From "Aliens" to "Ghostbusters," Sigourney Weaver knows a thing or two about monsters on the big screen.
That theme continues in her latest thriller, "The Village," about a small community that is forced to confront the evil that lies in a nearby forest.
In M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, the fear of the creatures in the woods, or "Those We Don't Speak Of" as they are referred to, threaten the community and the safety of its children.
Weaver explains, "It's about these peaceful loving people living in an isolated village and they have a kind of truce with whatever lives in the woods. They don't go to the woods and these creatures don't come to our village. And my son goes into the woods and sets off a spiral of events, which turn into such an amazing movie, including actually a very, very romantic love story."
Despite the advice of his elders, a curious and determined Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) has a burning desire to step beyond the boundaries of the town into the unknown. Town leader Edward Walker (William Hurt) warns Lucius of the danger at the town's outskirts, and Lucius' mother, Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver), advises him to stay at home and spare himself knowledge of the greed and desires that exist in the outside world.
When she first read the script, Weaver tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith she had terrible nightmares.
"I was not allowed to talk to anyone about it," she says. "I think it really got into my subconscious, just the vulnerability of these people and their situation, how much I wanted them to be all right. You know? But then once I was able to discuss it with my fellow actors, I felt much better."
To prepare for her role she had to learn how to live in the 1890s. She says, "We learned how to introduce a field. We learned how to trim sheep. And I'm a little more handy now than I used to be! Not much, frankly! But a little more."
On a personal level, Weaver recently said she would rather have one child than 50 Oscars, as opposed to Katherine Hepburn, who said she could never have kids.
To Smith, Weaver says, "I'm sorry that she had to make a choice like that. It's hard to balance everything, but certainly having a family is the most wonderful thing. It clues you into the rest of life and I think it's extremely valuable in every way."
Some Facts About Sigourney Weaver
- Born Susan Alexandra Weaver in New York City on Oct. 8, 1949
- She began using the name Sigourney (after a character mentioned in "The Great Gatsby") around the year 1963
- Weaver made an early stage appearances in Southbury, Conn., in 1965
- In 1971, Weaver attended Stanford then moved to Israel and lived on a kibbutz; she returned to the U.S. and enrolled at Yale
- In 1974, Weaver appeared with Meryl Streep in the chorus of the Stephen Sondheim adaptation of "The Frogs," which was performed at Yale; she made her Broadway debut (as understudy) in "The Constant Wife"; and she made her Off-Broadway debut in Christopher Durang's "The Nature and Purpose of the Universe"
- In 1977, Weaver had bit part as Woody Allen's movie date in "Annie Hall"
- In 1979, Weaver became an action hero in "Alien"
- In 1982, the actress co-starred opposite Mel Gibson in Peter Weir's "The Year of Living Dangerously"
- In 1984, Weaver played Dana Barrett in the blockbuster comedy "Ghostbusters"; earned Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress for the production of David Rabe's "Hurlyburly"
- In 1986, Weaver was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for reprising her role as Ripley in "Aliens"
- In 1988, Weaver received two Oscar nominations, as Best Actress for "Gorillas in the Mist" and as Best Supporting Actress for "Working Girl"
- In 1989, Weaver reprised her role in "Ghostbusters II"
- In 1992, she again reprised Ripley in "Alien3" and Weaver made her producer debut
- In 1993, Weaver had her first onscreen teaming with Kevin Kline in "Dave"; Formed Goat Cay Productions
- In 1995, Weaver appeared as an agoraphobic psychologist in "Copycat"
- In 1996, returned to Broadway as the star of Christopher Durang's "Sex and Longing"
- In 1997, played a clone of Ripley in "Alien Resurrection"; re-teamed with Kline in Ang Lee's mood piece "The Ice Storm"; Weaver made her television-movie acting debut as Claudia, the wicked stepmother, in "Snow White: A Tale of Terror"
- In 1999, Weaver received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; teamed with Julianne Moore for the screen version of the novel "A Map of the World"
- In 2001, Weaver had a featured role in "Company Man"; Weaver with Jennifer Love Hewitt played a mother-daughter con woman team in "Heartbreakers"; returned to the New York stage in "The Guys"
- In 2002, Weaver played Eve, a woman whose 16-year-old stepson falls in love with her, in "Tadpole."
- In 2003, she portrayed a New Yorker who helps a fire captain construct eulogies for his fallen men in "The Guys," a film that fed off the Sept. 11 tragedy. She also appeared as the warden in the teen feature "Holes."