According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, while all the previous directors had been scared away by the film’s lack of depth, Scott saw an opportunity. “I thought the script had an inordinately good engine. I thought it was virtually no characterization whatsoever. It was, ‘And then and then and then.’ And then I got to a page where it says, ‘And then this thing comes out of the guy’s chest,’” said Scott. “And I’m thinking, ‘This has put off four of the directors’ — because I was number five on the list. Obviously, clearly, the previous four went, ‘What?!? This is ridiculous,’ and just put it down. Because I’m a bit of a designer, I could see the film and I knew exactly what to do.”
Scott took the extremely plot-driven script and filmed it to perfection, using his film-making techniques to heighten tension and allowing his actors to provide the characterization that was missing from the script itself.
Scott was even unafraid of the gruesome chestburster scene, one that has become the film’s most iconic image, even earning a parody in “Spaceballs.” In fact, he made it so visceral and horrifying that when the film first premiered, he considered whether he’d perhaps gone too far. Whether or not he did, the film was a classic, spawning multiple sequels, all of which Scott says are worse than his original.
“Alien” kicked Ridley Scott’s directorial career into high gear, and it’s hard to imagine the movie without him behind the scenes. And all of this because he was willing to take a risk that four other directors weren’t.