|“|| I'm a moviemaker, not a documentarian. I try to hit the truth.
- Ridley Scott
|Sir Ridley Scott|
|Born:|| 30 November 1937 (age 72)
South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England
|Height:||5' 8½" (1.74 m)|
Sir Ridley Scott was born Ridley Scott on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. He is a English director and producer. Known for his obession for great detail and his visual styles. His brother - Tony Scott is a acclaimed director. His son's Jake and Luke Scott are both acclaimed commercial directors aswell as Jordan Scott, his daughter. He is sometimes considered the "Father" of Director's Cut.
Early Life Edit
Born in South Shields, in Tyne and Wear, England, Scott grew up in an Army family, meaning that for most of his early life his father — an officer in the Royal Engineers — was absent. Ridley's older 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 (amongst other areas) Cumbria, Wales and Germany. 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). He enjoyed watching films, and his favourites include Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane and Seven Samurai. Scott studied in Teesside from 1954 to 1958, at Grangefield Grammar School and later in West Hartlepool College of Art, graduating with a Diploma in Design. He progressed to an M.A. in graphic design at the Royal College of Art from 1960 to 1962.
At the RCA he contributed to the college magazine, 'ARK' and helped to establish its film department. For his final show he made a black and white short film, 'Boy and Bicycle', starring his younger brother, Tony Scott, and his father. The film's main visual elements would become features of Scott's later work; it was issued on the 'Extras' section of 'The Duellists' DVD. After graduation in 1963 he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series 'Z-Cars' and the science fiction series 'Out of the Unknown'. Scott was an admirer of Stanley Kubrick early in his development as a director. For his entry to the BBC traineeship Scott remade 'Paths of Glory' as a short film.
He was assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the famous alien creatures. However, shortly before he was due to start work a schedule conflict meant that he was replaced on the serial by Raymond Cusick. At the BBC, Scott was placed into a director training programme and, before he left the corporation, had directed episodes of Z-Cars, its spin-off, Softly, Softly, and adventure series Adam Adamant Lives!.
In 1968 Ridley Scott and his brother Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company.
Scott left the BBC in 1968 and established a production company, Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), working with Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson, Hugh Johnson and employing his younger brother, Tony. After making television commercials in the UK during the 1970s, including most notably the 1974 Hovis advert, "Bike Round" (New World Symphony), which was filmed in Shaftesbury, Dorset, he moved to Hollywood, where he produced and directed a number of top box office films.
Ridley Scott's first feature film was The Duellists which opened in 1977 to critical acclaim. The Duellists of 1977 was Ridley Scott's first feature film. It was produced in Europe and won a Best Debut Film medal at the Cannes Film Festival but made limited commercial impact in the US. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it featured two French Hussar officers, D'Hubert and Feraud (played by Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel). Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out feud over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. The film is lauded for its historically authentic portrayal of Napoleonic uniforms and military conduct, as well as its accurate early-nineteenth-century fencing techniques recreated by fight choreographer William Hobbs.
Scott's box office disappointment with The Duellists was compounded by the success being enjoyed by Alan Parker with American-backed films — Scott admitted he was "ill for a week" with envy. Scott had originally planned to next adapt an opera, Tristan and Isolde, but after seeing Star Wars, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He therefore accepted the job of directing Alien, the ground-breaking 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would give him international recognition. The film was mostly shot in 1978, but Scott's production design and atmospheric visuals, and the film's emphasis on realism over movie heroics have given Alien almost ageless appeal.
While Scott would not direct the three Alien sequels, the female action hero Ellen Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver, introduced in the first film, would become a cinematic icon. Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the film including media interviews for its promotion. At this time Scott indicated that he had been in discussions to make the fifth and final film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 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 and featuring an acclaimed soundtrack by Vangelis, Blade Runner was a disappointment in theatres in 1982 and was pulled shortly thereafter. Scott's notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed director's cut in 1991 which removed the voiceovers and modified the ending. Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved the Final Cut.
This version which was released in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release on 18 December 2007. Today Blade Runner is often ranked by critics as one of the most important science fiction films of the 20th century and is usually discussed along with William Gibson's novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott regards Blade Runner as his "most complete and personal film".
"1984" Apple Macintosh commercial Edit
In 1984 Scott directed the television commercial 1984, written by Steve Hayden and Lee Clow, produced by Chiat/Day, and starring Anya Major as the unnamed heroine and David Graham as "Big Brother". It was released for a single airing in the United States on 22 January 1984 during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. It introduced the Macintosh for the first time and is now considered a "watershed event" and a "masterpiece".
1984 used the unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top with a Picasso-style picture of Apple’s Macintosh computer on it) as a means of saving humanity from "conformity" (Big Brother).
These images were an allusion to George Orwell's noted novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a fictional "Big Brother". The film 1984 was released a few months later in the same year by director Michael Radford. Though neither of the films are related, they both share the same subject.
In 1985 Scott directed Legend, a fantasy film produced by Arnon Milchan. Having not tackled the fairy tale genre, Scott decided to create a "once upon a time" film set in a world of fairies, princesses, and goblins. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film's hero, Jack, Mia Sara as Princess Lily, and Tim Curry as the Satan-like Lord of Darkness.
But a series of problems with both principal photography, including the destruction of the forest set by fire, and post-production (including heavy editing and substitution of Jerry Goldsmith's original score with a score by Tangerine Dream) hampered the film's release and as a result Legend received scathing reviews. It has since become a cult classic thanks to a DVD release that restores Scott's original, intended vision.
Someone to Watch Over Me Edit
Someone to Watch Over Me is a 1987 film starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers and directed by Ridley Scott. Ridley was ready for a big office hit, but he felt that he was being only seen as a acclaimed commercial director aswell as a science fiction director who had much visuals to share but not enough substance to overcome that of his two prievous films which did not see much acclaim by the press or by the audiences.
Ridley went on to direct Someone to Watch Over Me as a way to show that he could direct other films besides that of fantasy or science fiction. The film was a suspense thriller that fell short on the mark of being what Scott wanted to show. The film did not gain much acclaim and is considered by many a underwelming gem amongst other films directed by Ridley Scott.
Black Rain Edit
Black Rain was a action-thriller film directed by Ridley Scott in 1989. Starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw and Yusaku Matsuda. The story is centered on two New York City police officers who arrest a member of the Yakuza and must escort him back to Japan. Once there, he escapes, and the two police officers find themselves dragged deeper and deeper into the Japanese underworld. This film illustrates the stereotypes of American and Japanese cops and gangsters. The film was nominated for Oscars in Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing.
After the silent box office flop of Someone to Watch Over Me, Ridley hit back with 1989's Black Rain which became a number one at the box office. A worlwide gross of $134.2 Million.
1990's Era Edit
Thelma and Louise Edit
Thelma and Louise was a 1991 American road movie featuring two female leads. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri, the film's plot revolves around Thelma and Louise's escape from their troubled, caged lives. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, and co-stars Harvey Keitel as a sympathetic detective trying to trace them as they go on the run after killing a rapist. Michael Madsen plays the role of Louise's boyfriend. Brad Pitt (in his first significant role in a major Hollywood film) plays a parolee robber.
Thelma & Louise became an instant critical and commercial success, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 1991, and receiving six Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Original Screenplay.
1492: Conquest of Paradise Edit
1492: Conquest of Paradise was released a year later after his succesful hit Thelma & Louise. 1492 was a box office flop. With a budget of 47 Million dollars, it only grossed around 7 Million. With such poor earnings, Ridley would not direct another film for four years.
White Squall Edit
White Squall was the next film for Ridley Scott after his four year hiatus. Released in 1996, the film starred Jeff Bridges the captain of the doomed Albatross. The movie proved that Ridley still had the ability to craft a well meaning film that was no visually stunning with no substance. The film was a sleeper hit with audiences but still was not the big box office hit that Ridley needed.
G.I. Jane Edit
G.I. Jane was released in 1997, a year after the release of White Squall. The film did not break even of it's budget and considered a box office flop. Starring Demi Moore as a female trainee for the Navy SEALs. Alongside with Viggo Mortensen who had prievously worked with Ridley's brother - Tony Scott on Crimson Tide. After the release of this film, Ridley would go on another hiatus to pursue his next project.
2000 - 2009 Edit
After G.I. Jane, Ridley wanted to move on to something that could prove that he was the director everybody pushed over during his 90s era of box office flops which outnumbered his only one hit Thelma & Louise.
Gladiator was released in 2000, starring Russel Crowe who plays a former Roman general who seeks revenge after being force to play gladiator games in the corrupted times of the Roman Empire. The film was a worldwide success, and brought back the sword & sandles genre of films. Grossing of $400+ million, the film also had Hans Zimmer be recognized for his work on the film. Releasing two editions of the soundtrack from the film.
The origins of Hannibal began during the filming of Gladiator, Ridley was approached by De Laurentiis who asked if he could do a follow up sequel to Silence of The Lambs. Ridley agreed to film the picture. Releaed in the following wake of Gladiator. The film was a box office hit but recieved mixed reviews.
Black Hawk Down Edit
Both Hannibal and Black Hawk Down proved 2001 was Ridley's crunch time. Doing two movies side by side aswell as had recently finished up Gladiator showed that the commercial director could handle it all.
Black Hawk Down was written by Mark Bowden as it follows Delta Force and US Rangers into the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. Released in 2001 following Hannibal, it was a box office hit with critics and audiences alike. Grossing $200 Million worldwide, the film went on to become a classic amongst fans of Ridley Scott.
Matchstick Men Edit
The story was of two con artists living in Los Angeles, Californa. When Roy Walter played by Nicholas Cage appeared to have a daughter, he soon finds that she too wants in on the game. The film was a sleeper hit with critics but broke even with the budget.
Kingdom of Heaven Edit
Kingdom of Heaven was released two years after Matchstick Men in 2005. This was Ridley's next epic after Gladiator. Released in theaters with over and hour removed from the theatrical cut, it was shown as somewhat a different movie. The film recieved mixed reviews, breaking even with the gross revenue.
20th Century Fox granted Ridley the ability to create his true version of the film and soon released Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut. The director's cut was released as a 4-disc edition. The film itself ran about 194 minutes and critics had agreed that this version of the film was completely different and alot better than the original.
A Good Year Edit
After Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley teams up with Russel Crowe to release A Good Year in 2006. The film recieved negative reviews, and considered to be a poor job by critics. Barely breaking even with production costs, the DVD sales were at $7 million despite the poor reviews.
American Gangster Edit
Teaming up with Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe in the 2007 crime film - American Gangster. The film proved to be a commercial success with a gross revenue of $266 Million. The film also brought Denzel Washington and Ridley Scott together for the first time, while his brother Tony Scott had worked with Denzel on multiple films. American Gangster was released with a extended version on DVD.
Body of Lies Edit
Body of Lies was released a year later with some lukewarm reviews, teaming up with Russel Crowe once again and having Leonardo DiCaprio as a first time with Ridley Scott. A espionage film in terms of a thriller, the film was considered somewhat of a failure and a success for Ridley. Breaking even with the gross revenue.
2010 & Future Projects Edit
Robin Hood Edit
Robin Hood is the next film to be released by Ridley Scott, starring once again with Russel Crowe, the film is set in England during the times of the Crusades. Part fictional with the tales of Robin Hood and part historical with the era the film is set in. It is to be released in 2010.
The Kind One Edit
The Forever War Edit
Ridley Scott will be returning with not one but three science fiction films. The Forever War, the story is of a interstellar war of the future between humanity and Tauran. Ridley has been trying to get the rights for the film since the early 1980s.
Brave New World Edit
Ridley's second science fiction film to be made, the film is based off of Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World a dystopian tale that has DiCaprio attached with the project.
Unnamed Alien Prequel Edit
20th Century Fox had announced that Ridley is attached with the project of creating a prequel to the Alien series. No known script is in the works, but it is suggested that this might be his next film after The Kind One.
Personal Life Edit
His current partner is the actress Giannina Facio, whom he has cast in all his movies since Gladiator except American Gangster. He divides his time between homes in London, France, and Los Angeles.
Like his brother Tony Scott, he is an avid smoker of Montecristo Cuban cigars.
His mother had passed away earlier in 2000 and dedicated his film Black Hawk Down to his mother. Tony Scott had dedicated Spy Game to her aswell.
Scott went to West Hartlepool College of Art; Royal College of Art in London, England (Graduated with a B.A. from the Film Arts school); London International Film School (Graduated from the one year master's program where two of his short films won awards).
Suffers from claustrophobia, a condition he actively sought to instill in his Alien cast by making their Nostromo living quarters as cramped as possible.
Coming from an army and fine arts background, he is an inveterate stickler for detail who tackles each movie project with the vehemence of a general with a battle plan. His persistent scrutiny of minutiae on the Alien shoot prompted Sigourney Weaver to complain that he cared more about his props and sets than he did about his cast.
He was awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 2003 Queen's New Years Honors List for his services to the Film Industry.
Direction & Style Edit
Ridley Scott was not initially considered an actors' director, but he has become more receptive to ideas from his cast as his career has developed. Examples include Susan Sarandon's suggestions that the character of Louise pack shoes in plastic bags in one scene of Thelma & Louise, and another where her character exchanges jewellery for a hat and other items, as well as Tim Robbins' collaboration with Scott and Susan Sarandon to rework the final scene with a more upbeat ending. Russell Crowe has 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.
On the other hand, he can be a demanding and difficult director to work for. He was nicknamed "Guvnor" in the Blade Runner production. Several crew members wore protest t-shirts with slogans such as "Yes Guvnor, my ass" and "Will Rogers never met Ridley Scott" in reference to Will Rogers' most famous quotation, "I never met a man I didn't like". This was mainly in response to the way that Scott directed his first American crew, which some considered too harsh.
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 simply imitated his style. Scott commonly uses slow pacing until the action sequences, which are characterised by frequent, rapid edits. 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 commonly employed technique is his use of sound or music to build tension, as seen 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."
Although Scott is often known for his painterly directorial style, other techniques and elements include:
- Strong female characters.
- Some of his movies feature strong conflicts between father and son that usually end with the latter killing the former intentionally (Blade Runner, Gladiator) or accidentally (Black Hawk Down), or witnessing the event (Kingdom of Heaven). 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.
- Scott utilizes cityscapes as an emphasis to his storytelling (i.e., a futuristic Los Angeles in Blade Runner, Tokyo 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 and Black Hawk Down and Kingdom of Heaven.
- Storyboarding his films extensively. These illustrations, when made by himself, have been referred to as "Ridleygrams" in DVD releases.
- Like Stanley Kubrick, 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) or Hans Zimmer (Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down and Matchstick Men). 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). Mark Streitenfeld (A Good Year, Body of Lies, & Robin Hood).
DVDs & Director's Cut Edit
Scott is known for his enthusiasm for the DVD format, providing Audio commentary for DVDs 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 it.
The special edition DVDs of Scott's films are often well regarded for their high quality picture and sound, as well as comprehensive documentaries and commentaries, produced by his longtime DVD producer, Charles de Lauzirika.
Running alongside his enthusiasm for DVD, Scott is sometimes considered the "father" of the director's cut, a description which is somewhat ironic considering that 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.
Kingdom of Heaven Director's CutEdit
- Main article: Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut
20th Century Fox granted Ridley the ability to go ahead and release his version of the film, placing in 45 minutes that was cut out. As well as editing certain scenes to portay the cut. Ridley Scott considers the Director's Cut as his version and not the one the studio chose for theatrical release. It is the only film of Ridley's that has the longest amount of time replaced into one of his films. The director's cut dramatically changes the entire movie that some fans consider it a different film from the theatrical. Even Ridley Scott has stated that the film is entirely different from the theatrical as he considers the theatrical a "trailer".
Gallery of Director Cut & Extended Cut coversEdit
Other Works Edit
Music Video(s) Edit
- Avalon, Roxy Music (1982) (co-directed with Howard Gard)
- Bike Round for Hovis (1973)
- Chanel... Share the fantasy. for Chanel (1979)
- 1984 for Apple Computer (1984)
- The Choice of a New Generation for Pepsi (1986) (Starred Don Johnson and Glenn Frey)
- 300ZX Twin Turbo Super Bowl commercial (1990)
TV Shows as Producer Edit
- NUMB3RS (2005-Present) (Producer, alongside with Tony Scott)
- The Good Wife (2009-Present) (Producer, alongside with Tony Scott)
- The Andromeda Strain (2008) (Producer, alongside with Tony Scott)
- The Company (2007)
- Law Dogs (2007)
- Orpheus (2006)
Films as Producer (Non-Directorial) Edit
- Cracks (2009) (Directed By: Jordan Scott)
- Into The Storm (2009) (Directed By: Thaddeus O'Sullivan)
- Tell-Tale (2009) (Directed By: Michael Cuesta)
- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) (Directed By: Andrew Dominik)
- Tristan + Isolde (2006) (Directed By: Kevin Reynolds)
- In Her Shoes (2005) (Directed By: Curtis Hanson)
- Ticker (2002) (Directed By: Joe Carnahan)
- Beat the Devil (2002) (Directed By: Tony Scott)
- Hostage (2002) (Directed By: John Woo)
- The Gathering (2002) (Directed By: Richard Loncraine)
- The Last Debate (2000) (Directed By: John Badham)
- Where The Money Is (2000) (Directed By: Marek Kanievska)
- RKO 281 (1999) (Directed By: Benjamin Ross)
- Clay Pigeons (1998) (Directed By: David Dobkin)