Analyse This; RIDLEY SCOTT, Filmmaker

Daily Mail (London), October 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

Analyse This; RIDLEY SCOTT, Filmmaker


Byline: ELAINE LIPWORTH

DIRECTOR Sir Ridley Scott is often described as the greatest British filmmaker since Alfred Hitchcock. His credits include Alien, Thelma And Louise, Gladiator and last year's Kingdom Of Heaven. The director, who divides his time between Britain and France, lives with his partner, actress Giannina Facio. He runs a production company, Scott Free, with his director brother Tony. Ridley's latest film, A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe, is based on Peter Mayle's best-selling book.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF HEAVEN?

BEING in Provence. Making A Good Year was heaven for me. I thought: 'They're paying for this and it is eight minutes from my house.' I have lived in Provence for 15 years. I own a house and a vineyard. If I am feeling stressed, I go there with family and friends or sometimes by myself. I get in the house, slam the door and there is absolute silence; the housekeeper has made lunch or dinner for me. It's magical, the smell, the sounds - wonderful.

WHAT TURNS YOU ON?

I LOVE making films. I am passionate about it and I do not take definitive holidays. Who says you have to take off from Friday evening to Monday morning? I don't do that. If I go away, I take three books and a screenplay to read, plus tennis rackets because I can play reasonably well. I will thrash a ball, I will drink, I will work - and I will see my good lady and perhaps one of my kids. I roll everything in together.

While I'm working on a project, it requires tremendous stamina; you have to be awake longer than anyone else.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

ALL my films are challenging in different ways, but for my last one, Kingdom Of Heaven, we had 3,000 people for breakfast every morning on location, including the 800 troops, 1,200 extras, plus the film crew and Moroccan workforce.

RICH AND FAMOUS OR POOR AND ANONYMOUS?

I LIKE having the freedom to do what I want - I sent my kids to good schools and I have nice houses but it has never, ever been about money for me.

You have to enjoy life, too.

People who are very rich (like the Russell Crowe character in A Good Year) often forget about that.

There was a guy who used to live next door to me in North London. He was a trader, about 25 or 26 years old. The car arrived for him at 5.45am: engine running, The Times in the back seat.

He worked around the clock.

One day I was in my garden, brushing up the leaves and looking very bedraggled, and this guy in his immaculate suit was watching me and he said: 'Excuse me, aren't you Ridley Scott?' I said 'Yeah'. He said 'Why are you sweeping the courtyard?' And I said: 'You don't get it; I enjoy it.'

GUILTY PLEASURE?

GOOD wine. I haven't sold my own yet because I have not had the time. But I've been developing and improving a good grape for 15 years and now I've been told the grape could make a good wine. The French winemakers have been experiencing a pretty rough time recently because the world market is undercutting them, but there's nothing like a really great French wine - they're so well balanced. …

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