Her leading roles in ‘Alien’, ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Avatar’ have made Sigourney Weaver a household name and firm favourite with movie fans for more than 30 years. This week’s Talk Asia catches up with the veteran actress in Kota Kinabalu as she tells Anna Coren about the possibility of ‘Ghostbusters III’, how Hollywood’s leading men deal with her near six-foot frame and her remarkable roster of blockbuster movies. Talk Asia with Sigourney Weaver airs* at Wednesday, May 11 at 1600; Thursday, May 12 at 0900 and 2300; Saturday, May 14 at 1330 and 2130; Sunday, May 15 at 1400 and Monday, May 16 at 0730 and 1300.
Since her screen debut in Woody Allen’s ‘Annie Hall’, Sigourney Weaver has starred in more than 60 films. She became globally renowned through her role as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in the ‘Alien’ movie franchise, thanks partly to director Ridley Scott choosing her because he saw a sense of male authority in her. The actress takes it as a compliment and says: “I think the character of Ripley actually originally was a man. I think that they were all men in the script. The one thing from the original was the chestburster sequence.”
After more than twenty years Weaver reunited with James Cameron for ‘Avatar’ – the highest grossing film of all time. She didn’t take much convincing after reading the script. “I’ve never seen a movie like this, but if anyone can make this happen, it’s Jim. So it was a very easy sell. I wanted to work with him again. I wanted to be part of something that was so bold and so new.”
‘Avatar’ was famously largely computer-generated but Weaver doesn’t see the technical wizardry as a threat. “I certainly don’t think that actors are going to get replaced. I think if anything we are going to become even more important because within this sort of maelstrom of new technology, you have to have the essential core of reality and truth and communication.”
Remarkably Weaver is in her seventh decade but tells Coren she has never felt any pressure to stay looking young, believing instead that her natural appearance is actually beneficial to her career. “I think as human faces become older, they become more interesting. You don’t want to be frozen in time. I feel like it expands my palette of what I can do. I think it is an asset for me that I am getting older.” That said, she also admits to once using Botox for a role, something she since vowed never to do again. “For one part I did a little Botox, well my goodness, my family never let me forget it. It was just constant harassment. It wasn’t worth it and it didn’t look that good to me, even thought it was for the character.”
She also reveals that some of Hollywood’s leading actors have had issues with her 5’11 frame: “There are actors who are insecure standing. Sometimes very tall actors go ‘how tall are you’ and you just go ‘you’re towering over me. You can’t be’. One of the most secure was actually Mel Gibson. He didn’t care if I was three inches. I could wear huge heels and he would be fine with it…To me it is very old fashioned to worry about whether a woman is taller than you or not.”
As to the big question of a potential ‘Ghostbusters III’, she remains enthusiastic: “I think all of us would love to get back together and, with the right script, work together. When they called me about it, I just said that my son from ‘Ghostbusters II’, Oscar, has to be a ghostbuster and they said, ‘we’re there. We’ve already done that’. So I have yet to read a script but I’d love to work with those guys again.”