Ridley Scott doesn’t have “one regret” about his direction or Disney’s promotion of his 2021 historical drama “The Last Duel” — the box office failure is the fault of young people and their cellphones, he says.
The director, known for commercially and critically successful films such as “Alien,” “Thelma & Louise” and “The Martian,” appeared on comedian Marc Maron’s podcast “WTF” on Monday. Among the topics discussed was “The Last Duel,” the film Scott directed from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon based on Eric Jager’s book of the same name, which only made $27 million worldwide despite carrying a $100 million budget.
“No. Disney did a fantastic promotion job,” Scott said when Maron implied the company may have been the reason for “The Last Duel’s” low performance. “The bosses loved the movie — because I was concerned it was not for them — but they really liked the movie, so their advertising, publicity, et cetera, was excellent.”
“I think what it boils down to — what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these fucking cell phones. The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything unless you are told it on the cell phone,” Scott continued. “This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. There is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.”
Maron said that he thought the time period and action in the film would have been a draw for younger audiences.
“I agree with you. Particularly with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver and this new girl called Jodie Comer. That’s the call you make. That’s the call that Fox made. We all thought it was a terrific script, and we made it,” Scott responded. “You can’t win all the time. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve never had one regret on any movie I’ve ever made. Nothing. I learned very early on to be your own critic. The only thing you should really have an opinion on is what you just did. Walk away. Make sure you’re happy. And don’t look back. That’s me.”
“The Last Duel” isn’t the only box office flop Scott blames others for.
“[In 1982], I made a film called ‘Blade Runner.’ It was my third movie. Pretty fuckin’ good,” he told Maron. “I was killed. I was killed by [film critic] Pauline Kael, who didn’t even meet me. She had never met me and I suddenly read this article in the New Yorker, which is a very classy magazine. I read it, and there’s a four page series of insults. I framed it. It’s in my office right now.”
“I never read criticism. I never read critique ever again,” Scott added, “because she was so wrong. I was just way ahead of her.”