Actor Paul Reiser Talks ‘aliens’ in a Dark Matter News Exclusive!
Comedian Paul Reiser talks ‘Aliens’ in Dark Matter News Exclusive!
Most people know comedian Paul Reiser from his leading role alongside Helen Hunt in the beloved and long-running NBC sitcom Mad About You, but staunch science-fiction fans will probably always know him as Carter Burke, the slithery antagonist to Sigourny Weaver‘s heroine Ellen Ripley in director James Cameron‘s 1986 blockbuster film, Aliens. Reiser recently spoke with Dark Matter News correspondent Richard David Smith III about his role as the guy everyone loved to hate in this classic space movie sequel.
Richard David Smith III: You’re generally known as one of the nice guys in the entertainment industry. Because of this role, is that a harder perception to maintain?
Paul Reiser: I think part of James Cameron’s idea was to cast a guy that, hopefully, you’re not gonna suspect cause he looks like, you know, a young nice guy, but, to be honest I don’t think it worked. The minute people saw me on the screen, they were like, “That guy’s trouble, something’s wrong there. This guy’s a weasel.”
RDS3: You were too good of an actor, that was the problem.
Reiser: [laughs] There ya go. It was funny, just last year there was a convention, Comic Con sci-fi convention, and they invited all of us. It was the first time in 30 years that we’d all been together, the cast of Aliens, and I had never been to one of these things. I gotta be honest, I never knew quite how strong the appeal was, not only how many people liked it, but how deeply. I was meeting people who watched it every day, every week for the last 30 years and they’re bringing in props and things they’ve collected and souvenirs and picture I had never seen. It was certainly a great movie but it also was very influential I think. It influenced a lot of action movies that came afterwards.
RDS3: Would you say that the real Paul Reiser is more like your character from Mad About You or your character from Aliens?
Resier: [laughs] I don’t think I’m particularly close to that character (Carter Burke). In Mad About You, I thought I would be very clever; I made the character as close to myself as possible so I wouldn’t have to work hard when I went to work. If people know me from Mad About You, they’re never going to come to my (stand-up) show and say “Wow, that’s not the guy I was expecting at all.” I think I am pretty much that guy.
RDS3: You should have an alien come out and eat you at the end of one of your stand-up acts.
Paul Reiser: There ya go. That’s a nice big finish. That’s the nice big finish I’ve been looking for. Thank you.
RDS3: When you guys were making this film in ’86, not everything was CGI. There were real, physical beings for you to encounter on set, right?
Paul Reiser: There was some CGI. It was shot on location in space and those were actual critters. Those were actual demonic aliens.
RDS3: Any funny moments on set?
One of my fond memories of that was, we shot it in England, in London in this big ol’ sound stage and the guys in those big rubber suits were stuntmen, these British stuntmen, and whenever we went on coffee breaks, they would take off their helmets but they wouldn’t take off the whole suit, because it was just too much work. So, they’d be grabbing a cup of tea and they’d have tentacles and six arms, but a guy named “Howie” with his head sticking out of the top, and he’d shout “Are you enjoying London?” and I’d be like, no, you can’t talk to me when you have those things popping out of your chest.
RDS3: Well, I was gonna ask you if you believe in aliens, but I guess you do since they were on set with you. In seriousness, would you imagine that’s what extraterrestrials would be like? [the artistic rendition that the alien in the Alien movies was based on was created by Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger]
Paul Resier: I always find it funny that there’s always been a certain look, through movies and everything. Even going back to like the 50’s when they didn’t have the same ability to make the costumes, there’s a certain look that people have in mind. It must be true. I guess that’s what they look like, otherwise why would they say that? If it’s not what aliens look like, it’s at least what we think they look like, cause it does seem to be pretty consistent. There’s a famous old book written by a TV veteran and I forgot who it was, it was somebody pretty well known, and the name of the book was taken from a note he was given by a network executive, and I think he was writing for My Favorite Martian, and the executive said to him, “No, no, a Martian would never say that.” How do you know? A Martian wouldn’t be on a TV show either, but you seem okay with that. [He is referring to the book “A Martian Wouldn’t Say That” by Leonard B. Stern]
Aliens didn’t mark the end of Reiser’s work with paranormal material. Due for release later this year is the independent film 6 Miranda Drive, where Paul plays opposite Kevin Bacon and Lucy Fry. The thriller is based on a true story about a family that unwittingly brings a fear-feeding supernatural force home from vacation. You can currently see Paul in a town near you as part of his “Up Close and Personal” Tour where he highlights the funny things about life, love, and relationships.
Stay tuned to Dark Matter News for more exclusive interviews with celebrities who delve into the kind of stuff we love here at darkmatternews.com. Comment, share on Facebook and join the discussion on Twitter, hashtag#DMtalk!