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It’s difficult to imagine Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic “Alien” without the clear-minded, strong presence of Tom Skerritt as Dallas, the captain of the ill-fated Nostromo.
But originally, the actor turned down “Alien,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, though he thought Dan O’Bannon’s script read well. “There was nobody involved at the time apparently,” said Skerritt. “I read it and thought, ‘it’s solid. It’s not a great script but it’s solid enough I can see it. But it was a $2 million budget! I thought, okay at 2 million bucks this might be an Ed Wood movie.”
Fate - Duelists - Ridley - Scott - Award
As fate would have it, he went to see 1977’s “The Duelists,” for which Ridley Scott unanimously received the award for best first work at the Cannes Film Festival. “I was just blown over by ‘The Duelists,’” noted Skerritt.
“I thought, this is a masterpiece. It’s a painting. I thought I wanted to remember who this this guy is. Then I got a call from one of the producers of ‘Alien,’ Gordon Carroll, and he said “They’ve kicked up the budget and a guy named Ridley Scott is doing it. I said, ‘I’m sold.’ All I needed to know was Ridley was going to do this and he would make magic out of it.”
Scott - Choice - Producers - David - Giler
Scott wasn’t the first choice of the producers, which also include David Giler and Walter Hill, to make magic out of O’Bannon’s script — Ronald Shusett co-wrote the original story with O’Bannon.
“I was the fourth choice,” noted Scott, adding that Robert Altman had been offered the movie before him. “You don’t offer Bob ‘Alien,” he explained. “It’s not his thing, you know?”
Someone - Producers - Duelists - Scott - Century
Someone, he said, recommended the producers see “The Duelists.” Scott acknowledged he didn’t know how they connected a 19th century period drama to a sci-fi thriller about an alien creature...
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