Magazine article Variety

A Late Start Leads to a Flourishing Career

Magazine article Variety

A Late Start Leads to a Flourishing Career

Article excerpt

Ridley Scott has one goal with his new movie,"Alien: Covenant."

"I'm hoping to scare the shit out of you," says the legendary director. "If I don't, I'm in trouble "

If the past 40 years are any indication, the odds are in Scott's favor, Since entering the movie game later in life - he was 40 when his debut feature'The Duellists" came out in 1977 - Scott has been taking audiences on wild rides with such Hints as "Alien,"its prequel "Prometheus" and, most recently, with the Academy Award-nominated blockbuster "The Martian." Along the way, he's racked up four Oscar nominations, won two Emmy Awards and landed a permanent place in the flint Zeitgeist With groundbreaking movies including "Blade Runner," "Thelma and Louise" and *Gladiator."

This week, Scott will earn another honor when his hands and feet are encased in cement outside the Chinese Theatre on May 17. Though Scott has created unimaginable worlds on film, he can't quite fathom this particular accolade.'You're always in awe when something like that happens," he says."It's wonderful, There's no other word for it."

It's something Scott never could have imagined when he first set foot on the famous sidewalk in i960, particularly considering he had no intention of entering the movie business. He was 22, fresh out of college and after working in New York for nine months, saved enough money to travel to L.A.on a Greyhound bus.

"One of the big deals for me was to come to Hollywood," he says."! stayed in a boarding house nearby and walked to Hollywood Boulevard. 1 remember standing outside and staring at the footprints. Never, ever, would 1 have thought that this would happen."

After his Hollywood trip, Scott returned to his native England, where he forged a prominent career in advertising. He didn't return to L.A. until the age of 40, the same year he made "Alien," which came out in 1979.

"Life begins at 40," Scott chuckles.'And I'm still flying. It's bizarre, isn't it?"

And flying high. In addition to "Alien: Covenant,"Scott is a producer on this year's 'Blade Runner 2049* a sequel lo Ills cult lilt from 1982, His production company, Scott Free, also has the Watergate thriller "Felt" and Kenneth Branagh's 'Murder on the Orient Express'due this year. On the TV side, Scott is a producer on 'The Man in the High Castle," Tom Hardy's "Taboo" and "The Good Fight," a spinoff of the hit 'The Good Wife."

With such a varied resume,can he pinpoint one common thread that makes a Fidley Scott movie? "Not really'he says. "My plan is: 1 have no plan. 1 tend to go from pillar to post, and I'm one of those lucky guys who gets to doit."

One could say that a recurring theme in his movies is outsiders, from the rebels of'Thclma and Louise" to the heroes of "Gladiator" and "The Martian." Concurs Scott, 'They're frequently more interesting people, That's a sweeping statement, but loners are complex. That's why they're alone. And that's always an interesting study"

As an example he points to 20l3's critically reviled 'The Counsel or," in which Michael Fassbender plays a lawyer in over his head in the world of drug trafficking."! love that character and find him fascinating,"he says.'ln fact,l love 'The Counselor,1 and 1 was so beaten up for that. It's one Of my favorites. People complained it was nihilistic - of course it is! …

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