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Ridley Scott Reflects on James Cameron Taking Over Alien Franchise: ‘I Was Pissed’

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Ridley Scott was initially “pissed” when he learned that James Cameron was making a sequel to 1979’s Alien.

Speaking with Deadline, Scott recalled speaking to Cameron over the phone decades ago shortly after Cameron had been tapped to direct a sequel to Alien, 1986’s Aliens.

“As I learned somebody else was doing this, I actually had been trying to develop something,” Scott said. “When Jim called me up and said, listen … he was very nice but he said, this is tough, your beast is so unique. It’s hard to make him as frightening again, now familiar ground. So he said, I’m going in a more action, army kind of way. I said, okay. And that’s the first time I actually thought, welcome to Hollywood.”

Ridley Scott was still upset over Blade Runner when James Cameron called

When asked how he felt after he hung up the phone with Cameron, Scott said, “I was pissed. I wouldn’t tell that to Jim, but I think I was hurt. I knew I’d done something very special, a one-off really. I was hurt, deeply hurt, actually because at that moment, I think I was damaged goods because I was trying to recover from Blade Runner. Which I thought I really got something pretty special, and then the previews were a disaster. And [my cut of] the film lay on a shelf for almost, I think 10 to 12 years after that until it was discovered by accident at a Santa Monica Film Festival.”

To get his confidence back, Scott said he “did a lot of pushups, play[ed] tennis, trash[ed] the sh*t out of a tennis ball and look[ed] at the next movie,” which happened to be 1985’s Legend starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry.

As for Scott and Cameron, Scott said there’s no ill will between the two of them. “Jim and I talk often,” he said. “We’re not exactly friends, but we do talk and he’s a great guy.”