In September 1979 the release of Alien would cement little known director Ridley Scott’s place in film and assured us that in space no one can hear you scream. A mere seven years later and with James Cameron at the helm, Aliens is one of the best sequels in all of cinema. Three decades later it is a film that still has a massive following as witnessed at this years Film & Comic Con Glasgow which hosted a mini-reunion of sorts with Jenette Goldstein, Mark Rolston and Colette Hiller in attendance.
We expertly weaved through the crowds and channelled our inner-Newt by utilising air ducts (not really, we just walked) to track down Jenette Goldstein to talk all things Aliens and more. You can read our interview with Mark Rolston [Private Drake] here.
It was my very first film. I couldn’t believe it, I was scared and made some fantastic friends. It was such a great character to play, I just dived into it. Not every little girl dreams to run around like a soldier with a gun but that was my dream so it was great.
So what was the audition process like for this massive sequel?
It was actually really interesting. I came in to read, I didn’t know what it was for – I didn’t have an agent at the time either. I then found out it was for the Alien sequel and it was a part as one of the soldiers, so they gave me Vasquez’s lines but told me it was for a different part. They said don’t worry about who she is – I read the description and read as her. How could I not? They said thank you and then asked me to come back. I didn’t know what I’d be doing because you don’t get to read the script.
There was James and Gale and kind of knew he was the writer/director. He was crawling around the floor with me with a camera saying let’s just pretend. It was fun. I was like this can’t be the director, he was so young and crawling on the floor. I then left the room, I am packing up my stuff and then someone asked me to come back in. They said they want me in the film and we want to get you before someone else does. I got the script and they said read it and in two weeks we’ll let you know. Got the call and they said we got some good news.
And what did you first think of the script?
It reads like an amazing book and you can’t say that about every screenplay because they’ve not meant to be read, they are meant to be shot. But I really got a good sense of who she was and who Drake was. I am a character actress so you just invent a backstory, who her family is and what she’s doing.
Do you still get asked if you’ve ever been mistaken for a man…?
Yep. It’s nice really actually because I can’t believe people recognise me. They come up and say they really appreciate my work.
How was it working with the late great Bill Paxton – what was he like on set?
Just amazing. He was such a sweetheart and when he came over from L.A. me and Mark Rolston showed him around London. It was my first film, I didn’t know anything. He said stick with me and I’ll show you all my tricks and tips. We became friends in L.A, met his family – he never lost a friend. At his memorial it was like people from his high-school, Tom Hanks to friends of his from the town he lived in. It was just really something, everyone was crying and laughing. He was just such a funny guy.
A lots been said lately about “white-washing” in cinema so was this something you were thinking about when playing a Latino character?
You know what came into my mind is, which is with every character I do, I’ve never been a marine. I didn’t want to look fake, like I didn’t know what I was doing and not knowing who the character was. I don’t cast, that’s the decision of casting. Every character I play whether they are Irish or whatever, you want to represent truly who this person is in this situation and hopefully the audience believe the character and it doesn’t matter who I am. If they know who you are then you haven’t done your job. This was 30 years ago and like I said, I am not in the casting process of it.
You were then cast in T2 but have you forgiven James Cameron yet for killing off your character again?
I have. I have exploded three or four times in films – I am the most explosive actress in Hollywood…[laughs] He killed me in Titanic of course. I was killed in Lethal Weapon 2. What else have I died in? Fair Game – William Baldwin stabbed me but I’ve killed a few people as well.
T2 is getting re-released but in 3D – are you a big fan of 3D films?
I never liked it before because I’d always get sick but I know James Cameron has developed a new way of doing it. I always go see the regular version of films. It’s coming out on the 29th, isn’t? Coming out on Judgment Day.
Would you be open to working with James Cameron on, say, the Avatar sequels? It would be cool to see Ripley and Vasquez reunited in a way…
That would be really cool. I would love to do it. He actually had me read for a role in Avatar. I read for the role of the mother tree-priestess-type character. Same kind of audition – you do a little bit of stuff and he follows you with a camera and just runs around the room. Hopefully it happens, it would be great to go to New Zealand to do it.
Both Alien and Terminator have had several sequels which haven’t really hit the mark with fans. What is it do you think is distinctly lacking in these sequels?
I saw Terminator 3 and I enjoyed it. I missed the other Terminator sequels and I’ve only seen Alien Covenant. My friend edited the film [Covenant] and can’t say anything bad about that. The film did leave me unsatisfied because it was two different types of film. There was part of the film about the people re-settling on the land and then there was the mad-scientist aspect of it as well. Each time I was getting into one part of the story it flipped to the other aspect. And the twist with Michael Fassbender, I saw that coming.
It also seems with Ridley Scott planning to do more that Neil Blomkamp’s proposed Alien film will never happen…
I really want to see Neil Blomkamp’s take on it. Everyone wanted him to do it – I don’t know why Ridley Scott couldn’t wait.
And will we see you back on the big screen any time soon?
Probably not soon as these things take time. I definitely want to go back to acting, I am just thinking about the type of stories I want to tell and whether it’s going to be theatre, film or even TV. I love playing really interesting woman and characters with great stories.
Showmasters Film & Comic Con Glasgow returns next year and more on this can be found here
This interview appears on HeyUGuys by kind permission of Thomas Alexander