|Birth Day:||November 30, 1937|
|Birth Place:||Tyne and Wear, England|
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As a student at the Royal College of Art, he wrote for the school's magazine, ARK, and helped establish the college's film program. His first film, The Duellists, was a big hit at Cannes film festival in 1977, winning the Best Debut Film Award and receiving a nomination for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.
Scott was born on 30 November 1937 in South Shields, County Durham, the son of Elizabeth (née Williams) and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. His great-uncle Dixon Scott was a pioneer of the cinema chain, and opened many cinemas around Tyneside. One of his cinemas, Tyneside Cinema, is still operating in Newcastle and is the last remaining newsreel cinema in the UK. Born shortly before World War II began, Scott was brought up in a military family. His father, an officer in the Royal Engineers, was absent for most of his early life. His elder brother, Frank, joined the British Merchant Navy when he was still young, and the pair had little contact. During this time, the family moved around; they lived in Cumberland, as well as other areas in England, in addition to Wales and Germany. Scott's younger brother, Tony, also became a film director. After World War II, the Scott family moved back to their native area and eventually settled on Greens Beck Road in Hartburn, County Durham, the industrial landscape of which would later inspire visuals in Scott's film Blade Runner. His interest in science fiction began by reading the novels of H. G. Wells as a child. He was also influenced by science-fiction films such as It! The Terror from Beyond Space, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Them! He said these films "kind of got [him] going a little" but his attention was not fully caught until he saw Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, about which he said, "Once I saw that, I knew what I could do." He studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design.
Scott went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, contributing to college magazine ARK and helping to establish the college film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, Boy and Bicycle, starring both his younger brother and his father (the film was later released on the "Extras" section of The Duellists DVD). In February 1963, Scott was named in the title credits as "Designer" for the BBC television programme Tonight. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series Z-Cars and science fiction series Out of the Unknown. He was originally assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the serial's eponymous alien creatures. However, shortly before he was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced by Raymond Cusick. In 1965, he began directing episodes of television series for the BBC, only one of which, an episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, is available commercially.
In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company. Working alongside Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson and cinematographer Hugh Johnson, Ridley Scott made many commercials at RSA during the 1970s, including a 1973 Hovis bread advertisement, "Bike Round" (underscored by the slow movement of Dvořák's "New World" symphony rearranged for brass), filmed in Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset. A nostalgia themed television advert that captured the public imagination, it was voted the UK's favourite commercial in a 2006 poll. In the 1970s the Chanel No. 5 brand needed revitalisation having run the risk of being labelled as mass market and passé. Directed by Scott in the 1970s and 1980s, Chanel television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction, which "played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle."
Ridley Scott was married to Felicity Heywood from 1964 to 1975. The couple had two sons, Jake and Luke, both of whom work as directors on Scott's production company, Ridley Scott Associates. Scott later married advertising executive Sandy Watson in 1979, with whom he had a daughter, Jordan Scott, and divorced in 1989. His current partner is actress Giannina Facio, whom he has cast in all his films since White Squall except American Gangster and The Martian. He divides his time between homes in London, France, and Los Angeles.
His eldest brother Frank died, aged 45, of skin cancer in 1980. His younger brother Tony, who was also his business partner in their company Scott Free, died on 19 August 2012 at the age of 68 after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge which spans Los Angeles Harbour, after an originally disputed long struggle with cancer. Before Tony's death, he and Ridley collaborated on a miniseries based on Robin Cook's novel Coma for A&E. The two-part miniseries premiered on A&E on 3 September 2012, to mixed reviews.
After a year working on the film adaptation of Dune, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Re-titled Blade Runner and starring Harrison Ford, the film was a commercial disappointment in cinemas in 1982, but is now regarded as a classic. In 1991, Scott's notes were used by Warner Bros. to create a rushed director's cut which removed the main character's voiceover and made a number of other small changes, including to the ending. Later Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved what was called The Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release in December 2007.
In 1984, Scott directed a big-budget ($900,000) television commercial, "1984", to launch Apple's Macintosh computer. Scott filmed the advertisement in England for about $370,000; which was given a showcase airing in the US on 22 January 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, alongside screenings in cinemas. Some consider this advertisement a "watershed event" in advertising and a "masterpiece". Advertising Age placed it top of its list of the 50 greatest commercials.
In 1985, Scott directed Legend, a fantasy film produced by Arnon Milchan. Scott decided to create a "once upon a time" tale set in a world of princesses, unicorns and goblins, filming almost entirely inside the studio. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film's hero, Jack; Mia Sara as Princess Lili; and Tim Curry as the Satan-horned Lord of Darkness. Scott had a forest set built on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, with trees 60 feet high and trunks 30 feet in diameter. In the final stages of filming, the forest set was destroyed by fire; Jerry Goldsmith's original score was used for European release, but replaced in North America with a score by Tangerine Dream. Rob Bottin provided the film's Academy Award-nominated make-up effects, most notably Curry's red-coloured Satan figure. Despite a major commercial failure on release, the film has gone on to become a cult classic. The 2002 Director's Cut restored Goldsmith's original score.
Scott made Someone to Watch Over Me, a romantic thriller starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers in 1987, and Black Rain (1989), a police drama starring Michael Douglas and Andy García, shot partially in Japan. Both achieved mild success at the box office. Black Rain was the first of Scott's six collaborations with the composer Hans Zimmer.
Five members of the Scott family are directors, and all have worked for RSA. His brother Tony was a successful film director whose career spanned more than two decades; his sons Jake and Luke are both acclaimed directors of commercials, as is his daughter, Jordan Scott. Jake and Jordan both work from Los Angeles; Luke is based in London. In 1995, Shepperton Studios was purchased by a consortium headed by Ridley and Tony Scott, which extensively renovated the studios while also expanding and improving its grounds.
In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tony formed a production company, Scott Free Productions, in Los Angeles. All Ridley's subsequent feature films, starting with White Squall and G.I. Jane, have been produced under the Scott Free banner. In 1995 the two brothers purchased a controlling interest in the British film studio Shepperton Studios. In 2001, Shepperton merged with Pinewood Studios to become The Pinewood Studios Group, which is headquartered in Buckinghamshire, England.
He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing—Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down—as well as a Golden Globe, BAFTA and 2 Primetime Emmy Awards. In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tony received the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema. In 2018 he received the highest accolade from BAFTA, the BAFTA Fellowship, for lifetime achievement.
Scott had originally planned next to adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing Star Wars, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He accepted the job of directing Alien, the 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would win him international success. Scott made the decision to switch Ellen Ripley from the standard male action hero to a heroine. Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon. The final scene of John Hurt's character has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history. Filmed at Shepperton Studios in England, Alien was the sixth highest-grossing film of 1979, earning over $104 million worldwide. Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the original film. In promotional interviews at the time, Scott indicated he had been in discussions to make a fifth film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 2006 interview, Scott remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director's Cut, feeling that the original was "pretty flawless" and that the additions were merely a marketing tool. Scott later returned to Alien-related projects when he directed Prometheus and Alien: Covenant three decades after the original film's release.
Scott directed Hannibal (2001) starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. The film was commercially successful despite receiving mixed reviews. Scott's next film, Black Hawk Down (2001), featuring Tom Hardy in his film debut, was based on a group of stranded US soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia; Scott was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. In 2003, Scott directed a smaller scale project, Matchstick Men, adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It received mostly positive reviews, but performed moderately at the box office.
Scott was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2003 New Year Honours for services to the British film industry. He received his accolade from Queen Elizabeth II at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 8 July 2003. Scott admitted feeling "stunned and truly humbled" after the ceremony, saying, "As a boy growing up in South Shields, I could never have imagined that I would receive such a special recognition. I am truly humbled to receive this treasured award and believe it also further recognises the excellence of the British film industry."
In 2005, he made the modestly successful Kingdom of Heaven, a film about the Crusades. The film starred Orlando Bloom, and marked Scott's first collaboration with the composer Harry Gregson-Williams. The Moroccan government sent the Moroccan cavalry as extras for some battle scenes. Unhappy with the theatrical version of Kingdom of Heaven (which he blamed on paying too much attention to the opinions of preview audiences in addition to relenting when Fox wanted 45 minutes shaved off), Scott supervised a director's cut of the film, the true version of what he wanted, which was released on DVD in 2006. The director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven has been met with critical acclaim, with Empire magazine calling the film an "epic", adding: "The added 45 minutes in the director’s cut are like pieces missing from a beautiful but incomplete puzzle." "This is the one that should have gone out" reflected Scott. Asked if he was against previewing in general in 2006, Scott stated: "It depends who's in the driving seat. If you've got a lunatic doing my job, then you need to preview. But a good director should be experienced enough to judge what he thinks is the correct version to go out into the cinema."
Scott teamed up again with Gladiator star Russell Crowe for A Good Year, based on the best-selling book by Peter Mayle about an investment banker who finds a new life in Provence. The film was released on 10 November 2006. A few days later Rupert Murdoch, chairman of studio 20th Century Fox (who backed the film) dismissed A Good Year as "a flop" at a shareholders' meeting.
Scott's next film was American Gangster, based on the story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas. Scott took over the project in early 2006, and had screenwriter Steven Zaillian rewrite his script to focus on the dynamic between Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts. Denzel Washington signed on to the project as Lucas, with Russell Crowe co-starring. The film premiered in November 2007 to positive reviews and box office success, and Scott was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director.
Scott was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2017 the German newspaper FAZ compared Scott's influence on the science fiction film genre to Sir Alfred Hitchcock's on thrillers and John Ford's on Westerns. In 2011, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In late 2008, Scott's espionage thriller Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, opened to lukewarm ticket-sales and mixed reviews. Scott directed a revisionist adaptation of Robin Hood, which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian. It was released in May 2010 to mixed reviews, but a respectable box-office.
On 31 July 2009, news surfaced of a two-part prequel to Alien with Scott attached to direct. The project, ultimately reduced to a single film called Prometheus, which Scott described as sharing "strands of Alien's DNA" while not being a direct prequel, was released in June 2012. The film starred Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, with Noomi Rapace playing the leading role of the scientist named Elizabeth Shaw. The film received mostly positive reviews and grossed $403 million at the box office.
In August 2009, Scott planned to direct an adaptation of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World set in a dystopian London with Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2009, the TV series The Good Wife premiered with Ridley and his brother Tony credited as executive producers.
On 6 July 2010, YouTube announced the launch of Life in a Day, an experimental documentary executive produced by Scott. Released at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2011, it incorporates footage shot on 24 July 2010 submitted by YouTube users from around the world. As part of the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, Scott produced Britain in a Day, a documentary film consisting of footage shot by the British public on 12 November 2011.
In August 2011, information leaked about production of a sequel to Blade Runner by Alcon Entertainment, with Alcon partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Scott informed the Variety publication in November 2014 that he was no longer the director for the film and would only fulfill a producer's role. Scott also revealed that filming would begin sometime within 2015, and that Harrison Ford has signed on to reprise his role from the original film but his character should only appear in "the third act" of the sequel. On 26 February 2015, the sequel was officially confirmed, with Denis Villeneuve hired to direct the film, and Scott being an executive producer. The sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was released on 6 October 2017 to universal acclaim.
In 2012, Scott produced the commercial for Lady Gaga's fragrance, "Fame." It was touted as the first ever black Eau de Parfum, in the informal credits attached to the trailer for this advertisement. On 24 June 2013, Scott's series Crimes of the Century debuted on CNN. In November 2012 it was announced that Scott would produce the documentary, Springsteen & I directed by Baillie Walsh and inspired by Life in a Day, which Scott also produced. The film featured fan footage from throughout the world on what musician Bruce Springsteen meant to them and how he impacted their lives. The film was released for one day only in 50 countries and on over 2000 film screens on 22 July 2013.
In 2012, Scott was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires to mark his 80th birthday. On 3 July 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London at which he described how he still keeps on his office wall his school report placing him 31st out of 31 in his class, and how his teacher encouraged him to pursue what became his passion at art school.
Scott directed The Counselor (2013), with a screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy. On 25 October 2013, Indiewire reported that "Before McCarthy sold his first spec script for Scott's (The Counselor) film, the director was heavily involved in developing an adaptation of the author's 1985 novel Blood Meridian with screenwriter Bill Monahan (The Departed). But as Scott said in a Time Out interview, '[Studios] didn't want to make it. The book is so uncompromising, which is what's great about it.' Described as an 'anti-western'..." Scott directed the biblically-inspired epic film Exodus: Gods and Kings, released in December 2014 which received negative reviews from critics (particularly for the casting of white actors as Middle Eastern characters) and grossed $268 million on a $140 million budget making it as a box office disappointment. Filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, the film starred Christian Bale in the lead role.
In 2013, Ridley stated that he is an atheist. Although when asked by the BBC in a September 2014 interview if he believes in God, Scott replied:
In May 2014, Scott began negotiations to direct The Martian, starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney. Like many of Scott's previous works, The Martian features a heroine in the form of Jessica Chastain's character who is the mission commander. The film was originally scheduled for release on 25 November 2015, but Fox later switched its release date with that of Victor Frankenstein, and thus The Martian was released on 2 October 2015. The Martian was a critical and commercial success, grossed over $630 million worldwide, becoming Scott's highest-grossing film to date.
A sequel to Prometheus, Alien: Covenant, started filming in 2016, premiered in London on 4 May 2017, and received general release on 19 May 2017. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising Michael Fassbender's dual performance and calling the film a return to form for both director Ridley Scott and the franchise.
In January 2016, Scott was in early negotiations to direct the film version of the 1967–1968 British TV series The Prisoner. In May 2016, it was announced that Scott and Drew Goddard (who had worked together on The Martian) would be reteaming to adapt the book Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler. It is described as a piece of fiction that combines elements of "horror, noir, and Asian ultra-violence." In April 2017, 20th Century Fox lined up Scott to direct a film about the Battle of Britain from WWII, where the Royal Air Force defended the country from German Luftwaffe attacks, which is described as a "passion project" for the director. In January 2018, it was reported that Scott is in talks to direct a Disney film adaptation of The Merlin Saga, which is based on a 12-book series written by T. A. Barron, with a screenplay from Philippa Boyens. That same month, Scott stated that he has "another [story] ready to evolve and be developed, [that] there is certainly one to be done for sure", referring to a third Blade Runner film. In March 2018, it was reported that Scott is in talks to adapt Greg Rucka's graphic novel Queen & Country for 20th Century Fox.
Ridley Scott was an executive producer of the first season of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle (2015–16). Through Scott Free Productions, he is an executive producer on the dark comic science-fiction series BrainDead which debuted on CBS in 2016.
On 20 November 2017, Amazon agreed a deal with AMC Studios for a worldwide release of The Terror, Scott's series adaptation of Dan Simmons' novel, a speculative retelling of British explorer Sir John Franklin's lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic in 1845–1848 to force the Northwest Passage, with elements of horror and supernatural fiction), and the series premiered in March 2018. Scott was an executive producer for the 2019 BBC/FX three-part miniseries A Christmas Carol.
Scott's TV directorial debut, Raised by Wolves, was released on HBO Max in 2020, his first television project in 50 years. Scott said his “tendency was to think, ‘I don’t want to go down that road of androids again'”, but decided to take on the project after he read the script and liked it. The show revolves around androids Mother and Father, who attempt to save human kind on planet Kepler-22b after earth is demolished by war between the Mithraic, who follow a god called Sol, and militant atheists.
Currently, Ridley Scott is 83 years, 7 months and 24 days old. Ridley Scott will celebrate 84th birthday on a Tuesday 30th of November 2021.
Find out about Ridley Scott birthday activities in timeline view here.