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Sigourney Weaver Surprised the Kids From That Viral High School Production of Alien
After students from New Jersey’s North Bergen High School brought the sci-fi horror classic Alien to life as their school play, footage from the production deservedly went viral. The kids and their teachers won widespread recognition for their show, but on Friday they were in for another surprise: A visit from Alien star Sigourney Weaver herself.
Weaver praised the play shortly after it blew up online, releasing a video statement on behalf of herself as well as Aliens director James Cameron. “You put so much heart and soul into that,” said Weaver of the production, “and the alien, I must say, looked very real to me.”
The play was spearheaded by English teacher and drama club advisor Perfecto Cuervo and art teacher Steven Defendini, who’d previously led members of North Bergen High’s drama club in mounting a production based on George Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead.” The play had an original budget of around $3,500 dollars while the film had an inflation-adjusted budget of $35 million, and the kids made props using recycled materials and donations from local businesses. While Alien: The Play had its original run last month, the school brought back the production this weekend for an encore performance. That’s when Weaver surprised the cast.
In video posted to social media, Weaver hugged senior Gabriella Delacruz—North Bergen’s Ellen Ripley—before congratulating the kids. “I’m representing all the Alien fans all over the universe who think what you’re doing is so cool and so important,” Weaver told the students.
The original Alien director, Ridley Scott, also praised the production and donated $5,000 to the school for their re-staging of the play. “Limitations often produce the best results because imagination and determination can surpass any shortfalls and determine the way forward—ALWAYS,” he wrote the drama club in a letter. “Stay with this determination, and this spirit in everything you do, and you will succeed—let nothing put you off—or set you back.” Ripley wrapped up his letter by suggesting some source material for North Bergen High’s next play: His Oscar-winning 2000 film Gladiator.