July 18, 1986 was the day that Aliens hit theaters. The sequel to 1979's Alien featured Sigourney Weaver in a rare role: That of female action hero.
Many things have changed in the last 25 years; we've seen many more ladies starring in action films. But the ladies are still a minority. in a new interview, Weaver was asked: Outside of Angelina Jolie's movies or Uma Thurman in the 'Kill Bill' series, there doesn't appear to be too many high-profile, female-lead action movies. Why do you think that is? She answered:
I think a lot of it has gone into comic books, and to me, in comic books, it's all about the men — and because they were written in the 50s and 60s especially. It just wasn't where it was at for those writers and there's only so many band-aids you can put on that to make it relevant for today's society. There are gorgeous, occasionally kick-ass characters like Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2, but in general I don't think those guys were thinking about women in those ways. I think as long as Hollywood is doing that, there won't be these amazing action-women characters.
What's so exciting about women in action is that women bring a different focus to the action and it comes from a different source. I love all the performances you mention, I think they are all terrific and I wish we could see more of them. Every woman you see, in her kitchen or wherever else, has a secret action heroine in her; just wait till something happens to her children or husband, then you'll see it.
This summer, audiences have already flocked to Thor, Green Lantern, X-Men and Transformers, with Captain America and Conan The Barbarian on the way. If you're looking for action-oriented ladies, you'll have one chance — August 26, when Zoe Saldana's Colombiana hits theaters.
And when Weaver was asked, "Do you think audiences will ever see another adventure with Ripley on the big screen?" she was not as confident:
I doubt it, just because the way the industry is. While I can't speak for them, I think for Fox, once you're sixty, you're not going to be starring in an action movie. I think it's too bad that that's the case. I would have liked to do one last story where we go back to the planet… Certainly I'm blessed with lots of different wonderful jobs, so I'm not sitting at home ruminating about all of that. If I was really caught up in it, I would find a logical story and try to get them behind it, but she may just be left circling earth.
Of course, Harrison Ford was in an Indiana Jones flick when he was 66, and 81-year-old Clint Eastwood still gets to shoot at folks in flicks, but yes, 60-year-old women doing action are hard to comee by. (Helen Mirren got to kill people in Red, but was, of course, part of a dude-centric ensemble.)
Weaver, however, is optimistic about the future, saying: "I think everything is going to change, we're going to have a big revolution. I'm sure we're going to see, even in very real films, women being much more physical and just being the kick-ass women that they are. Then they don't have to be in outer space, it will be contemporary — look out!" And if anyone wants to make an Alien movie that involves Ripley, Weaver is ready:
I could definitely kick that alien's ass again.