Prompting fist pumps from Alien fans everywhere, Neill Blomkamp—who recently decided that he should put all that geeky concept art to good use—says in a new interview with Sky News that his upcoming Alien sequel will take place after James Cameron’s Aliens, ignoring Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.
Now, Blomkamp and star Sigourney Weaver say they want to give Ripley the “proper finish” she was not afforded hurtling herself into a giant furnace in Alien 3 before making out with her alien cousin in Resurrection. The writer-director said, “I want this to feel like it’s literally the genetic sibling of Aliens. So it’s Alien, Aliens, and then this movie.”
When discussing the tone of the new film, Blomkamp said, “It’s a Freudian nightmare. That element to me is what is so appealing. To try to put the audience on the edge of their seat, in a traditional ‘monster stalking you in a dark corridor’ way.” That actually sounds more like a genetic sibling of the original Alien, which was much more about playing hide and seek with an enormous beast that somehow looks like every single pipe and bulkhead on the ship. But whatever, if the man says we don’t have to serve time on that prison planet, then sign us up.
This past month, #the8th was graced with the presence of Seanne Winslow Wehrenfennig, executive producer of EVERYTHING IS AWESOMEThe LEGO Movie and producer of several other projects. The meeting began as vibrantly as expected, with food, product vendors, networking, reconnecting, and selfies upon selfies (plus some good old fashioned photography). There hadn’t been a meeting of the #WeOwnthe8th arts collective since early December, so there was a full sixty days to catch up on, and in Hollywood, that could be a career lifespan. Lots of familiar faces were there, whether recognized from previous meetings, the computer screen, or the big screen. MC Jin with a joyous smile, producer Peter Le looking impossibly more gorgeous in person, and Dear White People's Naomi Ko vibing out to the Matchbox 20 song playing from the speakers.
Once settled into the main meeting room at the glorious, rustic SEED Center near the Fashion District in downtown LA, the four leaders of #the8th took the stage, Kevyn Fong first sporting a fantastic new ‘do, Dante Basco and AJ Rafael following, and finally Austin Jose with the night’s guest of honor.
Seanne began telling her story to Austin and the room. It’s quite the atypical Hollywood story (if Hollywood has any stories that can be considered “typical”), born in Germany, raised in a castle…no pet gryphon, sadly.
"From a very young age I believed that stories are the anchor we cast into the future.” Seanne said of her creative development as a child . She added later, “Everyone in the village thought I was nuts.”
She was a delicious guest, at turns self-deprecating (“We’re, like, not the cool girls in Hollywood, we’re the weird girls.”), inspirational (“Every single person, no matter how ordinary you are, can do extraordinary things.”), and - throughout it all - REAL. “The studio system is broken,” she said at one point. ”Hollywood lost the financial capability to take risks.”
There was great behind the scenes trivia as well. (Did you know that “Everything Is Awesome” was originally written for The LEGO Movie as part of the studio pitch? From such early, humble beginnings to that star-studded Oscar performance!) Regarding the film’s snub in the Best Feature Film and Best Animated Film categories, she replies genuinely, “We didn’t make this film for them. We made it for joy.”
At one point Seanne hollered, “Go make stuff! Build relationships!” This was a mantra she repeated in various forms throughout the night, with increasing specificity as the talk continued. ”Don’t build relationships because of where it will take you, build relationships with people you trust.”
She stressed, “Find people who you love and share your vision and keep working with them. Everyone’s come with their own darkness and their own struggle, but we’re here and we get to tell stories.”
She shared her early experiences as an assistant and her journey of discovery regarding who she wanted to be in this industry.
"I never wanna tell a story where I’m not flying the kite of hope," she told Austin at one point. Discussing career crossroads, she said her primary questions were, "Can I be me AND be a producer in this town? Can I be me and genuine…?" Another question she asked herself was "Do I pursue using my artistic voice or do I go after power?" In all of the cases, her choices led her to where she is now, with power AND an artistic voice. "I could tell a story at a huge personal price and right now I’m not willing to do that," she said of one of those big decisions.
"Can we create great things and also honor the fact that we are human?" she asked rhetorically, encouraging honesty not just in career choices, but in the resultant creative output. "I don’t believe we as artists can succeed when we’re editing ourselves as humans.”
She challenged all of those present to continue pushing for greater, saying “Develop your voice and perfect your skills. Part of the discipline of being an artist is to continue to hone your skills.” And she had some words specific to #the8th crew as well, saying of the current Hollywood players, ”They’ve lost the keys to the car and you guys are hot wiring it!”
Regarding the smaller projects and opportunities that are in abundance amongst the crowd gathered at The SEED Center, Seanne said, “Don’t just look at [independent projects and opportunities] as a stepping stone. Look at it as a platform to tell amazing stories.” Staying on the indie front, she reminded, “You don’t need a studio to have a microphone."
She encouraged the creators to light, to find, to be “vision torches,” something powerful to a crowd composed mainly of Asian American performers who are typically marginalized in the industry. She suggested the tool of “moral imagination,” said by her to be “the ability to imagine a vision of the future that is different from the present.”
As the collective continues making the moves necessary to change what is currently considered the industry, Seanne’s final words resound in the creative spaces of all present that night. “MAKE BETTER SHIT!”
WASHINGTON (Cannabist) — Possession of marijuana will become legal in the nation’s capital, Mayor Muriel Bowser reiterated Wednesday, defying a threat from Congress that she and other city leaders could face prison time for implementing a voter-approved initiative.
Bowser, a Democrat, said the city’s plans haven’t changed despite a letter from two leading House Republicans warning of repercussions if the city moves forward with legalization, which was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.