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Last weekend, high school stage plays got a wake-up call to collectively up their respective games when North Bergen High School in New Jersey put on an elaborate production of the first Alien. It soon went viral and even drew attention from the official Alien Anthology Twitter account, which posted snippets from the play itself, which featured an incredibly real-looking Xenomorph creeping around the stage.
Now, Ellen Ripley herself (Sigourney Weaver) is joining the conversation with a special message of congratulations to the talented theater students at North Bergen.
“Hey, guys. I saw a bit of your production of Alien. I just want to say it looked incredible," she said in a pre-filmed message posted by the franchise's Twitter. "You put so much heart and soul into that, and the Alien, I must say, looked very real to me. I just wanted to send our compliments not only from me, but from James Cameron and the original screenwriter, Walter Hill. We all say, ‘Bravo, well done.’ And, uh, just one more thing: you know the Alien might still be around, so when you’re opening your locker, just do it… very slowly.”
While you'll see that Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett are always credited for the screenplay of the first film, it actually got a major (and uncredited) re-write from producers Walter Hill and David Giler. Their contributions to the script include the android Ash (eventually played by Ian Holm) and Ripley's ginger cat, Jones. According to an interview Giler once did, he described the first O'Bannon screenplay as “amateurishly written."
While Cameron directed the 1986 follow-up Aliens, the man behind the original 1979 film — Ridley Scott — wrote a letter (on actual paper, no less!) in which he approved of the school's excellent choice of play.
"My hat comes off to all of you for your creativity, imaginations, and determination to produce such an ambitious show. Limitations often produce the best results because imagination and determination can surpass any shortfalls and determinate the way forward — ALWAYS," wrote the filmmaker, adding that his production company of Scott Free would "advance some financial help to fund an encore performance of Alien."
Check out his full letter in the tweet below. He closes it out with the suggestion that North Bergen put on an adaptation of Gladiator next.
Weaver's Ripley has been the one constant throughout the classic sci-fi/horror film series, facing off against the Xenomorph(s) on the Nostromo (Alien), LV-426 (Aliens), Fiorina "Fury" 161 (Alien 3), and then, finally, the USM Auriga (Alien Resurrection).