Today marks 30 years since the theatrical release of Aliens, a movie that defied the sequel curse, took Ridley Scott's masterpiece in an all-new, action-fueled direction, and gave us an unforgettable set of characters, including Newt, played by Carrie Henn.
To help celebrate 30 years of Aliens, I was fortunate to catch up with Carrie Henn, who has been in front of fans quite a bit this year with the Alien Day celebration and multiple convention appearances, including a stop at the San Diego Comic-Con later this week.
Not only did she talk about her time on the Aliens set, but she also commented on Newt's unfortunate turn in Alien 3, a possible return for the character in Neill Blomkamp's Alien movie, and 30 years of being asked to say "mostly."
It has been 30 years since the release of Aliens. Looking back at your experience on set, what are some of your fondest memories?
Carrie Henn: I have so many fond memories of my time on the set, it’s hard to pick just one! Being on the set of Aliens was an amazing experience. I had so much fun, and enjoyed every moment. I think my fondest time would be having the opportunity to work with Sigourney, one of the classiest people I have ever met.
The theatrical cut of Aliens removed some key scenes, including the Hadley's Hope prologue that your brother appeared in, and scenes discussing Ripley's daughter that really added to her relationship with Newt. Were you happy that fans finally got to see the full story as James Cameron intended it?
Carrie Henn: I was so happy that the director's cut of Aliens was finally released. I was very happy that Jim was able to show the entire film that he had worked so hard on. I was also excited for my family, as my brother Chris was in the director's cut. I think that it also helped show why Ripley and Newt had such a strong connection. We had both lost those closest to us because of the aliens, and our bond means so much more after watching this version of Aliens.
What can you tell me about your time with Sigourney Weaver on set? You two had a great chemistry and were involved in some very intense scenes. What did you do together when you weren't taking part in filming?
Carrie Henn: Sigourney is a wonderful person. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to meet and work with such an amazing actress. I believe that our chemistry was immediate from the moment we met, and continued to grow. I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to do things with others when we weren’t taking part in filming, as I had schoolwork to do. The spare time we did have, we would often chat about different things going on in our lives. The intense scenes that we worked on together helped us bond. It was my first time on set, and Sigourney took me under her wings. She helped to make me feel comfortable during all the scenes that were filmed. Towards the end of filming, as most characters had departed, it was just the two of us. It often felt a little overwhelming, and very quiet. Sigourney once said to me, “Don’t worry, we are the last orphans, but we will be adopted.” It made me feel better that she was feeling the same way, and understood what I was feeling.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of conventions and the recent Alien Day, there have been a number of opportunities to get together with some of the cast and crew from the movie. What has been your experience re-connecting with everyone after all these years?
Carrie Henn: It has been so lovely to have the chance to re-connect with my friends from Aliens! It’s so nice to be able to get to know them as an adult. It’s been nice to see that everyone is just as kind and friendly as I remember them being 30 years ago. It’s also been really nice for my husband and children to be a part of everything. It’s a part of my life that most people don't understand, so it’s nice for them to be involved in it as well. I stay in contact with quite a few of the actors fairly regularly. Luckily, this has been a very active year with the 30th anniversary, and I’ve been able to see everyone quite a lot.
Fans of the Alien series were upset to see Newt and Hicks killed off in Alien 3, but that wasn't always the plan during development of the script. Were you ever approached about returning for the third installment? Were you surprised at the time that you weren't going to continue playing that character?
Carrie Henn: At the time being in another movie wasn’t my top priority. If I had been asked to do it, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it. However, I wasn’t upset or disappointed that I wasn’t in the movie.
Director Neill Blomkamp is working on a potential Alien sequel that appears to revive Newt and Hicks in a new story with Sigourney Weaver returning as Ripley. What are your thoughts on the Newt character potentially living on in a new movie?
Carrie Henn: It would be great to see Newt return! I think that Newt is an incredibly strong female character. You can never have enough strong female role models for girls to look up to. I look forward to seeing what happens with this Alien sequel.
It's not uncommon for actors to have keepsakes from their time on set. Were there any props or costumes from Aliens that you still hold onto?
Carrie Henn: I was able to keep the dress that I wore for the citizen award that Ripley found in my nest when she first found me. I also have my original script and a couple other small things I was allowed to keep. While filming, I wrote a little journal, and made a scrapbook with pictures and little keepsakes from my time on set.
It seems like you've been taking on more convention appearances recently. What do you enjoy most about attending conventions and fan screenings? Do you have a favorite fan experience that you could share?
Carrie Henn: I have thoroughly enjoyed attending conventions and screenings. It’s been great to be able to go to amazing places and meet all of the wonderful fans. It is amazing to me that this film has meant so much to so many people. As a military brat, it is always an honor when I meet someone from the Armed Services. It is always nice to hear that often Aliens is played for them before going on a mission. It’s nice to know that I was a small part of something that is so important to the people that serve our country.
Your "Mostly" line in Aliens seems to have taken on a life of its own, especially online. After 30 years of hearing other people say it and being asked to say it, is it something you embrace?
Carrie Henn: After 30 years of being teased about the “mostly” line, I’ve learned to embrace it. How many people can say that a line they said 30 years ago is still being said today?
You joined Twitter last year and have been interacting with fans, sharing fan art featuring Newt, and convention photos. Have you enjoyed being able to interact with fans from all over the world online? Does it surprise you how big the fanbase still is for Aliens?
Carrie Henn: Twitter has been a pleasant surprise for me. I never imagined that anyone would be interested in what I have to say! It’s been fun hearing from fans around the world. Hearing how much the fans still enjoy Aliens, and what my character has meant to them has been awesome. I enjoy chatting and replying when I can.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for us. For our readers interested in meeting you at an upcoming convention, what events will you be appearing at next? Also, aside from Twitter, are there any other online links you'd like us to share with our readers?
Carrie Henn: I will be attending San Diego Comic-Con this week. While there, I’ll be signing at a table, signing a new book by Titan Books at their booth, and participating in a panel with other members of the cast. I’ll also be attending Alien Con at the Santa Clara Convention Center October 28th-29th. I’d love to share my manager’s website www.coolwatersprods.com