Interviews & Profiles

Queen of everything: Sigourney Weaver

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Hollywood legend Sigourney Weaver, 62, would rule from her greenhouse, protecting the oceans and reaching out to aliens…

Firstly, as Queen I must ask, will the real Queen mind? Because this is an offer I can’t refuse! My English mother [actress Elizabeth Inglis] would be so excited if she knew. I had no idea when I woke up this morning that I would get to be Queen for a bit.

I’d transform schools so they involve more time outdoors, taking care of gardens and growing things. My favourite class growing up was in a greenhouse where we grew seedlings and dissected things. We had so much freedom to wander around, which I’m not sure children have today. I’d let children run around and get into mischief outdoors, because nature is something many children are not able to enjoy.

I would take care of the planet’s oceans. I’m very concerned about this. The oceans are being hammered and we are in danger of losing our marine friends, through bottomtrawling, net fishing… There is so much we can do, we just need to agree that climate change is a reality – which in my country is apparently a problem for people.

I would rule alone. I’d have advisors of both sexes, but it’s time for women to have a chance. I think we do things differently: we lead in a more inclusive way that’s not about intimidation, but about team-building, so I would be a very democratic Queen. You have so many women leaders in your country. I just met Baroness Kennedy, of the House Of Lords – what an incredible woman and leader she is. Fantastic.

I’d bring back The Mary Poppins Cookbook. It was my favourite. It’s one ludicrous tea-time snack after another, from bread and butter pudding to all kinds of things I don’t eat in the US, like bangers and mash, Welsh rarebit and what’s that other one? Kedgeree. It’s gross, very cat-food like. I’d bring back all of Mary Poppins’ food, except kedgeree.

As Queen, I’ll keep my day job. Because I adore it, and I learn a lot. When I did Red Lights, with brilliant Spanish director, Rodrigo Cortés, I play an expert in paranormal activity and I go around de-bunking séances with actor Cillian Murphy. I had no idea that psychic entertainment was such a huge business, it’s interesting stuff. When I work, I get to travel to so many places – we shot in Barcelona – and do such interesting material, it’s the best job in the world. I feel very fortunate.

I’d send out an intergalactic invitation to other species. I guarantee they would not be like the aliens in the movies I did. I think if they can get here, they could be charming. Stephen Hawking said aliens would be coming for our resources. Well, I don’t know what planet he’s talking about, we don’t have any resources to give them! We’re plundering our own planet. Unless garbage and plastic is something they need, in which case, we could work out a good deal.

I’d encourage people to see fringe theatre, in an intimate space. Something happens watching a live show, it’s an ancient ritual of coming together and watching a story played out in front of you. I recently saw all of Sophocles’ plays in one sitting – These Seven Sicknesses. It had incest, matricide and patricide, then nurses come in singing and give you a glass of wine. When Oedipus hands you a red velvet cupcake after five hours of Sophocles, it’s meaningful. So put theatre on your shortlist of fabulous things to do.

I’d become invisible. It would be so nice to walk through the city and not be recognised. I’m grateful for my career, and that people enjoy my work, but it would be nice if photographers respected your privacy, as they used to. It has become a big business, one I don’t think the public supports. People understand we need to do human things in a normal way. I’m lucky: where I live in Philadelphia, nobody pays me any attention, but I feel sorry for celebrities who live in Los Angeles.

As Queen Sigourney, I’d like people to know I’m very friendly. Most actors are shy, and we find it a solace to become other people. I’m friendly though, and that might be a surprise because I’ve played a lot of stern characters, but that’s such a joke because I’m a pussycat!

I’d banish bigotry, which I can’t bear. I would exhort people to recognise the humanity in each other. I think the aliens arriving would actually bring ‘earthlings’ together because we would all realise, whether we are Muslims or Christians, Republicans or Democrats, Labour or Tory, that we all have one head, two arms, two legs and no tail, so we should all get along. That’s my decree! Then we’ll give the aliens the Mary Poppins Cookbook and they’ll go back happy.

Sigourney Weaver's new film Red Lights is in cinemas nationwide from 15 June