Category: Interview

The Defenders first look: Meet Sigourney Weaver’s villain — and learn her name

Come as you are, Defenders. There’s a new enemy in town.

Meet Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, the villain of Marvel’s The Defenders impressive enough to draw the attention of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). She’s an “utter badass,” showrunner Marco Ramirez says of the character, who is the perfect fit for the Sigourney Weaver, of Alien and Avatar fame. “Sigourney is the kind of person you can buy as the smartest person in the room, who you can also buy as a person holding a flamethrower. Her character is a very powerful force in New York City. She’s everything Sigourney is: sophisticated, intellectual, dangerous.” He pauses. “I’m sorry. I can only say a bunch of adjectives right now.

A flurry of adjectives sounds about right for Alexandra, and not just because Marvel’s keeping further details about her character under tight wraps, so much so that probing Ramirez for more on Weaver’s character is like trying to stick a needle through Luke Cage’s unbreakable skin. After all, she (or whatever she’s fighting for) has to walk a very difficult, spoiler-ific line when it comes to the team-up series. “We knew it would take something massive to pull these four characters from their individual worlds to work together,” Ramirez says, “but also small enough that it felt like it existed in our world.

For now, EW has the exclusive first look at Alexandra sitting high above the New York skyline, dressed in angelic, rabbit-in-a-snowstorm white and looking up at… someone?… Or something? She has no code name and no comic-book history, but Ramirez teases that she brings an “intellectual sophistication” that matches former big bads like Daredevil‘s Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). In that case, may we suggest Queenpin as a moniker?

Source: ew.com

The Badass: Sigourney Weaver Still Larger Than Life

   

If you’ve ever been to the McKittrick Hotel, the site of Punchdrunk’s immersive theater (and mandatory stop for visiting relatives) Sleep No More, you know it can get creepy at night. But even on an afternoon this summer—empty of all Eyes Wide Shut masks, bellhops lip-syncing to Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” or impromptu nude dance sequence in blood baths—the McKittrick still has a looming, menacing presence. Or maybe I was just nervous. After all, I was there to meet Sigourney Weaver, and a dark, semi-abandoned haunted house might have been the wrong call. Why couldn’t I have picked a well-lit coffee shop to interview the star of all the Aliens and Ghostbusters?

If I was skittish, Weaver, already posing for photos when I tentatively tiptoed into an empty bar area, seemed entirely at ease. “Don’t let me forget, they have my meat in the freezer,” Weaver reminded no one in particular between poses. “I really can’t forget to take the meat with me when I go.” Directly following our interview, Weaver would be driving back to the Adirondacks, and the possibility of leaving the meat (never clarified as to how much there was of it, or what kind) was causing her more anxiety than a Hitchcockian faux-tel. Weaver—68 years old and 6 feet tall without heels—can make herself at home in even the most inhospitable of environments.

The notion that Sigourney Weaver is the embodiment of the “DIY and take no shit” authority figure for a generation of young women might sound, in retrospect, like a backhanded compliment. But for those of us who grew up as tomboys in the 80s, Weaver stood as shining beacon of some other way to be. While other girls wanted to be Princess Leia or Jasmine, there were always a few of us who wanted to be Ripley. Or later on, Katharine Parker in Working Girl, a woman so ahead of her time in office politicking that she managed to mash-up Claire Underwood from House of Cards and Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, a solid two decades before either existed.

I think it’s a perfect time to be different,” Weaver tells me on the topic of beauty standards, as we slide into a dark and quiet booth in the red-curtained bar room. “I think it’s our time.” She notes her obsession with watching the Olympics. “You see the glorious range of what women look like, how strong they are. I think this is all changing on screen, as people want to see themselves reflected a little bit more. They don’t want to see some little stick figure up there all the time.

Full interview: observer.com

 

Sigourney Weaver: ‘I’m asked to play awful people all the time’

Sigourney Weaver: ‘I’m a weird duck... I was always too tall to be the girlfriend.’

Sigourney Weaver has four films coming out between now and 2022 – three Avatars and an Alien sequel – most of which have yet to be filmed, and which the 67-year-old has prepared for by cramming in as many small films as she can in advance. This is a psychological as well as an acting necessity, a way for Weaver to fine-tune before the onslaught – and which, in the case of A Monster Calls, has resulted in an almost unbearably poignant movie. The film, adapted from the Patrick Ness novel about a child who loses his mother, is so finely wrought that when Weaver first read the script, she thought, “I don’t think I can be part of this, it’s too painful. And then you realise this is your job, to tell the story.

Weaver is bright today, in a studio just outside New York, with that friendly but slightly patrician air she puts to good use in the roles she does best: the ostensible villain who isn’t all that she seems. For someone as open as Weaver, she plays repressed very well, most notably Janey in Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, but going back as far as Katharine in Working Girl, and even to Ripley in Alien, the film that established her as an actor able to convey large internal movement via the smallest surface ripple. These roles are often characterised as “cold”, which feels to Weaver like a gendered term designed to debase their humanity. “The male perspective may be that it’s a cold person. But in fact, like in Ice Storm, Janey was disconnected: she couldn’t focus on the present and her family. Bored and lost. But I would never have gone to ‘cold’.

If she is optimistic about human nature, it is not only a requirement of her job – to inhabit another psychology requires deep levels of empathy – but of what appears to be her generous disposition. A small example: I am 30 minutes late after a train debacle, something that, with an actor of Weaver’s standing, would customarily cause upset on a par with the sky falling in, but is instead met with concern. Standing up from the lunch table to her full 6ft, and in a tweed jacket that speaks to an idea she has of England, she projects an amused frankness that she later describes, with some embarrassment that it should need to be clarified, as “normal”. One can be the sort of actor who shouts and screams and throws tantrums, but “honestly,” Weaver says, “life is too short”.

In the new movie, directed by JA Bayona and co-starring Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson, Weaver plays a woman whose adult daughter is dying of cancer; an unsympathetic figure, at least as she is seen through the eyes of her grandson. It is a fairytale of sorts, what Weaver calls “a unique blend of allegory and harsh, harsh reality”, and one that, in the context of her career in sci-fi and dystopian drama, is in some ways the most frightening landscape of all. A Monster Calls covers the triptych of worst nightmares: of a child losing a parent; of dying oneself and orphaning one’s children; and, the worst of all, suffered by Weaver’s character (and the thing that makes her tight-lipped demeanour so interesting), that of losing one’s child. “It’s not that she’s cold – it’s that she’s not sharing, because she can’t,” she says.

The film is set in England, and for reference Weaver drew on her own mother, born and raised in Essex, a graduate of Rada and the West End stage before she emigrated to New York and met Weaver’s television producer father. “She had the most beautiful speaking voice,” she says. “When I began shooting, I sometimes sounded like her. I really was uncomfortable. And I really needed to find the grandmother’s accent. It’s not a Manchester accent, but we didn’t want to be posh.” (The class setting is one of the few aspects of the film that doesn’t quite add up, though the film’s dream-like texture largely forgives it.)

Full interview: theguardian.com

Sigourney Weaver on an unexpected life in sci-fi

TORONTO (AP) — A movie has a way of sitting up straight whenever Sigourney Weaver is in it. Whether the part is small or large, she reliably jolts any film alive with her intelligence and commanding presence. She usually means business.

That, of course, has been apparent since her breakthrough role as Ellen Ripley in “Alien.” But it’s no less true of Weaver at 67. She has an almost queen-like status on today’s movie landscape, particularly in science-fiction.

She has defined one mega franchise (“Alien,” with one more on the way) and been the MVP of another (“Avatar,” with four sequels coming). Just her voice is enough to lend sci-fi credibility, whether as the ship’s voice in “WALL-E” or as the all-powerful Director in “The Cabin in the Woods.”

Weaver has been particularly ubiquitous in 2016, gracing the year’s top box-office hit, “Finding Dory,” with its best gag (her aquatic center greeting), and popping in to reprise her original role in the contentious “Ghostbusters” reboot. She was even glimpsed in Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” as a young, rabid Beatlemaniac.

But she ends the year with “A Monster Calls,” a smaller film that uses fantasy to plumb deeper emotional depths. Directed by J.A. Bayona (who’s helming the next “Jurassic Park” film), the adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel is about a boy coping with his mother’s terminal illness. Aside from approaching grief with uncommon seriousness, the film flips some genre tropes, including Weaver’s grandmother character.

The actress (who hasn’t lost a bit of her glamour) recently reflected on “A Monster Calls,” her re-entry to Pandora and her legacy of strong female protagonists.

AP: Your father, Sylvester ‘Pat’ Weaver was president of NBC and created the “Tonight Show.” Was it like you grew up in show business?
Weaver: At the time, I thought everyone’s father ran a network. I thought everyone got to go on the set of “Peter Pan” and meet Mary Martin. I always used to think I was going to go to school and then come home and be a different girl and go to a different house. It took me a while to realize I was stuck with me. Maybe that’s the early awareness of an actor that we’re all changeable. I remember thinking, “Gosh, I’m so amazed I’m in this body for so long.”

AP: You have such an impact on a film, regardless of how large your part is.
Weaver: I really love being part of a good story. I don’t need to be the center of the story. That’s why I really loved “A Monster Calls” because the grandmother was unlike anyone I’ve played before – not completely unlike my mother, who was British. It’s a movie I hope families go to together.

AP: Was your small role in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” your first film?
Weaver: Woody offered me a bigger part but I turned it down because I was in a play. I played a multiple schizophrenic who kept a hedgehog in her vagina and I wasn’t going to give that part up.

AP: “Alien” was quite a follow-up.
Weaver: It didn’t feel like a big movie to me. It felt like a very small, dark, strange movie and I could relate to that because I was used to doing very strange things off-Broadway. I thought: This is fine. This is like a workshop movie.

AP: Ripley was one of the first strong female protagonists in an action film. Is that a legacy you’re proud of?
Weaver
: I am. I’ve since read other scripts and I go, “Well that’s kind of an interesting part but I’d rather play this guy.” Because I always feel still, like in our world, there’s a lot of testosterone in some of these movies where really legitimately a woman would be involved.

AP: Do you think that’s changing?
Weaver: I think by the time your daughters are in the world, everything will be different.

AP: What did you think of the backlash to Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters”?
Weaver: I was very surprised by it. I enjoyed the movie. I love all those women. I think Feig is brilliant. I do think it has something to do with the misogyny Trump has unearthed. I thought it was very charming. Does it also make you remember how much you loved the first one? I think so, but not to the extent that I’m going to boycott it. We’re sitting at the table. You’ve got to make room for us. We’re not going to go away.

AP: Ang Lee’s “Ice Storm” must be a film you’re particularly proud of.
Weaver: I was discussing a character I might play with someone and they said, “This woman’s cold.” I said I find that a nonsensical adjective for a woman. I’m sure you could describe Janey in “Ice Storm” as cold but she wasn’t cold. She was so disconnected from her life and bored by it.

AP: You’re soon to head into one mammoth “Avatar” production.
Weaver: The scripts for “Avatar” are absolutely incredible. I have committed to a very interesting movie about a woman (“Second Saturn”) that I hope to do in May. It’s like: This is my wonderful meal before I go into Pandora.

Source: wbal.com

Sigourney for ‘Harper’s Bazaar.’

 

In my career, I’m always getting chased by something, whether it’s a chicken or a monster,” jokes Sigourney Weaver in reference to the actor dressed in a yellow chicken suit who is quietly lurking on the periphery of her Harper’s Bazaar shoot with the fine-art photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia. The setup is a playful take on the lensman’s images, featuring a real bird confronting the actress in a New York penthouse, that ran in the magazine’s October 1996 issue. “Maybe I was the chicken’s pet,” she says with a laugh when asked who ruled the roost on set 20 years ago. As it turns out, Weaver’s avian adventures are not the only thing taking us down memory lane. She is also celebrating the highly anticipated release of this summer’s estimated $154 million reboot of the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters, the film that helped cement her place in Hollywood. This time, though, instead of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the proton-pack-wielding cast, there is a powerhouse quartet of female comedians, namely Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon.

This new, ladies-centric take did not pass without a fair amount of controversy. Self-proclaimed “Ghostheads” railed against having women in the lead roles, prompting the trailer to became one of the most “disliked” videos in YouTube’s history, and director Paul Feig to address the backlash in a series of tweets that called out commenters for “misogyny” and for being “haters.” Weaver, who makes a cameo, could not be more confident about the current ensemble. “To be able to hand Ghostbusters over to these incredibly talented women felt perfect, and it was time,” she says. “There is such wonderful chemistry between the four of them. That does remind me of the boys because they were old friends and they had worked together a lot too. That kind of comedic pairing is just gold. You just turn the camera on and let them go at it.

It was really the chance to be possessed by a dog,” says Weaver of her role in the original Ghostbusters. “I thought that would be fun.

It was Aykroyd’s studied belief in the supernatural that prompted the original script, which he and Ramis polished in the basement of Aykroyd’s home on Martha’s Vineyard one summer, as their families took to the beach. To say the movie was an insta-hit is an understatement. It grossed $238 million domestically, which would be impressive by 2016 standards, never mind 1984, and was nominated for two Oscars. While the men famously battled the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a slobbish green ghost named Slimer, Weaver turned into a sexy demon in an off-the-shoulder shimmering copper dress. She opted for the role for a very specific reason: “It was really the chance to be possessed by a dog. I thought that would be fun,” says the Yale School of Drama graduate. “I love the idea that a cellist would turn into this crazy ghoul.

The spook factor has been present throughout Weaver’s epic career. In addition to the Ghostbusters films, there was the bloodcurdling Alien franchise, the wondrous Avatar series (which is now in preproduction for four more films), and her upcoming vehicle, the fantasy film A Monster Calls, costarring Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson. Yet even with all her experience, the actress hasn’t developed a belief in the paranormal. “I haven’t,” she says, “but I do have a friend who tries to get in touch with the other world, and she does things like go on ghost tours of Grand Central station and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So there’s a lot of ghost presence, perhaps, in New York.

That presence is certainly being felt this summer as McCarthy and the three Saturday Night Live all-stars suit up. “I think the fans are going to be pleased by how we pop up,” Weaver says of her role in the film. “It’s just a very sweet movie but also very funny and kind of crazy. I think that’s a big part of what films can do—take us to another world.

Source: harpersbazaar.com