Ridley Scott wasn’t offered the chance to make Alien 2 – and when James Cameron got the job, he wasn’t too happy.
We’ve been chatting for a few weeks on this site about how few filmmakers do a press tour quite like Ridley Scott. He’s – all due respect – in his mid-80s, and was hardly known for holding back when he was younger.
Now? If you ask him a question, you’re getting an answer. It’s really rather refreshing.
Scott is currently promoting his latest epic, Napoleon, before dashing back to finish off Gladiator 2. And in a long interview at Deadline, he was asked to reflect on the moment when he learned that there was going to be a sequel to his 1979 sci-fi classic, Alien, and that James Cameron was going to direct it.
Cameron, Scott recalled in his typical way – “Jim and I talk often. We’re not exactly friends, but we do talk and he’s a great guy” – rang him up to tell him he’d been offered what would become Aliens.
Scott was coming off the back of Blade Runner and felt that he was “damaged goods”, when Cameron told him that “I’m going in a more action, army kind of way. I said, okay. And that’s the first time I actually thought, welcome to Hollywood.”
Scott then reflected that, after James Cameron had hung up the phone, “I was pissed”. He added that “I would tell that to Jim, but I think I was hurt. I knew I’d done something very special, a one-off really. I was hurt, deeply hurt”.
He threw himself into making his next film, which would be Legend, while Cameron would deliver – I’ll say it – arguably his best film, with Aliens (I’ll take an argument for The Terminator, I’d have a chat about The Abyss, don’t come at me with Avatar: The Way Of Water).
The full interview with Deadline is a lengthy piece, and I’m conscious I’ve just picked a news line from it. Do give it the credit of a longer read, though. It is worth it. Ridley certainly has some views.