One would think that if a director as big as Ridley Scott made a movie with actors like Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Josh Brolin, it would have had more of a lasting impact on the collective psyche of the moviegoing public. But it’s been 10 years since American Gangster came out, and it’s been just about that long since I’ve seen or heard anyone mention it. It’s not a super memorable film, but that isn’t stopping a successful TV creator from writing an American Gangster prequel series with Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) attached to play a real-life gangster.
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In 1965, Sir Ridley Scott made his directorial debut with the short film, Boy and Bicycle. His illustrious filmmaking career began with a short that cost him $120 and starred his brother, the late Tony Scott. It led to a career that is nothing short of spectacular, one never lacking passion or permanence. He’s a filmmaker who’s been ahead of the curve, created trends, and made movies that’ll last forever.
Thankfully, he’s been game to talk about almost every one of his films in audio commentaries. He’s always candid, ready to share his wealth of knowledge, and keep you hanging onto his every word, whether it’s for a two-hour drama or one of his three-hour epics. The master filmmaker is, without question, a master of audio commentaries.
With the recent release of Alien: Covenant, it felt like the right time to listen to some of Scott’s commentaries. His tracks for Alien and Blade Runner are must-listens, and the same goes for his tracks about demons, kingpins, two legends on the road, and con artists. Here are the five you really need to seek out.
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We frequently think of Ridley Scott as a master, a filmmaker with huge ambition and bigger talent who can bring any vision to the big screen. His resume certainly seems to confirm that. Space opera, war movies, period pieces, spy thrillers, Best Picture winners — he’s pretty much done them all. Still, out of the 22 films Scott has directed, including this week’s release Exodus: Gods and Kings, how many of them are actually good? What about great? It’s a pretty high percentage. Below, we rank the top 15 best Ridley Scott movies. Read More »
Updated 06/04/08: All signs point to Ridley Scott directing the first major Hollywood adaptation of Aldous Huxley‘s 1932 classic Brave New World, possibly with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead. Scott has been in discussions with the Huxley estate for sometime, as has DiCaprio. This article from the Sunday Times back in March took a look at negotiations. Themes in Brave New World have appeared in numerous sci-fi films over the years. Equilibrium definitely comes to mind. Set in a faux-utopian dystopia, society has been organized into a class system based on eugenics, with the government issuing a drug to the public called Soma that induces hedonistic escape fantasies. Our readers also believe that this will be Scott’s next film, though others have mentioned Ender’s Game and Hyperion Cantos as projects that would be well-served by Scott’s eye and mind as well. Thanks to everyone who commented, a nice discussion is below for those who haven’t lurked or taken part yet.
When I hear “Ridley Scott,” I think well-made R-rated pictures for adults that could/should not be PG-13. Scott doesn’t bend under the weight of market forces. If he wants to dabble in PG-13 fare, he’ll make an underrated, meditative flick like White Squall, all the while his sci-fi masterpieces, Blade Runner and Alien, still loom large over the genre, keeping our expectations in check even as Hollywood surfs on teen tidal waves. I’m more than cool with Nolan’s vision for Batman or The Hobbit being PG-13, but I won’t abandon the vocal need/want for R-rated sci-fi/action. Even today, Scott’s sci-fi outings would not garner PG-13 ratings, nor would several of James Cameron’s genre cornerstones. While clearly no rating can be determined at this juncture, Eclipse got a big scoop: Ridley Scott’s next film after he’s done shooting Nottingham with Russell Crow will be sci-fi. Sweet.
“Q: You directed Blade Runner and Alien, which are seminal science fiction films. Why have you not done more science fiction films?
RIDLEY SCOTT: I am going to do one. I waited for a book for 20 years and I have got the book. I am not going to tell you what the book is but that film is going to probably be written within the next month. That will definitely be what I do next after Nottingham, the Robin Hood film that I am doing now in England.”
Haven’t had time to seriously ponder what book he’s referring to. Any guesses? I’ll update the post if any of your guesses seem viable and/or if ours are. Another project that we should all hope comes to fruition is Scott’s adaptation of NCFOM author Cormac McCarthy‘s 1985 classic Blood Meridian.
“We got [Blood Meridian] down as a screenplay and the problem is that it is so savage. But that’s what it is. If you did it properly it would be an X-certificate. But you can’t apologise for the violence and you can’t quantify the violence and you shouldn’t try to explain the violence. It is what it isâ€¦an exercise in brutality, savagery and violence. For the most part it is probably relatively accurate. It shows the flipside to Dances With Wolves of how the United States was probably taken. It was taken by the throat.”
Comparable to a future where predatory robots roam a scorched Earth, much of history (not to mention McCarthy’s work) merits a hardcore take: scalping in this instance. Though I remain baffled at the predictable structure, presentation and ethical stumbles of American Gangster, Scott’s upcoming films like Body of Lies with DiCaprio and Crowe, Nottingham and the ones discussed here all sound highly promising and uncompromising. Some of our younger directors should take note. Paul Thomas Anderson did and it’s worked out fine, the popcorn even tasted the same.
Discuss: Scott returning to sci-fi, pretty cool right? What sci-fi book do you think Scott is adapting? Any fans of Blood Meridian?
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
SuperHeroHype has learned that the first movie trailer for Wanted will premiere next week in front of Universal’s American Gangster. I would normally predict that the trailer will be released online before the release, but Universal may hold off on an online premiere of the trailer until after Gangster‘s opening weekend. We reported a couple days ago that an Academy Award screener copy of Gangster had leaked on to bit torrent.
Based on the Mark Millar graphic novel about a young man (James McAvoy) finds out his long lost father is an assassin. And when his father is murdered, the son is recruited into his father’s old organization and trained by a man named Sloan (Morgan Freeman) to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Angelina Jolie, Terence Stamp and Common also star.
Wanted hits theaters on March 28th 2008.
“For Your Consideration” season has begun. I know this because the first Oscar screener of the season has been leaked online. A week and a half before the official release date, Ridley Scott’s new film American Gangster has been uploaded to the bit torrent networks and has already been illegally downloaded by tens of thousands of people. And that’s just in the first 20 hours online. As I write this, over 10,000 users are currently downloading the video off a popular bit torrent website.
Audiences usually stay way from pirated movies due to the notorious bad quality video camera-taped copies. But with Award Season screeners, the movie quality is as good as a retail DVD release. So what is to stop consumers from downloading this film early? American Gangster is set to hit theaters in he United States on November 2nd, but its release in other world territories happens as late as February of 2008. So while this might not have a huge effect on the box office in the U.S., it is likely to hurt foreign markets hard. And as for the U.S. results, that is debatable. Recently horror director Eli Roth blamed piracy for the lower than expected box office numbers of Hostel: Part II. The workprint for his film was leaked online a week before the movie’s national release.
American Gangster stars Russell Crowe as a detective who is working to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who is smuggling the heroin into the Manhattan in the coffins of soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this film. The movie currently has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 9.0 rating voted by users on the Internet Movie Database.
Also interesting of note: Paramount Vantage have uploaded free pdf versions of five screenplays to a public “For Your Consideration” website. Two of the scripts available for download (The Kite Runner and There Will Be Blood) have not yet been released theatrically.
Disclaimer: It should be noted that I myself have not downloaded the print, but instead have confirmed it’s authenticity through a message board in which users discuss the quality of bit torrent downloads.
What is the most anticipated movie scheduled for release in the next year?
The Dark Knight… nope.
Iron Man? Nah uh.
I Am Legend? Will Smith wishes.
The answer to the question and more after the jump.
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The international trailer for Ridley Scott’s American Gangster in now online. This trailer is a lot more action packed than the trailer from a few months ago. I’m extremely impressed. This is one of must watch films of the fall. I don’t think there is any way this movie could be bad. If anything, it might disappoint because of such high expectations. It almost seems like Scott has made a Scorsese film. Mozart’s Requiem serves a perfect background soundtrack.
The film is based on an article from Mark Jacobson, about a drug lord who smuggles heroin into Harlem during the 1970s by hiding the stash inside the coffins of American soldiers returning from Vietnam. The film stars Denzel Washington, Russell Crow, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Josh Brolin, Armand Assante, RZA, John Ortiz, John Hawkes and Ted Levine. Check out the trailer after the jump. Read More »