In the days of Blade Runner and Alien, there were where I would call matte paintings. We did pretty well with those paintings with Blade Runner, but when you look at them today you can see the seams. In those days, it was good enough, and digital effects didn’t exist. To do Alien, I literally had to have a guy in a black rubber suit. That’s why the film is like Jaws, where you don’t see much of the shark, and you don’t really want to look that closely. In Alien, the scariest of all the films in that series, you don’t see much of the monster, mostly because I was so limited in what I could do. The head. The helmet he had to wear, we went through industrial design and got it down to five pounds, but you wear five pounds and turn your head, and you’re going to crick your neck. Everything was a problem. How do I get the suit to be so tight so that it doesn’t look like a guy in a rubber suit? Today, I can digitally represent that, perfectly. There’s a downside to that as well. If everything can be done perfectly, it gives you massive capability as a filmmaker. You’ve got to watch that you don’t make something so dramatic it becomes not feasible or dramatically dodgy. If I’m going to have an explosion, it can’t be too big that the guy wouldn’t survive.
If I can afford it, I like to have as much set as I possibly can because my actors need it. Any actor would rather have solid proscenium around them than a green screen, where you tell them the monsters are coming and they’re about to jump off this awful abyss and there’s no abyss there at all. I’d rather have them on the abyss.