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Sigourney Weaver revisits paranormal with 'Red Lights' at Sundance

Published January 23, 2012 4:12 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Park City • Sigourney Weaver may not believe in ghosts, but the paranormal world of her latest film is not alien territory for her.

Weaver's Sundance Film Festival premiere, "Red Lights," is a dark exploration of the supernatural realm she previously took on in comic mode with "Ghostbusters" and its sequel.

"I probably don't believe in fairies and ghosts, but I certainly believe that people have souls," Weaver, 62, said in an interview. "I think that, and that's there's more going on around us than we can explain in a rational way."

What did surprise Weaver in preparing for her role is "what a huge business psychic entertainment was," she said.

"Red Lights" features Weaver as a skeptic whose life's work is debunking phony claims of the paranormal. The film from writer-director Rodrigo Cortes co-stars Robert De Niro as a superstar of the psychic realm, Cillian Murphy as Weaver's assistant and Elizabeth Olsen as one of their students.

There has been talk of a third "Ghostbusters" movie that would reunite Weaver with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and other co-stars. Weaver likes the idea but has doubts it will happen.

"I'd love to work with everybody again," Weaver said. "I think, mmm, at this point, I think it's probably less than 50-50. That's what I think."

Another sequel to one of Weaver's blockbusters definitely is on. But Weaver cannot say much about "Avatar 2," James Cameron's next chapter in his science-fiction franchise. The first "Avatar" film was the biggest commercial smash of modern times, making $2.8 billion worldwide.

Weaver's character died and underwent a cosmic transformation in "Avatar." But Weaver has been bumped off before in her "Alien" sci-fi franchise and came back to battle on in another sequel.

"As Jim would say, there's no death in science fiction," Weaver said. "But no, I can't really talk about it. But I am looking forward to it."

Weaver is more talkative about a film that's an offshoot of the franchise that made her a star. In Ridley Scott's 1979 hit "Alien," Weaver played Ellen Ripley, the lone survivor of a spaceship crew terrorized by an unstoppable creature.

She earned a best-actress Academy Award nomination as Ripley in Cameron's 1986 follow-up "Aliens," and she reprised the role in two more sequels.

Scott makes his return to science fiction with this summer's "Prometheus," a cousin to "Alien" that stars Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender. The director and his actors have been coy about whether "Prometheus" is an outright prequel to "Alien," though they have said there are connections between the films, and the trailer for the new one has images resembling the design and features of the 1979 tale.

"Whatever they call it, I think everyone's very excited to see what Ridley does with some of these wonderful elements, and I think I'll be just as excited as everybody," Weaver said. "I don't really want to know anything about it. I have great confidence in him, and I'm sure they'll make a wonderful movie."

Could Weaver ever imagine resurrecting Ripley for another film?

"No. Let the poor woman rest," Weaver said. "No one ever believed her, anyway. They gave her such a hard time."

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Online:

http://www.sundance.org