Tony Scott 1944 – 2012
Writing in Saturday’s Guardian newspaper, actress Keira Knightley has written about her time with Tony Scott, working on one of her early break-out lead rolls, Domino, which Scott directed. It’s a really nice article, and well worth a look.
You can read the whole piece here, but here are a few snippets:
“They say he held the record for the fastest speeding ticket in Los Angeles – 170mph on a motorbike along Pacific Coast highway. They say he totalled two Porsches along Sunset Strip. I don’t know if any of that’s true and I don’t care. He was a man people liked to tell stories about…
“I knew Tony for three months, seven years ago, when I worked with him on Domino. Every second I spent with him was a privilege…
“One day we stood in a room together, with six naked women, choosing me a bum double. We disagreed on whose bum was the best but, being a gentleman, he gave me my way…
The world is a lesser place without Tony Scott. He was an original in every way. There will never be another like him. He was the only truly rock’n'roll person I’ve ever met. Watch his films, be part of his violent delights. He was, is and always will be a legend.
Tony Scott 1944 – 2012
Paramount Pictures have officially announced that the late Tony Scott’s classic hit Top Gun is getting a limited IMAX 3D release, followed by a Blu-ray release in February 2013.
I don’t envy Paramount when it comes to the timing of this release. Although the 3D conversion was supervised by Scott before his death, some may see this as a cash-in from Paramount. On the other hand, with what I imagine is a considerable investment made in the conversion, Paramount understandably want to see a return. I think the timing of the release is about right.
My understanding is that Paramount were going to use this re-release to gauge the public’s interest in a sequel, but with development on the film abandoned after Scott’s death, that me no longer be a part of the plan. Besides, which director would want the responsibility of picking up the baton on this project?
Anyway, here’s Paramount’s press release in full:
“TOP GUN” TO BE RELEASED IN IMAX® 3D FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME
THE CLASSIC FILM RETURNS TO THE BIG SCREEN EXCLUSIVELY IN SELECT IMAX 3D THEATRES FOR A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT BEGINNING FEBRUARY 8, 2013
“TOP GUN” Debuts on Blu-ray 3D™/ Blu-ray 2D™ Two-Disc Set February 19, 2013
HOLLYWOOD, CA (December 11, 2012) – “TOP GUN,” Paramount Pictures’ 1986 classic from director Tony Scott, producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and starring Tom Cruise, takes off on a new adventure with an exclusive six-day 3D engagement in select IMAX® theatres beginning February 8, 2013. The film has been re-mastered for the IMAX® 3D release and subsequent debut on Blu-ray.
TOP GUN was re-mastered for the big screen from high-resolution original negative scans and painstakingly converted to 3D by Legend3D under the supervision of the film’s director, Tony Scott. Rendered in 3D, the film’s complex, long shots reveal extraordinary depth and clarity, allowing viewers to explore every detail of the action. From the spectacular aerial dogfights to the intense close-ups in the cockpits, each frame enables the audience to feel a part of the story.
The story of an elite group of pilots competing to be the best in their class and earn the title of “TOP GUN” captured the imagination of a generation and earned a worldwide box office of over $350 million upon its release. The film stars Tom Cruise as Maverick and Kelly McGillis as his civilian instructor. The film also stars Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards and Meg Ryan.
The “TOP GUN” Blu-ray 3D disc presents the film with pristine high definition picture and sparkling sound in spectacular 3D for the ultimate home viewing experience. The Blu-ray 2D includes the re-mastered film in high definition, along with a six-part documentary on the making of the movie, a behind-the-scenes featurette, interviews with Tom Cruise, commentary by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, co-screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr. and more. The two-disc set available for purchase also includes a digital copy of the film and will be enabled with UltraViolet technology.
A couple of weeks ago I lent a hand to a friend setting up a new site dedicated to steelbook Blu-ray releases, called, with amazing good luck, www.steelbookbluray.com.
He’s now got his first competition running, where you can win a copy of the Basket Case Trilogy and The Return of The Living Dead on Blu-ray, both with very nice, limited edition steelbook packaging. The competition is open worldwide, so please check it out here. You can also follow via Twitter here.
Following the recent death of director Tony Scott, his family have setup The Tony Scott Scholarship Fund at the American Film Institute (AFI), “to help encourage and engage future generations of filmmakers”.
Here’s the statement from the Scott family:
Tony Scott 1944 – 2012
To honor the life and work of filmmaker Tony Scott, the Scott family has created The Tony Scott Scholarship Fund at AFI to celebrate his creative legacy. The family ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the fund to help encourage and engage future generations of filmmakers.
AFI is a non-profit educational and cultural organization whose key aims are to preserve the history of the motion picture, honor artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.
Contributions to the Tony Scott Scholarship Fund may be sent to:
American Film Institute
Tony Scott Scholarship Fund
2021 North Western Avenue
It sounds like a great way to let Tony Scott’s memory and influence live on for the next generation of film makers.
Variety is reporting that Jon Spaihts, whose original script for an Alien prequel was re-worked into Prometheus, has been selected by Universal Pictures to reboot their Mummy franchise, following diminishing (in critical terms at least) returns on the recent trilogy begun by Stephen Sommers.
Universal Pictures has tapped “Prometheus” scribe Jon Spaihts to pen a reboot of “The Mummy” franchise, which Sean Daniel will return to produce…
“I see it as the sort of opportunity I had with ‘Prometheus’: to go back to a franchise’s roots in dark, scary source material, and simultaneously open it up to an epic scale we haven’t seen before,” said Spaihts.
You can read more here. Spaihts is currently hot right now, helped no doubt by the high profile of Prometheus, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing his name attached to more projects over the next year or two.
A sad day indeed. French comic book artist Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud has died aged 73.
While HR Giger is rightly acclaimed for his work designing the creature and ‘derelict’ for the first Alien film, it was Mobeus, along with artists like Ron Cobb who created the environments that the human characters inhabited. It was Moebius who designed the iconic worn by the crew of the Nostromo dring their exploration of LV-426 and the Derelict.
As well as Alien, Moebius provided designs for The Abyss, Tron, and The Fifth Element. I could waffle on, but instead I recommend you read this article on io9.com, who put it far better than me.
Riding high on a series of well-received roles in both indie and blockbuster movies, it seems Prometheus’s Michael Fassbender isn’t likely to settle down any time soon.
According to Bleeding Cool, Robocop remake director José Padilha has said that he wants Fassbender as his leading man.
I’ll film Robocop. I’m indeed writing the script, the writer is here with me in Rio, we’ve spent over the last 15 days working together, refining the script.
I’ll be travelling this friday back to LA, bringing this new version to discuss with the studio, and maybe begin with the casting, selecting actors… and the idea is to begin filming in February – February or March. That’s the idea, y’know, we never know in the american movie industry. We’re just delivering the project, but also we depend on the schedule of the actors… it’s tough.
I can’t talk yet, it’s too early to speak, but there are some actors I like. I really like the Fassbender, I’d like to talk to him — I’ll talk to him. There’s a possibility… and there’s a lot of other great actors that would play Robocop. But that’s the idea, to film around January, February, March.”
So, there have been no talks yet between the actor and director, but let’s hope that Fassbender takes Padilha’s call when it comes!
This may well be old news to many of you, but browsing around we found this work of genius – a home-made costume, named Abe T. Alien, by Alien fan Gareth Ellner.
You can see the story of Abe’s construction here, and some photos here. The site hasn’t been updated in a while, but there is an active Twitter feed here.
Alien Vault author Ian Nathan took time from his busy day job as Executive Editor of Empire, the world’s best movie magazine, to answer a few of our questions about his work putting the book together.
First off, with so much already written and and committed to home video about the making of the film, did you worry about covering ground that was already well trodden?
“Very much so. To start with Alien is a film (and a franchise) served so well by DVD — in fact, the Anthology sets something of an industry standard for extras. But the more I thought about it, and watching the film again for inspiration, I thought there was still much to say. That is a mark of the film’s power, it offers new things on every viewing.
I also thought why do biographers go back, again and again, to legends from Hitler to Michaelangelo, or for that matter Scorsese, Brando or Ridley Scott? And that was the key – treat the book as a biography of Alien: not just a making-of, but an exploration of what it was like on set, and just as importantly what it is like to watch. Within that, I set about getting beneath the legends (something perhaps the DVD sidesteps), as much as I could figuring out the truth.
For instance, did or didn’t the cast know about the chestbursting scene beforehand? Given the practicalities of filmmaking, they must have done. There are several set-ups in the sequence, all shot in chronological order. By the time of the ‘bursting’, they had already shot the t-shirt tearing shot. It was more likely the severity of the blood and offal that came as a shock – and the smell of it cooking beneath the studio lights. A faceful of blood is not something anyone can be ready for!
How much direct input and help did you have from Sir Ridley Scott?
“Obviously, Sir Ridley was fairly preoccupied with preproduction on Prometheus at time of writing. He approved the book and opened up his own archive of pictures, and I was fairly content that over three recent interviews with him, I had a deep store of unused Alien information from him.
In fact, you could call it destiny, or a bit of foreknowledge on my part, but I was storing up a mass of interviews and knowledge ideal for a book. And delving into the past, going back 30 years, there are some fascinating interviews with Scott at time of release that gave a really different perspective. The point when no one knew quite what they had on their hands.”
When looking through the archives, did you find anything that surprised you?
“Photographically, certainly. I especially loved the shots of the cast and (just occasionally) Ridley Scott laughing! Given how tough a shoot it was, how driven and claustrophobic and experience, it was lovely to see that they did enjoy themselves!
Sounds like a cliché, I know, but the sheer depth of unseen material staggered me — and got me thinking: how much other material lies buried in Fox’s archive, not just on the Alien movies, on all movies? You know, photos are so revealing. I recommend people to spend their time gazing at the book’s pics, there is so much detail there.”
Conversely, was there anything you were looking for, or hoping to find out more about, but didn’t?
“The difficulty was that it was over 30 years ago they made this film – time does funny things, especially with great movies. It creates myths that people stick to. Going over material, and speaking to cast and crew, getting to the truth behind specific elements was tough. So many people take credit for, say, making Ripley a woman, or pushing for H.R. Giger, or the double ending (the he’s-not-really-dead shock, now a staple of all horror movies).
Interestingly, Alien works both for and against the auteur theory. It is most certainly Scott’s film: his visual signature, his mastery of pace, his retrofitted genius for atmosphere and a working fictional reality. But it is arguably also Dan O’Bannon and Ron Shusett’s film: they were the inventors, they came up with the chestburster and first brought on Giger. And producer/screenwriters Walter Hill and David Giler are certainly responsible for the terse, 70s tone, the ragged, realistic characterisation of the crew.
It was often a matter of interpretation of facts, and also enriching the mythology that now cloaks the film.”
Towards the end of the book you touch a little on the film’s legacy, including the sequels. Are there any plans to cover those for future books (I would personally love to see a book on Alien 3)?
“Well, like all franchises, we’ll have to see how the first book does. Put it this way, we’ve had talks about Aliens. But I’m with you, I think Alien 3 makes for an incredible making of story… personally, as much as I love the sheer excitement of Aliens, to me Alien 3 is the natural sequel. It carries that evocative weirdness, that otherness so vital to the original.
I think the Anthology’s ‘Working Cut’ of Alien 3 is a very good, very handsome (especially on blu) movie. Incomplete, certainly, but hugely rewarding. Fincher was really onto something. I would love to continue the journey – maybe in a few years we can add Prometheus to the list as well!”
You have obviously built up a good relationship over the years with Ridley Scott. Has he told you much about Prometheus?
“Nothing I can say! We’ve all been sworn to secrecy. Let me say this, for all his talk of distancing Prometheus from Alien, I think there will be no missing the connections!”
Many thanks again to Ian for taking the time to answer our questions, and, as with the book itself, his love of the film and franchise shines through. I am glad to see he agrees with me about Alien 3, and, whatever you think of the finished product, wouldn’t it be fantastic to get a proper, in-depth look at the story of its troubled production? Maybe even David Fincher could be convinced to break his silence about his experiences?
Of course, any future books rely on the success of the first one, so please show your support by picking up your own copy today. UK readers can buy it from here, and US readers can click here. If you are feeling lucky you can still enter our competition to win one of 6 copies here, and our review of the book is here.