US actress Sigourney Weaver will receive the Donostia Prize at the 64th San Sebastián International Film Festival, which opens on September 19. Weaver will attend the festival for the premiere of her new movie A Monster Calls, directed by Spain’s Juan Antonio Bayona.
The career achievement award will be presented to the actress at a gala on September 21 in the Kursaal auditorium. The cast of the film, which is not competing at the festival, includes Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson.
A Monster Calls is based on the Patrick Ness novel of the same name, which won the United Kingdom’s Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for distinguished children’s books. Ness, who also wrote the movie’s script, tells the story of Conor, a 12-year-old boy trying to confront the illness of his mother with the help of monster that visits him at night. A Monster Calls is Bayona’s third feature film, and the final installment in his trilogy of poignant stories centering on the strength of the mother-child bond.
The continuation of the Alien franchise is on the cusp of hitting overdrive as not one, but two films are prepped for release: Ridley Scott’s Prometheus follow-up Alien: Covenant and a fifth Alien film from District 9 director Neil Blomkamp.
Despite the latter being put on hold to account for Scott’s film – he does get first say as the series creator – one person who has been quite vocal about the film is Sigourney Weaver who has played Ellen Ripley in all four Alien films to date.
She has now suggested that Alien 5 will serve as the end of the beloved character’s story.
“It’s a great story and it’s satisfying to me to give this woman an ending,” Entertainment Weekly reports her as saying.
Regarding the current state of the project, Weaver commented: “Well, we have a great script. Fox asked us to delay so Ridley Scott could shoot his [second] Prometheus movie. That was too bad because we would have already done it by now.
“I hope it won’t be a few [years]. I hope it’ll be a couple. But we’ll see.”
In the meantime, Weaver will be put to work shooting up to four Avatar films under the guide of her Aliens director James Cameron while Blomkamp will direct sci-fi novel adaptation The Gone World.
Alien: Covenant stars Katharine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Demián Bichir, Danny McBride and Prometheus’ original star, Noomi Rapace. It will be released August 2017.
“In my career, I’m always getting chased by something, whether it’s a chicken or a monster,” jokes Sigourney Weaver in reference to the actor dressed in a yellow chicken suit who is quietly lurking on the periphery of her Harper’s Bazaar shoot with the fine-art photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia. The setup is a playful take on the lensman’s images, featuring a real bird confronting the actress in a New York penthouse, that ran in the magazine’s October 1996 issue. “Maybe I was the chicken’s pet,” she says with a laugh when asked who ruled the roost on set 20 years ago. As it turns out, Weaver’s avian adventures are not the only thing taking us down memory lane. She is also celebrating the highly anticipated release of this summer’s estimated $154 million reboot of the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters, the film that helped cement her place in Hollywood. This time, though, instead of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the proton-pack-wielding cast, there is a powerhouse quartet of female comedians, namely Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon.
This new, ladies-centric take did not pass without a fair amount of controversy. Self-proclaimed “Ghostheads” railed against having women in the lead roles, prompting the trailer to became one of the most “disliked” videos in YouTube’s history, and director Paul Feig to address the backlash in a series of tweets that called out commenters for “misogyny” and for being “haters.” Weaver, who makes a cameo, could not be more confident about the current ensemble. “To be able to hand Ghostbusters over to these incredibly talented women felt perfect, and it was time,” she says. “There is such wonderful chemistry between the four of them. That does remind me of the boys because they were old friends and they had worked together a lot too. That kind of comedic pairing is just gold. You just turn the camera on and let them go at it.“
“It was really the chance to be possessed by a dog,” says Weaver of her role in the original Ghostbusters. “I thought that would be fun.“
It was Aykroyd’s studied belief in the supernatural that prompted the original script, which he and Ramis polished in the basement of Aykroyd’s home on Martha’s Vineyard one summer, as their families took to the beach. To say the movie was an insta-hit is an understatement. It grossed $238 million domestically, which would be impressive by 2016 standards, never mind 1984, and was nominated for two Oscars. While the men famously battled the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a slobbish green ghost named Slimer, Weaver turned into a sexy demon in an off-the-shoulder shimmering copper dress. She opted for the role for a very specific reason: “It was really the chance to be possessed by a dog. I thought that would be fun,” says the Yale School of Drama graduate. “I love the idea that a cellist would turn into this crazy ghoul.“
The spook factor has been present throughout Weaver’s epic career. In addition to the Ghostbusters films, there was the bloodcurdling Alien franchise, the wondrous Avatar series (which is now in preproduction for four more films), and her upcoming vehicle, the fantasy film A Monster Calls, costarring Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson. Yet even with all her experience, the actress hasn’t developed a belief in the paranormal. “I haven’t,” she says, “but I do have a friend who tries to get in touch with the other world, and she does things like go on ghost tours of Grand Central station and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So there’s a lot of ghost presence, perhaps, in New York.”
That presence is certainly being felt this summer as McCarthy and the three Saturday Night Live all-stars suit up. “I think the fans are going to be pleased by how we pop up,” Weaver says of her role in the film. “It’s just a very sweet movie but also very funny and kind of crazy. I think that’s a big part of what films can do—take us to another world.”