LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 1987:  Actor Lance Henricksen poses for a portrait in October 1987 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Lance Henriksen's Android Performance In Aliens Was Centered On One Simple Philosophy
During Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) first terrifying fight for her life in “Alien,” the space survivor learned that androids weren’t to be trusted. However, its sequel, “Aliens,” introduced Lance Henriksen’s Bishop, an android whom the audience initially doubts due to Ripely’s prejudice but comes to learn is a trustworthy and loyal ally.
Bishop doesn’t favor humans over the dangerous xenomorphs, though, as Henriksen explains, “Anything that’s really organically alive is fascinating to Bishop. There’s no good or evil — just this ultimate respect for anything living.” Henriksen drew inspiration for Bishop from a particular moment in “Mockingbird” by Walter Tevis, where an android is unsure why he knows how to play piano.
The actor said, “That image stuck in my mind, and what it translated to me was that there were feelings that Bishop didn’t understand, like a joke.” Bishop was subject to a kind of xenophobia where he is “alien to anything alive” — Henriksen also likened the android’s perspective to that of a child, adding, “I felt that he was only 10 years old … so gave him the emotional life of a 14-year-old.”