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On the face of it, Alien 3 should have been a pretty great movie. The first two films from the franchise were spectacular; it had a director at its helm that would go on to be one of the best of the modern era, it was written by the legendary Walter Hill, and it was packed to the brim with stellar acting talent. But in the end it was just downright turgid. And Charles Dance thinks he has figured out why.
Charles Dance, who most recently made a name for himself playing the despicable Tywin Lannister in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, starred as Dr Jonathan Clemens in the third installment to the spooky, sci-fi Alien franchise. The film was blighted by production problems though, and even though it went on to achieve relative success at the box office it has since been disowned by its director, a certain David Fincher. Charles Dance has now revealed to The Daily Beast that he believes the studios constant interference and pressurizing of David Fincher ultimately resulted in the film being poor. Said the veteran actor,
"Fincher had the studio on his back the whole time phoning him at all hours of the day and night – not taking into account the time change."
Still despite these issues, and the fact that Alien 3 almost completely derailed David Fincher’s confidence in his ability and career, Charles Dance immediately recognized just how talented he was. And the fact that the mercurial filmmaker has since gone on to oversee the likes of Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network and Gone Girl proves that he was right to have faith.
"I remember walking on this huge set at Pinewood Studios and Fincher comes up and fires off his shot list for the day. Here’s this guy young enough to be my son who knew all the crew’s jobs, all the shots he wanted, and where he was going to make the cuts in the film, and I thought, ‘My God, this guy is going to go far.’"
Charles Dance, who became recognizable to most American audiences because of his role in the blockbuster, insists that there was a good movie in Alien 3 somewhere. In fact he even had the gall to declare: "I think Alien 3 was a better film than Aliens, to be frank." That’s a rather bold statement from the thespian, but he did explain that, in his opinion, Vincent Ward’s initial script was "really spooky" - before it was ultimately changed to make Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley more prominent.
But what really made Alien 3 so woeful? Well, simply put, it was poor planning. The film never should have gone into production because its script hadn’t even been completed. They then hired a first-time filmmaker to try and oversee the mess, and despite the fact that David Fincher has now blossomed into the quintessential darkly-populist director of the modern era, it was just too much for him back then. The studio then constantly tried to interfere, overruled any decisions that Fincher tried to make, and ultimately oversaw most of the production themselves. In conclusion, it’s lucky that the film turned out to be below average, as it probably should have been a total catastrophe instead.