Entertainment

All hail Sigourney Weaver, the queen of sci-fi movies

There are a half-dozen actors who might be crowned the King of Sci-Fi Films, but there is only one rightful queen, however: Sigourney Weaver.

"I do love science fiction and the roles it presents for women," Weaver said not long before walking out on a stage - guarded by fire-breathing gargoyles at the Scream 2010 Awards, which aired recently on Spike TV.

Weaver starred in four "Alien" films, "Avatar," two "Ghostbusters" movies and "Galaxy Quest" (and lent her voice to "Wall-E" as the ship computer). "Avatar" is a history-making monster with $2.8 billion at theaters worldwide, but Weaver is best known as Ripley, the wildly resilient human heart of the "Alien" films and a character she has brought to the screen in three separate decades.

The original 1979 film, directed by Ridley Scott, was her first starring role, and the 1986 sequel, directed by James Cameron, earned Weaver the first of her three Oscar nominations.

"Everything began for me with Ripley," said Weaver, 61. "When people talk about her, a lot of them say, 'It must be odd for you to have done so much work and have people always talk to you about Ripley.' But she made it possible for me to do all of these other genres and yet I always got to come home to her. So, no, I never get tired of her."

Hollywood hopes that fans feel the same way. Fox Home Video has been intensely promoting the new $140 "Alien" anthology Blu-ray boxed set, and director Scott is working on a prequel to his first film that delves into the back story of the so-called Space Jockey, the mysterious dead giant that is shown in the original 1979 movie.

The project's fate is uncertain, but Weaver is hopeful it will get made - even if by all appearances it will be the first "Alien" installment without her.

"I'm excited that they're doing this," Weaver said. "What we have with 'Alien' are so many of these exciting elements, but they need to be reinvigorated in a very original way. Otherwise, why bother? I wish Ridley all the best with it."

Weaver may miss out on the new iteration of "Alien," but she's not exactly hurting for work. She spent time at the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to prepare for her upcoming role in "Rampart" with Woody Harrelson, and she just finished a vampire role in an Amy Heckerling film.

There's also the intrigue of the "Avatar" sequel (the circumstances of her character's death scene in the first film don't rule out some sort of screen life in the second), and she has some work lined up in Spain too, for a film about shady CIA operatives.

Told that she seems to be on a roll, Weaver smiled, leaned back, put her palms at the nape of her neck and pushed her hair up - a gesture of contentment and reflection.

"You know, a lot is going on. I feel like it's a great business and there's so much to be excited about."

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