The Creators of Alien
There were many creative minds behind the birth of Alien, but a few stand out as extraordinary. Namely, the original writers, Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the film's director, Ridley Scott, and the artists, H.R. Giger, Chris Fraust, and Ron Cobb. Additionally, there were several key figures who helped bring Alien to life at Brandywine Films, the production house that accepted Alien. Finally, it was 20th Century Fox that was at the top of the ladder for funding and production.
Dan O'Bannon was a film student at USC Film School when he started working on Dark Star. Dark Star was a low budget movie set in space, in which a monster haunts the crew of a ship. O'Bannon was working on the film with another brilliant mind, John Carpenter. The production quickly grew too large to be a school project, and was turned into a real funded project. O'Bannon worked on several aspects of the film, including the special effects. After Dark Star's release, he wanted to recreate the movie, but as a horror production, and he wanted the monster to be terrifying and real. This is what lead O'Bannon to start creating the first script of Alien. He created it when he was between jobs, and looking for income. He made a deal with his friend Ronald Shusett. Shusett would be executive producer on Alien if he'd let O'Bannon sleep on his couch. From there, the two of them jointly wrote Alien, and toured it around various production houses.
Eventually, a house called Brandywine Films was enthusiastic enough about the script to accept it and fund it. Brandywine was responsible for several edits to the script, the largest one being the decision to make Ripley's character female. Brandywine was also responsible for bringing Ridley Scott on board as director. Scott accepted the job offer within 36 hours of reading the script. He wanted to make the picture a masterpiece. Scott wanted to create the “Texas Chainsaw Massacure of Science Fiction”. After he developed the storyboards for the film, Brandywine's funder, 20th Century Fox, doubled the film's budget to $8.4 million. 20th Century Fox had only originally approved the film because it was the only sci-fi script they had on hand immediately after Star Wars' massive success. However, after Ridley Scott came on board and the artists starting to enter the scene, 20th Century Fox began to respect the project more.
The artists behind Alien created a visual masterpiece that won the film Best Visuals upon release. The juxtaposition between the human's spacecraft and the Alien's living, breathing, and demonic representation is striking in the film. The two styles were done independent of one another, by different artist groups. H.R. Giger had created the Alien previous to the creation of the film. O'Bannon saw his work and was immediately enthralled by it. On the other side of things, Ron Cobb and Chris Fraust designed the human's space ship. All of the artists loved their job, and saw Alien as a way to manifest that love.
The origins of Alien are humble. It was undertaken by new writers, new directors, and new artists to the industry. O'Bannon, Ridley Scott, and all the artists had never worked on a project as magnificent as Alien before. They created Alien for their love of science fiction.