A great many things have happened in the two years since our last update. We needn’t remind you of them all, but the most pertinent has been the passing of several Alien alumni from both in front and behind the camera. Charles Lippincott, an advertising and publicity consultant for Star Wars and Alien, died in Spring 2020. The illustrious Ian Holm left us later that summer, producer/writer David Giler followed in December, and just yesterday Yaphet Kotto, the Nostromo’s loudest, brashest and perhaps bravest crew member, also departed.
Just last year I had the pleasure of talking to Yaphet on the phone for several hours. Although he had bitten his tongue, he was in great spirits and divulged a good deal about his background, his method, his acting heroes and, of course, how he crafted the character of Parker (inspired, he told me, by the works of Eugene O’Neill). There were also interesting tales about his time on the Alien set in 1978 – shooting pool, battling producers and putting newcomer Sigourney Weaver on the ropes.
Lippincott, Giler, Holm and Kotto join other departed cast members Bolaji Badejo, John Hurt and Harry Dean Stanton. I would like to express my condolences to their family and friends, and to thank the film’s cast and crew for their contributions not only to cinema but also in enriching my own life. Alien may have been the first time I saw many of these actors perform, but it certainly was not the last and it’s been a pleasure following their work in the decades since that landmark movie.
As for Strange Shapes, although the blog is quiet (probably too quiet for my liking) work continues behind the scenes. Although personal (and global) circumstances have gotten in the way lately, I’m a good 365 pages (or 170,000 words) deep into writing Strange Shapes: The Making of Alien, and I hope to have it finished… soon. When completed, that book will in all likelihood make the blog redundant. Much of the research I have done, and the interviews I have conducted, give new insight into old topics that I previously thought settled. The wonderful thing about being an Alien fan is that there’s always something new to discover. I’ve sat on a great deal these last few years. Hopefully, I can bring some of what I found to you soon.
More importantly, I hope regular and irregular readers of this site have found the articles to be useful, even entertaining. With rumbles of an Alien TV series making the rounds, the franchise looks to be going strong some 42 years after its inception. We certainly hope to still be here, too.
Until our next update – take care!