Sigourney Weaver has collaborated with James Cameron in several films including the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water. However, there was a time when the Ghostbusters actor was hesitant about returning as Ellen Ripley in Aliens. Interestingly, Cameron has revealed that he actually tricked Weaver into reprising her role in the Alien sequel.
James Cameron confirmed with GQ that he realized Sigourney Weaver wasn't eager to play a part in Aliens. To convince her that Ripley had to come back for the sequel, the filmmaker pretended to rewrite the script and cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new lead.
"I called up Lou Pitt, Arnold’s agent, and I said, 'Lou, we’re kind of over this. So, we’ve decided that we really like the story and all the Marine Corps characters and the world we’ve created and everything. And really, we’ve thought about it, and we really just don’t need Sigourney,'" Cameron said.
"I’ve created all these characters, and my pride of authorship tells me I should go ahead with this, and we’ll just cut her out of it, and we’ll just cut her character out of it. We won’t recast it; I’ll just rewrite it. So, I’m going to start on that tonight," he continued.
So did James Cameron really have new plans for Aliens? "Now, did I have any intention of doing that whatsoever? No, not at all," he stated. Still, the bluff worked in his favor.
"I happen to know that Lou is at the same agency as Sigourney’s agent, who was in New York. And I knew that the second he hung up with me, he called him and said, 'Sign Sigourney now.' And guess what? The deal was done in 12 hours after that," Cameron continued.
"So, I never wrote a word of that hypothetical story that I said I was going to do, that I had no intention of writing anyway. Anyway, it worked, and Sigourney got her million bucks, and everyone was happy," he said.
We're glad it all worked out in the end and it proved to be the first of many projects for Cameron and Weaver.
Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters on December 16, 2022.