character building was lost during the cuts. This was especially true for Ralph Brown's character, Aaron. Brown agreed to play Aaron as a smart character, who survives to the end. In the cuts, the editing team reduced Aaron to a mentally-challenged character, who goes by the nickname '85' - his IQ.

    Golic's fate is undetermined in the original release. In the assembly cut, the original plan to trap the xenomorph was actually successful and it was the deranged Golic who freed it. The studio felt this undermined the threat of the xenomorph and took it out, leaving the fate of Golic unseen on screen.

    11 votes
  • James Cameron Called The Controversial Beginning 'Dumb' 
    Photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0
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    25 VOTES

    James Cameron Called The Controversial Beginning 'Dumb' 

    Alien 3 comes on the tail end of Aliens, which ends with Ripley creating a kind of 'found family' at the end of the film. 

    So in Alien 3, when it's discovered these family members are now dead, it was quite a shock to the viewer. 

    James Cameron, director of Aliens, has not been shy that he wasn't a fan of this decision. He said:

    I thought [the decision to eliminate Newt, Hicks, and Bishop] was dumb. I thought it was a huge slap in the face to the fans.

     

    25 votes
  • Michael Biehn Scored A Decent Payday For Not Playing Hicks
    Photo: Aliens / 20th Century Fox
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    20 VOTES

    Michael Biehn Scored A Decent Payday For Not Playing Hicks

    It's not often that an actor is talked about for not being in a film. But this is exactly what happened for Michael Biehn. 

    Biehn played Dwayne Hicks in Aliens, the predecessor to Alien 3. Hicks was a corporal in the Colonial Marines, and he was one of the few survivors along with Ripley. 

    Biehn was hoping to get a multi-movie deal since he ended up becoming a key character in the previous movie. However, the writers went another direction and ended up killing Hicks off. 

    When Biehn was filming another movie, his producer told him she had "seen" him in another studio:

    She said, 'I was at Pinewood Studios and I saw you over there.' 'What are you talking about?' 'Your character, Hicks, I saw him. He was over there.' 'What?!? Really?' She said, 'Yeah, it’s you…' They had done a face cast on me because they had to do those burns on my face you know… 'And it’s you and your chest is burst open and obviously the aliens have come out of your chest.' I’m like 'Oh really? I didn’t know anything about that.'

    However, the movie had to get Biehn's permission to use his likeness, which he refused. So they settled on showing a photo of Hicks with 'dead' under it. This simple shot of a photo apparently netted Biehn a healthy paycheck. 

    20 votes
  • Sigourney Weaver May Have Gotten Paid Extra To Shave Her Head
    Photo: Alien 3 / 20th Century Fox
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    15 VOTES

    Sigourney Weaver May Have Gotten Paid Extra To Shave Her Head

    After the multiple rewrites and different directors, it wasn't clear if Alien 3 was going to even make it to the screen. 

    But after director David Fincher was hired, things seemed to be on the right track. And what was one of his first ideas? To shave Ripley's head. 

    There was reasoning behind the idea too - Ripley crash-landed on a lice-infested prison planet. It made sense that she'd have to shave her head (along with everyone else in the movie).

    When she first heard the idea, Sigourney Weaver told the Fox executives

    Of course if I have to shave my head, I'll have to ask for more money.

    It's not clear whether her shaved head was part of her negotiated contract, but it's well-known that Weaver fought to earn more for the third film in the Alien franchise.

    Her negotiation was an important one in the fight for actresses, and especially female protagonists, to get paid the same as their male counterparts. 

    15 votes