Katherine Waterston drew inspiration from a meeting with Sigourney Weaver when she landed her role in 'Alien: Covenant'.
Waterston, 37, stars alongside Michael Fassbender in the Sir Ridley Scott prequel to the 'Alien' franchise and follows in the footsteps of Weaver, 67, as the tough female lead who must fight the deadly Xenomorph creatures.
Waterston - who plays terraforming expert Daniels - can recall a piece of praise Weaver gave her after watching her perform in a New York play and she thought about that on set when she took on the mantle of iconic big screen hero Ripley.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Waterston said: "Sigourney came to see it and said something like, 'You were good.' Nothing extraordinary. But when someone like her says that, you hang on to it for years. When I got this job, I thought immediately of that moment. I didn't know how I would play it or how I could get there, but that's always the most appealing thing to me. The insecurity is exciting. Maybe I'm also curious about testing my ability. Seeing if it's still there."
Many fans have likened Waterston's alter ego Daniels to Ripley, who battled the acid-blooded monsters in four films.
The new prequel, following the events of 2012's 'Prometheus', is set 20-plus years before 1979's 'Alien' and is the second major franchise Waterston has joined following her pivotal role in the 'Harry Potter' spin-off 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'.
Although she is delighted to be landing work in high-profile films, Waterson yearns for the 'Golden Age of Hollywood' from the 1920s to the 1960s when actors were contracted to specific studios.
She said: "Acting is a community where you come in and out of each other's lives. I'm slightly envious of the golden age of Hollywood. It must have been frustrating to be owned by the studio but it was also like being in a company, working with the same people, and that appeals to me."