Q&A WITH ALAN DEAN FOSTER
Alan Dean Foster is a prolific American author of fantasy and science fiction. He has written in a variety of genres, including hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is also the author of numerous nonfiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as novelizations of several films, including Star Wars, the first three Alien films, and Alien Nation. He wrote the novelization of A New Hope, as George Lucas' ghost writer, and the earliest Expanded Universe novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
JamesCameronOnline.com had a great pleasure of conducting a short Q&A with Mr. Foster about his experience on writing the novelization for James Cameron's sci-fi classic Aliens.
JAMESCAMERONONLINE: Did you
have a free hand or did you have some guidelines or suggestions from either
the studio, publisher or James Cameron?
ALAN DEAN FOSTER: I had a completely free hand and was not pelted with suggestions from anyone
JCO: Did you meet James Cameron or got a feedback from him on your novelization?
ADF: I've never met Jim, but we
had a brief telephone conversation because I had questions
of a scientific nature about one particular scene.
JCO: What was the particular scene you spoke to James Cameron about?
ADF: The scene I spoke to Jim C.
about involved the sequence where Ripley blows the alien queen out the big
airlock. I can't really go into
JCO: Was the removal of swearing yours or studio's decision?
ADF: I believe the removal of swearing was the publisher's idea. Like just about everyone else on the planet, I thought it foolish beyond reason and insulting to the project.
JCO: You have been quoted as saying that killing Newt was an 'obscenity'. What was your first reaction to the Alien 3 story
ADF: Killing Newt was not only an obscenity, it removes the principal rationale for Ripley to fight to stay alive. Filmmakers love to shock, even if it goes against logic, reason, and plot. They suffer from a misguided belief that shock equates to art. This misnomer is not confined to cinema.
JCO: In one of the interviews you said that you had an idea how not to kill Newt but keep her out of the story at the same time. The burning question for fans is, what was it?
ADF: My thought in re the killing of Newt in Alien 3 was to explain that her capsule was damaged and that she would therefore have to remain in deep sleep until it could be repaired. That way, she remains alive but inactive for the duration of the story, Ripley's motivation to fight to remain alive in order to sustain her is maintained, and Newt's status being iffy (she can live or die at any time) adds another element of suspense to the film. And of course, having Newt as an older person with a unique insight into the aliens would have opened up some wonderful spin-off possibilities. But Walter Hill essentially killed off everything I tried to add to the story.
JCO: Which one is your favorite Alien movie?
ADF: I love the first for the atmosphere and the second for the action.
We want to sincerely thank Mr. Alan Dean Foster for this Q&A and wish him good luck with the future projects!