Ridley Scott

“Who doesn’t love an orgy, Jack?,” Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof asked me, possibly being the first person to ask me such a thing. But, really, who could disagree with Mr. Lindelof? Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi opus is filled with all kinds of beings, making for the vicious and high-minded brand of orgy. What does the film have to say about if we, our creators, and our creations all got together and “partied” for a few days? In short: we’d eat each other. Prometheus is a story of characters making mostly questionable decisions, leading to horrific events. Even at the end when a character acknowledges humanity’s greatest flaw, that said character continues to do what they all get wrong in the first place, which is: asking too many questions. The film is about the dangers of searching for answers, a hurdle Lindelof, as a writer, has famously faced before. Here’s what the screenwriter had to say about the dark and hopeful side of Prometheus, the egoism of David, and the Mad Libs-esque storytelling he’s drawn to in our spoiler-heavy discussion:

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Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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Ridley Scott Alien DVD Commentary

Prometheus is Ridley Scott‘s latest magnum opus, a groundbreaking cinematic achievement beyond our wildest imaginations. At least that’s what we’re all hoping for with the film. At the very least we’ll take a return to the sci-fi terror Scott unleashed on audiences earlier in his career, but Prometheus is a film moviegoers all over will be talking about. We’d love to hear Scott talk about it, probably along with screenwriter Damen Lindelof. We’ll take Jon Spaihts just because he comes with the package deal, but it’ll be a commentary that delves into the depths each man had to go to craft yet another legendary, sci-fi tale. That will be amazing. Anyway, here’s the commentary for Alien. Seriously, though. How can you introduce Alien?

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When best-selling author Nick Santora wanted a way to get fans and entertainment industry officials excited about “Fifteen Digits,” he became a director. The result is a short film pulled from the book featuring Jimmi Simpson and Gino Anthony Pesi. Of course, Santora has a background – writing for shows like The Sopranos, Prison Break and Law and Order. He also wrote Punisher: War Zone and created the show Breakout Kings. He’s firmly entrenched in a world where everything is caught on camera, but he’s using that experience in a unique way when it comes to wearing his literary hat. We talk with the newly minted director about how turning to filmmaking to sell a book (and himself) has worked out. Plus, Jack Giroux and Rob Hunter face off in the Movie News Pop Quiz and then debate the merits of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus. Download Episode #137

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Ridley Scott on Alien Set

Of the directors we’ve covered in this feature, Ridley Scott might be the most forward. He’s brash an unorthodox, and when speaks, you get the sense that he threw his filter in the trash years ago. At this point, brass buttons are well-deserved. Alien, Blade Runner, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, and a popcorn bucket-full more prove the man’s vision as a storyteller. A movie fan from a young age, Scott first found success as a commercial director. His first flick, The Duelists, was hailed at Cannes but made it to few screens beyond. It was a science fiction journey featuring a seven-member crew woken from stasis to explore a strange signal that made him a major name, and this weekend he dives back into that world with Prometheus. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a bloke from South Shields.

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Expectations can be dangerous things. Ridley Scott‘s twentieth feature film is a return to a genre that he hasn’t visited in thirty years, but it’s also one that’s simultaneously been quite good to him. Alien and Blade Runner are seminal works of science fiction that went on to influence a multitude of future films, and by any stretch of the imagination they set an impossibly high bar for anyone to reach (let alone the director of A Good Year). Like some ambitiously misguided mash-up of those earlier movies Prometheus features stark futuristic settings, scenes of graphic biological horror and grand questions on what it means to be human, but while its pieces excite and engage its whole fails to form anything resembling a finished thesis. Instead we have big ideas in the form of casual statements destined to go unchallenged. It can’t be overstated how frustrating this is when so many of the film’s smaller elements leap from the screen (in 3D or 2D) to make our eyes widen, our pulses race and our minds quiver at the possibilities. Stunningly beautiful visuals, both natural and effects-wise, help create a dangerously seductive world that wraps viewers in slime covered tentacles and thoughts. Call-backs (call-forwards?) to Alien tease us with answers and even more questions while other parts offer enticing glimpses of creation itself. This is epic science fiction storytelling that too frequently forgets it’s telling a story and yet still manages to be worthwhile spectacle in spite of itself.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that’s not usually quite this sexy. You might want to send the kids to bed early… It’s not every night that we begin with the objectification of a woman who poses in slim garb on magazines that don’t ever sell any swimsuits, but when said dames are Anne Vayalitsyna, the new addition to A Good Day to Die Hard, there’s now two ways about it. The babe goes up top.

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Prometheus

One month down in the summer movie season. We got a decent opener, certainly not a grand start. Joss Whedon‘s box-office juggernaut and Wes Anderson‘s lovely Moonrise Kingdom aside, we faced disappointments. The Dictator was hit and miss. Battleship was more bloated than big. Although it was better than its harsher critics suggested, Dark Shadows didn’t exactly win over any of Depp and Burton’s naysayers. Now, with June, we’ve got an even more promising month; 30 days packed with Abraham Lincoln killing vampires, a rock musical, and a talking bear movie. All the required ingredients for a proper moviegoing month. This is such a busy month the honorable mentions are more honorable than usual, even Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages, that movie being marketed as a celebrity karaoke party. Even though The Loved Ones is apparently a must-see movie, 99.9% of you will not be able to see it this month, hence why it’s not on the list. But what is?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s just a nightly movie news column that has problems finding a place to park, just like the rest of you. We begin tonight with a stop at The Mary Sue, where images have been uncovered featuring Doctor Who‘s new companion, as played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. According to Steven Moffat: “Who [Coleman is] playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.” Fun.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news column returning from the long weekend with but a few items, all of which are like to make you quite happy. In fairness, they make me happy. I can’t say much for the rest of you, but I’ve got a good feeling about it. We begin this evening with another shot from The Dark Knight Rises. (I wonder if Catwoman still knows how deadly a kiss can be.) A number of websites have begun publishing tales of a visit they made to the set of Christopher Nolan’s latest last year. None of the individual accounts are worth your attention, but the folks at ScreenRant have made use of them, pulling out the best of the best for a Dark Knight Rises set visit round-up. Finally, something useful for the reader!

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Harrison Ford in Blade Runner

While it’s still hard to believe that a sequel to Ridley Scott‘s seminal sci-fi film Blade Runner is actually happening, the production does appear to be ticking right along – at least when it comes to rumors and buzz. While the latest news reports that the film will be led by a female protagonist, that doesn’t rule out the return of Harrison Ford‘s Rick Deckard, the star of the original film. But what does Scott think? In an excellent and very comprehensive interview over at The Independent (via /Film), Scott reveals just a bit about his vision for the sequel and Ford’s part in it, saying “I don’t think it’ll be Harry [starring in the film]…But I’ve got to have him in it somewhere. That’d be amusing.” So…that could be anything! Or it could even be nothing! As of now, it’s impossible to say the depth of the role that Scott would like to put Ford in, and this seems like the kind of rumor and chatter we can expect to hear for months and months until the sequel actually gets made.

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Drinking Games

More than thirty years ago, Ridley Scott directed the groundbreaking sci-fi/horror film Alien. Now, this summer, he’s prepping the release of the sister film Prometheus. As is the case when any sequel, prequel or remake comes out, fans will want to revisit the original film. Whether you’re planning on watching the entire Alien series (including the odious Alien Resurrection and the batshit crazy Alien vs. Predator: Requiem) or just the first – and possibly best – of the run, here’s where you’ll start. And what better way to enjoy this classic monster movie in space film than with a frosty drink in hand?

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A sequel to Ridley Scott‘s ground-breaking take on Philip K. Dick‘s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (that would be Blade Runner) has been bandied about for years and years, to the point that most people assumed it would never get made. But with Scott having one hell of a sci-fi resurgence as of late, thanks to his upcoming Prometheus, Blade Runner 2 is no longer just a dream. And it’s getting more firepower behind it than we could have ever hoped for. According to a new press release from Warner Bros. (via ComingSoon), Hampton Fancher is in talks to reunite with Scott to “develop the idea for the original screenplay” for the sequel. Fancher, of course, first conceived of what would become Blade Runner with Scott years ago, but back then, they envisioned it as the first in a series of films, not just a single film. How funny that their idea has finally come around. Fancher is also an actor and a fiction writer, and he’s penned some other screenplays, such as The Minus Man. The release also confirms that the new film will indeed be a sequel to the first, and that it will take place “some years after” the original Blade Runner. With Fancher’s return nearly secured, who else might we expect to come back for more?

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The site’s most anticipated film of the summer, Prometheus, has long been kept under lock and key for sometime now. “Is it an Alien prequel or isn’t it?” Obviously, the film shares stylistic and world ties to Alien, but would we see the origin of the Xenomorph? That’s a question which remains a mystery, a big question mark that the film’s co-writer Jon Spaihts may or not have taken on with his work. The questions Spaihts, director Sir Ridley Scott, and Damon Lindelof are exploring are clear: searching for answers we should not have the answer for, what it means to be human, and the mystery of the Space Jockey. Answering some of those major questions can’t be easy, but, as Jon Spaihts put it, although Prometheus will shed light on some burning questions fandom has, it could possibly create new ones as well. Here is what screenwriter Jon Spaihts had to say about building a whole world, the thematic and visual importance of a female protagonist, and why Prometheus is more 28 Days Later than 28 Weeks Later:

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We’ve been pretty closely following the development and casting news of Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor (written by no less than Cormac McCarthy), and while the bulk of casting so far has been quite exciting (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt, to name the big guns), this is the first rumor that gives us pause. Twitch Film is reporting that Cameron Diaz has landed a role in the film, one Angelina Jolie was once hotly pursuing. The role of Malkina is one of two big female parts in the film, making this one of Diaz’s most juicy (and somewhat unexpected) gigs yet. While Diaz has yet to show that she’s capable of truly carrying a dark and dramatic role on her own, she has dipped her toe in interesting fare, stuff like The Box, Gangs of New York, and Being John Malkovich. She’s also continued to work on her comedic talents, showing a sort of weird fearlessness in recent roles, particularly the not-so-flattering Bad Teacher. And, hell, she’s even playing the female lead in the Coen brothers-penned Gambit remake, so perhaps Diaz is ready to take the next step in her acting career.

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Traditionally it has been rare to get a glimpse — at least for the everyday movie fan — into the decision making process that goes on behind closed doors in Hollywood. Prior to the dawn of the Internet and its later birth of the hyper-active blogosphere, these decisions were made and often not talked about until someone wrote a book about all the great movies that could have been. The Internet has blown those doors wide open, as evidence by filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro opening up to fans this week to talk of the potential demise of his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. So who is to blame for killing a film that so  many would like to see made? Apparently, indirectly, it’s Ridley Scott.

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Prometheus

It’s okay, everyone, our long national nightmare is over – we finally know that Ridley Scott‘s heavily anticipated maybe-prequel to Alien, Prometheus, will be rated R. So much for toning down the “sci-fi violence” to get a younger crowd into theaters (though the odds of scads of thirteen-year-olds showing up for the film seem somewhat slim). After a few weeks of chatter revolving on whether or not the film would end up with a PG-13 rating to presumably pull in larger crowds, a pre-sale ticket posted on IMDb (thanks to Collider) revealed the film to be rated R, with 20th Century Fox confirming the news. The film will be rated R for “sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language.” Language! Heavens me! 

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Avoiding Prometheus trailers, images and information was just too taxing. They’re just putting out too much great stuff. Ridley Scott and his team should be proud of what they’ve shown so far, and that June 8th release date just cannot come quickly enough. A new international trailer has debuted thanks to the UK’s Channel 4 (via Film Stage). It brags a lot of Charlize Theron, a screaming Noomi Rapace and three full minutes of crazy sci-fi action. Check it out for yourself:

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The casting process for Ridley Scott’s next project, The Counselor, has been an absolute dream for people who like to write down famous people’s names. After going through a laundry list of the biggest actors working in Hollywood, Scott has seemed to settle on the titanic trio of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt to play the three main male roles in this Cormac McCarthy-penned, lawyer-gone-bad drama. There has yet to be a consensus on who’s going to play the lead female role, that of the Fassbender character’s fianceé, however. The most recent buzz was that Pitt’s real-life fianceé Angelina Jolie was being looked at to come on board, but that never sounded like anything more than a long shot. And, sure enough, a recent report from THR claims that the actress’ role in the upcoming Disney film, Maleficent, would conflict with The Counselor’s shooting schedule.

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Some of you are avoiding Prometheus advertising like it’s the black plague or Cabin in the Woods spoilers or that bookie you owe money to. That’s fine. It’s understandable for a movie this gigantic, promising and appropriately mysterious. But you’ll want to go back after seeing it this summer to check out all the cool stuff you’re missing. Guy Pearce’s TED Talk was a hell of a way to introduce the world to Ridley Scott‘s newest sci-fi epic, but now they want to introduce you to someone else: Michael Fassbender‘s David. Tell him Happy Birthday, find out what he can do, and check out the video yourself:

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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