"Hey Bishop, man. Do that thing with the knife!"
Updated: Jul 18
Whilst attending the 2013 Cardiff Film & Comic Convention I was fortunate enough to be part of the audience for an Aliens panel. The panel included Lance Henriksen (Bishop), Trevour Steedman (Pvt. Wierzbowski) and Colette Hiller (Cpl. Ferro). Long story short, I was lucky enough to get to ask a question during the Q&A portion of of the panel- "How many takes did it take to film the knife trick?"
If you can't remember the iconic scene you can check it out below-
What followed was a great and truly fantastic behind the scenes story regarding the scene. Enjoy.
"That's a funny story actually. When I got the script I saw this scene with the ‘knife trick’ and I was reading it wondering how Jimmy [James Cameron] is going to do this. Knowing what Jimmy is like I began going to all these different stores and buying all these different types of knives to practice this trick. I had absolutely no idea what knife he would want to use so I thought it would be better to practice with all of them. It came round to filming Aliens and I am being flown to England by the studio on a commercial flight, no issues at all, lovely flight. So I land in London, get off the plane and make my way to customs. I get stopped by these two uniformed gentlemen who inform me they’re customs officers and I needed to come with them. Basically they found all these different knives in my bag and obviously this set off alarm bells. I tried to explain to them I was here to shoot a movie and the knives were going to be used. They didn't buy it, detained and questioned me for a while. In the end they got hold of 20th Century Fox who explained the situation. So after hours of being detained, Jimmy and this rep from 20th Century Fox came down to basically bail me out."
"As for the scene I think we did it in one or two takes. What you see in the film is basically me. We did end up reshooting though, unfortunately it was after a night of drinking. I accidentally caught Bill's little finger during the reshoot. Funny as we didn't tell him his hand was going over mine before we shot it. What you see in the film is pretty much all me. They sped up one of the long shots we used towards the end of the scene but that was it. It was good fun."