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Question about the film Alien and who actually wrote it.

Charles de Lauzirika

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#21 of 27 Kevin EK

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Posted December 01 2010 - 05:40 AM

I don't think O'Bannon had any problem with Ripley being female, or with Sigourney Weaver playing the part.

I agree with you that the addition of Ash is a good thing for the movie - without it, the movie would be a fairly linear matter of the alien getting on board, attacking the crew and then being thrown out.  With Ash, the story becomes more complicated, and more interesting.


I've never had any issue with the veracity of O'Bannon's statements.  I think he could be a curmudgeon about a lot of it, but I didn't get the impression that he was making untrue statements.  What I saw as a throughline in his statements all the way from 1979 up to the 2000s was a combination of pride in his work, dissatisfaction in the way he was treated by Giler and Hill, and frustration that he thought that Hill was trying to take credit for his work.  And this was a fairly civilized response, I should add.  Imagine what would have happened had the movie been originally written by Harlan Ellison...



#22 of 27 J-Syxx

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Posted December 01 2010 - 06:02 AM



Originally Posted by Kevin EK 

I don't think O'Bannon had any problem with Ripley being female, or with Sigourney Weaver playing the part.

I agree with you that the addition of Ash is a good thing for the movie - without it, the movie would be a fairly linear matter of the alien getting on board, attacking the crew and then being thrown out.  With Ash, the story becomes more complicated, and more interesting.


I've never had any issue with the veracity of O'Bannon's statements.  I think he could be a curmudgeon about a lot of it, but I didn't get the impression that he was making untrue statements.  What I saw as a throughline in his statements all the way from 1979 up to the 2000s was a combination of pride in his work, dissatisfaction in the way he was treated by Giler and Hill, and frustration that he thought that Hill was trying to take credit for his work.  And this was a fairly civilized response, I should add.  Imagine what would have happened had the movie been originally written by Harlan Ellison...



He originally wrote the film as a Hammer b-movie.  Obviously, he was involved with getting people to raise the project's quality to something much more substantive, but still.  If you want to talk about O'Bannon doing stuff that is questionable, just look at Return of the Living Dead.  I don't know how much more shlockier you can get than mentioning someone else's film and the director of that film in the opening of your knock-off without said director's permission.  Yeah, I realize he had the legal right to do it due to Russo having the rights to name "Living Dead," which a lot of people really don't agree with for really good reasons, but was it right to do that?  I know Romero wouldn't do the same.  He was asked to do a Deep Red remake by Claudio Argento, but refused after he found out Dario didn't approve of the project.  I really have no trouble beleiving that O'Banon from time to time greatly stretched the truth or bashed things that didn't need to be bahsed due to his feud with Hill and Giler.  Of course, Hill and Giler may have done the same, but I don't see O'Bannon as having infalible creditbility here.



#23 of 27 Kevin EK

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Posted December 01 2010 - 09:11 AM

I honestly wasn't aware of those details about Return of the Living Dead.  I understood the situation to be that O'Bannon specifically made the movie as out-and-out comic as possible, so as to differentiate the movie from Romero's work.  The feud at the time as I understood it was between Romero and his former partner, and I had thought that when Romero saw the movie, he liked it.  I'm certainly no expert on this, but I don't recall Romero calling O'Bannon out at the time or since.


But you're correct - I doubt that any of us has infallible credibility on these things.  O'Bannon himself admitted that when he saw ALIEN he was quite pleased, in spite of everything else that had happened.  And he admitted that he really did want to see the movie at its premiere, in spite of all the curmudgeonly things he was saying at the time...



#24 of 27 J-Syxx

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Posted December 01 2010 - 06:05 PM



Originally Posted by Kevin EK 

I honestly wasn't aware of those details about Return of the Living Dead.  I understood the situation to be that O'Bannon specifically made the movie as out-and-out comic as possible, so as to differentiate the movie from Romero's work.  The feud at the time as I understood it was between Romero and his former partner, and I had thought that when Romero saw the movie, he liked it.  I'm certainly no expert on this, but I don't recall Romero calling O'Bannon out at the time or since.


But you're correct - I doubt that any of us has infallible credibility on these things.  O'Bannon himself admitted that when he saw ALIEN he was quite pleased, in spite of everything else that had happened.  And he admitted that he really did want to see the movie at its premiere, in spite of all the curmudgeonly things he was saying at the time...


Romero sued them over that movie.  There was definitley conflict.  And O'Bannon was definitely completely complicit in that with his utterly ridiculous screenplay.  This would be like if some guy other than Francis Ford Coppola or Mario Puzzo made a movied named "Return of the Godfather" to be released at the same time as Godfather II to compete with it with an opening that has a character saying, "You know that movie, the Godfather?  Well, it was fake.  They wouldn't let those guys tell the true story.  Here's what really happened."  It was pretty much a slap in the face I think.



#25 of 27 robbbb1138

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Posted December 02 2010 - 05:45 AM

O'Bannon's a lot like Joss Whedon in interviews about projects where he was only the writer.  Some people just aren't cut out to handle the reality of life as a screenwriter where it only truly belongs to you until the point where you hand in the script.  That's not necessarily an insult, as I think it's a tough pill to swallow until you've been doing it for awhile, unless you're one of those writers where you try to do a lot of things by-the-numbers and never allow passion to enter the picture (which shows in the work, unless the film's handed off to a great director or cast).



#26 of 27 Kevin EK

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Posted December 02 2010 - 03:55 PM

I'm probably very misinformed, but I honestly have never read or heard anything about George Romero suing the filmmakers of "The Return of the Living Dead".  I had always thought that O'Bannon wrote the film as an out-and-out comedy, including those opening lines, which I don't think were meant in a malicious fashion.  The movie on the whole is gleefully brutal and it doesn't look like they spared anyone.

I see where you're coming from, though, and since I have seen very, very few movies of this genre, and only a couple of George Romero's films at all, I confess that I know very, very little about this area of discussion.


#27 of 27 J-Syxx

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Posted December 03 2010 - 06:51 AM

From Wikipedia:


[quote]

Return of the Living Dead sparked a legal battle with Romero, who believed Russo marketed his film in direct competition with Day of the Dead as a sequel to the original film. In the case Dawn Associates v. Links, Romero accused Russo of "appropriat[ing] part of the title of the prior work", plagiarizing Dawn of the Dead's advertising slogan ("When there is no more room in hell [...] the dead will walk the earth"), and copying stills from the original 1968 film. Romero was ultimately granted a restraining order that forced Russo to cease his advertising campaign. Russo, however, was allowed to retain his title. 

[/quote]


So yeah, I never heard this story of Romero watching the film and being cool with it.  I also think the lawsuit was probalby justified.  Return of the Living Dead definitely blends the line between parody and "derivative work," although a lot of lawsuit was about the movie blatantly ripping off Romero's advertising campaigns.  Romero is obviously a guy who hasn't always reaped the financial benefits he was probalby owed from his own brain children.  O'Bannon definitely comes across as opportunistic here.  In the very least, his involvement is completely morally ambiguous and he must have known that.  This isn't like a big studio movie owned by the studio that got a sequel green lit.  Night of the Living Dead was a pretty independent work that Romero was almost completely responsible for.  To me it would be similar to work being produced off of someone's novel or something.



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