Welcome back to How’d They Do That? In this series, we check out behind the scenes stills and video from the making of some of cinema’s greatest! Event Cinemas “In The House” cult film program continues this Friday with the rollicking good time that is James Cameron’s Aliens. So grab your motion trackers everybody, as we take a look behind the scenes of this wonder of science fiction.

Hot off its 1979 release, Brandywine Productions were all gung ho about making a sequel to the phenomenon that was Alien. Studio politics and internal debates consistently delayed the film, but eventually the film was moved forward and a writer was sort. Coming across James Cameron’s draft for The Terminator, producer David Giler gave Cameron the opportunity to provide a treatment for the sequel.

Thank the stars for the disappointment that is Conan the Destroyer. Schwarzenegger’s schedule on that film forced production of The Terminator to be pushed back 9 months, allowing Cameron additional time for his Alien II script. Hot off the success of Terminator, Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd were given the green light to write and direct the sequel. Upon release, Aliens would reach universal acclaim including a number of academy award nominations – a rarity for science fiction.

Check out the below behind the scenes photos of the cast between takes

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Did you know that actor Michael Biehn wasn’t the first actor cast as HicksJames Remar (Dexter’s dad for those fans of the serial killer killer) was originally hired for the role and actually shot a few days on set, until, as the official story goes – ‘creative differences’ with director James Cameron had him replaced. Remar explained his reason for departure on an episode of the now defunct SiDEBAR podcast:

“I had a terrible drug problem, but I got through it … I had a great career and personal life, and messed it up with a terrible drug habit.I was initially cast as Corporal Hicks, and I was fired after a couple weeks of filming because I got busted for possession of drugs, and Michael Biehn replaced me.”

Check out the below photos of Remar in full Hicks attire.

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Finally, Aliens wouldn’t be what it is without the (once again) amazing work of Stan Winston Studios. Those who enjoy this column would have noticed my love affair for this company – and their work on Aliens is a big reason why. The main addition to the film is the almighty Queen. Majestic and terrifying, the queen was an amazing feat of design, engineering and puppetry – at the time the largest built by Stan’s team. Check out the below photos of the queen being built.

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Finally, a few videos from the team at Stan Winston Studio’s looking back at the creation of various effects from Aliens.




Hope you’ve enjoyed this slideshow of behind the scenes photos from the making of Aliens. 30 years on, the film still packs a punch. A roller coaster of thrills and terror from beginning to end – which don’t forget –  you can enjoy where it belongs, on the big screen, this Friday night as part of Event Cinema’s In the House! Get your tickets below!

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