Ridley Scott on filmmaking — part II
The master who taught himself the craft by shooting over 2000 commercials within a span of 15 years discusses some of his thoughts on filmmaking.
The first of a series of Ridley commentaries. Ridley’s discussions are always filled with good information on technical side of things as well as the industry. Devour it.
Ridley Scott on filmmaking.
Here it is, the first of a series of Ridley commentaries. Ridley’s discussions are always filled with good information on technical side of things as well as the industry. Devour it.
On apprenticeships — try to get one in this cutthroat business.
This is a short analysis of Ridley Scott’s film, Blade Runner. It is part of a series of video-essays Steven Benedict uploading for education purposes and is protected under the Fair Use copyright laws of the United States.
Hampton Fancher’s early draft of Blade Runner [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
Documentary about the troubled creation and enduring legacy of the science fiction classic Blade Runner, culled from 80 interviews and hours of never-before-seen outtakes and lost footage.
Production used clapperboard from Alien.
June 1978 revised final script written by Walter Hill and David Giler, based on original script by Dan O’Bannon [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
come across a shot of a script page from the original Alien.
A thing of beauty - just like lifting the curtain and looking right into the process of making movie history. Alien was originally written by Dan O’Bannon - who co-wrote and co-starred in John Carpenter’s Dark Star. He then went on to collaborate with Ronald Shusett on the story that would become Alien.
An interesting comment from Diane O’Bannon, wife of the late Dan O’Bannon:
I can assure you that the hndwritten notes on this page are not done by Dan O’Bannon. Also, the cover with credits to Giler and Hill is not the correct one. Dan and Ron were given first position, as it was found that Giler and Hill had taken Dan and Ron’s screenplay and re-written it in the vaunted “haiku form” to get both creative and monetary credit for the idea. It didn’t work I’m happy to say.
While photographer Norman Seeff has transfixed onlookers with iconic faces married to the lens, he has also captured the minds behind the camera—the directors. In his newest collection, “Director Series,” Seeff unveils never-before-seen images, as well as some rather famous ones, of some of entertainment’s most brilliant minds, including Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jim Henson, Ridley Scott and John Huston.
Never-Before-Seen 1980s Photos of Famous Directors: Scorsese, F. F. Coppola, Henson, Scott and John Huston is.gd/8JGgHl— LaFamiliaFilm (@LaFamiliaFilm) November 10, 2012
Sorry if this has been posted before, but I wanted to share this great hour-long Ridley Scott interview in four parts. Man, but the dude is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom! Interesting to hear that his relatively recent proclivity for multi-camera shooting is for the actors’ performances, I thought it might have been purely a necessity due to his crazy fast shooting schedules. Also loved to hear how he got thrown into the deep end on his first directing job in live tv, and how he developed a quick decision making attitude as a coping mechanism.
I’ve come across a shot of a script page from the original Alien - a thing of beauty - just like lifting the curtain and looking right into the process of making movie history. 1976 - an early draft of Alien - originally called Starbeast - Alien was originally written by Dan O’Bannon - who co-wrote and co-starred in John Carpenter’s Dark Star. He then went on to collaborate with Ronald Shusett on the story that would become Alien. 〰
June 1978, revised final script written by Walter Hill and David Giler, based on original script by Dan O’Bannon. Hill and Giler reshaped the prose, making it lean and crisp:
- Alien was originally written by Dan O’Bannon - who co-wrote and co-starred in John Carpenter’s 1974 sci-fi comedy Dark Star. When the film failed to find an audience, O’Bannon suggested to friend Ronald Shusett that perhaps it was easier to write something that would scare people than make them laugh. Thus, they set to work on a script which would one day become Alien. The original title: “Star Beast.”
- Before deciding to make Alien, Ridley Scott had been planning to follow his first film, The Duellists, with an adaptation of Tristan and Isolde. He changed his mind after being invited to a screening of Star Wars. “I thought ‘I must be out of my mind!’” he later recalled. “This is what cinema is about!” Scott soon abandoned his plans to make Tristan and Isolde and let his agent know that he was looking for a science fiction film.
- When Scott received the Alien screenplay, he was immediately hooked - “right from the first page. In fact, I finished the thing in a single go, in under an hour and a half, which is an extremely rare thing for me to do. I was so impressed with the Alien screenplay that, within twenty-four hours of my reading it, I had decided that this would be my next film.”
- Ripley was originally scripted to be a male character. When one of the producers suggested that they could change all the rules of science fiction films by making her - essentially the hero - a woman, Ridley Scott embraced the idea and a movie legend was born.
- According to Ridley Scott, fresh oysters and clams were used for the facehugger innards. Model soldiers and children in spacesuits - including Scott’s two sons, now both directors in their own right - were used to portray miniature astronauts.
- Actress Veronica Cartwright, who plays the part of Lambert, was originally cast in the role of Ripley. She only found out that she was playing Lambert instead when she read the nametag on her uniform during costume fitting. “I thought I was playing Ripley,” she says. “That’s the only part I’d ever read for, so that’s what I thought. I’d never even looked at the script from the point of view of Lambert, so I had to re-read the script.”
- The ‘chestburster’ scene, arguably the film’s most famous, was achieved by having John Hurt sit in a deckchair under a table, with his head joined to a false body, leaving his head writhing and his arms thrashing. (A similar technique is used when Ash’s severed head is revived later in the film.) Scott had not warned the cast what would happen when the creature burst from John Hurt’s chest - that they would all be sprayed with pig’s blood - because he wanted their reactions to be real. They are.
- The ship at the centre of the story was originally named the Snark, after the legendary creature being sought in Lewis Carroll’s poem The Hunting of the Snark. Its next name was Leviathan - a reference to its enormous size - before Scott eventually settled on Nostromo, the title of a novel by Joseph Conrad, a quotation from whom opens the screenplay: “We live as we dream - alone.”
- In addition to being restored and remastered, Alien: The Director’s Cut incorporates several minutes of footage never before seen in cinemas: notably a scene in which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers Dallas (Tom Skerritt) cocooned by the alien creatures.
- Released on 25 May 1979 on just 91 screens - far fewer than the release of Alien: The Director’s Cut - Alien grossed just $3.5 million during its weekend debut, but went on to earn a massive $78.9 million in the US alone.
Among the great out-of-print art books of the world is Blade Runner Sketchbook, collecting original production artwork from what is perhaps best designed science fiction film ever. Originally published by Blue Dolphin Enterprises in 1982, the book includes material by Blade Runner conceptual designer Syd Mead as well as Mentor Huebner, Charles Knode, Michael Kaplan and director Ridley Scott himself, whose contributions are drawn in the style of one of the film’s primary visual influences, Moebius.
Because physical copies go for hundreds of dollars, Blade Runner Sketchbook has been available online in various bootleg forms for years, but we’ve just become aware of an embeddable version uploaded in October that makes reading this lost gem easier than ever. Click after the cut to read the entire book, which includes artwork for sequences and concepts that were never filmed (like Tyrell’s Cyrpto-Crypt and Zhora’s Orgasma Mask).
Ridley Scott’s first short film Boy and Bicycle, 1965.
Boy and Bicycle, 1965.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
Starring Tony Scott.
Boy and Bicycle is the debut film of British director Ridley Scott and stars younger brother Tony as a schoolboy truant who spends the day visiting various locations around his northern seaside town, while a voice-over provides an insight into his frustrations and teenage angst.
Made in the early 60s using a 16mm camera borrowed from London’s Royal College of Art while a student, Scott shot the film in his native North East of England and it was eventually completed in 1965 following a grant from the British Film Institute. This also allowed the director to secure the services of composer John Barry (James Bond), who provides the soundtrack to the short.
The film provides an early glimpse at the director’s potential, drawing on influences such as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1956) and the James Joyce novel Ulysses (1922), and including a number of Scott trademarks including the industrial landscape which would be so prominent in later efforts such as Alien and Blade Runner.
On the Edge of ‘Blade Runner’ (2000)
Great documentary on Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic “Blade Runner”.
Rarely seen ‘Blade Runner’ Convention Reel from 1982
One of the Blade Runner Convention Reels featuring interviews with Ridley Scott, Syd Mead and Douglas Trumbull about making Blade Runner universe. This 16 mm featurette, made by M. K. Productions in 1982, is specifically designed to circulate through the country’s various horror, fantasy and science fiction conventions.
Ridley Scott - ‘Alien’ (1979) Audio Commentary
“Hello I’m Ridley Scott, and I’m gonna be talking about Alien….”