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Chris Foss on the Nostromo

Kicking off a series of articles about TV and movie spaceships, we chat to the esteemed sci-fi illustrator and co-creator of the Nostromo in Alien...

Foss's various Nostromo designs, and the craft as seen in the film
Martin Anderson
Jul 15, 2009

Chris Foss is a highly-respected science-fiction illustrator who has contributed to hundreds of movies, book and album covers in his long career. Most famous for illustrating The Joy Of Sex in the 1970s, Foss's involvement with Dan O'Bannon on the lost Jodorowsky Dune project in Paris led him onto the creative team at Shepperton and Hollywood for Ridley Scott's Alien in the late 1970s. As part of a series of articles and interviews about famous TV and movie spaceships, we had a chat with Chris about the design for the extraordinary Nostromo towing vessel...

Some of the 'spice'-carrying vessels that you imagined for Jodorowsky's Dune seem quite similar to some of the final look of the Nostromo in Alien...

Jodorowsky brought myself over from England for Dune. Shortly afterwards Dan O'Bannon went back to America and Dune collapsed. Dan, bless his heart, together with Ronnie Shusett, they put together this film called They Bite and  - you probably know the history - that got finally taken up as Alien. Dan brought me onto the production as a hardware man, due to design the Nostromo. Dan was raring to go, but what he didn't realise was that he'd fallen foul of Hollywood politics - and also they were running through directors like you and me have hot dinners, and none of the directors were terribly interested.

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