Soundstage image from Alien, a science fiction movie by Ridley Scott

Podcast Research – ‘Alien’: Does Your Photo ID Look as Good as Ellen Ripley’s?

Actress Sigourney Weaver was a scant 29 when she essayed the role of warrant officer Ellen Ripley in the film Alien. As Chad outlines in our Alien Films episode, she was up for the role against Meryl Streep, but beat out the more seasoned actress, whom she had gone to school with. Don’t worry about Meryl though, she would star as the estranged wife in Kramer vs. Kramer, released in 1979, the same year as Alien. As outlined in the same episode, she was only paid $33,000 for the role of Ripley in 1979. In the wake of the success of Alien and other films she did after, such as The Year of Living Dangerously and a little occult film called Ghostbusters, Weaver was able to command a slightly higher fee for Aliens: a cool million dollars. By the time Alien: Resurrection rolled around in 1997, she was paid $11 million… unadjusted for inflation that was the entire production budget of the first movie.

Here is the photo used to create her flight ID, as warrant officer of the Nostromo. Even though it’s the equivalent of a car license photo, there is something quite spellbinding about it. Maybe its the idea of Ellen Ripley, a fresh-faced deck officer unaware of the dangers that lurk in deep space. Perhaps it’s the look of Sigourney Weaver, a fresh-faced actor unaware of how the massive success of Alien is going to changer her life forever. At any rate: nice pic.

Image of Sigourney Weaver, starring as Ellen Ripley in the sci-fi movie Alien
They didn’t pay her enough for this



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