Ever since their staging of Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien went viral, New Jersey’s North Bergen High School has been inundated with overwhelmingly positive reviews. And now, the school’s drama club has received the ultimate endorsements from none other than the film’s director and Ellen Ripley herself.
In an open letter published on Deadline, Scott said that he felt “very complimented” for inspiring the school’s remarkable creativity. “My hat comes off to all of you for your creativity, imagination and determination to produce such an ambitious show.” The director also offered to fund an encore performance, and made a pitch for the school’s next production: “How about your next team production being Gladiator?”
Sigourney Weaver also took to Twitter to congratulate the kids on their recreation of the first installment in her signature franchise, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in May. “Hey guys,” the actress said. “I saw a bit of your production of Alien. I just want to say it looked incredible. You put so much heart and soul into that. And the Alien, I must say, looked very real to me!”
— Alien (@AlienAnthology) March 28, 2019
Weaver went on to add that she was passing along the compliments of two other people who also have a long history with the Xenomorphs: Walter Hill, who was heavily involved in the original Alien, as well as Aliens director James Cameron. (Weaver and Cameron reunited for more extraterrestrial adventures in 2009’s Avatar, and she’ll be exploring Pandora’s oceans in the sequels as well.) “Just one more thing: you know the Alien might still be around, so when you’re opening your locker … just do it very slowly.”
Fame has come fast for the NBHS Drama Club. When the first images of Alien: The Play hit social media on the night of its second and final performance, it stoked a level of excitement that neither of the official Alien prequels — Prometheus and Alien: Covenant — ever achieved.
I love that north bergen high school did alien last night as their school play, so I’m gonna keep tweeting about how great it is..everything was made from recycled materials .. so nuts amazing I’m so proud of my hometown pic.twitter.com/EEMEbankDz
— Andrew Fernandez (@bhsdrew) March 23, 2019
— Paul Owens (@oh_pollo) March 23, 2019
A parent filmed the facehugger scene. pic.twitter.com/oamxaxikM2
— Paul Owens (@oh_pollo) March 23, 2019
The students and their director, Perfecto Cuervo, as well as North Bergen art teacher Steven Defendini— who designed the sets and costumes for a mere $3,500 — became overnight stars, interviewed by The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly among other outlets. Not that fame was their primary pursuit. “Our main goal was really just to put on a great play for the kids, just get them out, stage front,” Cuervo told the Times.
Cuervo has also responded to Weaver’s post, describing himself and his students as feeling “deeply honored and completely blown away” at being saluted by the one and only Ellen Ripley.
The North Bergen Drama Club is deeply honored and completely blown away to have @RealSigourney acknowledge our hard work and effort in producing “Alien: The Play”. The kids can’t stop screaming! Thanks to Mr. Cameron and Mr. Hill as well! https://t.co/n5qtturimQ
— Perfecto Cuervo (@CuervoPerfecto) March 28, 2019
With the Walt Disney Company’s recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the future of the Alien franchise falls to the Mouse House, which can now count a Xenomorph Queen among its gallery of Disney princes and princesses.
— Ivan Barron Van Norman (@Hydra_Lord) March 20, 2019
Weaver herself doesn’t expect to reprise the role of Ripley anytime soon; speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in 2017, she confirmed that plans to make a new Alien film with District 9 director Neill Blomkamp fell apart in part because of the prequel series. “Neill wrote a wonderful script that was a sequel to Jim Cameron’s Aliens, and I think Ridley Scott wasn’t very enthusiastic about us starting that part of the franchise up because he had these prequels he wanted to do,” Weaver explained. Hey, if another movie is off the table, maybe Weaver can revisit Ripley onstage in the North Bergen High School drama club’s staging of Alien 3.
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