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“We’ll just cut her character out of it”: James Cameron Played the Bluff of the Century to Make Sigourney Weaver Sign For ‘Aliens’ Using Terminator Star Arnold Schwarzenegger as Bait

james cameron sigourney weaver arnold Schwarzenegger

The Aliens franchise is one of the most phenomenal collections of films and even though its very first movie dates back to the ’90s, it is still tremendously popular today.

But did you know, we almost didn’t get Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in the sequel? It was actually because of James Cameron’s unparalleled wit and, well, a little bit of luck too, perhaps, that solidified the Golden Globe award-winning actress’ role in the franchise.

Aliens (1986)

The renowned Canadian filmmaker recently revealed how he got the Galaxy Quest star to sign Aliens by acting out an incredibly clever plan wherein he created a facade so believable, that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s agent, (who he knew would pass on the news to Sigourney Weaver’s agent) ultimately ended up helping him get the American actress on board.

See also: “They never have to deal with real things”: James Cameron Reveals Avatar 2 is a Criticism of Superhero Movies For Lack of Consequences, Claims It’s Like The Sopranos

James Cameron Faced A Major Ordeal While Directing Aliens

When James Cameron took up the 1986 film, he was under the impression that Sigourney Weaver, who starred in the first film, would also be returning for a sequel. Or at least, that’s what 20th Century Fox had led him to believe.

Cameron explained how he was excited to work with Weaver and even went ahead to start with the movie’s script until he found out that 20th Century Fox “hadn’t even talked to” The Good House actress about coming back for the sequel, rendering the director with no other choice but to put the entire thing together on his own.

See also: Alien Producer Walter Hill on Why Alien 5 Plans With Sigourney Weaver Were Shut Down: “Disney… expressed no interest”

James Cameron
James Cameron

But Cameron’s string of predicaments didn’t just end there because even though Weaver was captivated by the the script after he approached her, 20th Century Fox refused to comply with the demands of Weaver’s agents, who’d apparently “asked for the moon” if she were to take up Ripley’s character again. “The moon” being a hefty sum of a million dollars.

With the way things were going, chances of Weaver reclaiming her role in Aliens were looking quite slim. But Cameron wasn’t planning on giving up either, and by playing the trump card, he was finally able to have his way after all.

James Cameron’s Mastermind Plan to Get Sigourney Weaver Sign Aliens 

Speaking with GQ, the Avatar director opened up about the pickle he’d been in back when he was shepherding the sequel to the 1979 sci-fi/horror film Alien and how he got his way at the end by putting up an elaborate charade.

Neither Weaver’s agents, nor 20th Century Fox was ready to budge, so Cameron took matters into his own hand, and dialed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s agent who happened to be at the same agency as the Heartbreakers actress’ agent, and pretended to scrap out Weaver’s character from Aliens altogether.

“I called up Lou Pitt, Arnold’s agent, and I said, ‘Lou, we’re kind of over this. So, we’ve decided that we really like the story and all the Marine Corps characters and the world we’ve created and everything. And really, we’ve thought about it, and we really just don’t need Sigourney. I’ve created all these characters, and my pride of authorship tells me I should go ahead with this, and we’ll just cut her out of it, and we’ll just cut her character out of it. We won’t recast it; I’ll just rewrite it. So, I’m going to start on that tonight.'”

See also: James Cameron’s ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Crosses the Great Wall – First Disney Movie Since 2019 To Be Released in China

Movies that struck gold due to their leads
Sigourney Weave in Aliens

But of course, the Titanic filmmaker wasn’t planning on going through with any of it. All he needed was some bait and an extremely convincing ruse.

“Now, did I have any intention of doing that whatsoever? No, not at all. But I happen to know that Lou is at the same agency as Sigourney’s agent, who was in New York. And I knew that the second he hung up with me, he called him and said, ‘Sign Sigourney now.’ And guess what? The deal was done in 12 hours after that. So, I never wrote a word of that hypothetical story that I said I was going to do, that I had no intention of writing anyway. Anyway, it worked, and Sigourney got her million bucks, and everyone was happy.”

Thanks to Cameron though, everyone had a win-win situation ahead of them after that.

Aliens can be streamed on Disney+.

Source: GQ

Written by Khushi Shah

An author at FandomWire, an abnormal psychology student, and an avid reader of dark fiction, I love to read and write and have been indulging in the same for years.