While she was shooting Alien 4 she kept a journal and one of the passages was found and posted on a very old site. But here it is anyhow. I'm not sure if it's real. If I run into her I'll make sure to ask! :)
</u>Sigourney Weaver's journal from the set of "Alien Resurrection"</u>
The ALIEN inside me
The story thus far: at the end of "Alien3", Ripley, pregnant with an alien fetus, committed suicide. Now she has been cloned back from the dead, on the spaceship "Auriga", so that scientists can harvest the creature she's carrying. But something has gone wrong in the cloning process. When a band of intergalactic smugglers, including the impassioned and idealistic Call (played by Winona Ryder), board the ship with an unthinkable cargo, things take a sinister turn.
NOVEMBER 18, 1996
RIPLEY AGAIN, BELIEVE IT OR NOT
>> We closed Chris Durang's Sex and Longing on Broadway last night. For the last four months I've reveled in playing a blond nympho wrapped in a sheet in front of a live audience, with no marks to hit, no one shouting, "Cut!"… just one long, crazy take from 8 P.M. on. For an actor it is absolute freedom.
I flew to the West Coast this morning. There has been no time for me to think much about Ripley; no time to get the pectoral and penile implants the male action stars do before filming. But I see the new Ripley as more fluid and enhanced than buff - like a vampire after a particularly juicy night.
We shoot in 36 hours and my costume has not yet been finalized. Over the summer I suggested to our director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (1), that Ripley look like a newborn chick, with a halo or albino fuzz on her head. He politely demurred. Soon after, Jean-Pierre sent me a drawing of what looked like an angry dyke in a frog suit, emerging from the surf at Zuma Beach. At this point I demurred. Today Jean-Pierre suggests I wear what the spaceship's guards are wearing. I respect J.P. He's clearly brilliant, and despite the language barrier, we've had some great talks about Ripley and the movie. But why would my captors dress me, their slave and guinea pig, like one of the guards? I ask if I can wear a modified version of a straitjacket. It looks like I'm going to need one anyway.
(1) JEAN-PIERRE JEUNET The meticulous and imaginative codirector of Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. A perfectionist who delights in dark gags. Starts the film not speaking any English, ends swearing like an American sailor. Thank God, never says "Pas mal."
SEND IN THE CLONES
>> I am dressed in a sheer paper robe, freshly cloned. It is my first day on the set and, of course, I'm practically naked. But the vulnerability is useful, and the crew is discreet and professional.
I stretch out in Ripley's dark cell. My forehead tingles, my body grows phantom limbs, cracking from an alien Internet rumble toward me. What a relief, finally, to let out the monster in myself.
>> I have three hours to practice an underwater scene we're scheduled to shoot next Monday. If I do okay, I can go home for Thanksgiving. If not, I'll have to stay and practice.
The scene requires the cast to swim 35 feet through and underwater kitchen set that's crowded with countertops and appliances. Both Winona (2) and I, who have been unable to practice with the other actors for the last two weeks, are feeling less than intrepid about all of this. It's not that I'm afraid of the water. I love to swim. I've swum in lakes, rivers, oceans…even swimming pools. It's just that I get a wee bit claustrophobic in the deep end.
I run into Winona on the way to the tank and ask her how it's going. "I'm really terrible," she says. "I almost drowned when I was little. They're really worried." "Hah," I say. "Wait till they see me. I'm totally pathetic underwater." "Oh, they're not worried about you," Winona smirks. "They think you're invincible." We share a hearty laugh.
I enter the stage trying to look invincible. The Olympic-size tank is swarming with people. I can see my humiliation is going to be incredibly public. "You have to do this," I say to myself. "You're Ripley. She's brave, remember?" The stunt doubles are already in the water, rehearsing the first shot for the cameras. Our stunt coordinator, Ernie Orsatti, gets on a megaphone: "Okay. Go to the starting point and grab a hookah," he says, referring to the respirators built into the bottom of the set.
The plan is as follows: You dive down to the starting mark, 15 feet below the surface; grab a hookah; ill your lungs up with air; then, on Ernie's count, swim 35 feet until you reach the back door of the set, where you can exit to the surface. The ceiling is crowded with pipes and air ducts, so until you hit that back door, there's no way out.
Ernie begins the countdown. The stuntpeople take off their raspirators and masks and swim like mad toward the other side of the set. I hold my breath with them. It's a long take. "Cut!" Ernie shouts. The swimmers emerge one by one. Is it my imagination or do they look a little freaked?
"Not bad," says Ernie. Not bad? Good grief, I have to do better than that? I feel nauseous. Ernie takes me over to the far side of the tank and introduces me to Hank Hankins, a Pooh-like fellow in a frog suit, and Rod Francis, who has this immense mustache and looks like Neptune. "These guys will get you swimming in no time," says Ernie enthusiastically. I look at Hank and Rod. Neither looks like they have an advanced degree in psychology. "Are you certified?" Ernie asks. Certifiable, I think, but say, "No, but I've snorkeled." "Great. This should be a snap for you."
As they put a tank on my back, Ron explains how you need to pinch your nose to pressurize your ears (hello?). I try to concentrate, but all I hear is, "Blah, blah, blah…ruptured eardrum…blah, blah, blah…the bends….blah, blah, blah…embolism …blah, blah, blah…death." Suited up, I dive into the water but get stuck on top like a buoy. "No body fat," Rod says to Hank. He makes it sound like a bad thing. "Give her about fourteen pounds."
This time I sink like a stone. The tank feels huge and heavy and the air is so canned that I find it hard to breathe. I try to pretend that there are reefs around us and pretty fish. I swim fine but keep surfacing, out of breath. Is it too late to rewrite the scene on dry land?
After an hour in the baby tank we swim to the back door of the kitchen set and peer inside. It's dark and looks really dangerous. The ceiling is impenetrable and to my right swing three large dead pigs. I shoot up to the surface. "Look," I sputter. "I know they're paying me a lot of money" - my voice goes up an octave - "but I really can't do this." Horrible little embarrassing tears pop out of my eyes. "They're plastic," says Rod. "What?" I ask, confused. "The pigs," he says, "they're not real." I don't have the heart to tell him that plastic pig corpses aren't the problem. My mild claustrophobia has suddenly become my Achilles' heel. Does Arnold have one? Does Sly? Is this why I'm so much cheaper? "Well, what do you feel you can do today?" Hank asks. Go home and sedate myself? "Why don't we just swim around out here," I say, pointing to an open end of the underwater set.
I slowly get used to the tank on my back and learn that I am breathing too hard. I relax and swim down to the starting position. Finally, I screw up the courage and streak through the set, holding on to Hank's hand from start to finish. It's over. Let's go home. But back at the starting point, Ernie's saying me he wants me to do it again - this time with no mask. Oh. How could I have forgotten that little detail? Without thinking, I push my mask off and the cool water rushes around my face. I have a quick sensation of drowning. Blindly, I grab Hank's hand and practically propel him through the water like a Jet Ski.
Right before we break for the day I decide to try it once for real: no air, no mask, and no Hank. Curiously confident, I push off and streak to what I think is the end mark. First I ram into a column, then I crash into the ceiling pipes, then I bonk my head on a metal air shaft. By now I've started to lose it. Hands grab me and pull me up, sputtering and choking, to the surface. I stare into the stunned eyes of Ernie and the assembled stunt team. "Wanna see a playback?" he asks, numbly.