Sir Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. His commercial breakthrough was Alien. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about him!
1. Sir Ridley Scott was born 30 November 1937.
2. Following his commercial breakthrough with the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), his best known works are the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), crime drama Thelma & Louise (1991), historical drama and Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator (2000), war film Black Hawk Down (2001), crime thriller Hannibal (2001), biographical film American Gangster (2007), and science fiction films Prometheus (2012) and The Martian (2015).
3. Ridley Scott was born in South Shields, County Durham, North East England, to Elizabeth (Williams) and Colonel Francis Percy Scott.
4. He was brought up in an army family, so for most of his early life, his father – an officer in the Royal Engineers – was absent.
5. His elder brother, Frank, joined the British Merchant Navy when he was still young and the pair had little contact.
6. During this time the family moved around, living in (among other areas) Cumberland in North West England, Wales and Germany. He had a younger brother, Tony, who also became a film director.
7. After World War II, the Scott family moved back to their native North East, eventually settling on Greens Beck Road in Hartburn, County Durham, whose industrial landscape would later inspire similar scenes in Blade Runner.
8. He studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design.
9. Ridley Scott went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, contributing to college magazine ARK and helping to establish the college film department.
10. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, Boy and Bicycle, starring both his younger brother and his father (the film was later released on the “Extras” section of The Duellists DVD).
11. In February 1963 Scott was named in title credits as “Designer” for the BBC television programme Tonight, about the severe winter of 1963.
12. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series Z-Cars and science fiction series Out of the Unknown.
13. He was originally assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the serial’s eponymous alien creatures. However, shortly before Scott was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced by Raymond Cusick.
14. In 1965, he began directing episodes of television series for the BBC, only one of which, an episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, is available commercially
15. In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company.
16. Working alongside Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson and cinematographer Hugh Johnson, Ridley Scott made many commercials at RSA during the 1970s, including a notable 1973 Hovis advertisement, “Bike Round” (underscored by the slow movement of Symphony No. 9 rearranged for brass), set in the north of England but filmed in Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset.
17. A nostalgia themed television advertisement that captured the public imagination, it was voted the UK’s all-time favourite commercial in a 2006 poll.
18. In the 1970s the Chanel No. 5 brand needed revitalisation having run the risk of being labelled as mass market and passé.
19. Directed by Scott in the 1970s and 1980s, Chanel television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction, which “played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle.”
20. Five members of the Scott family are directors, and all have worked for RSA.
21. His brother Tony was a successful film director whose career spanned more than two decades; his sons Jake and Luke are both acclaimed directors of commercials, as is his daughter, Jordan Scott. Jake and Jordan both work from Los Angeles; Luke is based in London. In 1995, Shepperton Studios was purchased by a consortium headed by Ridley and Tony Scott, which extensively renovated the studios while also expanding and improving its grounds
22. Ridley Scott had originally planned next to adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing Star Wars, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films.
23. He accepted the job of directing Alien, the 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would win him international success. Scott made the decision to switch Ellen Ripley from the standard male action hero to a heroine.
24. Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon.
25. The final scene of John Hurt’s character has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.
26. Filmed at Shepperton Studios in England, Alien was the sixth highest-grossing film of 1979, earning over $104 million worldwide.
27. Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the original film. In promotional interviews at the time, Scott indicated he had been in discussions to make a fifth film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 2006 interview, Scott remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director’s Cut, feeling that the original was “pretty flawless” and that the additions were merely a marketing tool
28. Scott would later return to an Alien-related project when he directed Prometheus three decades after the original film’s release. (See 2006 – present section, for more on Prometheus.)
29. After a year working on the film adaptation of Dune, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Starring Harrison Ford, Blade Runner was a commercial disappointment in cinemas in 1982, but is now regarded as a classic.
30. In 1991 Scott’s notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed director’s cut which removed the main character’s voiceover and made a number of other small changes, including to the ending. Later Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved what was called The Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release in December 2007.
31. Today, Blade Runner is ranked by many critics as one of the most important and influential science fiction films ever made, partly thanks to its much imitated portraits of a future cityscape. It is often discussed along with William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre.
32. Ridley Scott has described Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”.
33. Scott’s historical drama Gladiator (2000) proved to be one of his biggest critical and commercial successes. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for the film’s star Russell Crowe, and saw Scott nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director
34. Scott worked with British visual effects company The Mill for the film’s computer-generated imagery, and the film was dedicated to Oliver Reed who died during filming – The Mill created a digital body double for Reed’s remaining scenes.
35. Some have credited Gladiator with reviving the nearly defunct “sword and sandal” historical genre. The film was named the fifth best action film of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time.
36. Ridley Scott then turned to Hannibal (2001) starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. The film was commercially successful despite receiving mixed reviews. Scott’s next film, Black Hawk Down (2001), based on a group of stranded US soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia, saw him receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director.
37. In 2003, Scott directed a smaller scale project, Matchstick Men, adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It received mostly positive reviews, but performed moderately at the box office.
38. In 2005, he made the modestly successful Kingdom of Heaven, a film about the Crusades. The film starred Orlando Bloom, and marked Scott’s first collaboration with the composer Harry Gregson-Williams The Moroccan government sent the Moroccan cavalry as extras for some battle scenes.
39. Unhappy with the theatrical version of Kingdom of Heaven (which he blamed on paying too much attention to the opinions of preview audiences in addition to relenting when Fox wanted 45 minutes shaved off), Scott supervised a director’s cut of the film, the true version of what he wanted, which was released on DVD in 2006.
40. The director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven has been met with critical acclaim, with Empire magazine calling the film an “epic”, adding: “The added 45 minutes in the director’s cut are like pieces missing from a beautiful but incomplete puzzle.”
41. Ridley Scott was married to Felicity Heywood from 1964 to 1975. The couple had two sons, Jake and Luke, both of whom work as directors on Scott’s production company, Ridley Scott Associates.
42. Ridley Scott later married advertising executive Sandy Watson in 1979, with whom he had a daughter, Jordan Scott, and divorced in 1989.
43. His current partner is the actress Giannina Facio, whom he has cast in all his films since White Squall except American Gangster and The Martian.
44. He divides his time between homes in London, France and Los Angeles.
45. His eldest brother Frank died, aged 45, of skin cancer in 1980. His younger brother Tony, who was also his business partner in their company Scott Free, died on 19 August 2012 at the age of 68 after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge which spans Los Angeles Harbor, after a long struggle with cancer.
46. In 2013, Ridley stated that he is an atheist.
47. Ridley has dedicated several of his films in memory of his family: Blade Runner to his brother Frank, Black Hawk Down to his mother, and The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings to his brother Tony.
48. Ridley also paid tribute to his late brother Tony at the 2016 Golden Globes, after his film, The Martian, won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
49. Scott was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2003 New Year Honours for his substantial contribution to the British film industry.
50. He received his accolade from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 8 July 2003.
51. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2007.
52. In 2011, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
53. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing—Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down—as well as a Golden Globe, BAFTA and 2 Primetime Emmy Awards. In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tony received the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.
54. In 2012, Scott was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires to mark his 80th birthday.[
55. On 3 July 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London at which he described how he still keeps on his office wall his school report placing him 31st out of 31 in his class, and how his teacher encouraged him to pursue what became his passion at art school.