For a month or so in the summer of 1990, I was hired to work as a ‘conceptual architect’ on the movie project Alien III.
Given my legally contentious relationship with Hollywood film studios, I have to preface the post with this explanation: the drawings made by me that I reproduce with this post, and their copyrights, are the property of the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; I reproduce them here under my rights of fair use, for educational purposes only; copying or reproducing the images of these drawings for any commercial purposes, without the explicit permission of Twentieth Century Fox is strictly forbidden by law.
These drawings were made—in Hollywood and Pinewood Studios, England—for a movie that was never made. The movie called Alien3 that was made and seen around the world was conceived and directed by David Fincher, and is notable for it’s unremarkable sets and its unrelenting grimness. The movie I made designs for was directed by Vincent Ward, but ended in its early stages, when he left the project.
The story of the Ward movie was radically different, though it deployed the same basic characters, in that the setting was a religious colony that had escaped the earth and inhabited an abandoned commercial facility deep in space. They had adopted a Medieval way of life, without electricity or modern technology. The Ripley-Alien drama was to be played out inside this crumbling, artificial world. Under Ward’s direction, this would have become something highly original, a movie in which the architecture would have had a central part.
My first idea about the colony’s artificial world:
Vincent Ward’s sketch of the colony’s world as a sphere:
My attempts to give form to his vision:
Section of the artificial world, showing Medieval within modern, modular metal construction:
Drawing of a set to be constructed in the Pinewood sound stage, showing its actual dimension:
Model of ‘the Cathedral,’ built by Christopher Otterbine: