How Fast X director Louis Leterrier helped save Alien: Resurrection

Alien Resurrection
Share this Article:

Exclusive: how a moment on the set of Alien: Resurrection dug the film out of a problem, and turned Louis Leterrier’s career.


Try three issues of Film Stories magazine – for just £1: right here!

In cinemas now is Fast X, the latest film in the Fast & Furious saga, and one directed by Louis Leterrier. Leterrier was a late replacement on the film, jumping onto the production after original director Justin Lin departed a week into shooting.

But as he’s explained to us in an interview to mark the release of Fast X, fast thinking and problem solving got him his real breakthough on his first Hollywood movie, Alien: Resurrection.

The 1997 film, the fourth in the Alien saga, attracted acclaimed French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet to direct. Leterrier’s French background was key to him getting hired, and as he told us “they were the greatest memories”.

“I’d done a few movies as a PA in France when I was young – like, 14. But [Alien: Resurrection] was the first movie after college. I went to NYU [New York University] and that was the first movie I was hired on, because it was Jean-Pierre Jeunet and they thought it would be better if there was a bilingual crew on set. So I sent in my resume and was accepted”.

Things didn’t instantly go to plan.

“My first job was the worst. We were shooting on the Fox lot in LA, and I was in the baking sun, stopping construction work outside. I didn’t see anything of the Alien – it was super frustrating”.

Alien Resurrection

But then came something of a moment.

“You know how the red light comes on when they’re shooting and then when they’ve stopped it turns off? Well, one day it turned off and never turned back on. I was waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. Then someone [called out], ‘who knows how to fix Media 100?’”

He explained that “Media 100 is this sort of Avid-ish, offline editing thing. And luckily, this was the tool I used to edit my student movies at NYU. So I said [mimes putting up hand] ‘Yes, I know how to use that.’”

“The system was broken, it was this complicated thing. So then I fixed it, and then production could restart. Because that was the first time we were using offline editing to help with compositing and stuff”.

It was a turning point. Jeunet promptly fired the video operator on the film, turned to Leterrier and said “young French guy – you’re hired. You stay with me.”

“And it was amazing, because I was next to him, and [cinematographer] Darius Khondji, and Sigourney Weaver, and Winona Ryder, and on and on. I was there all day watching them. Then I was alone at night in this giant spaceship with all the creatures there as I was backing up all my data. And that lasted what seemed like forever – it was something like a six-month shoot. Jean-Pierre really liked me – he said, ‘stay with me in Post. You can be my assistant or whatever.’”

And that’s just what happened. Over the ensuing years, Jeunet would be sent lots of scripts, Leterrier would read them and pass on comments.

Oh, and one more Alien: Resurrection memory too. “At the end, I had the opportunity to do some of the visual effects. I called NASA… and that whole ending where they’re on Earth? I supervised that. So it was great. An amazing opportunity”

You can read our full interview with Louis Leterrier, here.

Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:

Follow Film Stories on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

Buy our Film Stories and Film Junior print magazines here.

Become a Patron here.

Share this Article:

More like this