Neill Blomkamp Planned On Using Practical Creature Effects In Unmade Alien 5

Neill Blomkamp planned on using practical effects for Alien 5, his project that was cancelled in favor of Ridley Scott's Alien franchise prequels.

Neill Blomkamp planned to use practical, old-fashioned creature effects for his unmade sequel Alien 5. The concept behind Alien 5 was something Blomkamp developed on his own as a fan of the series, but working with Sigourney Weaver on Chappie gave him the push to develop it into a proper pitch. He released artwork from the project online, and the response proved so positive Fox gave him the greenlight to write a script. The planned storyline for Alien 5 was never revealed, though its known the movie would have brought back Ripley, Hicks and Newt, and ignored the events of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.

Alien 5 appeared to be progressing well until Blomkamp later revealed the project was canned. The movie was developed alongside Alien: Covenant and reportedly Ridley Scott, who was appointed producer on the project, wanted it nixed so it wouldn’t interfere with his Alien prequel plans. Blomkamp later revealed he’d "moved on" from the project and was unlikely to revisit it. That said, James Cameron is said to be a big fan of the concept, and recently sparked hopes of a revival by suggesting he’s trying to convince Blomkamp to return to it.

Related: James Cameron Hints At Potential Return To The Alien Franchise

Blomkamp has been keeping busy since Alien 5 was cancelled, releasing a number of short films through his production company and developing RoboCop Returns. In a new interview with HN Entertainment, special makeup effects designer Alec Gillis talked about his time working on Alien 5 and how the director wanted to take a retro approach to the effects.

That’s why I was looking forward to Neill Blomkamp’s Alien 5 because that would have given us the opportunity to do more in the spirit of Giger’s alien. We were looking at the 1979 alien all the way but Neill did want changes to make on it. As great as Neill’s CGI looks, I don’t know if you’ve seen the latest thing he did, Anthem? His CGI just looks so there and present, Chris Harvey his VFX supervisor they just have a great team. And I said to Neill like ‘Why aren’t you doing this all digitally?’ cause if it’s biomechanical and harder-edged it lends itself to digital and I’m just surprised that [isn’t] digital. He said ‘I want a real man in a suit on set because it forces you into a certain way of shooting that would be more like what Ridley Scott did in the first film. If it’s all digital I won’t have those parameters [to] work within and it’s gonna end up looking like something different and I don’t want that, I want it to look like Ridley Scott did it.'

Ironically, Scott hated the lack of mobility of working with a performer in a suit on Alien, and a lot of his planned concepts like the creature leaping off walls and twisting itself into bizarre shapes had to be scrapped. He also used fast cuts to disguise it was just a man in a suit. These limitations actually helped make the movie more terrifying, and despite the fact CGI would have made his job much easier, Blomkamp wanted to go back to this retro approach. Scott actually used performers in creature suits during the filming of Covenant but replaced them with CGI in the final product. A sculpt of Gillis' work on Alien 5 was revealed last year, showing off a traditional design but with some interesting tweaks.

While time will tell if Blomkamp’s Alien 5 ever actually happens, the filmmaker is currently developing RoboCop Returns. In the same way he planned to emulate Scott, he wants the new RoboCop to feel like Paul Verhoeven had directed it right after making the original film. Returns is actually based on an unused draft for RoboCop 2 by original screenwriter Ed Neumeier dubbed Corporate Wars. Blomkamp also wanted original star Peter Weller to reprise the character, though the actor reportedly isn’t interested in donning the suit again.

More: Alien Movies & TV Shows: The Franchise’s Future Explained

Source: HN Entertainment

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