Interview: Taylor Lyons On Her Breakout Role In ‘Alien: Alone’

Taylor Lyons is the lead star of Alien: Alone, one of six short films released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien.

As she continues to win widespread acclaim for this impressive breakout performance, Taylor joins us on Close-up Culture to chat about the project, working with special effects, and her acting journey so far .

Q: ‘Alien: Alone’ and your performance has been receiving rave reviews. How special has it been to be part of this incredible franchise?

A: It has been such an honour and privilege to be a part of this project. I have just been blown away by all the kind feedback we’ve been getting, and just so blessed to have people reach out to me on my social media to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed it. That means they liked it so much to actually make an effort to speak to me about it, and I keep trying to let them know how much their feedback means to me; but I can’t ever seem to find words that fully explain how I feel.

This has been by far the biggest exposure I’ve had with any project, and its just such a cool experience to have.

Q: I loved the unique perspective and spin the short puts on the Alien universe. What did you make of this story and Noah Miller’s vision for it?

A: I loved the it! AI is a very tricky thing for anyone to predict (as we’ve seen with Google’s experiments). So to have the perspective of the synthetic be the primary plot, we get to see the reason why one would turn. I’ve had people say it “explains” David in Covenant for them. Left alone for a long time with the only other living organism being the alien species, you tend to become attached-especially since they won’t eat you.

Q: The short sees you follow in the footsteps of Ian Holm and Michael Fassbender in playing an android character. What was your approach to the character? Did you watch Michael and Ian to prepare?

A: I definitely watched all the films multiple times, but I think I watched Alien: Covenant the most. The contrasting robot styles Fassbender portrayed were exactly what I wanted to see. A more emotionally evolved robot and a basic protocol robot side by side helped me see what types of expressions would be too much – especially since my personality is supposed to be closer to a mix of Ian Holm’s Ash and Fassbender’s Walter.

Q: As with any Alien project, the film has remarkable detail and special effects. What was it like being on this kind of set and working closely with a facehugger? Any fun stories to share?

A: Working with the face hugger was my favourite part. The practical effects group/creators of our facehugger, Raptor House FX, was just phenomenal and so fun to work with. We first met at a rehearsal where we went through some basic blocking and handling of the animatronic – which had not been fully “skinned” (you can see some BTS footage on my Instagram @tayllyo and theirs @raptorhousefx).

We had two face huggers to work with, an animatronic and a posable. I definitely played with the posable one more and wanted to take her home because she was so cute, and I definitely got attached, but alas, she is now in a loving home elsewhere.

Q: The Otranto spacecraft is a long way from North Carolina. How do you reflect upon your upbringing and your journey to this point?

A: I grew up in a small Andy Griffith/Mayberry-esque town going to small schools and I have to say, the things that have happened in my life’s journey didn’t ever really cross my mind when I was growing up.

Of course, I always wanted to be an actress or at least be like the ladies I saw on TV, but it’s almost mind-blowing to look back on what I thought of how movies worked when I was child to now actually doing them, worlds of difference.

Q: I was impressed and intrigued to see you spent time training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. What are your memories of your time spent in the UK? Do you have plans to come back here to work in the future?

A: I loved living in the UK. I still keep in touch with the people in my class – they are all such wonderful, talented people themselves – and watch all the shows I got addicted to, like Four in a Bed. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be in a BBC series like Pride and Prejudice or Downtown Abbey; a far cry from Alien and the sci-fi genre, but I’m hoping that is somewhere in the near future!

Q: I imagine it will take something special to top this incredible Alien project. What type of role/project would you love to be involved in next?

A: OH yes, definitely one of the best set experiences I have ever had. Everyone was so cool and fun to work with, and just really loved what they were doing; which I think it shows in the film. The whole goal was to make it look contemporary to the original Alien, and they just knocked it out of the park.

I would love to be able to be a part of more action/science fiction type films. I am currently at a beginner level in some MMA training and hope that will come in handy for future roles! And of course, as stated before, ALL the time period BBC series.

Q: What is next for you? Any plans or ambitions to share with us?

A: I am actually flying out to the East Coast to film a really cute horse film for the summer! They are having me train on some riding stunts, so I’m very excited to be able to add that skill to my belt! Ideally, we will add in that scene from Cradle of Life and then it will become it’s own sci-fi action film (just kidding, that wouldn’t work with the story arc, but a girl can dream!)

I’ve been able to meet some stellar people this past year through Alien and just being open to new experiences, so my hope for the future is to just create and be a part of great film projects that can really inspire people to be the best they can be and just be adventurous!

Check out the 1st episode of the Close-up Culture Podcast


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