Thanks to some viral attention online, a New Jersey high school’s theater rendition of Alien: The Play garnered praise from celebrities and Fox (the now Disney-owned home of the franchise), and this week brings even more good tidings from Alien director Ridley Scott himself.
The filmmaker is already suggesting the drama club should next do a version of Gladiator, Scott’s 2000 Oscar winner.
“To all the students and teachers at the North Bergen High School who created the play — my hat comes off to all of you for your creativity, imagination, and determination to produce such an ambitious show,” Scott wrote in a letter, published in Deadline. “Limitations often produce the best results because imagination and determination can surpass any shortfalls and determine the way forward — ALWAYS.”
North Bergen High School doesn’t have an official drama club (yet), but English teacher Perfecto Cuervo puts on productions for the school out of sheer “passion,” as he previously explained to EW. He adapted Alien: The Play from the 1979 film’s screenplay, while art teacher Steven Defendini created the set and costumes largely from donated and repurposed materials — including a Xenomorph costume. Music teacher Brian Bonacci handled the stage lighting.
“Self-sufficiency is what this country was largely based upon with its immigrant population coming in to a New World and working TOGETHER,” Scott continued in his letter. “This is maybe the biggest lesson for ALL OF YOU, and your future plans — stay with this determination, and this spirit in everything you do, and you will succeed — let nothing put you off — or set you back.”
Sigourney Weaver, who famously starred as celebrated sci-fi icon Ripley in the original Alien, also praised the high school effort in a video shared by the studio.
“I just want to say it looked incredible. You put so much heart and soul into that and the alien I must say looked very real to me,” she said, also passing along thanks from James Cameron (writer and director of 1986’s Aliens) and writer-producer Walter Hill.
Students performed Alien: The Play for two nights on March 19th and 22nd, but the director writes that his Scott Free Productions “will advance some financial help to fund an encore performance.”
“How about your next TEAM production begins Gladiator,” Scott suggested.