I recently interviewed Ian Nathan, executive editor of Empire, about his new book Alien Vault: The Definitive Story Behind the Film, which contains in-depth information about the creative process of the 1979 classic sci-fi film Alien, directed by Sir Ridley Scott. This film also spawned three sequels and an upcoming prequel titled Prometheus, directed by Scott. Nathan describes his writing process, Scott's collaboration, his love for the film series, and much more.
How did you obtain the never-before-seen photos?
This was done in partnership with 20th Century Fox, who agreed to open their extensive archive of pictures. There is some amazing material in there, not just of Alien but the whole franchise. I think it's safe to say with the Prometheus in the works, there was an appetite to return to Sir Ridley's seminal masterwork.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of concentratingon the film and not the entire Alien works?
Well, the advantages are firstly that I love Alien the most! And it was such a rich opportunity to take a microscope to the original film, which was after all the progenitor of the entire franchise. And the story is so fascinating, this journey from what was ostensibly an imaginative B-movie into a classic — what were the factors that brought about that transformation? Giger? Giler and Hill? The ineffable cast? Ridley Scott? It is a film of both many authors and one auteur. I love Aliens, I'll never forget seeing it in the cinema, both the more I analysed Alien the more astonishing it became. It's a cliché, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts.
The disadvantages? Well, there are things I would love to write about in depth with the sequels. Especially the third film, a making of a story mired in chaos, but in many way the true spiritual sequel to the first. To be honest, even with just writing Alien, I feel like there was more I could say.
Were you trying for a specific page range or just exhausting every possible content avenue?