We talk a lot about the filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott, mostly because the man really has created some iconic pictures and continues to prove how good at the craft he really is. One of the nice things is that lately, Scott talks. He’s made himself infinitely more available for interviews and has no problem talking about his life’s work.
In a recent chat with Yahoo Movies, he spoke about a few things (at length), like The Terror, Thelma & Louise, and Alien.
On his working with H.R. Giger on the seminal work Alien:
“In my career, which has been pretty long, there’s only been, with the greatest respect for the people I’ve worked with, two real, real originals. Funnily enough, I came across a guy called HR Giger and if I hadn’t got that monster you would not have had that movie. I saw the drawing – the drawing was drawn for the book, not the film – and I was so kind of taken, I flew to Switzerland where he lived because he didn’t want to get the plane as he was scared of flying.
I saw the drawing – the drawing was drawn for the book, not the film – and I was so kind of taken, I flew to Switzerland where he lived because he didn’t want to get the plane as he was scared of flying. I met him in Zurich at his home and I persuaded him to travel by train to come to England and live at Shepperton studios for ten months. And he did.
It wouldn’t have been the same movie. Whilst the cast was wonderful, with Sigourney [Weaver] and Harry [Dean Stanton] and those people, but without that eighth passenger it wouldn’t have been the same film.
What I’m trying to say is that there are rarities, there are those [ideas] that occur once in the while, not that often, but when they do grab them and hang on to them.”
On Thelma & Louise,
“Thelma & Louise was a one-off odyssey of two women who slide into trouble through the law, therefore are misunderstood, and it ends up in tragedy. I always wanted it to be an odyssey, a kind of high rather than low emotion. The fact that I froze the car in the air meant, simply, that they could continue the journey, so that was carefully thought through.
I didn’t want the ending to become depressing or them to be seen as victims. You can’t say they were victims of their circumstances because they made a decision and drove that car. I think that was a good message to women who have fewer opportunities.
The idea of getting married and having kids is terrific, it’s a great institution, but I think you can have both, you can have both if the husband is prepared to share.”
About his current executive producing gig on AMC’s period Antarctic explorer show The Terror:
“Hubris is courage, isn’t it? We wouldn’t have got to the top of Everest if the guy didn’t have hubris. A little bit of hubris is useful, thank you very much. I’m still working at 80 so I’ve got a lot!
I think to reflect and revisit our history is always interesting because the attention span of people today at school is about six seconds, isn’t it? I think it’s great if maybe the last stand of information has to a certain extent be aligned partly, not wholly, with education.
To tell a story about a Naval expedition, across the Northwest Passage, in 1850 is more fascinating to watch than to read. What we do with entertainment, which is pictures and words, is a lot more powerful as an educational device than some kid expected to sit down and read a book to learn it.”
Here’s hoping the 80 years young director will continue to create and produce such high-level cinema.