The Space Jockey.
So, this is the very excellent story Shadowplayer Paul Duane told me about ALIEN. Hope it’s true.
According to the story, ALIEN, although a relatively big movie, had a tight budget, which seemed to spell disaster when somebody in the design department made a slip-up. Either the plans for the alien planet were misread, or they contained a misprint, but anyhow the sets were constructed at about a third of the intended size. Picture the mini-Stonehenge in THIS IS SPINAL TAP.
Ridley Scott was apoplectic. In space, they may not be able to hear you scream, but you could hear Ridley swearing all over Pinewood. It was like the miniature stonehenge in SPINAL TAP. Useless. And already built — there wasn’t the money to make them over.
“We are fucked!” screamed Scott.
An assistant art director art department runner did some quick thinking. “Waitaminute, waitaminute…”
“They’re in space suits, right?” offered the assistant.
Scott swore some more. What was the man blithering about?
“So, couldn’t we get… midgets?”
And indeed, it was cheaper to hire a few little people, and build some smaller spacesuits, than to reconstruct all the sets.
Seems reasonable. Paul also noted that the assistant art director, or whoever it was, followed Scott onto subsequent projects and was promoted. He earned it.