20 Newly Released Behind-the-Scenes Photos Show the Creation of the Full-Size ALIENS Queen Puppet
Published: August 13, 2012 - 8:09pm
The Stan Winston School School of Character Arts has released never before seen images from the set of Aliens, the 1986 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton.
Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the sole survivor from the original 'Alien', is awakened after 57 years of drifting through space, her stories disbelieved by Company executives who tell her that the alien's planet is now inhabited and colonized. When contact is suddenly lost with the colonists, Ripley returns to the planet with a squad of marines, an android (Lance Henriksen), and a Company executive (Paul Reiser) with a mission of his own.
Once on the planet, no survivors can be found except for Newt, a little girl who awakens motherly instincts in Ripley just in time for the acid-blooded aliens to attack in what quickly becomes a one-sided battle for sheer survival.
Courtesy of the Stan Winston School:
In developing the ALIENS screenplay, James Cameron had recognized that the story would lack punch if it featured only those alien organisms introduced in the first film. In ALIEN, “they’ve seen the eggs,” Cameron said, “they’ve seen the parasite that emerges from the eggs, they’ve seen the embryo laid by that parasite emerge from a host person, and they’ve seen the embryo grow up into a supposedly adult form. But that adult form — one of them, anyway — couldn’t possibly have laid the thousand or so eggs that filled the inside of the derelict ship. At least that was my theory. So working from that image — acres and acres of these quite large eggs — I began to focus on the idea of a hierarchical hive structure where the central figure is a giant queen whose role it is to further the species.”
James Cameron rendering of ALIENS' Alien Queen
Whereas Cameron had relied on stop-motion animation for wide ambulatory shots of his full-body endoskeleton in THE TERMINATOR, he intended to shoot his queen alien live and full- size, interacting with the actors as much as possible. “Jim had seen what we could do with puppets on Terminator,” Stan Winston observed, “and so it made perfect sense that he thought of puppeteering techniques when he needed a way to realize the alien queen. But, even so, it was a huge leap of faith to believe that we could build a fourteen-foot-tall, acting puppet.”
Stan Winston, Shane Mahan & John Rosengrant adjust the Alien Queen between takes.
These images offer a look at the conceptualization, design and final construction of the Aliens Queen puppet. For more details about it's creation and application in the film visit the Stan Winston School Blog via the link below:
In 1972 Stan Winston established Stan Winston Studio. Corralling some of the finest designers, engineers, sculptors, painters, machinists and technicians, the work that came out of the Stan Winston Studio was, from the start, widely recognized as the state-of-the-art in character creation. Over the years, the studio grew from a room in Stan’s garage to a fully-staffed workshop of hundreds of artists, all working to give filmmakers something that exceeded their wildest imaginings.
Always eager to embrace new technologies, Stan Winston helped pioneer the digital revolution including co-founding Digital Domain alongside James Cameron and former ILM boss, Scott Ross.
Integrating emerging techniques such as motion capture, and CGI enhancement, Stan Winston Studio came to be associated with cross-platform and Hybrid CG/Practical character creation for all visual arts venues. Stan’s core team continues his legacy into the new century with Legacy Effects, where a new name, a new building and new projects and challenges continue to keep the spirit of Stan and his studio alive.