of sci-fi

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES -

THERE are a half-dozen ac­tors who might be crowned the “King of Sci-Fi Films”, but a few of them, like Har­ri­son Ford of Star Wars and Blade Run­ner fame, might run scream­ing from the genre’s throne room. There is only one right­ful queen, how­ever: Sigour­ney Weaver.

“I do love sci­ence fic­tion and the roles it presents for women,” Weaver said not long be­fore walk­ing out on a stage – guarded by fire­breath­ing gar­goyles – at the Scream 2010 Awards, on Oct 19.

No one got a big­ger re­cep­tion at the event than Weaver, who starred in four Alien films, Avatar, two Ghost­busters movies and Galaxy Quest (and lent her voice to Wall-E as the ship com­puter).

Avatar is a his­tory-mak­ing mon­ster with US$2.8bil (RM9­bil) at the­atres world­wide, but Weaver is best known as Ri­p­ley, the wildly re­silient hu­man heart of the Alien films and a char­ac­ter she has brought to the screen in three sep­a­rate decades.

The orig­i­nal 1979 film, di­rected by Ri­d­ley Scott, was her first star­ring role, and the 1986 se­quel, di­rected by James Cameron, earned Weaver the first of her three ca­reer Os­car nom­i­na­tions.

“Ev­ery­thing be­gan for me with Ri­p­ley,” the 61-year-old said at her ho­tel a few hours be­fore the awards show. “When peo­ple talk about her, a lot of them say, ‘It must be odd for you to have done so much work and have peo­ple al­ways talk to you

Sigour­ney Weaver in about Ri­p­ley.’ But she made it pos­si­ble for me to do all of these other gen­res and yet I al­ways got to come home to her. So, no, I never get tired of her.”

Hollywood hopes that fans feel the same way. Fox Home Video has been in­tensely pro­mot­ing the Alien an­thol­ogy Blu-ray boxed set that was re­leased last week, and di­rec­tor Scott is now work­ing on a pre­quel to his first film that delves into the back story of the so-called Space Jockey, the mys­te­ri­ous dead gi­ant that is shown in the orig­i­nal 1979 movie.

The project has hit some tur­bu­lence and its fate is un­cer­tain, but Weaver is hope­ful it will get made – even if by all ap­pear­ances it will be the first Alien in­stal­ment with­out her.

“I’m ex­cited that they’re do­ing this,” Weaver said. “What we have with Alien are so many of these ex­cit­ing el­e­ments, but they need to be rein­vig­o­rated in a very orig­i­nal way. Oth­er­wise, why bother? I wish Ri­d­ley all the best with it.”

Weaver may miss out on the new it­er­a­tion of Alien, but she’s not ex­actly hurt­ing for work. The New York res­i­dent came to town early to spend time at the Los An­ge­les County district at­tor­ney’s of­fice to pre­pare for her up­com­ing role in Ram­part with Woody Har­rel­son, and she’s just fin­ished a vam­pire role in a new Amy Heck­er­ling film.

There’s also the in­trigue of the Avatar se­quel (the cir­cum­stances of her char­ac­ter’s death scene in the first film don’t rule out some sort of screen life in the sec­ond), and she has some work lined up in Spain too, for a film about shady CIA oper-oper- atives – as she asked with a wink, “Are there any other kind?”

Told that she seems to be on a roll, Weaver smiled, leaned back, put her palms at the nape of her neck and pushed her hair up – a ges­ture of con­tent­ment and re­flec­tion. “You know, a lot is go­ing on. I feel like it’s a great busi­ness and there’s so much to be ex­cited about.”

On­stage at the awards, Cameron gave a stir­ring trib­ute to Weaver as a model of class and tal­ent that helped sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy en­ter­tain­ments over­come the vin­tage view of women as vic­tims and alien sex-ob­jects and move into the era of Sarah Con­nor, Sookie Stack­house, Hermione Granger, Buffy Sum­mers, Dana Scully, Aliens, T2: Judg­ment Day, The Abyss and Avatar show the filmmaker’s affin­ity for pre­sent­ing strong and nu­anced fe­male per­sonas in fan­tas­tic set­tings. She said she sus­pects that can be traced back to the egg.

“Dur­ing the roll­out of Avatar, I got to meet Jim’s mother and there’s some­thing about her, she has the beau­ti­ful blue eyes and she’s very calm and she raised these three sons, all ex­tra­or­di­nary and all very much who they are, and there is great strength that em­anates from his mother,” Weaver said. “He’s told me that he first drew (the Avatar alien princess) Neytiri when he was 14, and he drew this pic­ture of a blue princess for his mother as a gift. There’s some­thing about her that has in­spired Jim. Jim is very im­pa­tient with peo­ple who un­der­es­ti­mate women. There’s a rea­son.” – Los An­ge­les Times/McClatchyTri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

No­body does it

bet­ter: Sci-fi Sigour­ney Weaver

ac­cept­ing the award for ‘Hero­ine’ at the Scream Awards in Los An­ge­les on Oct 19.

Alien.

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