Peter Cavaciuti - Stedicam Operator

Peter Cavaciuti's feature film credits include Highlander (1985) (he shot dailies for the Nazi scene and some of the final fight), Rob Roy (1995), The Saint (1997), The Full Monty (1997), Kundun (1997), Lost in Space (1998) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). For his full credits see Peter Cavaciuti's Internet Movie Database entry. I talked to him about his time on Aliens in late 1997. Donít read too much into his descriptions of the scenes he shot, he probably hasnít seen the movie fifty gazillion times like the rest of us!

Q: Did you shoot 1st or 2nd unit on Aliens?
PC: I shot just first unit, mainly under the alien ship (= atmosphere processor). That was all done outside the studio at Acton.

Q: Acton Power Station?
PC: Yeah.

Q: Were you aware of the Asbestos problem?
PC: No

Q: What scenes exactly did you shoot?
PC: I did the marines entering the egg chamber and Ripleys running from the queen, to the lift shaft. I remember it was very tight in there, I was constantly bashing my shoulder on the valves in the station. There was also alot of goo being splashed around, real messy.

Q: Were there sirens going off, steam and lights flashing? What was that like?
PC: Well, the sirens were added later, what I remember most about the shoot is Sigourneys professionalism. She would go through the marks on her own. She was a complete professional, the way she rehearsed each scene was amazing to watch.

Q: How about at Pinewood, can you remember what you did? Did you do any of the Gateway scenes?
PC: No mainly the egg chamber, under the alien ship.

Q: How many Steadicam operators worked on Aliens?
PC: There were three of us. John Ward started the picture but dropped out and went on to do Full Metal Jacket, the other guy was Jan Pester. He did the scene in the rain, where the marines enter the colony.

Q: Have you worked on any other Sci-fi?
PC: Let me just check my C.V....(pause)...doesnít look like it, oh, wait a minute, how silly of me, I just finished Lost in Space.

Q: At Shepperton? Did you shoot any of the Spider scenes?
PC: I canít really talk about it as its not fair to the director, Stephen Hopkins was a first class director.

Q: One last question, why arenít you listed in the credits, are steadicam ops normally unlisted?
PC: There was alot of prejudice when steadicams were first being introduced, but its becoming more common nowadays. Its down to the producers and what contribution they think you made to their movie.

Q: Thanks for sparing the time to chat with me.
PC: No problem.

Notes: Credits of Jan Pester (Steadicam Operator: Aliens) Jan Pesters feature film credits include Gregory's Girl (1981), The Secret Garden (1993), Just Cause (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Loch Ness (1995), Restoration (1995), Shine (1996) and Fatherland, FairyTale: A True Story (1997), and Merlin (1998)

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