| Welcome to the Mr. Showbiz Celebrity Lounge. Today's
guest is Ridley Scott, the acclaimed film director of Blade Runner,
Alien, and the new White Squall.
Evans from [126.96.36.199]:
What interested you about White
It's a generation film, set in 1961, which is my
generation. I was approximately this age, in '61, of these characters. The
subtext is about rites of passage, from youth into finding out who you are and
what you want to be. The script touched me because I felt that today there's an
absence of the so-called rite-of-passage film. It gradually dissipated in the
sixties and is now evaporated. I thought the story was worth telling. On top of
that, it's a true story and there was a tragedy involved. In essence, the script
held everything for me.
Doug Cummings from arizona.edu:
Your two science-fiction films,
Alien and Blade Runner are two of the best science-fiction films ever made. Do
you plan on returning to the genre again?
Ben Nugent from ac.uk:
Alien and Blade Runner are possibly THE most pivotal science
fiction films in contemporary cinema. Do you have plans to return to science
Yes, of course. It's just that science fiction
is really an opportunity or a stage on which anything goes. The problem is,
that's what tends to happen. I think the genre has become abused, with what are
essentially weak ideas and screenplays, which are driven by technology rather
than story and character. When I find that script, I'll certainly return to the
Arik from getty.edu:
Mr. Scott, what do you think is the most
important aspect of directing, and what is the first step you take when you
start a new project?
I think the first requirement of a
director, now that I've done a few films and maybe over 2,000 commercials, is
stamina. Because without the stamina, it's a bit like being a long-distance
runner--you don't complete the course. Or if you complete the course, you're
wobbling as opposed to coming in with a good finish. I think that's a good
metaphor. Once I've committed to a new project, the first step is to really
begin the educational process. If I've developed the script myself I've already
been through the process of educating myself and therefore am fluent with the
material and the subject, in which case the first physical step is location
hunting, which in itself is an education.
Corbin from [188.8.131.52]:
What kind of pre-production do you
do? Do you storyboard every shot?
Absolutely, it's not
every shot, but a substantial amount is storyboarded, and not just the action
sequences. I tend to storyboard them myself because I was an art student for
almost seven years. I find, like a writer facing a blank sheet of paper on the
typewriter; you just start to type. What I tend to do if I get blocked is I just
start to draw. By drawing you suck yourself into the scene and it's a bit like
the first pass photographically in your mind. It helps me to think. But of
course later it provides an incredibly useful blueprint for all the departments
involved in the making of the movie.
mariner from [184.108.40.206]:
Thelma and Louise was loved by
women, but men didn't get it. Did you find it difficult, as a male director, to
see things from the female point of view?
No. I was
immediately amused by the viewpoint of an extremely intelligent and strong
female who was the writer and who qualified everything. Essentially I was forced
to agree with it all. I've always believed in the process of strong women. I've
never had that problem, ever, either working with them or alongside with them.
I've never experienced the insecurity, because that's what it is. I think its
very insecure of males to be challenged because it's a female perspective. It
almost became academic to me.
David from [220.127.116.11]:
Ridley, in the total creative
process involved in a film, or your films particularly, how much input do you
require to be satisfied that the film is truly a Ridley Scott film
The viewpoint of an audience looking at a filmmaker
and indicating that this is a Ridley Scott film or whoever's movie, so I'm
assuming that he's referring to what he considers to be my stamp on a movie. I
don't really think about that. I'm sometimes accused of being over-visual. In
the recent film, somebody referred to me as a visual-holic, which is odd,
because I really tried to pull my horns in on this one. If anything, I try to
allow the obvious aspects of what I bring to a film, which I guess is an eye ,
to overpower the story and the narrative, but I guess it still fits in there. I
now realize that's what I do, that's what I bring, that's one of my fortes and
so it's something I don't really concern myself about it. I guess that's part
and parcel of my stamp.
Dolemite from [18.104.22.168]:
Your 1984 Apple commercial is a classic. How did this epic advertisement
I was in London working and in 1984 I had already been doing some
films, but I was still keeping my hand in commercials because I
enjoy the process, it's like a mini film or a very sophisticated
sketch book. And I love to shoot, so that's why I keep going on
the commercial side. There's nothing worse if you're a filmmaker
than the gaps between making movies, where you can drive yourself
crazy not being able to shoot, and I like to shoot. There was a
new agency called Chiat Day who had an account called Macintosh.
Though my companies live and die by the computer, I'm not one of
those guys who ever sat down in front of a computer. I don't even
know how to use one. I got this commercial for Apple Macintosh,
and frankly, I didn't know what it was. I kind of liked the film
and the atmosphere, and the fact that one had to show no product
was also very attractive. So I basically made the movie, and at
the end kind of discovered what it was we were selling later. It
aired once, in the Super Bowl.
mumu from starwave.com:
Did you think Brad Pitt would turn out to be such a big star?
Yeah, you get a good idea, a sense of it, when you're working with
actors, that they've got what it takes or have a cut above some
of the others. Brad was always very smart and inventive from the
very first time I met him at a casting session. I figured, this
guy is a must for this particular role and it was a terrific start
for him, obviously. In what was essentially a cameo role, it had
everything in there for him.
wiley from [22.214.171.124]:
I'm sure you've been asked many
times about doing a Blade Runner sequel. How do you feel about sequels in
general? James Cameron's Aliens is one of the few that really seems to have
It's always a tough job to follow a successful
film into a sequel film. Particularly in the instance of a film which is
essentially driven by a fairly horrific character. I always regard the Alien as
the eighth character. It can never be as frightening. You've seen it. Therefore
what I think Jim's film is was an excellent action piece. It's difficult, like
doing the Exorcist II. I think what they're going to have to do now, when they
do Alien 4, is to reinvent what it is. They've got to make it fresh. Because I
think [director David] Fincher was really pushing uphill on the third one. He's
very efficient and creative and everything else, but he was still stuck with the
old Alien. It can't be frightening; you've seen it. In the original, like the
shark in Jaws, you don't see much of it. There is a book and a CD-ROM sequel to
Blade Runner happening. The book stands to be very interesting. He's been
working on it for almost two years. My involvement was granting interviews from
time to time. He's a smart writer, so I think its going to be quite an
Rich66 from utexas.edu:
Do you think violent films or television
have a negative on the viewer? What effect do they have on you
I think the answer to the first part of the
question is "absolutely." We've gone into overkill. Just by characterizing and
showing a killer or an area of violence in a way is condoning it, and to a
certain section of an audience, maybe even makes it kind of heroic, particularly
to the younger generation. I think there's been a very negative effect by being
slammed over the head with violence; and it has escalated in the last fifteen
years. We discovered that violence and blood baths sold tickets. I think we've
now overdone it.
David from getty.edu:
Vangelis has done a number of soundtracks
for movies. Was he considered for White Squall? Do you plan to work with him in
Both answers are yes. Our dates conflicted
with an album he was doing, so we had to pass on White Squall. I would work with
him again. I think what's good is that he doesn't do too many movies, and
therefore each time I've worked with him, he's always brought something original
to the process, without sensing that sometimes you can get something that came
out of the filing cabinet. He really gets inside the film and watches it. He is
very much driven by the visual and will watch the film without sound, even
without dialogue sometimes. Then I think he works in silence. It's an
interesting way of working.
Jill Gurr from wavenet.com:
Do you find that you "compete" with your brother, Tony Scott?
Up to now, no. We tend to do different movies. I've never thought
about it that way. We don't compete. We are partners and have been
for the last twenty years on the commercial side. We're in partnership.
Sean from mn.us:
Your son Jake has done some very good work on
music videos. Do you think he will move into directing films?
Yes, as soon as possible. In fact, we're actively developing two
things with him now at my production company. I guess it pays off when you give
your kids a good education. Jake is quite literary, which becomes useful,
because the mode of his direction, in terms of what he wants to do first, tends
to be very story and actor oriented, which is interesting. I think he realizes
that being in control of a lower-budget movie is more important than going in on
a high-budget movie where you're essentially a cog in the wheel.
Doug Cummings from arizona.edu:
Do you think there's a
possibility there would ever be a director's cut of Legend
Yes, there was always a regret that because we
didn't preview well, we cut out almost a half hour. I'm always passionate about
my work and the idea of doing a live-action fairy story, which in a way is like
Beauty and the Beast; I loved the Cocteau film. I felt it might work. Now of
course there are a lot of films being made live action, such as 101 Dalmatians.
And there's been a revival of animation movies, which have become very
successful, like The Lion King. I think we were on target at the time to do a
film which, in a way, was A) for everybody, and B) really quite different. It
was a step away from a period film, a step away from the science-fiction genre.
So in that sense, I thought it was quite fresh. But they didn't get it. I doubt
there will be a director's cut, but I am curious how it would do if it were
LaVampyress from mn.us:
I know that Scott Wolf has a fear of the
water, what was it like for you working with him on a film that was shot mostly
on the water?
I didn't know that. He put up a pretty
good job of hiding it. He must have used his fear to help him in the scenes,
because I had no inkling he was afraid of the water. He only threw up once in
butterking from [126.96.36.199]:
John Frankenheimer recently
said he's still striving to remove the sentence "best remembered as the director
of Manchurian Candidate" from his future obituary. Do you feel the same way
about Blade Runner?
No. Next case and move on. I'm glad
I did it. It ended up in the Library of Congress, so it will be around forever.
It's amusing. It's nice that people finally got it. It's a bit late financially,
but life's like that. It's nice at the end of the day to know that certain films
have held their ground.
Corbin from [188.8.131.52]:
There are so many stories floating
around about the different cuts of Blade Runner. For the record, how many
versions of the film exist?
I think the one that's
certainly carrying the directors cut is the laserdisc. I'm almost certain there
is a tape, too. The one to get, if you can, is the disc, because then you get it
letterboxed; that's the way to watch it. The number of cuts that were done, my
God, I can't remember now. Cuts are never dramatically different, they still
remain in the A to Z assembly, but you just start to maybe remove D, G, W, or
just shorten them. It's a process of gradually thinning it down and distilling
it to where you think the bottom line of the film is. Sometimes you go past that
point and it can kill the movie.
Charles from [184.108.40.206]:
What was it like filming the
storm sequence on White Squall? Was anybody injured?
The storm sequence is one of those things which you put on the back
burner--knowing that the horrible day will arrive where you have to go into
these tanks and make the storm work. When you're in forty-foot seas on a sunny
day in South Africa where the seas are absolutely monumental--it was even more
daunting to go into the tank and cook up something much worse. That was the
biggest doubt in the whole process of making the movie.
marc gaffen from nmaa.org:
Do you have a dream project or have
you already done yours?
No. I consider myself a
filmmaker and the first project you do, as a filmmaker , is probably the dream
project. Thereafter you decide you're going to become a professional filmmaker,
so you really either have to have the passion and carry the passion for each
film to carry you through that marathon. But the first one is actually the one
you are most passionate about.
Simon from microsoft.com:
There has always been a lot of
discussion/argument over the question of Deckard in Blade Runner being a
replicant. Your directors cut of Blade Runner adds more to these questions (the
symbolism of the unicorn, etc.). Was your intention, whilst making the film, for
Deckard to be seen as a replicant or not ? And now, after all the arguments for
and against, has your opinion changed at all ?
As it was
really a film noir, the ending of film noir tends not be "And they lived happily
ever after." I think the director's cut, which represents the film where I
wanted the film to be when we released it, was to infer most definitely that
Deckard was a replicant. That was one of the reasons behind having Eddie Olmos
in the film as the visitor--wherever he visited, he left little pieces of
origami. Therefore he had clearly visited the apartment of Deckard and decided
to leave her [Sean Young] alive, because he was a departmental, bureaucratic
perverse character. Because he hated Deckard, he couldn't resist leaving his
calling card, which confirmed to Deckard one of his private dreams, which was
about unicorns. And it's only Eddie Olmos who could know that dream from a file
on Deckard. And if Deckard was in fact a creation of the department, then it
would be in the file. It's all subtext, but by the Olmos character leaving the
origami unicorn--Deckard stoops and picks it up, and if you watch him, he stares
at the unicorn and he imperceptibly nods his head in agreement. Now, you then go
back into the film where Deckard was looking at all those photographs on his
piano, and he was a little drunk and he was playing the piano; he's staring at
all this history. He has a kind of daydream, either alcoholic haze or whatever,
and the daydream is a beautiful green park a nd misty lake, and the unicorn
gallops by. It's very simple, very brief. And he snaps out of that reverie and
gets on with the scene. Prior to that he has a scene with Sean Young and he
talks to her about her own private thoughts. They're not real thoughts. They are
thoughts put into her mind by the Tyrell Corporation. He proves this point by
telling her little things she may have remembered as child, which strikes a
chord. She gets tearful and leaves. Those three scenes link up. One is talking
about private thoughts and how no one can know but yourself, and he proves to
her that she's a replicant by revealing her private thoughts, which he knows
because he looked in the file. And all that happens at the end is that Eddie
Olmos does the exact same thing to him.
little from [220.127.116.11]:
Have you achieved what you wanted
when you were starting?
noble from [18.104.22.168]:
there any books that you would love to make into a movie, but are chicken to
First, you never achieve what you've wanted.
Because if you do, it's all over. I like to put mountains in the way to
climb--that's what keeps me ticking. There are several books I would like to
make. Whether I ever get a shot at them, I don't know. One of them could be
Perfume. One of them I think has now been made into a script, which is Cormac
McCarthy's Blood Meridian. The next one may be a period film, I can't tell you
what it is because it will create a competition.
We'd like to thank Mr. Scott for joining us today.