Ridley Scott has revealed that the iconic chest burst scene in his 1979 movie Alien almost went horribly wrong.
- Read more: Alien: Covenant – Film Review
One of the most memorable moments in Alien will always be when an embryonic xenomorph bursts out of John Hurt’s character Kane’s chest. However, Ridley Scott recently revealed that filming that particular scene almost went sideways.
Scott told The Hollywood Reporter that they had to shoot the scene in one take but a technical error almost ruined the spine-chilling sequence. “I knew once [the chest burst effect] happens, the white set will be decimated and will take probably two weeks to clean up. So there was no second take,” he said.
“So I positioned everything the way I felt is going to happen, where it was going to come out. And poor John Hurt was lying strapped down on the table under an artificial chest. And we shot and I honestly had to cross my fingers.”
Just as the alien was ready to explode out of Hurt’s chest, Scott realised that the actor’s T-shirt was preventing the miniature xenomorph from emerging properly.
“All there is, is this bump in the T-shirt that flashes out and then it goes away,” he explained. “So I scream, ‘Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut!’ And all the actors start laughing, but they’re kind of nervous because they haven’t seen it. I go back and say, ‘Clear the set!’
“I crawl in on top of John Hurt — poor bugger lying there — and I’m razor-blading the T-shirt so it will pop when the alien hits the back of the T-shirt. We went again. And it was perfect.”
The 1979 movie – set in 2122 – saw a seven-member crew of a commercial space tug, Nostromo, attacked by aliens during their return trip to Earth. Three sequels followed, along with a prequel series made up of 2012’s Prometheus and 2017’s Alien: Covenant.
Now, a US high school’s drama department has taken inspiration from the original film and pulled out all the stops to produce an epic stage version.