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  Sigourney Weaver
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(Susan Alexandra Weaver 1949– ). American actress.

Acted in: Alien (Ridley SCOTT 1979); Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman 1984); Aliens (James CAMERON 1986); Ghostbusters II (Reitman 1989); Alien3 (and co-produced) (David Fincher 1992); Dave (Ivat RIETMAN 1993); Snow White: A Tale of Terror (tv movie) (Michael Cohn 1997); Alien: Resurrection (and co-produced) (Jean-Pierre Jeunet 1997); Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot 1999); The Village (M. Night SHYAMALAN 2004); Be Kind Rewind (Michael Gondry 2008); Avatar (James CAMERON 2009).

Provided voice for animation: "Love and Rocket" (2002), episode of Futurama; Happily N'Ever After (Paul J. Bolger and Yvette Kaplan 2007); Wall-E (Andrew Stanton 2008);The Tale of Despereaux (Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhagen 2008); Avatar: The Game (video game) (Kun Chang 2009).

Today, reality shows have conditioned people to regard the daughters of rich and famous people as Girls Gone Wild, but Susan Alexandra Weaver, the young daughter of prominent television producer Sylvester Weaver, seems to have always been a well-behaved child, despite a tumultuous upbringing. Ridiculed a bit because of her unusual height, we are told by the Internet Movie Database that she "took on the role of class clown," but I strongly suspect, in contrast to the capsule biography, that this was not an effort "to gain acceptance" but rather her enthusiastic choice. Based on what I have seen of her film career, in other words, being a clown has remained her major, if unacknowledged, ambition.

The problem was that casting directors looked at the renamed Sigourney Weaver and could never quite see her in those terms; instead, like the similarly tall and gaunt Max VON SYDOW, she has found herself stereotyped as a serious performer despite a secret longing for fun and games. But, as already indicated, Weaver is willing to do whatever she is asked to do, regardless of her personal preferences. And so, as the Alien series gradually required her to develop from a competent but unassertive spaceship crew member into the fiercest, meanest, alien ass-kicker of them all, that is exactly what she became. However, it was obvious that she had no real desire to become the female Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER; the displays of energy and conviction that she brought to her roles in Aliens and Alien3, though admirable in many ways, were visibly the work of a dutiful daughter. Only in Alien: Resurrection, when both the series and her character were starting to lurch into self-parody, did Weaver occasionally seem to be enjoying herself, suggesting perhaps that the solution to the recurring problem of creating a genuine fifth Alien film might be a shift to comedy: Aliens Meet American Pie, anyone?

Outside of the Alien franchise, Weaver generally found herself in serious dramas, where she performed capably but unenthusiastically, with only a few follies to her discredit—some wicked witchery in Snow White: A Tale of Terror and faux New England colonialism in M. Night Shyamalan's risible The Village.  Even when she was cast as a voice for animated films, she generally found herself playing the serious roles, like the overbearing ship's computer in Wall-E. In her most recent starring role, she did the best she could as Dr. Grace Augustine in James CAMERON's Avatar, but her underdeveloped character was simply there, in Cameron's mind, as a saintly foil to his sinister soldier Colonel Quaritch. Nevertheless, Weaver would on rare occasions manage to get parts in comedies, even though she was given little to do in the Ghostbusters films, Dave, and Be Kind Rewind. Instead, producers again looked at her statuesque body and employed her mostly as a straight woman for boisterous male comedians.

Her ultimate triumph, then, came in Galaxy Quest, and while it may seem shocking, perhaps even blasphemous, to admit it, this remains my favorite Sigourney Weaver performance. Her blonde hair is unexpectedly fetching, she for once actually gets to be funny sometimes, and she contributes a lot to the general aura of affectionate good humor that made the film such an unexpected success. But while this potential franchise has remained moribund, it seems inevitable that the dark machineries of Hollywood film production will someday contrive to force Weaver in another Alien film. As another idea for a humorous continuation, I might suggest another title: Aliens 5, Galaxy Quest 2.  I tell you three times, even if she has resisted other scenarios, that Sigourney Weaver, willing to do anything for a laugh, would sign up for that Alien sequel in an instant.

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