Fans of the Alien film franchise know David Giler's name well as the writer/producer was involved with the series since the beginning, sadly Deadline brings word today that Giler has passed away. Giler passed on Saturday, December 19 at his home in Bangkok from cancer, he was 77 at the time of his death. After serving as a producer on the 1979 Alien, his first official producer credit, Giler would continue to be involved with the franchise over the years nabbing a "story by" credit for the 1986 sequel Aliens and even penning the script for Alien 3. He could go on to be a producer for every other installment as well including the Alien vs. Predator films and recent entries like Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
Filmmaker Walter Hill, who collaborated with Giler on the sci-fi series and other landmark films in the 1970s, released a statement on his passing saying: “If you knew David, you knew he was special. The magic of his personality is hard to describe: funny, angry, extremely knowledgeable, extremely well read; it was my privilege to write and produce with him, and more importantly, to have his close and deep friendship for nearly 50 years.”
Though screenwriter Dan O'Bannon is credited with the script for the original Alien, it was actually Giler and Hill's work on the shooting draft that ended up creating the blueprint for what Ridley Scott's original film would become after adding a lot of critical elements that would become fan favorites.
"Basically, it was a pastiche of fifties movies," Giler said in a previous interview with Cinefantastique. "We – Walter Hill and I – took it and rewrote it completely, added the Ash and the robot subplot. We added the cat, Jones. We fleshed it out, basically. If we had shot the original O' Bannon script, we would have a remake of It! The Terror from Beyond Space."
Those that recall the dual characters played by Michael Fassbender in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant may remember that their names were in fact "Walter" and "David," a tribute to Hill and Giler. The David android of course is the one responsible for the creation of the Xenomorph as seen in Ridley Scott's 2017 prequel, a subtle nod to the contributions Giler gave the franchise of the year.
Giler's work in Hollywood was not limited just to Alien though having worked in television including on shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., HBO's Tales from the Crypt and its sci-fi cousin Perversions of Science. His other major claim to fame as a writer was penning the script for 1974's The Parallax View, the Alan Pakula directed conspiracy thriller starring Warren Beatty.
(Cover photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/20th Century Studios)