But originally, the actor turned down “Alien,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, though he thought Dan O’Bannon’s script read well. “There was nobody involved at the time apparently,” said Skerritt. “I read it and thought, ‘it’s solid. It’s not a great script but it’s solid enough I can see it. But it was a $2 million budget! I thought, okay at 2 million bucks this might be an Ed Wood movie.”
As fate would have it, he went to see 1977’s “The Duelists,” for which Ridley Scott unanimously received the award for best first work at the Cannes Film Festival. “I was just blown over by ‘The Duelists,’” noted Skerritt.
“I thought, this is a masterpiece. It’s a painting.