Ridley Scott -
Genius direction - if you want to punch up a story, he's your
Scott directed several of our favourite movies including Alien.
To our mind he is a genius of the silver screen - no less. The movies that
Alien spawned weren't that bad either. In
particular, Alien 2 and Aliens vs Predators. The others were not
up to par (sorry Ridley). But we should not forget that Mr Scott
also directed Blade Runner, Hannibal and Gladiator: masterpieces
Prometheus, Mr Scott's
2012 big budget movie is (in our opinion) not in the same
league. One cannot fault the technical and digital artwork, but
the plot is a mess, with several inconsistencies. It lacks
originality and debases the original Alien movie. Once again,
that is just our opinion. having said that, it is still an
entertaining film. With Charlize
Theron and Michael Fassbender in the leading roles, the
movie is sure to do reasonably well.
Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer. Following his commercial breakthrough with Alien (1979), his best-known works are sci-fi classic Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), best picture Oscar-winner Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Matchstick Men (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Robin Hood (2010), and Prometheus (2012).
Scott is known for his atmospheric, highly concentrated visual style, which has influenced many directors. Though his films range widely in setting and period, they frequently showcase memorable imagery of urban environments, whether 2nd century Rome (Gladiator), 12th century Jerusalem (Kingdom of Heaven), contemporary Osaka (Black Rain) or Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down), or the future cityscapes of Blade Runner. Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing (for Thelma and Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down), plus two Golden Globe and two BAFTA Awards. In 2003, Scott was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for his "services to the British film industry." He is the elder brother of the late Tony Scott.
Early life and career
Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in the North East Tyneside coastal town of South Shields, England, the son of Elizabeth and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. He was raised in an Army family, so for most of his early life, his father — an officer in the Royal Engineers — was absent. His elder brother, Frank, joined the Merchant Navy when he was still young and the pair had little contact. During this time the family moved around, living in (among other areas) Cumbria, Wales and Germany. He had a younger brother, Tony, who also became a film director. After the Second World War, the Scott family moved back to their native North East England, eventually settling in Teesside (whose industrial landscape would later inspire similar scenes in Blade Runner), where he studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a Diploma in Design.
Scott went on to study at the Royal College of Art, contributing to college magazine ARK and helping to establish the college film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, Boy and Bicycle, starring both his younger brother and his father (the film was later released on the 'Extras' section of The Duellists DVD). In February 1963 named in title credits as "Designer" for BBC television Tonight programme about the severe winter of 1963. After graduation in 1963, Scott secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series Z-Cars and science fiction series Out of the Unknown. He was originally assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the famous alien creatures. However, shortly before Scott was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced on the serial by Raymond Cusick. In 1965, he began directing episodes of television series for the BBC, only one of which, an episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, is available commercially. (He directed two others, but these have been wiped.)
In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company. Working alongside Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson, and cinematographer Hugh Johnson Ridley Scott made many commercials at RSA during the 1970s, including a notable 1974 Hovis advert, "Bike Round" (featuring the New World Symphony), filmed in Shaftesbury, Dorset.
Five members of the Scott family are directors, and all have worked for RSA. His brother Tony was a successful film director whose career spanned more than two decades; sons, Jake and Luke are both acclaimed commercials directors as is his daughter, Jordan Scott. Jake and Jordan both work from Los Angeles; Luke is based in London. In 1995, Shepperton Studios was purchased by a consortium headed by Ridley and Tony Scott, which extensively renovated the studios while also expanding and improving its grounds.
Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender promoting the film at WonderCon in March
The Duellists (1977) marked Ridley Scott's first feature as director. Shot in Europe, it was nominated for the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and won an award for best film. The Duellists had limited commercial impact internationally. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it follows two French Hussar officers, D'Hubert and Feraud (Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel) whose quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter extended feud spanning fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. The film has been acclaimed for providing a historically authentic portrayal of
Napoleonic uniforms and military conduct.
Scott had originally planned to next adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing
Star Wars, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He accepted the job of directing Alien, the 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would win him international success.
Scott would not return to an Alien-related project for three more decades, when he directed Prometheus. The female action hero Ellen Ripley (played by
Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon. Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the original film. In promotional interviews at the time, Scott indicated he had been in discussions to make a fifth film in the Alien franchise. However, in a later (2006) interview, the director remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director's Cut, feeling that the original was "pretty flawless" and that the additions were merely a marketing tool.
After a year working on the film adaptation of Dune, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Starring Harrison Ford, Blade Runner was a commercial disappointment in theatres in 1982, but is now regarded as a classic. In 1991 Scott's notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed director's cut which removed the voiceovers originally added at the request of worried executives before the film's release, and made a number of other small changes, including to the ending. Later Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved the so-called Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release in December 2007. Today, Blade Runner is ranked by many critics as one of the most important and influential science fiction films yet made, partly thanks to its much imitated portraits of a future cityscape. It is often discussed along with William Gibson's novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott has described Blade Runner as his "most complete and personal film".
"1984" Apple Macintosh commercial
In 1984 Scott directed a big-budget (US $900,000) television commercial to launch the Apple Macintosh computer. The so-called 1984 advertisement was given a showcase airing in the United States on 22 January 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, alongside screenings in movie theatres. Some consider this advertisement a "watershed event" in advertising and a "masterpiece". The advertisement used its heroine (portrayed by Anya Major) to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top adorned with a picture of Apple’s Macintosh computer) as a means of saving
humanity from "conformity" (Big Brother).
In 1985 Scott directed Legend, a fantasy film produced by Arnon Milchan. Scott decided to create a "once upon a time" tale set in a world of princesses, unicorns and goblins, filming almost entirely inside the studio. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film's hero, Jack, Mia Sara as Princess Lili, and Tim Curry as the Satan-horned Lord of Darkness. In the final stages of filming, the forest set was destroyed by fire; Jerry Goldsmith's original score was used for European release, but replaced in North America with a score by Tangerine Dream. Rob Bottin provided the film's
Academy Award-nominated make-up effects, most notably Curry's red-coloured Satan figure. Though a major commercial failure on release, some argue the film has gone on to become a cult favourite. The 2002 Director’s Cut restored Goldsmith's original score.
Scott made Someone to Watch Over Me, a romantic thriller starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers in 1987, and Black Rain (1989), a police drama starring
Michael Douglas and Andy García, shot partially in
Japan. Both achieved mild success at the box office.
Road film Thelma & Louise (1991) starring Geena Davis as Thelma, and Susan Sarandon as Louise, proved to be one of Scott's biggest critical successes, helping revive the director's reputation and receiving his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. His next project, independently-funded historical epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, was a box office failure. The film recounts the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus (French star Gerard Depardieu). Scott did not release another film for four years.
In 1995 Ridley and his brother Tony formed a production company, Scott Free Productions, in
Los Angeles. All Ridley's subsequent feature films, starting with White Squall and G.I. Jane have been produced under the Scott Free banner. In 1995 the two brothers purchased a controlling interest in Shepperton Studios, which later merged with Pinewood Studios.
Scott and his brother have produced CBS series Numb3rs (2005–2010), a crime drama about a genius mathematician who helps the
FBI solve crimes, and The Good Wife (2009–), a legal drama about an attorney balancing her job with her husband, a former state attorney trying to rebuild his political career after a major scandal. The two Scotts also produced a 2010 film adaptation of 1980s television show The A-Team, directed by Joe Carnahan.
Scott's film Gladiator (2000) proved to be one of his biggest commercial successes to date. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, for the film's star Russell Crowe. Some have credited Gladiator with reviving the nearly defunct "sword and sandal" historical genre. Scott then turned to Hannibal (2001), a critically panned but commercially successful sequel to Jonathan Demme's The
Silence of the
Lambs, and then Black Hawk Down, based on a group of stranded American soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia. Scott received two more nominations for the Academy Award for Best Director for Gladiator and Black Hawk Down.
In 2003 Scott directed a smaller scale project, Matchstick Men, adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It received mostly positive reviews, but performed moderately at the box office. In 2005 he made the modestly successful Kingdom of Heaven, a movie about the Crusades. The Moroccan government sent the Moroccan cavalry as extras for some battle scenes.
Unhappy with the theatrical version of the film (which he blamed on paying too much attention to the opinions of preview audiences), Scott supervised a director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven, which was released on DVD in 2006. Asked if he was against previewing in general in 2006, Scott stated: "It depends who's in the driving seat. If you've got a lunatic doing my job, then you need to preview. But a good director should be experienced enough to judge what he thinks is the correct version to go out into the cinema."
Scott teamed up again with Gladiator star Russell Crowe, for A Good Year, based on the best-selling book by Peter Mayle about an investment banker who finds a new life in Provence. The film was released on 10 November 2006. A few days later Rupert Murdoch, chairman of studio 20th Century Fox (who backed the film) dismissed A Good Year as "a flop" at a shareholders' meeting.
Scott's next film was American Gangster, based on the story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas. He was the third director to join the project after Antoine Fuqua and Terry George. Denzel Washington and Benicio del Toro had initially been cast, both actors having been paid salaries of $20 m and $15 m respectively without the film having gone into production. Scott took over the project in early 2006. He had Steven Zaillian rewrite his script to focus on the dynamic between Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts. Washington signed back on to the project as Lucas, with Russell Crowe co-starring. The film finally premiered in November 2007 to positive reviews and good box office. In late 2008 Scott released espionage thriller Body of Lies starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Crowe once again, which opened to luke-warm ticket-sales and mixed reviews.
Scott directed a revisionist adaptation of Robin Hood, which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian. It was released in the United States in May 2010 to mixed reviews, but respectable box-office.
On 31 July 2009, news surfaced of a two part prequel to Alien with Scott attached to direct. The project, ultimately reduced to a single film called Prometheus, which Scott described as sharing "strands of Alien's DNA" while not being a direct prequel, was released in June 2012.
On 6 July 2010, YouTube announced the launch of Life In A Day, an experimental documentary executive produced by Scott. Released at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2011, it incorporates footage shot on 24 July 2010 submitted by YouTube users from around the world.
In 2012, Ridley Scott produced the commercial for Lady Gaga's upcoming fragrance, "Fame." It has been touted as the first ever black Eau de Parfum. This was announced in the informal credits attached to the trailer for this advertisement.
As of February 2012, Ridley Scott was discussing a project based on a screenplay called The Counselor by author Cormac McCarthy. The film began principal photography on 27 July 2012, in London, United Kingdom. It is set to be released in 2013 in the United States and Canada by 20th Century Fox.
In November 2012 it was announced that Scott would produce the upcoming documentary, Springsteen & I which will be directed by Baillie Walsh and was inspired by Life in a Day, which Scott also produced. The film will feature fan footage from throughout the world on what musician Bruce Springsteen means to them and how he has impacted their lives. The film is due for release in 2013.
- June 8th 2012
In April 2008, Scott announced project The Kind One, a period drama supposedly set for release in 2012. The film was set to star Casey Affleck. It was based on the novel by screenwriter Tom Epperson.
On October 2008, Scott confirmed that after a 25-year wait for the rights to become available, he was to make an adaptation of the book The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. He was looking for a script writer.
The following March, he confirmed that the film would be in 3D, citing James Cameron's Avatar as an inspiration for this. "I'm filming a book by Joe Haldeman called Forever War. I've got a good writer doing it. I've seen some of James Cameron's work and I've got to go 3D. It's going to be phenomenal." Another science fiction project associated with Scott is an adaptation of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, with Leonardo DiCaprio potentially involved.
In August 2011, information leaked about production of a sequel to Blade Runner by Alcon Entertainment, with Alcon partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Earlier (in 2009) Scott had stated that he would direct a film adaptation of the Red Riding trilogy.
In January 2013, Scott acquired the rights to produce a film adaptation of Matt Kindt's Dark Horse comic book, MIND MGMT with Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg.
Ridley Scott was married to Felicity Heywood from 1964 to 1975. The couple had two sons, Jake and Luke, both of whom work as directors on Scott's production company Ridley Scott Associates. Scott later married advertising executive Sandy Watson in 1979, with whom he had a daughter, Jordan Scott, and divorced in 1989. His current partner is the actress Giannina Facio, whom he has cast in all his movies since White Squall except American Gangster." He divides his time between homes in
London, France, and Los Angeles.
Scott received a knighthood in honor of his substantial contribution to the British film industry, from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 8 July 2003. Scott admitted feeling "stunned and truly humbled" after the ceremony, saying, "As a boy growing up in South Shields, I could never have imagined that I would receive such a special recognition. I am truly humbled to receive this treasured award and believe it also further recognises the excellence of the British film industry."
His brother Tony, who was also his business partner in their company Scott Free, died on 19 August 2012 after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge which spans Los Angeles Harbor. Before Tony's death, the brothers collaborated on a
mini-series based on Robin Cook's novel, Coma for A&E. The two-part
mini-series premiered on A&E on 3 September 2012, to positive reviews.
This was a tragedy, both for Ridley and the film industry. We
offer our sincere condolences.
Approach and style
Russell Crowe commented, "I like being on Ridley's set because actors can perform [...] and the focus is on the
performers." Paul M. Sammon, in his book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, commented in an interview with Brmovie.com that Scott's relationship with his actors has improved considerably over the
years. More recently during the filming of Scott's 2012 film, Prometheus, Charlize Theron praised the director's willingness to listen to suggestions from the cast for improvements in the way their characters are portrayed on script. Theron worked alongside the writers and Scott to give more depth to her character during filming.
His striking visual style, incorporating a detailed approach to production design and innovative, atmospheric lighting, has been influential on a subsequent generation of filmmakers — many of whom have imitated his style. Scott commonly uses slow pacing until the action sequences. Examples include Alien and Blade Runner; the LA Times critic Sheila Benson, for example, would call the latter "Blade Crawler" "because it's so damn slow". Another technique he employs is use of sound or music to build tension, as heard in Alien, with hissing steam, beeping computers and the noise of the machinery in the space ship.
Scott has developed a method for filming intricate shots as swiftly as possible: "I like working, always, with a minimum of three cameras. [...] So those 50 set-ups [a day] might only be 25 set-ups except I'm covering in the set-up. So you're finished. I mean, if you take a little bit more time to prep on three cameras, or if it's a big stunt, eleven cameras, and — whilst it may take 45 minutes to set up — then when you're ready you say 'Action!', and you do three takes, two takes and is everybody happy? You say, 'Yeah, that's it.' So you move on."
Scott seems to use extreme levels of lighting in his films. "Bladerunner" is, for the most part, dark and dingy, whereas "Thelma Louise," for the most part, is bright, sunny and happy.
Strong female characters.
Some of his movies feature strong conflicts between father and son that usually end with the latter killing the former (Blade Runner, Gladiator) or witnessing the event (Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood). The Lord of Darkness in Legend also mentions his "father" on a few occasions. As part of the conflict between father and son there are some repetitive scenes: in Gladiator, the son hugs the father seemingly as an expression of love but this embrace turns into the suffocation and death of the father. There is a similar sequence in Blade Runner. In "Prometheus" the character David says "Doesn't everyone want their parents dead?"
Scott utilises cityscapes as an emphasis to his storytelling (e.g., a futuristic Los Angeles in Blade Runner, Osaka in Black Rain, Jerusalem in Kingdom of Heaven).
In Gladiator, Blade Runner and Kingdom of Heaven, a son gets to know his father when he is grown up. Other common elements are that the mother is not seen, and that the son or father is seen performing his last actions. For example, Roy Batty is dying when he saves Deckard, Maximus dies after killing Commodus and Godfrey of Ibelin kills some enemies after he has been mortally wounded by an arrow. In addition, the hero is saved from death before attaining his greatest deeds: Deckard is saved by Rachel, Maximus is saved by a slave and Balian is saved by a Muslim enemy. Similar situations can be seen in Tony Scott's Man on Fire.
Military and officer classes as characters reflecting his father's career, such as in G.I. Jane, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood and Prometheus.
Ridley storyboards his films extensively, an Alfred Hitchcock
habit. These illustrations, when made by himself, have been referred to as "Ridleygrams" in DVD releases.
Scott was once known for requesting a great many takes. This was evident on Blade Runner: the crew nicknamed the movie "Blood Runner" because of this.
He often makes use of classical music (the Hovis advertisements, Someone to Watch Over Me).
Extensive use of smoke and other atmospheres (in Alien, Blade Runner and Black Rain), plus fans and fan-like objects (Blade Runner, Black Rain and the large Boeing jet engines in the 1984 TV advertisement). Fans are also used in Hannibal, for symbolic purposes.
Consistency in his choice of composers, using Jerry Goldsmith (Alien and Legend), Vangelis (Blade Runner and 1492: Conquest of Paradise), Hans Zimmer (Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down and Matchstick Men) or Marc Streitenfeld (A Good Year, American Gangster, Body of Lies, Robin Hood and Prometheus). Scott has also twice used songs by Sting during the film credits ("Valparaiso" for White Squall and "Someone to Watch Over Me" for the movie of the same title).
DVD format and director's cut
Scott is known for his enthusiasm for the DVD format, providing audio commentaries and interviews for all his films where possible. In the July 2006 issue of Total Film magazine, he stated: "After all the work we go through, to have it run in the cinema and then disappear forever is a great pity. To give the film added life is really cool for both those who missed it and those who really loved
Running alongside his enthusiasm for DVD, Scott is sometimes considered the "father" of the director's cut, though the impetus to produce such versions has sometimes begun with other parties. The positive reaction to the Blade Runner Director's Cut encouraged Scott to re-cut several movies that were a disappointment at the time of their release (including Legend and Kingdom of Heaven). Today the practice of alternative cuts is more commonplace, though often as a way to make a film stand out in the DVD marketplace by adding new material.
to Watch Over Me
Conquest of Paradise
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modern adventure story by Jameson Hunter
technology to mankind that changes things
- due to be
released in 2015 as an