Tony Scott on filmmaking @ filmschoolthrucommentaries
At long last here is the first of a series of Tony Scott commentary selections. As I always try to do, I’ve compiled what I found to be the most helpful, illuminating bits on filmmaking from this master of action filmmaking. I also edited this video to be screen specific so that it’s easier to grasp what Tony’s talking about, like the pictures I inserted for instance. You get a taste of the insight of how Tony approaches his films; the process and execution.
Entirely screen specific:
Previously on Cinephilia & Beyond:
In Tarantino’s breathless audio commentary, he actually expounds on this. The writer states that Romance was his most ‘commercial’ script in the sense of not being overly esoteric and playing to better known aspects of popular culture. As noted, Quentin had creative differences with the director, most specifically on the ending. The theatrical ending, while not exactly feel-good, does play out in what may be thought of as stereotypical ‘Hollywood’ audience pleasing fashion. The writer defends Scott’s finale based on it being a personal choice and not a concession to popular tastes. Tarantino openly states this is not the True Romance he would have made but finds the ending consistent with the overall ‘fairytale’ feel Scott brought to his adaptation.
Dennis Hopper on shooting the scene with Christopher Walken in True Romance:
Everywhere I go, all over the world, I was just in China making a film, I was just in South Africa making a film, I made a film last year in Germany – and everywhere I go they talk about this scene. We shot this in one day, Chris Walken and I. It was a wonderful wonderful creative day. When I first came in in the morning I saw that they were lit to do Chris Walken’s part first. They had three cameras and they had lit the trailer that way. And Tony came up to me, Tony Scott the director, and he said, “I just talked to Chris and Chris has a problem going first. He’d like you to go first. Do you mind that?” And I said, “As an actor, I don’t mind, but as a director, I’d go crazy. How do you feel about it? You’ve got a 2 1/2 hour lighting job to do here to turn it around.” Tony said, “It doesn’t bother me at all.” So I said, “Well, it’s fine with me.” So he re-lit the scene. It took about 2 1/2 hours to turn it around, put the three cameras on me. Tony Scott, a terrific director, one of the best I’ve ever worked with. Morgan Creek put a lot of money into promotion of this movie but it wasn’t successful when it was first released, financially. Artistically it was. I was never at a preview that didn’t have wonderful cards, 90% approval rating.
A lot of people think this scene was improvised but this was one of those rare scenes in a movie that Tarantino wrote, you have 3 pages of dialogue from one person, 3 pages of dialogue from the other – the only improvisation was, “You know, you’re all part eggplant” and he said, “You’re a cantaloupe” – those are the only improvised words, the rest of it is word for word what Tarantino wrote. I remember what my teacher Lee Strasberg said: If you watch people on a sound stage or in a radio booth where you can’t hear what they’re saying, you can tell whether they’re acting or not just by the way they’re behaving. And it looks like Chris and I are living and not acting here. Just before we shot the scene, Tony said, “Now, I’ve got this one gimmick where I’m gonna put the gun right up to your head and he can fire it because they’ve fixed the blanks so they won’t come out and you’ll see flame coming out the sides, but everything will be great.” I said, “I don’t really trust that.” He said, “Let me show you, I’ll do it to myself.” So he shot himself in the forehead. Blood started dripping down his face and he said, “Oh. Maybe I won’t do it that way.” He sent me a nice little card and he wrote on it, “If you ever need a stuntman …” and there was a picture of him with the bleeding on his forehead. Tony Scott couldn’t have been more wonderful to work with.
From the special edition of “True Romance”, selective commentaries special features.
Tony Scott R.I.P. 1944-2012
A young Tony Scott stars in his brother Ridley’s first film Boy and Bicycle. This was the film that inspired Tony to make movies, and it’s a long way from the loud, brash, stadium rock ‘n’ roll films he became famous for in later life.