Sigourney Weaver is a giant of science-fiction movies. Few actors have had a career in the genre as prolific as hers, and almost nobody's played such diverse roles. So we were excited to geek out with her about science fiction.
While Weaver was doing press for Paul this past weekend, we got the chance to sit down with her and a small group of other reporters. And we took the opportunity to ask her about her incredible career in science fiction films.
One of the things that amazes us about your career in science fiction movies is that you've never played the same part twice. You've always managed to play very different characters. How do you think you've managed that?
I would think it was a conscious choice, because you don't like to repeat yourself. Even with the Alien quadrilogy, or whatever it is, I tried to have enough chemically changing in Ripley so that she was all over the place. But that's the joy of being an actor is you don't have to repeat yourself. And I think there's so many... especially in comedy, there's so much going on. And in science fiction and fantasy. I just think the movie industry's in very good shape. In action movies, I think Avatar has thrown things a bit for a loop, just because the 3-D was so spectacular, and the industry needs to catch up to the level of that 3-D.
You've gone from being an action hero to a scientist, who's the only one who understands the science of what's going on.
I've been so lucky, I pinch myself every day.
How do you compare the comedy in Paul with Galaxy Quest?
Like Galaxy Quest, both of these movies have so much heart. Because it walks a fine line. You could make fun of these actors, because they're all in so much agony. But at the same time, it was done from a point of view of, "We love these people." You love the characters in Paul — maybe not my character — but you love the characters in Paul, and you love Paul. It's what we grew up with. The idea of an extra-terrestrial who doesn't have a brain this bit [makes huge brain gesture] and tries to kill you, and all these things we grew up with... This is where ET left off, Paul picks up. I think in a exciting, moving, funny way he's one of us.
Later on, we were all talking about Comic Con — not surprisingly, given the fact that Paul has a huge sequence that takes place at SDCC. Everyone agreed that Paul doesn't satirize Comic Con or portray it as a nest of weirdos. And in fact, Weaver says she thinks SDCC has gone too mainstream:
I don't see people dressed up [as much]. I think in the old days everyone really used to dress up lots, and now everyone looks like they could pass [for normal]... The big business part [is taking over.] It's kind of Cannes for nerds. and I think that's too bad in a way. I mean, you would have to be careful that it doesn't switch over to a purely commercial thing. And I don't think there's any danger of that because the passion of the fans is so ardent and they're so smart and so out there, that they actually dwarf the business aspect, which gets bigger every year.