Aliens is one of the greatest movies of all time, full stop, and one of the parts that makes everything flow together is Carrie Henn’s performance as the scared, lone child survivor Newt. Henn made the character feel real as if she was a real survivor of the terrible xenomorph slaughter. So with Aliens as a strong debut, where did Henn go?
Born in England in 1976 to a father in the US Air Force and her British mother, a nurse. She would be the youngest of the family, with brother Christopher being the oldest and also featuring as Newt’s older brother in the Special Edition of Aliens.
While the family would move around a few times due to her father’s job, eventually they would end up in London which is where Carrie Henn auditioned for a new film from the up-and-coming director of a breakout movie called The Terminator.
James Cameron found Henn while auditioning kids in London for the part of Newt, eventually finding his perfect fit in Carrie Henn and her brother Christopher. A child with no acting experience at all was about to star in one of the greatest and most groundbreaking films ever made.
Henn’s presence on set would lead to several stories from cast and crew, with Bill Paxton frequently apologizing to her and her parents for swearing in front of Carrie. Considering James Cameron’s perfectionism for takes and Hudson has over two-thirds of the film’s f-bombs, there was probably a large amount of apologizing done.
Kids Will Be Kids
Carrie Henn herself would often mess up takes on purpose, particularly the scene of Ripley and Newt sliding down the vent, with Henn preferring to keep using it as a slide instead of finishing the scene. James Cameron knows how to talk to child actors though, and let her play on the slide as much as she wanted once they finished the scene.l
With how terrifying it must be as a kid seeing all the xenomorph puppets and costumes around the set, Carrie Henn was surprisingly relaxed about it all. She was mostly unfazed and reportedly laughed quite a bit at the xenomorphs as they moved around the set, making jokes with the rest of the cast. Cameron and Sigourney Weaver would praise her on and off camera as a professional at such a young age.
Aliens would release and change things for action, sci-fi, and horror all at once with the unique blend of all three with a strong heroine and mostly likable cast (Burke deserved worse than what he got). Carrie Henn would make waves with her performance, being hailed as a fantastic and believable child actor able to stand toe-to-toe with Weaver.
What did she do after Aliens?
Despite the praise and end of the movie leaving the door open for her return, Henn would go back to finish school instead. While it was a bit of a surprise for her when she found out Newt would be killed in the opening of Alien 3, she didn’t take it too hard. Probably for the best, considering the untethered chaos that the Alien 3 production was.
Henn would graduate high school in 1994, and quickly go on to start college at California State University. She would study liberal arts, eventually getting her bachelor’s degree and becoming an elementary school teacher. Her personal life has been quiet since, with a marriage to her former classmate Nathan Kutcher in 2005 being followed by their first child not long after.
What is Carrie Henn doing now?
While she has lent her voice to a cartoon miniseries and is supposed to appear in an upcoming sci-fi indie called Triborn, Carrie Henn mostly keeps out of the limelight, preferring to spend her days teaching elementary school classes and raising her family. She still occasionally shows up in documentaries or conventions to speak about Aliens, and will usually answer any questions on her Twitter as well.
Maybe we’ll eventually get the scrapped Alien movie Neill Blomkamp wrote that disregards Alien 3 and Resurrection, giving some real closure for characters like Ripley, Newt, Hicks, and Bishop instead of the chaotic ball of ideas we’ve had so far. Sure, it’s doubtful, but in a post-Halloween 2018 world, anything could be possible.
We’re getting a direct Exorcist sequel fifty years later involving some much older cast members, so getting Carrie Henn back to play Newt couldn’t be too much of a stretch. If it happens, the actress seems like she would be up for the challenge.