On this reel of COL Movies the boys get ready for the summer blockbuster Prometheus by stepping back into 1979 and to what some consider the Birth of modern sci-fi horror Ridley Scott’s “Alien”. We jump to the present to discuss Sasha Baron Cohen’s next attempt to offend as many people as possible, “The Dictator” Will Jeff have anything to say about it? Last but certainly not least we take a look at a little known indie film released at this years Sundace Film Festival “Safety Not Guaranteed” to discuss what happens when you base a film on a 1997 Internet meme. All this plus lots of news about movie villains and a followup to the recent postponement of G.I.Joe. Join us for the 107th Reel of COL Movies: Come in were Aladeen.
Warning: Some parts of this episode has been censored by our Supreme Leader of Wadiyan Aladeen. Some. I mean all. Enjoy.
- WIll someone please just tell us who the new star trek villain is? Apparently it’s NOT Kahn
- Iron Man 3 adds more villians!
- And Another Iron Man Villian
- Followup on G.I. Joe Retaliation:
The Past: Alien
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% Fresh; 90% Audience
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
- Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.
- Veronica Cartwright was originally auditioned to play Ripley, but producers opted for Sigourney Weaver.
- An early draft of the script had a male Ripley, making this one of at least three films where Sigourney Weaver played a character originally planned to be a man. The second is The TV Set and the third is Vantage Point.
- All of the names of the main characters were changed by Walter Hill and David Giler during the revision of the original script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The script by O’Bannon and Shusett also had a clause indicating that all of the characters are “unisex”, meaning they could be cast with male or female actors. However, Shusett and O’Bannon never thought of casting Ripley as a female character.
- Conceptual artist H.R. Giger’s designs were changed several times because of their blatant sexuality.
- Much of the dialogue was developed through improvisation.
- The front (face) part of the alien costume’s head is made from a cast of a real human skull.
- During production an attempt was made to make the alien character transparent or at least translucent.
- Three aliens were made: a model; a suit for seven-footer Bolaji Badejo; and another suit for a trained stunt man.
- The models had to be repainted every evening of the shoot because the slime used on-set removed the acrylic paint from their surfaces.
- The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.
- “Nostromo” is the title of a Joseph Conrad book. The shuttlecraft is called the “Narcissus”, from the title of another Joseph Conrad book. See also Aliens.
- Many of the non-English versions of the film’s title translate as something similar to “Alien: The 8th Passenger”.
- The alien’s habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs “in the abdomen of spiders.” This image gave Dan O’Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O’Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps or braconid wasps. The ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O’Bannon’s alien.
- 130 alien eggs were made for the egg chamber inside the downed spacecraft.
- Conceptual artist H.R. Giger would successfully sue 20th Century Fox 18 years later over his lack of screen credit on Alien: Resurrection.
- Ridley Scott’s 2003 director’s cut largely came about when over 100 boxes of footage of his 1979 original were discovered in a London vault.
- Many of the interior features of the Nostromo came from airplane graveyards.
- For the awakening from hypersleep segment, Veronica Cartwright and Sigourney Weaver had to wear white surgical tape over their nipples so as not to offend certain countries.
- To simulate the thrust of engines on the Nostromo, Ridley Scott had crew members shake and wobble the seats the actors were sitting in.
- H.R. Giger’s initial designs for the facehugger were held by US Customs who were alarmed at what they saw. Writer Dan O’Bannon had to go to LAX to explain to them that they were designs for a horror movie.
- The chestbursting scene was filmed in one take with four cameras.
- To get Jones the cat react fearfully to the descending Alien, a German Shepherd was placed in front of him with a screen between the two, so the cat wouldn’t see it at first, and came over. The screen was then suddenly removed to make Jones stop, and start hissing.
- Dallas’ pursuit of the alien down the ventilator shafts, and the intercut scenes of the rest of the crew urging him on, was shot in one day.
- It was conceptual artist Ron Cobb who came up with the idea that the Alien should bleed acid. This came about when Dan O’Bannon couldn’t find a reason why the Nostromo crew just wouldn’t shoot the Alien with a gun.
- Ridley Scott did all the hand-held camera-work himself.
- The creature is never filmed directly facing the camera due to the humanoid features of its face. Ridley Scott, determined at all costs to dispel any notion of a man in a rubber suit, filmed the beast in varying close-up angles of its ghastly profile, very rarely capturing the beast in its entirety.
- Carlo Rambaldi constructed three alien heads based on H.R. Giger’s designs: two mechanical models for use in various close-up work, and an elementary model for medium-to-long shots. Rambaldi was not available to operate his creations on the actual shoot, though he did spend two weeks in the UK as a technical advisor to Ridley Scott and his crew.
- According to Ridley Scott, the mechanism that was used to make the alien egg open was so strong, that it could tear off a hand.
- Jerry Goldsmith was most aggrieved by the changes that Ridley Scott and his editor Terry Rawlings wrought upon his score. Scott felt that Goldsmith’s first attempt at the score was far too lush and needed to be a bit more minimalist. Even then, Goldsmith was horrified to discover that his amended score had been dropped in places by Rawlings who inserted segments from Goldsmith’s score to Freud instead. (Rawlings had initially used these as a guide track only, and ended up preferring them to Goldsmith’s revised work.) Goldsmith harbored a grudge against the two right up to his death in 2004.
- The character of Ash did not appear in Dan O’Bannon’s original script.
- Dan O’Bannon first encountered H.R. Giger’s unique style when the two were briefly working on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ill-fated attempt at making “Dune”.
- The screen test that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of Ripley was her speech from her final scene.
- The genesis of the film arose out of Dan O’Bannon’s dissatisfaction with his first feature, Dark Star which John Carpenter directed in 1974. Because of that film’s severe low budget, the alien was quite patently a beach ball. For his second attempt, O’Bannon wanted to craft an altogether more convincing specimen. The goofiness of Dark Star also led him in the direction of an intense horror movie.
- The writing partnership between Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett came about when Shusett approached O’Bannon about helping him adapt a Philip K. Dick story that he had acquired the rights to. That was “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” which later became Total Recall. O’Bannon then said that he had an idea that he was stuck on about an alien aboard a spaceship and that he needed some assistance. Shusett agreed to help out and they tackled the alien movie first as they felt it would have been the cheaper of the two to make.
- The original title was “Star Beast”.
- Walter Hill and David Giler’s contribution to the script was to make Ash a robot.
- There is no dialog for the first 6 minutes.
- 20th Century Fox doubled the budget from $4.2 million to $8.4 million on the strength of seeing Ridley Scott’s storyboards.
- Ridley Scott was keen to take on the project as the one that he had been previously working on at Paramount, Tristan + Isolde, was stuck in development hell.
- Three Nostromos were built for the production: a 12″ version for long shots, a 48″ version for the landing sequence and a seven ton rig for showing the ship at rest on the planet’s surface.
- The producers of the 1950s potboiler It! The Terror from Beyond Space considered suing for plagiarism but didn’t.
- The original name for the spaceship was Snark. This was later changed to Leviathan before they finally settled for Nostromo.
- According to John Hurt in the DVD Documentary, he was considered at the beginning of casting to play Kane but had already committed to another film that was set to take place in South Africa, so Jon Finch got the role instead. However, two separate incidents occurred which got Hurt the role. First was the fact that he was banned from South Africa because the country mistook him for actor John Heard who strongly opposed the Apartied (Hurt points out that he was opposed to it too, but was lucky enough not to get blacklisted) so he was unable to do the other film. Second, Finch became seriously ill from diabetes and had to pull out. Ridley Scott immediately contacted Hurt, pitched him the script over a weekend and Hurt arrived on the set Monday morning with little to no sleep to begin filming.
- The blue laser lights that were used in the alien ship’s egg chamber were borrowed from The Who. The band was testing out the lasers for their stage show in the soundstage next door.
- The stylized artwork that Ridley Scott used to create the storyboards that got Fox to double the budget were inspired by the artwork of famed comic book artist Mobius.
- The screech of the newborn alien was voiced by animal impersonator Percy Edwards. He was personally requested by director Ridley Scott to do the sound effect and it was recorded in one take.
- Veronica Cartwright only found out that she wasn’t playing the part of Ripley when she was first called in to do some costume tests for the character of Lambert.
- The Nostromo is supposed to be 800 feet long, while the craft she is towing is a mile and a half long.
- The spacesuits worn by Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright were huge, bulky items lined with nylon and with no outlets for breath or condensation. As the actors were working under hot studio lights in conditions in excess of 100 degrees, they spent most of their time passing out. A nurse had to be on hand at all times to keep supplying them with oxygen. It was only after Ridley Scott’s and cinematographer Derek Vanlint’s children were used in the suits for long-shots and they passed out too, that some modifications were made to the costumes.
- At the start of production, Ridley Scott had to contend with 9 producers being onset at all times, querying the length of time he was taking over each shot.
- The first day that she shot a scene involving Jones the cat, Sigourney Weaver’s skin started reacting badly. Horrified, the young actress immediately thought that she might be allergic to cats, and that it would be easier for the production to recast her instead of trying to find 4 more identical cats. As it transpired, Weaver was reacting to glycerin sprayed on her skin to make her look hot and sweaty.
- After the first week of shooting, Dan O’Bannon asked if he could attend the viewing of the dailies, and was somewhat staggered when Gordon Carroll refused him. To get past that ban, O’Bannon viewed the dailies by standing beside the projectionist whilst he screened them for everyone else.
- Among some of the ingredients of the alien costume are Plasticine and Rolls Royce motor parts.
- While he was working on the visual effects for this film, Brian Johnson was simultaneously working in the same capacity on Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
- The space jockey prop was 26 feet tall.
- In the wide shots of the Space Jockey prop, Ridley Scott used his two sons to make the prop seem bigger.
- A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was in the script, but was not filmed.
- A scene originally cut, but re-inserted for the Director’s Cut shows Lambert slapping Ripley in retaliation for Ripley’s refusal to let her, Dallas, and Kane back on the ship. According to both Ridley Scott and Veronica Cartwright, every time she went to slap Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney would shy away. After about three or four takes of this, Scott finally told Cartwright “Not to hold back. Really hit her.” Thus the very real shocked reactions of Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton.
- The dead facehugger that Ash autopsies was made using fresh shellfish, four oysters and a sheep kidney to recreate the internal organs.
- The decal on the door of the Nostromo is a “checkerboard square”, the symbol on Purina’s pet food label; it designated Alien Chow.
- According to a quote from Veronica Cartwright in a film magazine, in the scene where the alien’s tail wraps around her legs, they are actually Harry Dean Stanton’s legs, in a shot originally filmed for another scene entirely.
- The embryonic movements of the facehugger, prior to bursting out of its egg, were created by Ridley Scott using both his rubber-gloved hands.
- In The Blue Planet, David Attenborough said the Alien monster was modeled after the Phronima, a creature spotted by submersibles at great depths. However there is little evidence to support this claim – the original Alien design was based on a previous painting by H.R. Giger, Necronom IV, which bears little resemblance to the Phronima. Giger’s agent, Bijan Aalam, claims “He never inspired himself by any animals, terrestrial or marine”.
- The computer screen displaying Nostromo’s orbit around the planet contains a hidden credit to Dr. Brian Wyvill, one of the programmers for the animation. Within the top frame entitled Deorbital Descent, it is possible to isolate the letters “BLOB”, Dr. Brian Wyvill’s common nickname.
- The grid-like flooring on the Nostromo was achieved using upturned milk crates, painted over.
- In an interview for Métal Hurlant, Ridley Scott revealed that to make the action more realistic, the flight deck was wired so that flipping a switch in at one console would trigger lights somewhere else. The cast then developed “work routines” for themselves where one would trip a switch, leading another to respond to the changes at his work station and so on.
- The original design for the Alien by H.R. Giger had eyes, which were eliminated to make the creature look even more menacing.
- Originally, no film companies wanted to make this film, 20th Century-Fox had even passed on it. They stated various reasons, most being that it was too bloody. The only producer who wanted to make the film was Roger Corman, and it was not until Walter Hill came on board that it all changed. 20th Century-Fox agreed to make the film as long as the violence was toned down; even after that they still rejected the first cut for being “too bloody”.
- The original cut of the film ran 3 hours and 12 minutes.
- Despite releasing a new version of the film titled “Alien: The Director’s Cut”, Ridley Scott wrote in a statement in the film’s packaging that he still feels the original Alien was his perfect vision of the film. The newer version is titled “The Director’s Cut” for marketing purposes, featuring deleted scenes many fans wanted to see incorporated into the film (such as the scene where Lambert and Ripley discuss whether or not they’ve slept with Ash, suggesting there’s something not quite right about Ash). He also deleted as much material from this cut to maintain the movie’s pacing.
- Director Ridley Scott and composer Jerry Goldsmith were at odds with each other on the usage of the original music score. As a result, many crucial cues were either rescored, ill-placed, or deleted altogether, and the intended end title replaced with Howard Hanson’s “Symphony No. 2 (Romantic)”. The original intended score was featured as an isolated track on the now out-of-print 20th Anniversary DVD.
- The vapor released from the top of the spacesuit helmets (presumably exhausted air from the breathing apparatus) was actually aerosol sprayed from inside the helmets. In one case, the mechanism broke and started spraying inside the helmet.
- A closer look at the alien eggs in the scene right before the facehugger reveals that slime on the eggs is dripping from bottom to top. Ridley Scott did this intentionally by shooting with the camera upside down.
- 20th Century Fox Studios almost did not allow the “space jockey”, or the giant alien pilot, to be in the film. This was because, at the time, props for movies weren’t so large and it would only be used for one scene. However, conceptual artist ‘Ron Cobb (I)’ convinced them to leave the scene in the movie, as it would be the film’s “Cecil. B. DeMille shot”, showing the audience that this wasn’t some low-budget B-movie.
- Yaphet Kotto (Parker) actually picked fights with Bolaji Badejo who played the Alien, in order to help his onscreen hatred of the creature.
- Bolaji Badejo beat Peter Mayhew to the part of the alien.
- Copywriter Barbara Gips came up with the famed tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
- The engines of the Narcissus coming to life was created by having water pour out of showers with strong arc lights around it. This gave the illusion that it was plasma.
- Bolaji Badejo who plays the Alien in the movie was a graphic artist who was discovered at a pub by one of the casting directors. He was about 7 feet tall with thin arms – just what they needed to fit into the Alien costume. He was sent for Tai Chi and Mime classes to learn how to slow down his movements. A special swing had to be constructed for him to sit down during filming as he could not sit down on a regular chair once he was suited up because of the Alien’s tail.
- The slime used on the Alien was K-Y jelly.
- During the opening sequence, as the camera wanders around the corridors of the Nostromo, we can clearly see a Krups coffee grinder mounted to a wall; this is the same model that became the “Mr. Fusion” in Back to the Future.
- Many producers have professional “readers” that read and summarize scripts for them. The reader in this case summarized it as “It’s like Jaws, but in space.”
- Roger Dicken, who designed and operated the facehugger and the chestburster, had originally wanted the latter to pull itself out of Kane’s torso with its own little hands, a sequence he felt would have produced a much more horrifying effect than the gratuitous blood and guts in the release print.
- A lawsuit by A.E. van Vogt, claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story “Discord in Scarlet” (which he had also incorporated in the 1950 novel “Voyage of the Space Beagle”), was settled out of court.
- Potential directors, who either were considered by the studio or wanted to direct, included Robert Aldrich, Peter Yates, Jack Clayton, Dan O’Bannon and Walter Hill. Aldrich in particular came very close to being hired, but the producers ultimately decided against it after they met him in person, and it quickly became apparent that he had no real enthusiasm for the project beyond the money he would have received. According to David Giler, the moment when Aldrich talked himself out of the job came when they asked him what kind of a design he had in mind for the facehugger; Aldrich simply shrugged and said “We’ll put some entrails on the guy’s face. It’s not as if anyone’s going to remember that critter once they’ve left the theater.”
- The inside of the alien eggs as seen by Kane was composed of real organic material. Director Ridley Scott used cattle hearts and stomachs. The tail of the facehugger was sheep intestine.
- Bill Paterson turned down a part.
- When casting the role of Ripley, Ridley Scott invited several women from the production office to watch screen tests, and thus gain a female perspective. The women were unanimously impressed with then-unknown actress Sigourney Weaver, whose screen presence they compared to Jane Fonda’s.
- Ridley Scott cites three films as the shaping influences on his movie: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and 2001: A Space Odyssey for their depiction of outer space, and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for its treatment of horror.
- Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast’s ferocious jaws
- Entertainment Weekly voted this as the third scariest film of all time.
- While the crew is eating, if you freeze the frame, you can clearly see the “Weyland-Yutani” brand on the can Dallas is drinking from. This is the name of the company that they work for.
- The chestbursting scene was considered the second scariest movie moment of all time on Bravo’s The 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
- A green monitor visible behind Ripley while the crew discusses Kane’s condition outside the kitchen shows nonsense characters as well as the word “Giler”, obviously a nod to producer David Giler.
- Ridley Scott stated that in casting the role of Ripley, it ultimately came down to Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. The two actresses had been schoolmates at Yale.
- Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sci-Fi” in June 2008.
- During this production, only H.R. Giger and Bolaji Badejo were permitted to view the rushes with Ridley Scott, enabling them to better discuss and refine aspects of the beast’s look and movements.
- Ridley Scott’s first exposure to early Alien drafts were sent to him by Sanford Lieberson, then head of 20th Century Fox’s London headquarters. Lieberson had seen Scott’s The Duellists and was adequately impressed to consider the neophyte filmmaker.
- The literal translations of some of this film’s foreign language titles include Alien: The Eighth Passenger (Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Denmark and France) and Alien: The Uncanny Creature from a Strange World (West Germany).
- In H.R. Giger’s original illustrations the creature has eyes. For the movie, Giger insisted that the creature have no eyes, thus giving the bleak appearance of a cold and emotionless beast.
- The Hungarian translation of the title translated back is “The 8th passenger is the Death” and from that on, all 3 other Alien movies had such titles that end with the word “death”. Aliens: “The name of the planet: Death”; Alien³: “Final solution: Death”; Alien: Resurrection: “Reawakens the Death”. Furthermore, the alien is referred to as “death” in the Hungarian title of AVP: Alien vs. Predator: “The Death against The Predator”.
- For the scene in which the facehugger attacks, the egg was upside down above the camera, and the operator thrust it down toward the lens like a hand puppet.
- The production designers, in an attempt to cut costs while still remaining creative, constructed several of the sets in such a way as to make them usable in more than one scene. A good example of this can be seen in the “Space Jockey” room (the room in which to away team discovers the skeletal remains in the alien ship) and the “egg chamber.” The sets were designed so that the skeleton and the revolving disc on which it sits could be removed and the empty space then redressed with the “eggs,” creating, combined with a matching matte painting, a vast cavern full of potential alien spawn.
- Kay Lenz auditioned for the role of Ripley.
- As a child, Veronica Cartwright had appeared in The Birds, opposite Doodles Weaver, who was Sigourney Weaver’s uncle.
- The first of four Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver.
- When the movie was broadcast in Israel, its title was changed to “The Eighth Passenger” in Hebrew.
- The large Space Jockey sculpture was designed and painted by H.R. Giger himself, who was disappointed he couldn’t put any finishing touches on it by the time filming came about for the scene. Also, the Space Jockey prop was burned and destroyed by a burning cigarette left on the model. Los Angeles. The unfortunate event was covered by local TV news stations that evening.
- Nostromo’s identification number is 180924609.
- In a preview of the bonus feature menus for the “Alien Legacy” box set posted to USENET, the bio for Dallas had him as being born female and Lambert as being born male, suggesting gender reassignment before the events in the film. Fan reaction prompted this to be changed before production of the DVDs.
- After the crew awakens from hyper-sleep, the navigator Lambert announces that the ship is “just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli”. Zeta Reticuli is a real double-star system about 39 light-years from Earth, and has figured prominently in UFO lore. In the 1960s, Barney and Betty Hill claimed to have been abducted by “gray” aliens from Zeta Reticuli.
- According to Ridley Scott in the DVD commentary, he had envisioned a moment in the ending scenes of Ripley and the alien in the space shuttle in which the alien would be sexually aroused by Ripley. Scott says that in the scene, after Ripley hides in the closet, the alien would find her and would be staring at her through the glass door. The alien would then start touching itself as if comparing its body to Ripley’s. The idea was eventually scrapped.
- Dan O’Bannon was hyper-critical of any changes made to his script and, to be fair, he defended some aspects of the film that ended up being most iconic (including H.R. Giger’s designs). Although he would come on set and nitpick, O’Bannon was generally welcomed by Ridley Scott until O’Bannon lost his temper and insulted Scott in front of the whole crew. The producers, including Walter Hill, had minimal respect for O’Bannon and largely ignored him, giving him little credit once the film became a success.
- Dan O’Bannon requested that Ridley Scott and producer Walter Hill, both of whom had little knowledge of horror or science-fiction cinema, screen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to prepare for shooting the more intense scenes. Scott and Hill were stunned by the horror film and admitted it motivated them to ratchet up the intensity of their own film.
- Walter Hill’s re-write included to make two of the characters female (and to add a romantic subplot that was deleted) and to alter much of the dialogue written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The original dialogue has been described as poetic but Hill assessed it as pretentious and obscure.
- Director Trademark
- Ridley Scott: [mothers] The Nostromo’s computer is named “Mother”. The incubation of the alien has also been interpreted as a metaphor for pregnancy.
- The importance of sound in this move.
- Pacing – Nothing happens for about 45 minutes.
- Does Ripley call someone a bitch in every movie?
- Positives: Doesn’t look it’s age, Proved that B-Movie Fodder can be handled with Finesse ; An old-fashioned story updated to space, Remains a Benchmark for extra-terrestrial Horror; Has stood the test of time and so much has been based on it…a pop culture phenom.
- Negatives: empty headed horror movie filled with gimmicks; only made to score big bucks at the box office
What We Learned:
- In the future, computers are incredibly noisy!
- In the future, smoking in an oxgenated spaceship is totally ok. Guess it’s like it used to be on planes.
- Star ships are designed with a minimum of normal lighting
- Self Destruct sequences are way too complex.
- Always double check your navigational heading before putting yourself in suspended animation.
Jeff: Uber classic sci-fi movie but too slow. Not my favorite movie but it’s a total must see and definitely worth a buy.
Ray: This was my first exposure to sci-fi horror, and although some of the creature effects don’t quite hold up.. it can still scare the living crap out of you. This is a highly recommended one in my eyes, and probably always will be.
Steve: This was a film that really got me into scary movies. It still remains the standard that all of these types of films have to live up to. Beyond the look, it really established female heroines can be as tough as males.
Add To Flickchart
The Present: The Dictator
Rotten Tomatoes: 59% Rotten; 58% Rotten Audience
Director: Larry Charles
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Admiral General Aladeen reveals Aladeen’s first name to be Shabazz.
- The photos of Aladeen’s other financially procured lovers in addition to Megan Fox include Lindsay Lohan, Halle Berry, Ellen DeGeneres, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- The language that Aladeen and Nadal speak on the helicopter tour is actually Hebrew, and not Arabic
- In the film, the Republic of Wadiya location is actually the real country of Eritrea
- In February 2012, Internet rumors claimed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had banned Baron Cohen from attending the 84th Academy Awards in his role as Admiral General Aladeen, but the Academy said the rumors were unfounded, saying, “We haven’t banned him. We’re just waiting to hear what he’s going to do,” and specifying of the publicity stunt, “We don’t think it’s appropriate. But his tickets haven’t been pulled. We’re waiting to hear back.”
- Sacha Baron Cohen attended the 84th Annual Academy Awards in character and full costume as Aladeen, accompanied by his “virgin guards”. While giving an interview on the red carpet to an unsuspecting Ryan Seacrest he brandished an urn he claimed to contain the remains of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Cohen then spilled the ashes all over Seacrest’s tuxedo. The ashes were discovered to be pancake mix.
- Paramount said the film was inspired by the novel Zabibah and the King by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, though The New York Times later reported this was not true.
- Baron Cohen, who also plays Efawadh in the film, based his performance primarily on the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
- Kristen Wiig and Gillian Jacobs had been considered for the role that Anna Faris eventually played and which Variety said “calls for strong improvisational skills”.
- Baron Cohen said the United Nations refused to let him film scenes inside the UN Headquarters and claimed they explained this by saying, “we represent a lot of dictators, and they are going to be very angry by this portrayal of them, so you can’t shoot in there.” Asked about it, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman commented by saying only, “Sacha Baron Cohen has a wonderful sense of humor.”
- Archive news footage of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and David Cameron in the beginning of the trailer are excerpts of their 2011 speeches condemning Colonel Gaddafi.
- Baron Cohen appeared in character on the May 5, 2012, episode of Saturday Night Live during the “Weekend Update” segment, in which he appeared to torture movie critics A. O. Scott and Roger Ebert to give the film positive reviews, as well as seemingly holding director Martin Scorsese hostage.
- The film has been informally barred from showing in Belarus,,officially banned in Tajikistan, described as “unlikely” to be shown in Turkmenistan, and shortened to 71 minutes by the censorship in Uzbekistan.
- Compared to his normal ambush style? is this better or worse?
- Alladeens: Sharp and smart; Pushes the envelope; Timely and brings real issues to life; Cohen is effective in putting his crazy characters into the real world
- Alladeens: “I didn’t laugh, I didn’t care, just stared at the screen”; rhythm was off, so the comedic timing didn’t quite work; It’s crass, disgusting, and vulgar; Time for Cohen to take on a serious role
What We Learned:
- America was built by the blacks, and is owned by the Chinese
- Anyone not from America is an “a”-raab
- Mac Geniuses spend most of their time cleaning semen out of laptops
- Crocs are a symbol of a man who has given up hope.
- An educated woman is like a monkey in rollerskates, for us it is cute to watch, but they have no idea how ridiculous they are.
- Ben Kingsley is obviously desperate for work.
Jeff: I found a new category of movie for me. Movies I Refuse to Watch Again. This one is in that category.
Ray: I think this movie is Aladeen! :O) I love comedy that pushes the boundaries of offensive. Done wrong it can be horrible, but I think SBC manages to pound enough of a message while making us laugh at ourselves and our own social morays. If you don’t like his style of humor this is definitely not for you..or for anyone easily offended. I thought it was great though, I liked it much more than Borat or Bruno.
Steve: Truthfully, I was just bored. I love Anna Farris, but even her vacant surprise eyes throughout the entire movie didn’t do anything for me. I get what Cohen was trying to do with this, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I agree with the critics who say that they just watched it and didn’t laugh or cry…just felt “eh”.
The Future: Safety Not Guaranteed
Release: Limited release, US Date not announced
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.
Jeff: Dude, a minute into the trailer and I’m sold. Something about this just appeals to me and I’m really not sure what. Damn it for being limited release.
Ray: I thought this looked really interesting, and I hope that it comes out in wider release sometime. It seems to be getting great press and reviews!
Steve: Seems like an interesting movie. Makes me think of other movies like “The Fisher King” that helps someone “rediscover” themselves by thinking differently. Doubtful it’s really about time travel…but it’s an interesting concept. More something I’d rent than see at the theater, though.
Next Month = we kick off our annual June pride month tribute to LGBT movies for the Past