LOS ANGELES — Sigourney Weaver promises that the “Alien” franchise is in good hands with “District 9” director Neill Blomkamp, and she’s looking forward to returning to her signature role of Ellen Ripley in a new installment in the science-fiction series.
“I can’t think of a better director,” Weaver told Variety at the New York City premiere of Blomkamp’s latest film, “Chappie.” “He’s a real fan. I think he’ll be true to the world and take it in unexpected directions. It’s got a lot of sinew in it. It will certainly stand up to the others and probably break a lot of new ground as well.”
Weaver appears as a ruthless weapons manufacturer in “Chappie,” a film about a police droid who is able to think and feel. She said Blomkamp expressed his admiration for the first two films in her iconic sci-fi series, Ridley Scott’s “Alien” and James Cameron’s “Aliens,” while they were shooting.
“Suddenly it seemed so obvious that this would happen,” said Weaver. “We’ve been in touch the last year, and he’s shared wonderful artwork.”
Blomkamp is one of the leading science-fiction directors working today, whose brutal visions of the future also include the film “Elysium,” so he would seem an obvious choice for the gig. Nevertheless, he said that the world of “Alien” is a departure for him.
“I would love to make something in that world because the films use terror and dread and filmmaking techniques that are different than what I’ve dabbled in before,” he said.
In the past, Blomkamp has used the science-fiction genre to explore social issues, such as health care and income inequality, that vex modern society. “Chappie” and its examination of artificial intelligence is no different, star Hugh Jackman argues.
“In this movie he’s asking, ‘what is the soul?’” Jackman said. “‘What is the spirit? What is consciousness? Is it something definable by science or is part of something more mystical and magical?’”
One of Blomkamp’s defining traits as a director is how he grounds his fantastical stories in realism, says Weaver.
“It is set in the future, but it’s almost like an alternate present,” the actress said. “It’s not happening in a far away world or an unrecognizable planet. I love how he uses this genre not for fantasy, but for human stories, even with robots.”
Some people are alarmed by the ubiquity of computers and digital devices in modern society, but Jackman is no luddite.
“Bring it on,” he said. “For me I’m looking forward to driverless cars.”