Alien concept designer Chris Foss talks, ahem, candidly, about his time on Alien...
Chris Foss on the Nostromo - Den of Geek
Ha! Candid all right!
He's not quite correct about the Nostromo though. I mean that's a much-reported story, but the final ship's basic structure - pre all the revamps - really is a pretty close build of one of the final Ron Cobb sketches; mind you this only became clear following publication of From Sketch To Screen.
A good read tho!
I disagree with him on the Nos too - there's far more of him in it than he seems to think (the late Cobb designs take tons from Foss' early concepts and personal style; late Cobb Nos is unlike early Cobb Nos but very like early Foss Nos).
I do love that he talks like us, though - 'can't be arsed', 'poor sod', 'and all that crap' etc. Wonderful!
And what about that malibu advert with the Dune/Alien ship model? Would LOVE to see that. So far no joy on youtube, though....
He says the script was called "They Bite"... hmmm. I have one of the really early drafts called "Space Beast". Wonder when They Bite was the title.
It was "Star Beast" too IIRC, and probably a few other things.
Sounds like a lot of sour grapes going on there. Can't blame Scott for not wanting the Nostromo to look like a Yes album cover
'Yeah Chris, yeah chris that's cool'
Sour grapes? Not sure I'd go that far; I think it sounds like a moderately unworldly person who hadn't been much exposed to the film world, before or since, is all. He expected fair play, i.e for the people who kicked off the whole process to get to continue to have input after "our little 'Alien' became their huge 'A L I E N'".
That isn't how it works of course, but his attitude would have been very common at the time, and still might be for all I know. Folks like us who actively stick our noses into the film-making process as much as we possibly can still aren't in the majority, despite the rise of DVD extra features.
Seems that what Scott wanted (or was happy with) was a Nostromo that was about 70% cobbled together from three early Foss designs - because that's what he ended up filming (see the other 1000 illustrated posts on this point I've made here!!).
It's surprising to me that Foss isn't more proprietorial about the final design. But then, he might well have just lost track of the fine points of his own work over the decades. Indeed, this seems to be the case. The editor of a new book on his career kept unearthing all these '70s paperback covers and when he checked back with Foss that they were indeed his work, Foss kept replying he had no idea! As if he couldn't even recognise his own style. All very strange...