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James Remar

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James Remar

James Remar.[1]

William James Remar (born December 31, 1953) is an American actor and voice artist. He has appeared in movies, video games, and television shows. His notable roles include Richard in Sex and the City, Ajax in The Warriors,[2] Albert Ganz in 48 Hrs., Dutch Shultz in The Cotton Club, Lord Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and Harry Morgan in Dexter.

Remar was cast as Corporal Hicks in Aliens (1986). However, Remar (who suffered from a drug addiction at the time) was caught in possession of illegal substances on the set and consequently was fired from the production after only two weeks of filming.[3]



Main article: Aliens (film)

Remar as Hicks.[3]

The cast and crew have remained "tight-lipped" about Remar's involvement and departure. The issue isn't given much weight or coverage, if any, in the making of documentaries on the Alien Quadrilogy and 2010 Alien Anthology sets, and it is not discussed in interviews. The matter, if referred to, is usually brushed off as typical "creative differences", which makes the secrecy around Remar's involvement seem strange[3]

The truth is, the silence of the cast and crew owes more to respect for Remar's privacy than for any unwillingness or inability to recall the events that led to him being replaced by Michael Biehn. Remar commented to Starlog magazine in March 1986, "[Aliens] was a four month commitment in a foreign country, which I was willing to make. Unfortunately, urgent matters at home required that I return to the States and attend to them. They got someone else, and I came home and took care of the problems, and moved on to Band of the Hand."[3]

It wasn't until recently, when Remar himself commented more explicitly on the issue, that the reason for his firing became clear: "I had a terrible drug problem, but I got through it... I had a great career and personal life, and messed it up with a terrible drug habit."[3] In an interview with the podcast SiDEBAR, Remar said of his Aliens experience, "I was initially cast as Corporal Hicks, and I was fired after a couple weeks of filming because I got busted for possession of drugs, and Michael Biehn replaced me."[4]

Remar also lost his credibility with Alien series producer Walter Hill, who had previously directed Remar in The Warriors, The Long Riders and 48 Hrs., and who likely landed him the audition for Aliens. "Getting fired from Aliens alienated me from [Walter Hill] for twelve years," Remar explained, "he didn't hire me again for twelve years. And I know why – because I made him look bad. Y'know, it was fucked up."[3]

On the topic of his relationship with Cameron, Remar elucidated, "Y'know, I got to talk with Cameron over the years and I really love the guy. I don't know if I'll ever get to work with him again but, y'know, he said I would. And he expressed that, and knows that I've been sober all this time and I like what the guy does, I like him... It was an honour to get started, I just wasn't focused and I fucked it up."[3]


Call sheet number 6, which features Remar's name.[5]

In an Empire interview, Al Matthews (Sgt. Apone) said, "Jim asked me to train them, and the main thing I had to teach those guys was never point a weapon at somebody, and never walk around with your finger on the trigger. We use blanks, but they can do some damage." At the time of Aliens' filming, Frank Oz was filming Little Shop Of Horrors on an adjacent stage, and Matthews recalled that James Remar "blew a hole in Frank's set! With a shotgun!" Matthews said, "Where the fuck did you get live ammo?"[6]

Not much is known about Remar's performance as Hicks, as no direct footage of him in the role has ever been released (although still pictures do exist). With Biehn's arrival, Cameron and Biehn allegedly reworked the character of Hicks slightly as Biehn was worried he may be compared to Kyle Reese from The Terminator.[3]

Likely, no footage of Remar and Sigourney Weaver was ever filmed as the Marines in the Hive were some of the first scenes to go before the camera, filmed at the beginning of Aliens' production while Weaver was finishing Half Moon Street. Footage of Remar in the Hive is included in the final film, but his face is never seen. Having already filmed a complex effects shot with him, the production were unable to re-film with Biehn in the role, and instead used editing to cut away once Remar turned his head.[3]


  • Despite the firing of Remar, the actor remained professional and cordial throughout the years, recently saying, "I loved Avatar. The funny thing about Avatar is you have to have $200 million dollars worth of effects for people to sit in their seats and watch a very, very simple, cowboys and Indians love story. It's a very simple script, y'know, but it had integrity."[3]

See AlsoEdit


External linksEdit


  2. Maslin, Janet (February 10, 1979). "The Warriors (1979) Movie: 'Warriors' Creates Visual Style That Is Stark:The Cast". The New York Times.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 "Strange Shapes - The Other Hicks: James Remar". Retrieved on March 2, 2014.

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