“[H.R. Giger’s] paintings had a profound effect on me. I had never seen anything that was quite as horrible and at the same time as beautiful as his work. And so I ended up writing a script about a Giger monster.” – Dan O’Bannon, writer of Alien (1979).
It’s been said that when Dan O’Bannon introduced Ridley Scott to Swiss artist H.R. Giger, Scott instantly realized that the greatest challenge he was facing had been solved. That challenge, of course, was the design of the film’s monster, which became known as the Xenomorph. The design was based on Giger’s art, making Giger the true star of the show.
In a new chat with Yahoo, ahead of Alien Day later this month, Scott reflected on Giger’s contributions to Alien, stressing the importance of the late artist’s otherworldly brilliance.
“In my career, which has been pretty long, there’s only been, with the greatest respect for the people I’ve worked with, two real, real originals. Funnily enough, I came across a guy called HR Giger and if I hadn’t got that monster you would not have had that movie,” Scott admitted to the site. “I saw [Giger’s drawings] and I was so kind of taken… I flew to Switzerland where he lived because he didn’t want to get the plane as he was scared of flying. I met him in Zurich at his home and I persuaded him to travel by train to come to England and live at Shepperton studios for ten months. And he did.”
“It wouldn’t have been the same movie,” he continued. “Whilst the cast was wonderful, with Sigourney [Weaver] and Harry [Dean Stanton] and those people, but without that eighth passenger it wouldn’t have been the same film. What I’m trying to say is that there are rarities, there are those [ideas] that occur once in the while, not that often, but when they do grab them and hang on to them.”
Needless to say, Scott has continued to hang onto Giger’s artwork after all these years, most recently bringing the Xenomorph back to the big screen in Alien: Covenant. Will Scott continue to helm the Alien franchise, going forward? Only time will tell…