Sigourney Weaver has had a blessed career. After a brief walk-on role in Annie Hall, her next role was the lead in Alien, which was followed by the female lead in Ghostbusters.
She has been dubbed the “queen of Sci-fi” and “Prototype female action star” but in reality, outside of the Alien franchise in particular, this really isn’t a good description of her overall career.
Between Alien and Ghostbusters she did The Year of Living Dangerously with Mel Gibson, which is a more standard star driven romantic drama rather than a genre film.
Her other famous award-winning roles Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl, and The Ice Storm are also distinctly neither action nor genre films. Outside of her appearance in the comedy Galaxy Quest and some Alien sequels she didn’t embrace her “queen of Sci-fi” mantle until reuniting with director James Cameron for Avatar.
What is her best film? Aliens, Alien, and Ghostbusters are a formidable trifecta. Outside of those three, her best performance (from the movies I have seen) is Galaxy Quest. A movie I have grown more fond of as viewings and years have gone by (Galaxy Quest is actually a highlight for quite a few actors that appeared in it. )
I also have to give a special shout out to her cameo in The Cabin in the Woods. Not that she was brilliant in it or anything but it was an inspired cameo and such a wonderful movie.
What is her worst film? If you go buy Rotten Tomatoes Deal of The Century was her first stumble. I haven’t seen Deal of the Century since the mid-eighties but I remember it as a middle of the road comedy. I mean it’s no Spies Like Us but it’s no Caddyshack II either.
Sigourney has always had an air of Connecticut and privileged about her, particularly when she isn’t fighting aliens. So when she is cast as Queen Isabella of Spain in 1492: Conquest of Paradise or Queen Tuya of ancient Egypt in Exodus: Gods and Kings, it can seem more than a bit off.
Her worst roles are animated voice overs. (No, not Finding Dory). Like many actors who like quick money and have a baby or toddler at home, Sigourney was attracted to the kids’ movie voice over. And unfortunately for her many of these movies that would have completely disappeared into the ether are now available for streaming. Movies like Happily N’Ever After from 2006 with a 4% Rotten Tomatoes score and starring Andy Dick… enjoy.
What movies that you haven’t seen of hers that you are looking most forward to? Vamps looks like a ton of fun. 1981’s Eyewitness looks like the nostalgia trip into those almost TV movie mysteries from the time period I so love. For a third pick, I am going top go with Snow White: A Tale of Terror that looks both fun and a bit naughty.
Sigourney Weaver still has some Ghostbusters and a lot more Avatar in her near future. Though fighting aliens and ghosts might seem to be her legacy, I think the work she has done with mountain gorillas of Rwanda, both on the ground and as a compassionate spokesperson, may be her lasting legacy.