Betty White | Jeff Bridges | Christopher Nolan | Michael Sheen | Scott Free Prods.
Filmmaking brothers Ridley and Tony Scott, Britannia Award honorees for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment, have been in business together for more than four decades, and according to Tony, it’s been time well-spent — spats and all.
“We’re a great two-hander,” says the younger Scott sib (by seven years), who started out directing insert shots for Ridley’s commercials before following his footsteps helming ads and feature films. “When blood is good, there’s nothing better than Ridley and I being in business.”
From the formation of the advertising shingle Ridley Scott Associates in 1967 through the establishment of brothers’ successful film and television production company Scott Free in 1995, the Scotts have shown how effective a brotherly entity can be.
Tony describes their complementary acumen this way: “Rid loves all the big broad strokes, and I deal with the people side. He surprises me still with his enduring energy, and his ability to do a 180 and go from one piece of material to another and give very productive notes. I’m like a chicken with my head cut off, but I run hard, and I love to work. Sometimes there’s bloodletting, but invariably we resolve it amicably. We’re very tight as friends and very tight as family. That’s why we’ve been in business for so long.”
As feature directors, the pair have enjoyed rafts of individual success. From “Alien” and “Blade Runner” through the Oscar-winning “Gladiator” and “American Gangster,” Ridley has been hailed as an influential imagemaker and deft handler of epic material. Tony’s muscular storytelling chops and bold visual style, meanwhile — evident in hits from “Top Gun” to “Crimson Tide” and the new film “Unstoppable” — have made him an action/suspense maestro.
Although the Scotts will bounce ideas off each other, they go their own ways creatively when it comes to the meat of directing.
“We used to share our first cuts a lot more often, but Ridley would give me too many notes, and I the same,” says Tony. “So we said, ‘Fuck that.’ Now we show each other the final product.”
Could the Scotts ever co-direct? “We’d kill each other before we got to the end of day one,” says Tony, laughing.
Ultimately, he cites the pair’s Northern England background in why their familial partnership has proven to be such a fruitful one. “That determination and tenacity comes from our parents, especially my mum,” says Tony. “We’re gritty, we’re real, very down to earth. We’re like dogs with a bone. We never give up.”