Posted in Fantasy, films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

Ridley Scott

British film director and producer Sir Ridley Scott was born 30 November 1937 in South Shields, County Durham, North East England. After World War II, the Scott family moved back to their native North East, eventually settling on Greens Beck Road in Hartburn, County Durham, whose industrial landscape would later inspire similar scenes in Blade Runner. His interest in science fiction began by reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child. He studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design.

BladeScott went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, 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 Scott was named in title credits as “Designer” for the BBC television programme Tonight, about the severe winter of 1963. 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 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 serial’s eponymous alien creatures. However, shortly before Scott was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced 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.

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 1973 Hovis advertisement, “Bike Round” (underscored by the slow movement of Dvořák’s “New World” symphony rearranged for brass), set in the north of England but filmed in Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset. A nostalgia themed television advertisement that captured the public imagination, it was voted the UK’s all-time favourite commercial in a 2006 pol. In the 1970s Scott directed advert for the Chanel No. 5 brand. Chanel television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction, which “played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle. Following his commercial breakthrough with the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), his best known works include the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), historical drama and Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator (2000), and science fiction film The Martian (2015).

Scott’s directorial debut was The Duellists (1977) Shot in Europe, it was nominated for the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and won an award for Best Debut Film. The Duellists is 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.

After seeing Star Wars, Scott 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 made the decision to switch Ellen Ripley from the standard male action hero to a heroine Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon. The final scene of John Hurt’s character has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history. Scott later returned to Alien-related projects when he directed Prometheus and Alien: Covenant three decades after the original film’s release.

In 1982 Scott directed the classic science fiction film Blade Runner. A dystopian neo-noir film based on the Philip K.Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which featured Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer,Joanna Cassidy and Robin Wright. The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work in hazardous environments on off-world colonies. However some escape and Those that escape and return to Earth are hunted down and “retired” by special police operatives known as Blade Runners. Harrison Ford portrays one such Blade Runner named Rick Deckard who is informed by his supervisor Bryant that four Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 Replicants named Leon, Roy Batty, Zhora, and Pris. have come to Earth illegally. Although these Replicants only have a four-year lifespan they are extremely dangerous and are seeking ways to extend their lifespan and Deckard must hunt hem down before they reach the Tyrell Corporation and start killing people.

In 1985, Scott directed The fantasy film Legend, 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 diabolical Satan-horned Lord of Darkness who instructs his goblins Blix (Alice Playten) Pox (Peter O’Farrell) and Blunder (Kiran Shah) to kill the unicorns who safeguard the Power of Light and bring him their horns to free himself. Meanwhile, Princess Lily (Mia Sara), a mischievous and vibrant girl goes alone to the forest to meet her love interest Jack (Tom Cruise) he shows her the unicorns However Lily approaches the stallion to stroke him, with tragic results which cause an apocalyptic winter. Lily discovers the Goblins sinister plot involving the Unicorns and the Prince of Darkness. Meanwhile Jack encounters the hot-headed elf Honeythorn Gump (David Bennent, voiced by Alice Playten). Joined by Gump, the fairy Oona (Annabelle Lanyon), and the dwarves Brown Tom and Screwball (Cork Hubbert and Billy Barty), Jack sets off on a perilous quest to rescue the unicorn encountering many hazards along the way including The swamp hag Meg Mucklebones (Robert Picardo), before confronting the sinister Prince of Darkness himself.

In 1987 Scott made Someone to Watch Over Me, a romantic thriller starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers and Black Rain (1989), a police drama starring Michael Douglas and Andy García, which was shot partially in Japan. In 1991 Ridley Scott directed the Road movie Thelma & Louise starring Geena Davis as Thelma, Susan Sarandon as Louise, and Brad Pitt as J.D, for which Scott received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. Ridley Scott’s next project, was the historical epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Which recounts the expeditions to the Americas by Christopher Columbus (Gérard Depardieu). In 1993 Ridley and Tony Scott created the Production Company Scott Free and In 1995 the two brothers purchased a controlling interest in the British film studio Shepperton Studios. In 2001, Shepperton merged with Pinewood Studios to become The Pinewood Studios Group.

In 2000 Scott directed the epic historical drama Gladiator starring Russell Crowe, Richard Harris, Joaquin Phoenix and Oliver Reed. The film proved to be one of his biggest critical and commercial successes. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for the film’s star Russell Crowe, and saw Scott nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director was named the fifth best action film of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time. Gladiator was dedicated to actor Oliver Reed who tragically died during filming. In 2001 Scott directed Hannibal starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector. Scott’s next film, Black Hawk Down was based on a group of stranded US soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia, and saw him receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. 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.

In 2005 he directed another epic historical drama Kingdom of Heaven which took place during the 12 Century Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land, and Starred Orlando Bloom as a knight tasked with reclaiming Jerusalem. Scott’s collaborate with Harry Gregson-Williams for the music. However Scott was Unhappy with the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven so he supervised a director’s cut of the film, the true version of what he wanted which added 45 minutes and received widespread critical acclaim. In 2006Scott 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. Scott’s next film was American Gangster, this was based on the story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas and Starred Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, and Russell Crowe as Richie Roberts. Scott was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director for American Gangster. In 2008, Scott directed the espionage thriller Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Then in 2010 Scott directed a revisionist, gritty and more realistic adaptation of Robin Hood, which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian.

In 2012 Ridley Scott directed the science fiction film Prometheus starring Noomi Rapace as scientist Elizabeth Shaw, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender. This served as a sort of prequel to the film Alien, which concerns an ill-fated mission to discover the origins of mankind and explain the origins of the alien Xenomorphs. In 2009, Scott also planned to direct an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World set in a dystopian London with Leonardo DiCaprio, Also In 2009, the TV Series The Good Wife premiered with Ridley and his brother Tony credited as executive producers. As part of the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, Scott also produced Britain in a Day, a documentary film consisting of footage shot by the British public. In 2012, Scott produced the commercial for Lady Gaga’s fragrance, “Fame” and In 2013, Scott’s series Crimes of the Century debuted on CNN. In 2013 Scott produced the documentary, Springsteen & I directed by Baillie Walsh and inspired by Life in a Day, which Scott also produced. The film featured fan footage from throughout the world on what musician Bruce Springsteen meant to them and how he impacted their lives.

In 2013 Scott directed The Counselor with a screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy. He was also heavily involved in developing an adaptation of the author’s 1985 novel Blood Meridian with screenwriter Bill Monahan (The Departed) however McCarthy did not want to make it. In 2014 Ridley Scott directed the exciting biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale and Directed the film The Martian in 2015, based on the novel of the same name and starring Matt Damon as stranded astronaut Mark Watney alongside Jessica Chastain as the Mission Commander on an ill-fated space mission to Mars. The Martian was a critical and commercial success, grossed over $630 million worldwide, becoming Scott’s highest-grossing film to date.

Next Ridley Scott directed Alien: Covenant, which was A sequel to the film Prometheus, and premiered in 2017. It starred Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup and Katherine Waterston. This features the crew of the colony ship the Covenant who are bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, when they receive a distress signal from a supposedly uninhabited planet and go to investigate. They discover what happened to the crew of Prometheus and the planets original inhabitants but soon end up wishing they hadn’t,

Next Ridley Scott acted as Executive Producer for a sequel to the dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner entitled Blade Runner 2049 starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Reynolds, which was released in 2017 and was directed by Denis Villeneuve. During 2017, Scott also filmed All the Money in the World, a drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, starring Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams. Ridley Scott is currently in negotiations to direct the screen version of the 1968 British TV series The Prisoner. Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard (who had worked together on The Martian) are also adapting the book Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler. It is described as a piece of fiction that combines elements of “horror, noir, and Asian ultra-violence.” Scott is also due to direct a film about the Battle of Britain. Scott has also said that he would film a sequel to Alien: Covenant which is the final film in his prequel series to his original film, Alien.

Ridley Scott has also worked on a number of Television shows. Between 2005 and 2010 Scott and his brother produced CBS crime drama series Numb3rs about a genius mathematician who helps the FBI solve crimes and The Good Wife (2009–2016), 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 was also an executive producer of the first season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, which is adapted from the Philip K.Dick novel of the same name and takes place in an alternate timeline where Germany won World War II. Scott also serves as executive producer on the dark comic science-fiction series BrainDead. Scott is currently collaborating with Amazon and AMC studios on an adaptation of Dan Simmons’ dark historical fiction novel, “The Terror” (a speculative retelling of the ill-fated 1845 expedition to find the fabled “Northwest Passage” with elements of horror and supernatural fiction).

Scott has been nominated for a number of awards including three Academy Awards for Directing (for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down). In 1995, both Ridley and his brother Tony received a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema. In 2003, Scott was knighted for his “services to the British film industry”. In a 2004 BBC poll Scott was named the tenth most influential person in British culture. In 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London.

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