January 9, 2015
How Neill Blomkamp And Sigourney Weaver Could Team-Up To Convince Fox To Make ALIEN XENO
We know that writer-director Neill Blomkamp has been secretly commissioning artwork for an Alien film (working title Alien Xeno) but wasn't on the radar of 20th Century Fox who own the franchise. He instead tried to come-up with his own take on the saga, which seemingly had the return of Ripley and Hicks. The two surviving their on-screen deaths in Alien 3, and back to stopping the evil Weyland Corporation from using the xenomorphs for bio-weapons. Essentially becoming the Aliens sequel that James Cameron was never allowed to make.
For starters there is a new guard at Fox, something that happens every so often. The people who nixed the original plan to have Weaver reprise the Ripley role in Alien 5 are now gone. That pitch had James Cameron set to work with Joss Whedon on a script with Ridley Scott attached to direct the film. Instead Fox went with Aliens Vs Predators and everyone just walked away from the franchise. Of course Ridley returning only to play around with his Space Jockey origin in Prometheus installments.
We know that the xenomorph we know and love won't be apart of Fox's Prometheus sequel, as this was confirmed by Ridley himself. That seems to leave a few options on the table for Fox to consider new mainstream Alien saga films. Appeasing the fans who felt cheated with Prometheus and are still hungering for more movies. I've mentioned before about mining the rich world created for the space station setting of Alien Isolation which has Ripley's daughter Amanda becoming the protagonist. While this could be an excellent one-off or soft reboot, I'm convinced we could have another round with Ellen Ripley. The best thing about Xeno, it won't conflict with either Prometheus or Isolation as the two are set in the past.
Sigourney Weaver has stated she's extremely open to playing Ripley one more time to give fans that finally climax we never really had. This could have the events of the fourth film continue with the cloned Ripley continuing to seek out the aliens and destroying them. Another aspect would be to ignore the events of the last two films entirely. Allowing Ripley to be herself and really explore what would have happened if Weyland-Yutani did in fact finally get ahold of the aliens.
Weaver recently working with Neill Blomkamp on Chappie is how the two become a united front. We know that Neill isn't entirely finished with his project, since it was never developed far enough to actually pitch to Fox. Stating he'd love to return to it someday. Having a working relationship with Weaver could sort out the bullshit that sort of happened when the studio tried hiring directors on the last two films. The biggest hurtle not having a director involved with the script. We know that Blomkamp gets this subject matter better than most, since all of his films centre around evil governments or corporations.
His films also aren't as costly as some may think they are compared to other films in the action and science fiction genre. District 9's budget blew everyone away when it was revealed it only cost around $40M to make. This type of low budget should peek the interest of the studio, who might see it risky to return to the Ripley saga forking over $100M+. Blomkamp's background in digital effects and his working relationship with Weta Workshop/Digital should also be considered by Fox.
Fox wisely hired both Andy Serkis and the team over at Weta to handle their new Planet of The Apes franchise which has become a powerhouse after Matt Reeve's Dawn of The Planet of The Apes. I assume Weta could help the pump new blood into the Alien saga as well, if they pursue Blomkamp's idea. I still think the key to grounding this universe is the right amount of digital and practical effects. Blomkamp being one of the better filmmakers able to mix the two together.
I'm also sure that Sigourney knows she could relax a bit on her fees which became a heated issue with both the studio and producers. An aspect that likely led to hiring mostly unknowns for Paul W. Anderson's lousy AVP film.
Getting the mostly jaded Cameron on board to either help with the story or give his blessings as it's producer. This could only help the project find new legs, since Fox is likely already interested in the prospect. Getting James involved could only help things move faster. Plus, we know he'll be focusing on his Avatar films and will never pursue a previous franchise again. Stating he'll let the Terminator rights die when they revert back to him.
Landau could act as a go between Blomkamp and Cameron, since we know Jim will be extremely busy with his three Avatar sequels. I'd also like to see Walter Hill's participation limited, only because I believe he might have been the reason behind a lot of the friction over the years.
Cameron is still on really good terms with Weaver putting her in Avatar and promising to have the actress return for the sequels. The assumption that one of them could be a prequel focusing on her character as the focus of it.
I'd hope to see X-Men and Star Wars writer-producer Simon Kinberg get involved too since he produced both Elysium and Chappie. It doesn't hurt that Simon is already making successful waves at 20th Century Fox.
I could totally see him and Cameron breaking a story together or Simon on his own then working on the screenplay with Neill. Fox has shown they have a lot of confidence with Kingberg, so Blomkamp using that to his advantage might be a good move.
Getting three producers with deep Fox roots would be key here to get them on board for the project. I do think Kinberg is the best shot though, since Jim and Jon will be busy with their sequels. Simon being the most likely of the three to get involved.
Side note, I can already picture Shartlo Copley playing a slimeball Weyland executive or one of their mercenaries in-charge of the facility's security.