By Derrik J. Lang
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Sigourney Weaver and the cast of "Alien" are virtually returning to the starship Nostromo.
The actress who portrayed unflappable officer Ellen Ripley in the "Alien" film franchise is reprising her role in "Alien: Isolation," an upcoming video game set after the events of the original 1979 film. Weaver, who recorded new dialogue for the game, says she picked up right where she left off as tough-as-nails Ripley in filmmaker Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror masterpiece.
"It was eerie how quickly it happened," Weaver told The Associated Press during a recent interview. "Honestly. I had to start with this sort of sign-off, 'This is Lieutenant Ripley of the starship Nostromo.' You know, that paragraph. I felt like no time had passed. It was really strange, actually. If anything, it was more affecting to me to read it again 35 years later."
The bonus "Crew Expendable" and "Last Survivor" levels, which will be available to those who pre-order the game, will allow players to portray Nostromo crew members Ripley, Dallas (Tom Skerritt) or Parker (Yaphet Kotto) as they explore the doomed ship and coordinate their efforts with Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) and Ash (Ian Holm) to lure the menacing alien into the airlock.
"We always hoped that somewhere down the line while working on this game that this reunion would happen," said Alistar Hope, the game's creative lead. "From working with Sigourney on the recordings, I really got a sense of how important this character is to her. The way that she worked on the lines and improvised unquestionably made them significantly better."
The central story of "Isolation" focuses on Ripley's daughter Amanda, who was briefly mentioned in a scene from the 1986 sequel "Aliens." In the game, created by British developer Creative Assembly, Amanda travels to a remote space station to find the Nostromo's flight recorder and encounters a creature similar to the one that terrorized her mother.
"I feel like they followed through," Weaver said of the game's plot. "Emotionally, what would Amanda want? She'd want to find her mother. She's drawn to the same line of work. There are a lot of things that were arresting to me. I have no idea what the game is like. I hope it's creepy and suspenseful and engaging in a way that other games are not - an experience."
"Isolation" follows a long line of games based on the "Alien franchise, but it's the only title that Weaver has signed on to participate in and marks the first time she's reprised the part since 1997's "Alien Resurrection," the fourth film in the series that ended with a clone of Ripley arriving on Earth. (The original Ripley sacrificed herself at the conclusion of 1992's "Aliens 3.")
"I thought it was an interesting idea," said Weaver. "The ones I turned down - I remember one of them, anyway - was shoot the alien, shoot the marine, shoot anything that didn't move. That didn't make any sense for my character. Ripley was more interested in protecting life than annihilating it. It just didn't make any sense for me to be part of that."
Before the Oct. 7 release of "Isolation" and an anniversary edition Blu-ray of "Alien," which will include the 1979 graphic novelization of the film, Weaver is expected to reunite with "Aliens" filmmaker James Cameron to begin work on his three "Avatar" sequels. Weaver's character met her demise on the mythical planet of Pandora in the 2009 sci-fi blockbuster.
"It's a lot of cool work for me to do, so I'm excited," said Weaver, who wouldn't elaborate on her role. "I think it's going to be intense. He's going to share with the world other worlds within Pandora. I know he has a very powerful vision for the environmental message of these three films that he hopes will make a difference around the world."