Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors. He always puts together a solid film and is very talented at telling a great story. 'Blade Runner' and 'Alien' are two of my all time favorite Sci-fi movies. It's been a hell of a long time since Scott has made a sci-fi film but after he is done shooting his current 'Robin Hood' project he will finally revisit his roots and make a 3D sci-film called 'Forever War'. Ridley Scott recently discussed some of his filmmaking experiences and what he plans on doing in the future.
On Being a Director he says:
"You have to think and make decisions from the second you arrive in the morning.You have to know what you're doing the instant you walk onto the floor. When you have a discussion it becomes a financial disaster because there are too many cooks. The director is the chef and if you don't like it, don't work on movies."
You may not know this about Scott but he was almost 40 years old when he made his first major movie. He started out making commercials.
"I finished my first short when I was 21 and went so fast into adverts that it was kind of a blessing, because I was making real money.But at the same time I was thinking a film was just around the corner, and it wasn't. You couldn't get arrested as a commercial director in Hollywood at that time. It was hard. I tried for about five or six years."
He goes on to talk about his experience in advertising and as a production designer helped prepare him for dealing with the pressures of directing a major film.
"The BBC was a great learning process because it taught me to deal with the bureaucracy of a large organisation. It has be like that - you can't do it any other way. Your creativity is always running alongside what something's going to cost. In advertising, you're always driven by budget. You're on the clock and that clock is your money. I did over 2,000 commercials and opened a company when I was 27. I was so busy and prolific on commercials that nothing ever bothered me. For me, the hardest single thing to do is to get the screenplay on paper. I have great admiration for great writers, of which there aren't many."
Just in case you never put 2 and 2 together Director Tony Scott is Ridley Scotts brother and he tells of an experience he had when his 14 year old brother Tony was his assistant for one of his shoots.
"I ruined my brother's summer. Tony was 14 and thought he was going to get three months off, and I got him up early every morning and dragged him off to Redcar. He hadn't any idea what we were doing. But at the end of that summer, I showed him the finished film and I think the magic happened for him then. It was a real family affair. My mother was incessantly berating us, and she did a stream of consciousness rant which she didn't know was being filmed. And my dad used to drive me around filming in the trunk of his Morris.That was literally my film school and editing school. Anyone can make a movie today. Digital cameras have opened up a world of simplicity."
Here is where he talks about his experiences on the film 'Alien' and it seems like it was a pretty cool experience.
"I'd never been a sci-fi buff until I saw Stanley Kubrick's 2001, and that was just amazing. And George Lucas' Star Wars was seminal. I couldn't speak for a week. I sat there and thought, 'What have I been doing?'. From all those years of commercials, I knew I was going to use blood, KY Jelly and back light and all the segments were going to work out. I kept the monster away from all the actors. There was so much blood on the set that you had to do a take, wrap and come back in a week when it had all been cleaned up with alcohol. Roger [Christian - production designer] came in with the little demon in a shopping bag. We had an artificial chest screwed to the table. John [Hurt] was underneath, so it was an illusion that his neck was attached to that body. I had to cut through the chest with a razor blade as it wouldn't burst. And when it happened there was total silence. I think Yaphet [Kotto, who played Parker] started to shriek with laughter. We never went back. It was one take. People were saying the footage was gross and I didn't know whether that was a compliment or not. One of the studio guys had his daughter in watching the rushes and she was nine. He said it was over the top, and I said, 'You pay me for this. We're doing a film that's completely over the top'."
In a way I wish I could have been involved with filmmaking back in the day. Its just not the same anymore, it was all about practical effects and story. Things have obviously been getting better technically wise, but with this new generation of filmmakers coming in I think they are loosing focus on the most important thing of a film... The story. Ridley Scott is taking the leap into the future of filmmaking with his next movie 'Forever War' he says:
"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."
Scott has a fantastic imagination and a great eye, and we know that he knows how to tell a great story so I am really looking forward to his 'Forever War' film. Can't wait to see what he does with it.