1) It Was Inspired By The Vietnam War
Writer and Director James Cameron drew inspiration from the Vietnam War, it being a situation where technologically superior force struggled to fight in a hostile foreign environment.
2) Sigourney Weaver Was Paid 28 Times More Than Her Salary For The First Film
Weaver was paid $35’000 for the first film and $1 million for the sequel. (She went on to earn $4 million for Alien 3 and $11 million for Alien: Resurrection).
3) It Did Well At The Academy Awards
Aliens was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver. It unsurprisingly won for Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.
4) The British Crew Didn’t Like James Cameron…
James Cameron, bound by a low budget and a tight deadline, found it difficult to adjust to what Bill Paxton has referred to as the ‘indentured’ working practices of the British crew (such as tea breaks) that brought production to a halt. They also believed that the then 31 year old Cameron was too young and inexperienced to direct.
5) …And They Staged A Walkout
After the original director of photography was fired for refusing to light a scene the way Cameron wanted, the crew walked out. They were eventually persuaded to come back to work however.
6) Hudson Says Most Of The Film’s F*cks
The word ‘f*ck’ is used 25 times in the film, with 18 of them being spoken by Hudson. He also says ‘man’ 44 times. RIP Bill Paxton…
7) Ripley’s Daughter Is Actually Her Mother
The portrait of Ripley’s daughter (in the Director’s Cut version of the film) is Elizabeth Inglis, Sigourney Weaver’s real-life mother.
8) Hicks Wasn’t Played Michael Biehn At The Start Of Filming…
Biehn was cast a week after filming had started, as James Remar was originally cast as Hicks. Remar has stated that he was replaced due to being fired after he was arrested for drug possession.
9) …And A Few Shots Of James Remar Remain In The Film
A few shots of James Remar remain in the film, including when the team first enters the alien hive (although only his back is seen). This was because those sequences were too expensive to re-shoot.
10) Carrie Henn Got The Role Of Newt By Not Smiling…
Approximately 500 schoolchildren were auditioned for the role of Newt, but many of them had acted in commercials would always smile after saying their lines. Henn had no previous acting experience so was not accustomed to this.
11) …And Aliens Was Her Only Ever Acting Role
Henn chose not to continue with an acting career, and instead became a teacher.
12) Sigourney Weaver Didn’t Want To Use A Gun
Weaver lobbied Cameron to let Ripley go the entire film without using a gun, but Cameron talked her into it after taking her to a shooting range.
13) Paul Reiser Got Hit By His Sister
At the film’s premiere, Paul Reiser’s sister physically struck him due to his character, Burke, being so awful.
14) The Aliens Are Covered In Lube…
Believe it or not, lubricant was used to give the Aliens their distinctive slimy look.
15) …And They Scream Like A Baboon
Yes indeed, the alien screams are actually Baboon shrieks altered in post-production.
16) James Horner Wrote The Entire Score In 3 Weeks
Horner thought he’d have six weeks to write the (oscar nominated) musical score, but he actually only had three, and he had to write some parts overnight. Because of this he thought it very unlikely he’d work with Cameron again, but of course they teamed up to Oscar winning effect for Titanic.
17) The On Screen Marines Really Trained Together
Actors who played marines underwent military training, including running, lifting weights, learning salutes, marching and maneuvers. Cameron wanted them to train together so that they would form bonds that would hopefully show on-screen
18) The Alien Nest Is Where The Joker Was Born
An old power station called ‘Acton Lane’ in London was used for Aliens, and later appeared as Axis Chemicals in the 1989 Batman film, where Jack Napier falls into acid and becomes Joker.
19) The Alien Queen Was Operated By Over 14 People
In the age before CGI, the amazing Alien queen construction was operated by anything between 14 and 16 people.
20) The 15 Minutes Countdown Is Exactly 15 Minutes
In both the standard and special edition versions of the film, the fifteen minute countdown at the end is indeed fifteen minutes.