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Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien3, also known as simply The Making of Alien3, is a 2003 documentary directed by Charles de Lauzirika that details the production of the 1992 film Alien3. Created for the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set, it uses extensive interviews with the film's cast and crew, as well as a wealth of behind the scenes footage and imagery, to examine all aspects of the development, filming and release of the movie.

Somewhat controversially, the documentary was censored for its original release at the behest of 20th Century Fox, who demanded the removal of certain footage in which cast and crew members criticised the studio's interference in Alien3's production.[1] The excised footage was later reinstated when the full, uncut version of the documentary was released as part of the Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set.

Overview

The documentary is divided into eleven separate chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of Alien3's production. As with all of Charles de Lauzirika's documentaries on the films in the Alien series, it features no formal narration but instead relies on newly-filmed and archive interview clips to tell the story of the film's development, interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage and images.

Development Hell: Concluding the Story

The first chapter covers the protracted and difficult process of developing a story for Alien3, including questions over Sigourney Weaver's involvement and mention of the unused scripts written by William Gibson, Eric Red and David Twohy. Prospective directors Renny Harlin and Vincent Ward share their memories from the production, before the documentary moves on to Ward's own unproduced script, which moved far enough into production that construction started on sets for the film.

Includes interviews with writer Vincent Ward, producer David Giler, actors Carrie Henn and Michael Biehn, special effects supervisor Joss Williams, storyboard artist Martin Asbury, prospective director Renny Harlin, and 20th Century Fox executive Jon Landau, as well as archive interviews with producer Gordon Carroll, actress Sigourney Weaver, and production designer Norman Reynolds.

Tales of the Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward's Vision

The second chapter takes a far closer look at Ward's unproduced script for the third film, in particular highlighting the major action scenes, including the defeat of the Alien by dropping it into molten glass and shattering it — the inspiration for the molten lead finale in the finished film. After covering the script, the documentary examines why the project fell through.

Includes interviews with Vincent Ward, David Giler, art director David Jones, miniature effects supervisor Pat McClung, and effects artists Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr.

Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher's Vision

The third chapter looks at the hiring of David Fincher and his joining a production that had already constructed several expensive sets for a script that had by now been discarded. Also discussed are Michael Biehn's shock at discovering Hicks was to appear in the sequel without his involvement, and 20th Century Fox vetoing Fincher's first choice of Richard E. Grant for the part of Clemens.

Included are interviews with producers David Giler and Ezra Swerdlow, actors Sigourney Weaver, Paul McGann and Michael Biehn, David Jones, visual effects producer Richard Edlund, effects artists Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., matte painter Paul Lasaine, Martin Asbury, and makeup supervisor Peter Robb-King, as well as archive interviews with Gordon Carroll and Norman Reynolds.

Xeno-Erotic: H. R. Giger's Redesign

The fourth chapter looks at the hiring of H. R. Giger to create new designs for a quadruped Xenomorph, and shows some of his weird and, in some cases, radical ideas that were ultimately not used.

Includes interviews with Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., as well as archive interviews with Sigourney Weaver, Alien designer H. R. Giger, and maquette sculptor Cornelius de Fries.

The Color of Blood: Pinewood Studios, 1991

The fifth chapter covers the start of shooting at Pinewood Studios, which proved to be a tough experience for all involved, with intense studio interference leading to conflict with Fincher on set. Cinematographer Jordan Cronenworth was also forced to leave the production due to his battle with Parkinson's disease. The filming of the difficult explosion and fire sequence and bait-and-chase scenes is highlighted.

Includes interviews with Ezra Swerdlow, Paul McGann, Joss Williams, director of photography Alex Thomson, Alec Gillis, and makeup supervisor Peter Robb-King, as well as archive interviews with actors Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Ralph Brown and Danny Webb, Norman Reynolds, and special effects supervisor George Gibbs.

Adaptive Organism: Creature Design

The sixth chapter focuses on the creature effects work provided by Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., including a look at the cut "Super Facehugger" prop, the original ox Chestburster scene, the various suits and heads used to bring the Alien to life, and the ill-fated attempts at using a whippet to portray the film's titular creature. The intricate animatronic used to portray the heavily damaged Bishop is also looked at.

Includes interviews with Richard Edlund, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., as well as an archive interview with Sigourney Weaver.

The Downward Spiral: Creative Differences

The seventh chapter focuses on the conflict between Fincher and the film's producers. While many of the cast and crew defend the director, the studio representatives accuse him of wasting time and money. The constant presence of studio executives on set it discussed, while aprticular focus is given to two incidents — a disagreement over the direction of the character of Aaron that leads David Giler to walk out of the production, and Fincher's frustration eventually leading him to attack his desk with a knife.

Includes interviews with David Giler, Ezra Swerdlow, actors Sigourney Weaver, Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen, Alex Thomson, costume designer Bob Ringwood, and Jon Landau, as well as archive interviews with actors Charles Dance, Brian Glover and Ralph Brown, Norman Reynolds and editor Terry Rawlings.

Optical Fury: Visual Effects

The eighth chapter looks at the film's extensive special effects work, including the pioneering rod puppetry techniques employed to depict a quadruped Alien. The other miniature work and matte paintings used during filming are also discussed, as well as the limited employment of CGI to augment certain elements.

Includes interviews with David Jones, Richard Edlund, matte painters Michelle Moen and Paul Lasaine, and Jon Landau, as well as an archive interview with Tom Woodruff, Jr.

Where the Sun Burns Cold: Fox Studios, L.A. 1992

The ninth chapter covers the situation at Pinewood becoming so untenable that filming is completely shut down and relocated to Fox Studios in Los Angeles, California. The struggle to complete a coherent movie is covered, including the reluctance on the part of the studio to fund the necessary filming. The editing process is also covered, including many of the sequences deleted from the final cut, the need to reduce some of the excessively gory moments, and the repeated alterations to the film's finale.

Includes interviews with David Giler, Ezra Swerdlow, Paul McGann, David Jones, Alex Thomson, Alec Gillis, Paul Lasaine, Terry Rawlings, Peter Robb-King, makeup effects artist Greg Cannom, composer Elliot Goldenthal, sound editors Gary S. and Gregory M. Gerlich, and Jon Landau.

Requiem for a Scream: Music, Editing and Sound

The tenth chapter covers Elliot Goldenthal's soundtrack, and particularly Fincher's desire to blur the lines between music and sound effects during several of the film's sequences. Issues also arose from the incredibly deep bass tones employed, leading to problems with the sound physically affecting audiences. The development of the versions sound effects used in the film, from Alien screeches to the sounds of death and mutilation.

Includes interviews with Elliot Goldenthal and Gary S. and Gregory M. Gerlich.

Post-Mortem: Reaction to the Film

The final chapter covers the reception to the film, which performed fairly poorly at the US box office but fared much better in other territories. Many of the cast and crew share their own personal opinions, including their hope that the recently released Special Edition may lead to a re-evaluation of the movie.

Includes interviews with Renny Harlin, Vincent Ward, David Giler, Ezra Swerdlow, Sigourney Weaver, Paul McGann, Alex Thomson, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Martin Asbury, Terry Rawlings, Elliot Goldenthal and Jon Landau, as well as an archive interview with Charles S. Dutton.

History

Censorship

Before its release as part of the Alien Quadrilogy box set, 20th Century Fox demanded various cuts and changes be made to the third film's making-of documentary, a move that generated some controversy.[1][2] These alterations chiefly involved the removal of around 21 minutes of footage that was deemed to paint the studio in a negative light, including on-set footage showing director David Fincher's frustration and interview clips with the cast and crew discussing the generally confused, chaotic and poorly-managed nature of the shoot, as well as the studio's extensive interference in it.

WreckageandRage

The title screen from the edited version, showing the original title.

In addition to the content changes, the documentary's title, originally intended to be Wreckage and Rape: Making Alien3[3] (after a track on Goldenthal's soundtrack album), was shortened to simply The Making of Alien3 — perhaps because the studio felt the original had connotations of likening their interference to rape. As a result, the censored release shares its name with The Making of Alien3 from 1992. As well as the title change, several of the individual chapters within the documentary were similarly renamed, principally the sections that were edited for content.

As a result of the studio-mandated alterations, Charles de Lauzirika had his name removed from the credits in the original release; instead, the director and producer is listed as "Frederick Garvin", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the character Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute (played by Dan Akroyd) that appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1979.[1]

Uncut release

For the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set in 2010, Fox relented on their censorship demands and the documentary was finally released uncut, with all of the previously deleted footage restored.[4] The original chapter names were also reinstated, while the documentary itself was retitled Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien3, a slight variation on the originally intended title. The restored version features Lauzirika's name in the credits.

Aside from the uncensored presentation, the documentary — formatted in a 4:3 full screen aspect ratio in the Quadrilogy box set — was "rebuilt" by Lauzirika in 16:9 widescreen. This conversion essentially entailed the cropping of the interview and vintage on-set footage to the new widescreen aspect, while the various title graphics were replaced with newly rendered equivalents.[4]

Enhancement Pods

For the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set, several previously-unreleased "Enhancement Pods", essentially deleted and extended scenes from the main documentary, were made available for the first time. These cover a wide range of topics, many of which are already mentioned in the documentary itself, and provide additional detail and trivia. Unlike the main documentaries, these did not undergo conversion to a widescreen aspect ratio.[4]

  • "Renny Harlin Quits"
  • "Explaining the Wooden Planet"
  • "Ezra Swerdlow's Concerns"
  • "Intimidating Baldies"
  • "Roaming the Fury 161 Set"
  • "The Art of Storyboarding"
  • "Hicks' Alternative Future"
  • "Costuming for Character"
  • "On Set: Filming the Alien's POV"
  • "Head Casting with Charles Dutton"
  • "On Set: Filming the Oxburster"
  • "Sausage-Motivated Alien Whippet"
  • "Fincher's Alienation"
  • "Lance Henriksen Returns in Style"
  • "Sucking Up to Fincher"
  • "Detailing the EEV Miniature"
  • "Matte Painting Memories"
  • "How to Make Alien Acid Saliva"
  • "The Sulaco's Cameo"
  • "The Weaver Wagger"
  • "Bald Cap Blues"
  • "Bragging Rights"
  • "Stealing Sigourney's Top"
  • "Creating Alien Sounds from Scratch"
  • "Dangerous Location Recording"
  • "Painful Low End Frequencies"
  • "The Power of Silence"
  • "Ripley's Evolution"
  • "Mixed Reactions"

Trivia

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Digital Bits - DVD Review — The Alien Quadrilogy — Disc 6". Retrieved on 2018-09-28.
  2. "Profanity May Be Necessary - Wreckage and Rage: The Making of Alien³". Retrieved on 2016-01-19.
  3. "AVForums - Alien Anthology Blu-ray Review". Retrieved on 2018-10-01.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "The Digital Bits - Blu-ray Review: Alien Anthology". Retrieved on 2016-01-11.