Interview: Sigourney Weaver
You Again might not be a Screen Junkies type of movie, but Sigourney Weaver will always be a SJ type of lady. If the Disney comedy is the excuse to sit in a hotel room with Ripley, I’ll take it. She had her shoes kicked off and offered a drink, but I wasn’t there to drink. I was there to pick Sigourney Weaver’s brain.
Briefly, in You Again, Sigourney plays Ramona, the ol high school nemesis of Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s the mom of Kristen Bell, whose high school nemesis is marrying her brother, and Ramona is the mean girl’s aunt too. I only used that confusing set up to give my interview some context. By now the news about Avatar 2 and Ghostbusters III came out from her press conference, but there’s still more about her Alien thoughts and undead turn in Vamps.
Screen Junkies: As I was waiting, I heard you tell the last reporter how you get scared by movies. You’re who we think of as the ultimate monster fighter.
Sigourney Weaver: Acting! I know. I think I can fight a monster but some of these other kinds of movies are scary. Like The Hills Have Eyes, that’s the kind of movie I don’t like to see.
SJ: They’re mutants. That’s sort of monsters.
SW: I know. A good monster movie is always fun to watch but when humans are monsters I think that’s harder to watch.
SJ: You often take male characters and turn them into women. Was this originally written as an uncle and you said, “No, I’m Sigourney Weaver and this is going to be an aunt.”?
SW: No, I don't think so. Even though men and women everywhere have their high school horror stories, I think this was conceived very much as three generations of women trying to make amends and move on with their lives.
SJ: There’s a line in the film where the kid brother says you look like a computer-generated image. Did that have special meaning to you afte Avatar?
SW: Well, I put in, “Thank you.” I think in the script she was supposed to look a little horrified but I thought, “That’s exactly what Ramona wants.” But it’s true. This was before Avatar had come out but it’s funny. When I’m in a comedy, I don’t remember all the other things I’ve done. When I’m in a sci-fi movie, I don’t remember all [the others]. Every movie becomes like IT.
SJ: You’ve been in a lot of comedies but only a few where you’re one of the funny characters. In Dave and Ghostbusters you’re still the straight man.
SW: I know. I’m working on that. Even though I always did comedy, that’s really where I feel most at home, so before Alien I was always doing comedy on stage. I think comedies are harder to find, good comedies, so it’s just taken a while. I just jump at them every time I get a chance.
SJ: It must be an extra big year for you with Avatar and Ridley Scott going back to Alien. Have you had conversations with him about the prequel?
SW: What I suggested to him a long time ago is really to me it’s going back to the planet where The Space Jockey came from and maybe where the alien came from. I hope he’s doing that but I don’t actually know.
SJ: That is what he’s doing. Was that your idea?
SW: When we talked about doing another Alien, I said the story is that. So that was my opinion. I’m not saying he took the idea from me but since he came up with The Space Jockey, it makes sense to me that he would want the same thing.
SJ: So between that and Ghostbusters III, all your classics are back.
SW: Yeah, that’s true. That’s a nice way of looking at it. I know, being reinvented, that sounds good.
SJ: You’re also in Paul with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Do you have a funny cameo?
SW: I do. It’s just a delicious movie. I just loved that script. It’s so witty, it’s so touching, it’s so crazy and I just think it’s going to be an awesome movie.
SJ: Simon and Nick are doing their take on sci-fi. Do they have some fun with you and your legacy?
SW: I think they do. It’s not a huge part but the whole script is just a love letter to Comic-Con and to the geek in all of us. It’s just a movie that’s filled with heart. We actually were shooting at the Disney lot tonight. We have to do a little pickup scene.
SJ: And you’re playing a vampire?
SW:I am, I play this terrible vampire with Amy Heckerling. Really, she’s someone you want to put a stake through her but I’m trying to make her [memorable]. First of all, there’s something very bittersweet about being a vampire I think, if you’re really an old vampire. Who would want to be around for 100s and 100s and 100s of years? It’d be hard but anyway it’s a comedy and it’s a big flashy role and I’m delighted.
SJ: Everything we see now is young vampires. Even though they’ve lived 100s of years but they look like teenagers.
SW: I’m afraid I’m going to look my age. She thinks she’s young. She thinks that she’s hot to trot but luckily she can’t ever see herself in a mirror.
SJ: Does that make it a new take for this era, to actually show a vampire aged? I don’t think Dracula was ever a teenager.
SW: No, and actually the tradition, because I’ve been watching a lot of old vampire movies, first of all vampires are so elegant, but it is all this youth, blood, all that stuff is very different but there have always been older vampires. In “True Blood” they’re all really young but I think in other movies they’ve been played by character actors and what have you so I’m looking forward to it. As a young friend of mine said, the daughter of a friend of mine, she said, “Oh, Sigourney’s playing a vampire. Oh, everything sucks.”
SJ: Are you doing another action movie?
SW: I am. I’m doing an action movie in Spain and that’ll be interesting to work overseas. I haven’t worked overseas in quite a while.