Neill Blomkamp has confirmed that he will begin pre-production on his Alien film next week.
The District 9 director broke the news to Entertainment Tonight while on the red carpet at the New York premiere of his new film Chappie.
When asked if original star Sigourney Weaver, who is in the cast of Chappie, would reprise her role as Ellen Ripley, he said: “She’ll be in the cast. She is the Alien franchise, to me, so yeah.”
Weaver was then asked by ET about Blomkamp’s take on the franchise, she said: “There are two factors (he) needs: Ripley and the Aliens”.
Blomkamp confirmed his interest in directing an Alien sequel in January, when he released a treasure trove of concept art which he had developed during Chappie’s post-production.
It now turns out that his interest had been fuelled by Weaver, when he quizzed her about the iconic series on the set of Chappie.
The first two movies, which were directed by Ridley Scott and James Cameron respectively, are not only classics of the science fiction genre, but two of the greatest Hollywood films of all time.
The third and fourth installments, directed by David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, received mixed reviews and have been largely disowned by fans.
While very little is known about Blomkamp’s take on the fifth film, judging by the concept art, it could include Corporal Hicks (played by Michael Biehn in Aliens), and there is a debate we’ve reported that Neill’s film may ignore Fincher and Jeunet’s films (or not), although nothing has been confirmed yet.
Elysium filmmaker Blomkamp spoke to Empire about the early development of his Alien film (will it officially be Alien 5?), and Ghostbusters actress Weaver’s influence on the project.
He said: “2014 was a really weird year for me, because I usually know quite decisively what I want to do, and in the process of post-production on Chappie… I had a bunch of different ideas for different films. My favorite, on a gut instinct, artistic level, was Alien, by a long way.
“I’d come up with an idea,” Blomkamp continued, “and when I met Sigourney (Weaver) on the set of Chappie, I presumed that she would never want to play Ripley again. Rightly or wrongly, I had that in my head. I also didn’t know where you could go with her, given [the events of] Alien 3 and 4.
“So when I started speaking to her, I just wanted to know more about the process of making the first two films. The first two are the ones that I care about. Then I started to realise there was a whole film – at least a film, if not more – that still contained Ripley, which I was really surprised by.”
He continued: “So when I went back to Vancouver for 2014 unclear of what I wanted to make [next], I knew that my artistic compass kept driving me to Alien. Whenever I wasn’t needed on Chappie, I spent time on Alien, to the point where I hired my own concept artist and fleshed the entire movie out, basically. Even then, I still didn’t know if I wanted to do it.
“Every film I do, I genuinely believe it’s the last I’ll do,” said Blomkamp. “I didn’t think I’d make another film, let alone a big studio one. But it came from a place of love, and I was like, ‘If I’m a fan, then other fans should see the stuff.’ Here’s one person’s take on it, you know? So Fox didn’t know [what I was doing].”