Starlog: Interview with Dan O’Bannon (1979)

“Fox did see a lot of similarity between Alien and Star Wars, and between Alien and The Omen. They picked it up in the first place because they figured they could tap two hot markets. A lot of people thought John Williams should write the score. The director, Ridley Scott, and I wanted a Japanese composer named Tomita. I understand that Jerry Goldsmith is doing the music now.
“Probably the reason Fox didn’t get Tomita is their reluctance to deal with folks who are not ‘movie people.’ I had the same difficulty convincing Fox to get Giger to design the alien.
“It was early in preproduction, and Fox was having difficulty finding a director, after refusing to consider me. I had worked with Giger on the Alejandro Jodorowsky production of Duneand wanted him for Alien but couldn’t convince Fox. Finally, when they got Ridley to direct, I showed him some of Giger’s work, and Ridley convinced Fox to approach him.
“I have to really credit Ridley with saving the film at that early stage. Things had gone on so long without direction, that every-thing had started to stagnate. He really came in and pulled everything together— literally pulled it out of the ashcan. He took all the preproduction work we had done and retextured it to suit his own visual style. As you can see in his feature, The Duelists, visual style is very important in his work.
“When Giger did come in, he was a dream to work with. He’s not at all the crazy person you might expect from seeing his work. After we decided on the look we wanted for the alien, he did a full painting. He works on huge canvasses and gets all that fine detail working entirely in airbrush. After painting the alien, he then sculpted it, and his sculpture was used to cast the molds for the film’s creature.”