×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ridley Scott Tells Aspiring Filmmakers They Have ‘No Excuses’

Acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott told young filmmakers Monday night that they had “no excuses” not to be able to go out and make a movie. Speaking at a special BAFTA: A Life in Pictures event celebrating his career, Scott said the availability of modern technologies, such as digital cameras and computer editing programs, meant many barriers to making a film had fallen and that if aspiring filmmakers really wanted to follow in his footsteps they should “go out and make a movie this weekend or stop moaning.”

But he said aspiring filmmakers needed to be prepared to work hard or they should try something else. “There are a lot of them now,” said Scott. “I think they think it’s going to be all fun and parties. When I do a movie I’m shooting by 8:45 a.m. You have to or you’ll never catch up.”

The event came a day after Scott was awarded BAFTA’s Fellowship, the body’s highest accolade, at the British Academy Film Awards. It was held at BAFTA’s headquarters in London before a packed public and industry audience.

Scott had lots of tips for young filmmakers, saying first they had to learn to be able to get through filming on time and budget. “Film school never teaches you that,” said the veteran director.

He also advised never to sit in on editing rooms or mixing sessions, saying if a director has prepared properly, he or she should be delivering the materials needed to put together the movie as envisioned and that seeing or hearing the same things over and over were like comedy – you start to question it. “If you sit in the editing room with the editor every night you’ll drive each other crazy. I shoot. I see rushes. I leave it,” said Scott, adding that that way he could always stay fresh when seeing the first cut. “It’s a good tip.”

Discussing his enthusiasm to shoot “Alien” the filmmaker said he told studio 20th Century Fox he had no notes and was ready to shoot it as was, advising filmmakers working in Hollywood never to go back with notes on a screenplay they already liked. “You’ll turn a gold film into a development deal,” said Scott, though he later admitted he got more into development and producing because “you rarely get a script that lands on your desk like ‘Alien.’”

“Writing is the most powerful thing in the business,” said the director. “If I get it written then making a movie is dead easy. When it’s not on paper it’s a nightmare. If you get it real chances are it’s going to be strong. I can tell within half a page if I’m in good hands.”

Of his latest film, “All the Money in the World,” Scott said it took him just 20 minutes to decide to reshoot the scenes he had already filmed with Kevin Spacey, replacing the actor with Christopher Plummer following the sexual harassment scandal that enveloped Spacey in late October only weeks ahead of the film’s planned premiere. Scott said he hadn’t heard anything from the actor or any of his representatives since making the decision. Scott made light of the difficulties involved. “I was shooting in nine days. I can make it sound really difficult but it’s not. The biggest challenge was for [Christopher Plummer] to learn 22 scenes.”

Scott also revealed that the recently confirmed second season of BBC and FX drama “Taboo” starring Tom Hardy, which Scott executive produces through Scott Free Productions alongside Hardy’s company Hardy, Son and Baker, was expected to go into production in September this year.

The 80-year-old filmmaker has directed 25 features since his debut with “The Duellists” in 1977, including sci-fi classics “Alien” and “Blade Runner” and the Oscar-winning “Gladiator.” He also has more than 100 movie and television producing credits and, by his own estimation, has directed “roughly 2,000” commercials.

He revealed that after “The Duellists” he had originally intended to make a version of romantic tragedy “Tristan and Isolde” before producer David Puttnam suggested the two of them go and see a new film called “Star Wars” at the Chinese theater in L.A. one Saturday morning. “Lucas’ first ‘Star Wars’ was absolutely seminal; blew me away. I’ve never felt such audience participation,” said Scott of George Lucas’ game-changing blockbuster. “I thought, ‘What am I doing going off to make another art film?’ Within six weeks I got the script for ‘Alien’ across my desk. The rest is history.”

More Film

  • The Realm review

    Palm Springs Review: 'The Realm'

    The notion that government is one big con directing money into already well-lined pockets is confirmed and then some in “The Realm.” Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “Michael Clayton”-like thriller has struck a chord in Spain, where the persistence of corruption in the post-Franco era is a popular topic bordering on obsession. But are examples of corruption just [...]

  • Fig Tree review

    Palm Springs Reviews: 'Fig Tree'

    It’s a question integral to much of the current international immigration debate: When war breaks out, who gets to flee and who’s left with nowhere to run? As a child, writer-director Aalam-Warqe Davidian was among a majority of Ethiopian Jews who emigrated to Israel. In her loosely autobiographical feature debut, a teenager facing similar circumstances [...]

  • Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges, who stars in

    Film News Roundup: Jeff Bridges Wins American Society of Cinematographers Honor

    In today’s film news roundup, Jeff Bridges is honored by cinematographers, the “Arctic” filmmakers get a first-look deal and releases are set for “Vault,” the Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron comedy and “What Lies Ahead.” BRIDGES HONORED The American Society of Cinematographers has selected Jeff Bridges as the recipient of the organizations’ 2019 Board of Governors Award. [...]

  • Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette'

    Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' Moved Back to August

    Annapurna Pictures has moved its Richard Linklater literary adaptation “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” starring Cate Blanchett back five months from March 22 to an Aug. 9 release. A rep for Annapurna explained that August has served well as a launching pad for release of female-skewing films such as “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Florence Foster Jenkins” and [...]

  • Kumail Nanjiani Issa Rae

    Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Star in 'Lovebirds' Romantic Comedy

    “The Big Sick” star Kumail Nanjiani and “Insecure” star Issa Rae will topline Paramount’s romantic comedy “The Lovebirds.” The project will reunite Nanjiani with “The Big Sick” helmer Michael Showalter, who’s on board to direct from a script by Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall, and Martin Gero. The project goes into production at the end of [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • 'The Pledge' Review

    Film Review: 'Pledge'

    “Privilege comes with sacrifice” says one character to another in “Pledge” — exactly the kind of noble sentiment authority figures always voice to hush the protests of those about to be sacrificed. This third feature for director Daniel Robbins is no delicate flower of cinematic art, but a lean and mean shocker that tells its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content