Sigourney Weaver Singles Out ‘Aliens’ as Best-Constructed and ‘Most Satisfying’ Ripley Movie

James Cameron's 1986 sequel stands above all the other Ripley movies, at least for Sigourney Weaver.
Everett Collection

Sigourney Weaver has played Ellen Ripley in four movies in the “Alien” film franchise, starting with Ridley Scott’s 1979 original “Alien” and continuing through James Cameron’s 1986 “Aliens,” David Fincher’s 1992 “Alien 3,” and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 1997 “Alien Resurrection.” When asked which Ripley movie is the best, the Oscar nominee does not hesitate to answer with Cameron’s first sequel. The 1986 movie garnered Weaver an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

“The best-constructed story for the character to tell was in ‘Aliens,’ just because Jim [Cameron] has such an amazing sense of structure of story,” Weaver recently told Collider. “To take this character out of hyper-sleep, have no one believe her, have her be exiled into this limbo land where no one believes her and her family’s dead. The whole set-up for Ripley in ‘Aliens’ and then what she ends up doing and… finding this new family by the end. The whole structure of that story, to me, was gold.”

Weaver continued, “I always felt that I could jump up and down on it. It was such a great, supportive, arc for the character. In that sense, the second one for Ripley is probably the most satisfying.”

Weaver and the “Alien” franchise garnered acclaim for the first two movies, but “Alien 3” and “Alien Resurrection” nosedived with film critics and audiences. Weaver has yet to return to the franchise in the years since. “District 9” filmmaker Neill Blomkamp spent years developing a fifth “Alien” movie centered around Ripley, only for the plans to fall through. However, franchise veterans still want to see Ripley return in a new “Alien” movie.

Weaver confirmed to Empire magazine last summer that franchise producer Walter Hill had recently sent her a 50-page treatment for “a different take on a fifth Ripley film.” Hill served as producer on every “Alien” movie and has a story credit on Cameron’s “Aliens.” While the actress did not disclose what Hill’s 50-page treatment included, she did say that she’s not too eager to return to the role that made her an international action star. “I don’t know,” she told Empire. “Ridley has gone in a different direction. Maybe Ripley has done her bit. She deserves a rest.”

The “Alien” franchise is taking a big screen break at the moment and is next heading to television for a limited series at FX under the guidance of “Fargo” and “Legion” showrunner Noah Hawley. Weaver currently stars in “My Salinger Years,” now playing in theaters.

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