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Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott

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Also Known As: Sir Ridley Scott Died:
Born: November 30, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: South Shields, England, GB Profession: producer, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

t asked Crowe to make "A Good Year" (2006) for their sophomore effort together. A rather ordinary romantic comedy about a failing London banker (Crowe) who finds love with a beautiful Californian woman (Marion Cotilliard) after he inherits a winery, "A Good Year" caused many Scott fans to scratch their heads. Despite Crowe's star power, the film came and went without much fanfare, fizzling quickly at the box office. Scott returned to prime form on his third collaboration with Crowe, "American Gangster" (2007), a true-life telling of 1970s Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who gets nailed by Detective Richie Roberts, an honest cop (Crowe) trying to root out crooks on both sides of the law. "American Gangster" spent years in development, with Antoine Fuqua previously attached to direct. After Fuqua's prompt exit following "creative differences," Universal Pictures went through Brian De Palma and Terry George before settling on Scott to direct. As usual, Scott gave the film his trademark flourishing visual style, which worked well for the 1970s setting, and eventually earned himself a third Oscar nomination for Best Director.Scott re-teamed with Crowe for the espionage thriller "Body of...

t asked Crowe to make "A Good Year" (2006) for their sophomore effort together. A rather ordinary romantic comedy about a failing London banker (Crowe) who finds love with a beautiful Californian woman (Marion Cotilliard) after he inherits a winery, "A Good Year" caused many Scott fans to scratch their heads. Despite Crowe's star power, the film came and went without much fanfare, fizzling quickly at the box office. Scott returned to prime form on his third collaboration with Crowe, "American Gangster" (2007), a true-life telling of 1970s Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who gets nailed by Detective Richie Roberts, an honest cop (Crowe) trying to root out crooks on both sides of the law. "American Gangster" spent years in development, with Antoine Fuqua previously attached to direct. After Fuqua's prompt exit following "creative differences," Universal Pictures went through Brian De Palma and Terry George before settling on Scott to direct. As usual, Scott gave the film his trademark flourishing visual style, which worked well for the 1970s setting, and eventually earned himself a third Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Scott re-teamed with Crowe for the espionage thriller "Body of Lies" (2008), co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of a CIA operative used as a pawn by his supervisor (Crowe) in a high stakes game between Western and Arab intelligence agencies. Under the Scott Free banner, he executive-produced the medieval miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth" (Starz, 2010), based on the novel by Ken Follett, in addition to similar duties on the well-regarded drama series "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009- ), starring Julianna Margulies. It was once more into the breach with Crowe in the title role of the legendary hero "Robin Hood" (2010), for a visually spectacular epic that, nonetheless, drew the ire of many critics for its historical inaccuracies and the narrative liberties taken with such an iconic tale. In 2011, Scott began production on the highly-anticipated "Prometheus" (2012). A science-fiction thriller initially intended as a prequel to "Alien," the director later insisted that while it shared a certain amount of that seminal film¿s creative DNA, "Prometheus" would very much be its own movie, tackling "unique, large and provocative" new ideas. Following the global commercial success of "Prometheus," Scott was struck by tragic news when brother, Tony, apparently committed suicide on Aug. 19, 2012 by leaping to his death from a suspension bridge in San Pedro, CA. Tony¿s actions were allegedly motivated by a diagnosis of inoperable brain cancer. Scott remained quiet in the ensuing days following the news, with no immediate word on how his brother¿s death would affect their joint production company.

Returning to work, Scott dedicated the offbeat crime thriller "The Counselor" (2013) to his late brother; the film was penned by novelist Cormac McCarthy. Going in an entirely different direction, Scott next helmed "Exodus: Gods and Monsters" (2014), a straightforward Biblical epic enlivened by state of the art CGI work. This was followed by "The Martian" (2015), a comic-tinged science fiction action film based on the bestseller by Andy Weir.By Shawn Dwyer

men struggling to survive after their boat capsizes. Once again, Scott's choice of material, which was mediocre at best, was questioned, while the film itself faired poorly at the box office. In another ill decision that would have sunk the careers of lesser talents, Scott helmed the unfortunate "G.I. Jane" (1997), a flawed look at a woman (Demi Moore) struggling to prove herself worthy of becoming a Navy SEAL. Though Moore's performance was compelling ¿ amplified by the shaving of her head and extensive muscle-building ¿ "G.I. Jane" fell far short of the greatness Scott had hoped to achieve.

Greatness was, however, just narrowly missed with Scott's next film, "Gladiator" (2000), a triumphant return to the fabled sword-and-sandal epics of Hollywood yore. Under the benign leadership of Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), a fearsome, but respected Roman general, Maximus (Russell Crowe), has been privately declared the emperor's successor. But when the emperor's power-hungry son, Commodus (Joaquin Ph nix), hears about the betrayal, he kills his father, orders Maximus killed and grabs hold of the reigns of power. Maximus is captured and forced into slavery, where he trains as a gladiator and struggles to rise to the top of his game in order to confront Commodus on his own terms. Hailed by many critics as exceptional, "Gladiator" became a rare hit for Scott, who suffered for almost a decade without a financially successful film. It marked for the flailing director a sort of rebirth; one that suddenly sparked a flurry of new big budget projects that were previously unattainable, as well as a cordial working relationship with Russell Crowe ¿ a rarity for both the typically difficult Scott and the typically difficult Crowe. Meanwhile, "Gladiator" earned 12 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Director, and eventually took home five Oscars, including Best Picture.

Hot off the success of "Gladiator," Scott fell into directing "Hannibal" (2001), the long-awaited sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991). After director Jonathan Demme backed out of the project, Scott stepped in to pick up the slack on this continuing tale of Dr. Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins), 10 years after his escape from federal custody. But Mason Verger (Gary Oldman), one of his past victims who managed to survive, uses Lector's old nemesis, Clarice Starling (a recast Julianne Moore), to lure the distinguished serial killer into a trap in order to exact revenge. Scott's mildly entertaining take failed miserably to live up to the tension and suspense of the original, making "Hannibal" pale by comparison. But that did not stop the movie from giving Scott his second huge hit in a row. Feeling himself on a roll, he directed the stunning "Black Hawk Down" (2002), a griping take on the true story of a Black Hawk helicopter getting shot down while on an exercise in Somalia during the United States' ill-fated humanitarian mission in 1993. Scott's talent for stark, stylistic visuals was on full display, giving the audience a feeling of actually being inside the maelstrom that claimed the lives of 18 soldiers and over 500 Somalis. Scott was honored with his third nomination for Best Director at the Academy Awards.

With three successive hits, Scott was certainly on top of his game. But it was just a matter of time before he hit another bump, which materialized as "Matchstick Men" (2003), a quirky crime comedy about a neurotic con artist (an over-the-top Nicolas Cage) who gets consumed by fear and panic when his partner (Sam Rockwell) wants to pull a big job. Despite the appeal of a unique twist on an old genre film, Scott failed to take what might have been an amusing romp, to the level of true inspiration. In a rare sojourn into television, Scott and brother Tony ¿ under the auspices of Scott Free ¿ served as executive producers of "Numb3rs" (CBS, 2005-2010), a popular procedural about a talented FBI agent (Rob Morrow) who reluctantly uses his genius mathematician brother (David Krumholtz) to help the bureau solve cases, despite their strained relationship. Back behind the director's chair, Scott directed "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005), a historical epic set during the 2nd and 3rd Crusades of the 12th century. Despite the occasional lapse in story logic, "Kingdom of Heaven," nonetheless, put on a fine display, with stunning battle sequences, while striking the right balance between grandeur and genuine character moments. The costly film, however, was struck down at the box office, amounting to financial disaster and pain for all involved, much like the Crusades themselves.

Having found a leading actor of high caliber with which to collaborate, it was surprising that Scot

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
4.
5.
  Prometheus (2012)
6.
  Robin Hood (2010)
7.
9.
10.
  Kingdom of Heaven (2005) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Jeff Bridges: Building Bridges (2002) Interviewee
4.
 Murder By Numbers (2002) Interviewee
5.
 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills (2001) Interviewee
6.
 AFI Awards 2001 (2001)
7.
8.
 Hometown Heroes (1998) Interviewee
9.
 Hunger: An MTV Sneak Preview, The (1997) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1962:
Directed his first short film "Boy and Bicycle" (released 1965), shot during attendance at Royal College of Art; starred brother Tony and their father
:
Spent one year in the U.S. on scholarship from Royal College of Art; worked at Time-Life, Inc. with Richard Leacock and D. A. Pennebaker
1963:
Joined BBC television as a production designer; later promoted to director
1965:
Directed episodes of popular crime docudrama series "Z Cars" (BBC)
1977:
Made feature directorial debut, with period drama "The Duellists"
1985:
Stumbled with the fantasy "Legend," starring Tom Cruise; film was critical and box-office disappointment
1987:
Executive produced "Someone to Watch Over Me," a rather conventional but visually stylish romantic thriller; also directed
1989:
Helmed the intriguing thriller "Black Rain" about two NYC cops who must escort members of the Yakuza back to Japan
1992:
Helmed "1492: The Conquest of Paradise," starring Gerard Depardieu as Christopher Columbus
1994:
Served as producer only in "Monkey Trouble" and the remake of "The Browning Version," helmed by Mike Figgis
1995:
Formed (with brother Tony) the film and television production company Scott Free Productions in Los Angeles, CA
1996:
Executive produced and directed "White Squall," a fact-based tale of a prep school aboard a brigantine
1997:
Directed Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane"
1998:
Co-produced "Clay Pigeons," helmed by David Dobkin
1999:
Served as excutive producer of the acclaimed HBO original movie "RKO 281," about the making of 1941 classic "Citizen Kane"
2000:
Produced "Where the Money Is," a modest caper film enlivened by the casting of Paul Newman and Linda Fiorentino
2001:
Helmed "Hannibal," the long-awaited sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs"
2003:
Directed Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell in "Matchstick Men"
2005:
Directed Orlando Bloom in "Kingdom of Heaven," about the 12th Century Crusades
2006:
Once again directed actor Russell Crowe in the romantic drama "A Good Year"
2008:
Once again teamed with Crowe for the film adaptation of "Body of Lies"
2010:
Helmed an adaptation of "Robin Hood," starring Crowe as the legendary outlaw and Cate Blanchett as Lady Marian
2010:
Co-produced with brother Tony, the film adaptation of the 1980s TV cult classic "The A-Team"
2010:
Executive produced the Starz miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth"
2013:
Directed offbeat rime thriller "The Counselor"
2014:
Directed biblical epic "Exodus: Gods and Monsters"
2015:
Executive produced Amazon TV series "The Man in the High Castle," based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
2016:
Received a Best Picture Oscar nod for producing "The Martian"
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Education

West Hartlepool College of Art: -
Royal College of Art: - 1960 - 1962

Notes

Scott chairs a production company with his brother Tony called Scott Free.

Scott's commercial work has been recognized at Cannes, Venice and by the New York Art Directors' Club.

Since the 1990s, Ridley Scott has enjoyed a secondary career as a producer of such efforts as the 1994 remake of "The Browning Version", "Clay Pigeons" (1998), the acclaimed HBO drama "RKO 281" (1999) and the Paul Newman vehicle "Where the Money Is" (2000).

In 2002, the Scott brothers along with Michael Grade announced plans to construct a state-of-the-art "megastudio" in Toronto. According to the announced plans, construction would begin in March 2003 with an anticipated opening in spring 2004.

"... I've never had a problem with strong females. I'm still very much involved in advertising. I've got two companies, and over the past years, the best guys got the jobs of running them--and they both happened to be female. I just seem to find females in general carry intuition that's more accurate than men's. ... I've never really had a problem dealing with and losing arguments to women. o in regards to dealing with the roles they play in my films, it's always been fun really--enjoyable." --Ridley Scott quoted in BuzzWeekly, August 22-28, 1997.

"I'm so heavily oriented visually that the way I make films is second nature to me. In preparing a film a lot of directors delegate, in terms of the visual side of things, leave it to other people, and concentrate on the actors and the script; I like to concentrate on everything. I do all my own location hunting; for "G.I. Jane" I must have seen over 30 military camps and operational bases, and I find that kind of thing absolutely invaluable. Not only do you see everything, you meet people, officers, soldiers in the ranks. It's all an educational process, and that's essential." --Ridley Scott quoted in the London Times, November 8, 1997.

"I'm only competitive with myself." --Scott quoted in the London Times, November 8, 1997.

"Most people never tell you the truth. I'll show [brother] Tony a cut of my film, even before the studio sees it. Or vice versa. And then he'll give me 30 pages of notes. But it's always good to be able to bounce things off someone." --Scott to the London Times, November 8, 1997.

On his interest in the military, Scott told Empire (December 1997): "I am interested in that arena. It's pretty sick, I suppose, because in the end they are killers. But they serve their purpose, and there are arguments for and against. But there is war. There's an argument for the presence of real power; the fact that there has been no third world war. Others will argue that that's just a matter of time. But I think not. I think there is an argument for a deterrent."

"What I do is create worlds. Whether it's historical or futuristic, creating a world is the most attractive thing to me about filmmaking because everything goes--it's a matter of drawing up your own rule book and sticking to it." --Ridley Scott to Los Angeles Times Calendar, April 23, 2000.

"Over the years, I've learned to pay attention to material to the extent that I now understand that story and characters are the most important thing in any movie. The audience must identify with someone in a film and go on a journey with them. That's called escapism. I don't care if it's the stupidest mainstream movie or a really smart movie--it's got to communicate." --Ridley Scott quoted in Los Angeles Times Calendar, April 23, 2000.

On the revised impression of "Blade Runner", now thought to be one of the 1970s most influential films, Scott told Stephen Rebello of Movieline (May 2000): "Revenge isn't really sweet when it comes too many years later. As you mature, you realize all the more that the key audience member you must make truly happy is yourself. I'm always sufficiently pragmatic now by the end of the of a film to sit back, stare at it and go, 'That works' or 'Not a bad patch-up, despite a few errors here and there.' Beyond that, you need luck in everything. Why do people got for a film in a huge way when you look at it and go, 'Well, it's OK but it doesn't warrant a giant reaction.' Certain movies just color people's imaginations and you can't predict that."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Donna Scott. Divorced.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Jean Scott. Died in 2001.
brother:
Tony Scott. Director. Born on June 21, 1944.
daughter:
Jordan Scott. Director.
son:
Jake Scott. Director. Born c. 1965.
son:
Luke Scott. Director. Born c. 1968.
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