SAN SEBASTIAN — Actress Sigourney Weaver looked poised, gracious and sharp as she talked about Hillary Clinton, “Alien” and “A Monster Calls” in the build-up to her acceptance Wednesday night of a career-achievement Donostia Award at Spain’s San Sebastian Festival.
“It’s exciting in the U.S. now that it looks like we are finally going to have a woman president,” Weaver said at a brief news conference Wednesday morning, although polls show Donald Trump closing in on Clinton. “It’s overdue. I think a lot of the progress we made is now coming to fruition. We have women in all walks of life, armed services and other jobs.”
That, she argued, was increasingly reflected on the big screen. “I don’t think I’ve ever had more work,” she said, calling out a journalist who asserted a lack of great women’s roles in Hollywood.
“Men have more roles, but I don’t think they have better roles. I don’t envy Russell Crowe. Great stories have great women’s parts,” Weaver said, adding to applause from the assembled reporters: “I’m often asked to play roles that traditionally would have gone to men. I think it’s a good time for women.”
Weaver re-confirmed comments at July’s Comic-Con that Neill Blomkamp’s “Alien” sequel has been postponed.
“He has got work to do, and I have things going on. I hope we do get to do it,” she said. “It’s one of those things we wanted to do this past year, but I think Ridley [Scott] didn’t want them all coming out at the same time.”
Juan Antonio “Jota” Bayona, the Spanish director of “A Monster Calls,” described Weaver as a “perfectionist,” recounting how she was concerned with every detail of her performance as Grandma in the film, down to her painted fingernails. Weaver returned the compliment.
“I’ve been lucky to work with great directors like David [Fincher],” she said. “Jota is up there with Fincher. He is extraordinary, but he is his own director, very Spanish, filled with passion and honesty. His connection to material is instinctive. Fincher’s approach is more intellectual.”
Weaver, who has also worked with directors Peter Weir, James Cameron, Woody Allen, Ang Lee, Roman Polanski and Mike Nichols, paid special tribute to Weir.
“Peter helped me understand how to adapt to the chaos of film because I’m from theater,” she said, adding: “It was always to me about the story, and just as important in film. It was to work with a director with a strong vision and who was a fighter. Lots can happen on a film that can try to undo your work. It’s the way the business is.”
Weaver recalled that she came to San Sebastian in 1979 with the original “Alien,” at a time when festivals weren’t so ready as today to accept genre movies.
“Sigourney has done everything: comedy, sci-fi, drama. She has done so many films that I asked many times about how she did things on other films,” Bayona said.
At the San Sebastian news conference for a “A Monster Calls,” Bayona also talked about Liam Neeson’s performance voicing a tree giant.
“One of the reasons we chose Liam is because he had done voice work already,” Bayona said, adding that the key “was not just the quality but how he interprets the giant. We didn’t touch it much. We wanted the film anchored in reality.”
Produced out of Spain by Apaches Ent., Telecinco Cinema and Peliculas La Trini, and financed and distributed by Focus Features, River Road, Participant Media and Lionsgate, “A Monster Calls” is slated to open in the U.S via Focus Features on Dec. 23 on limited release, and from Jan. 6 on wide release.