2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank

A 3-part series of reflections on observations made by top Hollywood writer.

One of the panels I attended at the recent Austin Film Festival featured Scott Frank. Moderated by Craig Mazin, Frank — whose screenwriting credits include Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Malice, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Marley & Me, and Logan — delved deep into his creative and writing process. I thumbed my way through copious notes on my iPhone notes app. Over the past few days, I’ve done a series of reflections based on comments made by Frank during the talk.

Scott Frank

Part 1: “The first paragraph of a screenplay can tell you if they can write.
The first five pages can tell you if they have a voice.”

Part 2: “It has to come from character. I’m always going back to the people.”

Part 3: “You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader.”

Twitter: @scottfrank.


2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 3)

Reflections on observations by Out of Sight and Minority Report screenwriter.

One of the panels I attended at the recent Austin Film Festival featured Scott Frank. Moderated by Craig Mazin, Frank — whose screenwriting credits include Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Malice, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Marley & Me, and Logan — delved deep into his creative and writing process. I thumbed my way through copious notes on my iPhone notes app. Over the past few days, I’ve done a series of reflections based on comments made by Frank during the talk.

Scott Frank

Today:

You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader.
You’re using words in your script and reading books feeds that.
I read everything. Always learning how writers write.

It’s simple: Writers read.

Why?

It’s about words.

As Scott says, we use words in our writing. Reading exposes us to new ways to use words. As Rumer Godden wrote:

“A writer who has never explored words, who has never searched, seeded, sieved, sifted through his knowledge and memory… dictionaries, thesaurus, poems, favorite paragraphs, to find the right word, is like someone owning a gold mine who has never mined it.”

It’s about writing.

When we read, we take in how a writer writes. Whether conscious or unconscious, that can influence how we write.

It’s about the soul.

Creative expression is an outer exhibition of energy. Stories feed the soul and refuel our creativity.

Watch movies. Watch TV. But don’t forget: Read.

Words of wisdom from Scott Frank.

On November, his new series ‘Godless’ debuts on Netflix.

Jeff Daniels in ‘Godless’.

‘Godless’ website here.

Twitter: @scottfrank.


2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 3) was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 2)

Reflections on observations by Out of Sight and Minority Report screenwriter.

One of the panels I attended at the Austin Film Festival featured Scott Frank. Moderated by Craig Mazin, Frank — whose screenwriting credits include Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Malice, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Marley & Me, and Logan — delved deep into his creative and writing process. I thumbed my way through copious notes on my iPhone notes app. Over the next several days, I’ll do a series of reflections based on comments made by Frank during the talk.

Scott Frank

Today:

It has to come from character. I’m always going back to the people.

Why character?
It’s about what makes a person a person.
What do they want?
What do they fear?

It’s the low grade fever of what your characters are about.

What is it that speaks to me?
Is this a character I like?

These are my hastily typed takes on what Scott was saying, so perhaps more paraphrased than actual quotes. However, during his talk, it was abundantly clear how critically important Scott believes working with characters is to crafting a story. Indeed, the references above are scattered throughout his comments as he kept returning to the subject again and again.

Those of you who have followed my blog for any time know that I promote character based screenwriting. My mantra:

“Start with character. End with character. Find the story in-between.”

Based on what I heard in Scott’s comments, I feel safe in saying I think he aligns with this perspective.

So what’s the big deal of working with characters?

Characters are Plot.

Their wants, needs, fears, personal histories, backstories, and destinies — especially the Protagonist — emerge as the backbone of the story’s structure.

Characters are Theme.

Whatever thematic point of a story is, it’s invariably tied to the emotional and psychological journey of the Protagonist and other key characters.

Characters are Dialogue.

Scott hit on this point a few times in his talk. For example, he said, “If I can write dialogue, I can hear the characters, and I know I can continue process.” His comment reminded me of the response the great playwright August Wilson gave when asked how he wrote such great dialogue: “I don’t. They do.” The ‘they’ in question were his characters.

In sum, characters are STORY. Everything you need to know is right there inhabited within and by your characters.

It has to come from character. I’m always going back to the people.

Great advice. Always lean into your characters. Always go back to the people who exist within your story universe.

More tomorrow from the 2017 Austin Film Festival panel featuring Scott Frank.

Here is a teaser for Scott’s Netflix series ‘Godless’ which he wrote and directed. The series debuts this on November 22.

‘Godless’ website here.

Twitter: @scottfrank.


2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 2) was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 1)

Reflections on observations by Out of Sight and Minority Report screenwriter.

One of the panels I attended at the Austin Film Festival featured Scott Frank. Moderated by Craig Mazin, Frank — whose screenwriting credits include Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Malice, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Marley & Me, and Logan — delved deep into his creative and writing process. I thumbed my way through copious notes on my iPhone notes app. Over the next several days, I’ll do a series of reflections based on comments made by Frank during the talk.

Scott Frank

Today:

The first paragraph of a screenplay can tell you if they can write.
The first five pages can tell you if they have a voice.

Both of these are critical. And as Scott notes, both need to be apparent at the earliest stages of a script’s pages.

How can you tell if a writer can write from the first paragraph of a script?

They have a solid grasp of and love for the English language.
They know how to immediately set the tone and atmosphere of the piece.
They are smart enough to write something which is entertaining.
They are clever enough to exploit a narrative element which hooks the reader.
They embrace visual writing.
They engage the reader’s emotional life.

Bottom line, as per Scott Frank, they establish right up front that they are in control. They know the craft, they know this story universe, and they know how they want to tell the story.

All that in a first paragraph.

How can you tell if a writer has a voice from the first five script pages?

They create a consistent tone throughout the script’s opening.
They convey personality through both dialogue and scene description.
They match style to genre as an active reflection of the story’s feel.
They exhibit something distinctive in the interplay of moments and scenes.
They make a reader feel there is a real character telling the story.

From their words on the page, the writer exhibits a unique narrative voice, specific to this story, this writer, these pages.

All that in a script’s first five pages.

It’s a lot to ask. It also speaks to how important it is to accomplish both goals straightaway in a script. It not only can grab a reader’s attention and propel them into the story, it also creates a kind of mental lens through which one interprets and experiences the entire rest of the story.

When you know the writer can write… has a firm control of the story… has a distinctive voice… and that’s all established from the first paragraph through the first five pages…

That sets us up to look forward to the rest of the script with anticipation and hope that these pages we’re going through…

It’s a good read.

More tomorrow from the 2017 Austin Film Festival panel featuring Scott Frank.

Here is the trailer for Scott’s Netflix series ‘Godless’ which he wrote and directed. The series debuts this month.

Those of us in attendance at Scott’s Austin Film Festival panel got a sneak preview of a second ‘Godless’ trailer. The series looks great, really looking forward to watching it!

‘Godless’ website here.


2017 Austin Film Festival: Scott Frank (Part 1) was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Adam Scott Battles an Evil Child in First Trailer for Netflix’s ‘Little Evil’

Little Evil Trailer

“There is nothing wrong with Lucas!” Netflix has released the official trailer for an indie horror comedy titled Little Evil, the latest from Eli Craig, director of the other great horror comedy Tucker and Dale vs Evil. Remember that one? We covered it closely during its release back in 2010. Little Evil stars Adam Scott as a man who marries the woman of his dreams, played by Evangeline Lilly. The only problem is that her child is the antichrist. Also starring Bridget Everett, Clancy Brown, Tyler Labine, Donald Faison, Chris D’Elia, and Owen Atlas as Lucas. This looks good, don’t think we’ve seen many comedies making fun of the evil child horror trope, but I’m up for this. Glad to see something new from Eli Craig, too. Enjoy. ›››

Continue reading Adam Scott Battles an Evil Child in First Trailer for Netflix’s ‘Little Evil’


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The Beast is an Animal in Development at Amazon with Ridley Scott

Amazon Studios to develop Peternelle van Arsdale's The Beast is an Animal with Ridley Scott

Amazon Studios to develop Peternelle van Arsdale’s The Beast is an Animal with Ridley Scott

Amazon Studios is in development with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free production company to create a movie based on the science-fiction fantasy novel The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale, according to Variety. The streaming service is reportedly in final negotiations with Bert & Bertie (Dance Camp) to direct and adapt The Beast is an Animal. The directing duo are also attached to Amazon’s Troupe Zero for Amazon.

Here is the Amazon.com description of the book: “Alys was seven the first time she saw the soul eaters. These soul eaters are twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly grew into something not quite human. And they feed off of human souls. When her village was attacked, Alys was spared and sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think he is. And neither is Alys.

“Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.”

Have you guys read Peternelle van Arsdale’s The Beast is an Animal? Are you excited about the film? We want to hear from you. Leave us your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @ComingSoonnet.

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Crazy First Trailer for Action Movie ‘Savage Dog’ Starring Scott Adkins

Savage Dog Trailer

“There’s a tale told somewhere south of Burma. The tale tells of a man…” XLrator Media has debuted an official trailer for an action movie titled Savage Dog, which looks like it’s straight out of the 90s as an action movie mixing guns and martial arts and a ridiculous revenge plot and so much more. Scott Adkins stars as a former champion boxer stuck in a prison in Indochina in the late 1950s. When he is released, the people running the jail don’t want him to leave and so he must figure out a way to get home. The full cast includes Marko Zaror, Juju Chan, Cung Le, Vladimir Kulich, Charles Fathy, Matthew Marsden, Sheena Chou, and the incomparable Keith David. I really don’t know how to describe this, it has some cool action but it seriously looks like this was made 30 years ago and kept in a vault until now. Check it out. ›››

Continue reading Crazy First Trailer for Action Movie ‘Savage Dog’ Starring Scott Adkins


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Ridley Scott and the Alien: Covenant Cast, Plus Footage Shown at SXSW!

Ridley Scott and the Alien: Covenant Cast, Plus Footage Shown at SXSW!

Ridley Scott and the Alien: Covenant cast, plus footage shown at SXSW!

There are only a few film series where the image of a spaceship soaring through space will make an audience gasp and yell and cry out and all for very different reasons: Star Wars for the fun and adventure, Star Trek for the exploration and sci-fi philosophy, and Alien for scaring the living crap out of us. Many talented filmmakers have had their hands on this nearly 30-year-old franchise, but no one’s imprimatur has been as potent as the originator – Ridley Scott. After the mixed reception his return to the series – 2012’s Prometheus – received, he could be forgiven for washing his hands of it and passing it along permanently to someone else. Instead, he’s decided to give it another go with this summer’s Alien: Covenant, and in his own estimation it’s “a cut above what we’ve seen before.”

Relaxed and serene in a black knit shirt and jacket, Sir Ridley Scott is holding court at the Four Seasons in Austin where he has come to show off the original Alien at the South by Southwest Festival, and sneak a few peaks at the new film as well. Speaking with him is what one imagines speaking to an old, wise philosopher would be like as he bounces around from topic to topic, from art school to old movies to the danger of artificial intelligence and the probabilities of extraterrestrial life, before laughing and reminding everyone not to take anything he says too seriously.

Ridley Scott: A big subject in [Alien: Covenant] is Superiority, which we might label God. But if something hovers here in a ship the size of Manhattan and says ‘morning, how are you doing?’ we’re going to think ‘this is superior, might even have godlike capabilities.’ We’ve given the name God to just superiority.

A lot of scientists, I got close to a lot of guys doing The Martian – mathematics and astrophysicists, all that sh*t — get seven geniuses around the table ask them basic questions like, ‘who believes in God?’ There’s a murmur, a giggle then four of them go ‘well I do.’ Why? They said ‘when I come against a wall in my mathematics I am impressed, ‘who created this wall?’ And I know there is an answer on the other side. So when you guys do, we’re all very keen on movies, you kind of back up a bit, address the wall and go ‘I’ll take that and take that’ and go around and that’s fundamentally science. So science and mathematics is art, it’s not just science. At that level it’s a f*cking art form.

So the Engineers are metaphors for superior beings. Are there superior beings out there right now? I’d put money on it, yes. Like us? No idea. Superior? Almost certainly. But 30 years ago, I was at the Pasadena Observatory screening the original Alien and there was Carl Sagan and he said to me after the screening, ‘the idea is entirely ridiculous, there’ll be no aliens in your lifetime or mine,’ and I said ‘lighten up Carl, it’s only a movie.’ [Laughs].

aliensxsw2

ComingSoon.net: The original Alien is a legitimate horror classic. Is it difficult to keep making these movies scary?

Ridley Scott: It’s the hardest thing in the world to do today. In a funny kind of way, we’ve been challenged by so much super violence like Saw 13 that you get numb to blood and brutality and inhuman behavior, so people get hardened to it. It’s hard – way back when I was going to do Alien, there was one really serious scary movie, The Exorcist, a perfect engine of scares because it feels logical and possible and when that happens its always scarier. And then I thought ‘sh*t, this is going to be difficult.’

If nothing else, early footage from Alien: Covenant shows just how much work Scott has been putting into what he knows will be the main element audiences are looking for – is it scary? Scott, joined by cast members Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride and Michael Fassbender, screened three extra long clips from the first half of the film to provide a taste of what fans are in for as the Covenant lands on an uncharted planet, which strangely has a breathable atmosphere and Earth plants on it.

The scares are obvious from the get go as two crew members (all of whom are couples) become infected by spores while exploring the planet and must be rushed back to the shuttle and evacuated. The first man back is locked into the medical lab as the character in charge of the shuttle (and wife of the captain) begins to seriously freak out watching the infected man spasm and shake and spew blood through his skin. Before too long, xenomorphs are popping out of people all over, but not in the normal way – they come clawing out of individual’s shoulders and spines and anywhere else they can find their way out from. From design to palette to editing, the look is very much that of Prometheus but with a much more Alien vibe than that film, with several versions of the classic character running around on the screen. When the first xenomorph appears, chaos quickly follows in its wake as it plows through doors and obstacles, sending the surviving crew member running for her life. The scares themselves are very ‘classic’ in their set up and pay off (it’s easy to see the effects of The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre still lingering in Scott) as characters begin having ridiculously bad luck – from slipping on puddles of blood to getting their feet stuck in closing doors – in order to draw the tension out even longer. When the medic begins firing a shotgun at the rampaging xenomorph as her husband calls out to her, it should be no surprise when pieces of the ship start exploding.

If it’s not exactly full of surprises, Covenant is a resolutely an Alien film down to its blue collar approach to space exploration and willingness to engage in extreme body horror and the dark side of said exploration. Sir Scott has been joined in Austin by cast members Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride who needle the old grandmaster about wild ideas while also reveling in working with the man who created Alien on an Alien film.

CS: You’ve created this legacy that people still love, how does that feel, to be a part of that?

Ridley Scott: You get used to it.

Katherine Waterston: It only freaks me out when people ask about it.

Danny McBride: My parents finally think I’m making real movies.

aliensxsw3

Katherine Waterston: When I first met Ridley, he was like ‘I hire people I think are good at acting and I let them do their thing and figure it out and if they’re doing something really idiotic I’ll tell them, but mostly I’ll just leave them alone. I know what the f*ck I’m doing, you should know what they f*ck you’re doing, you show it to me and then we go have dinner. It’s not rocket science.’

Ridley Scott: The key thing, from my point of view and it’s my best compliment is to be able to say ‘f*ck me, I never thought of that.’ If she does that and he does that then they’re free to move the parameters of what you’ve got and that’s why I take great care in casting.

CS: How did that work when creating Tennessee?

Danny McBride: I like how originally it was a lot of working class people so you had that was his dynamic, he was more working class and he’s paired up with all these brilliant people and trying to figure out how to operate with that.

CS: Did you get to pick out your awesome hat?

Danny McBride: That was one of Ridley’s ideas from the get go, we talked about it being an homage to Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. It was easily embraced. And then it became a science of when he’s wearing it, when he’s not. How stressed out he is – if it’s bad, the hat comes off.

The hat is in clear view during the second sequence showing the shuttle actually landing on the planet. It’s short bit of set up that gives a quick but clear explanation of the camaraderie of the crew and how they go about their jobs. McBride is at the center of it all, piloting the main ship while keeping up with the pilot of the shuttle and keeping everything running without ever turning into a caricature of either himself or older Alien characters. Strangely, the only character not focused on in the early sequences is Waterston’s scientist despite playing the film’s main character, the latest in a long line of strong female characters which has become as defining a part of the franchise as the alien itself.

CS: What made you want to center the franchise so firmly around women?

Ridley Scott: The first one did so well why change it? (Laugh).

Katherine Waterston: We were talking about this earlier. All it takes is a few people with a lot of power with the guts to show something in a new way for the first time. That was just a few people in a room putting together the first Alien there was the script, Ripley’s a dude and they say ‘why not put a woman in the part’ and they say ‘sure, why not?’ rather than ‘I don’t know, would it work,’ and just bullsh*t questions that go on all around Hollywood. Someone had the courage and it changes the business because it sells tickets. It has to be successful to do that.

CS: Is there any truth to rumor that Kath is related to Ripley?

Katherine Waterston: Who started that sh*t?

Danny McBride: I’ve been going around telling people that.

Katherine Waterston: Oh, that explains it.

Ridley Scott: That was probably way back when. That’s very Hollywood, daughter, father, mother of… She’s herself.

aliensxsw4

While Waterston’s Daniels is the main character, the clips Scott brought to Austin more firmly focused on Billy Crudup’s Captain Oram, from his attempts to save the doomed shuttle during the first Xenomorph attack to the final clip – a face-to-face meeting with Prometheus’ David (Fassbender does double duty as the crazed David and Covenant’s own low-key android, Walter). When David appears, he has been living in a cave on the strange planet for some time, experimenting with the black goo canisters from Prometheus, learning how they transform a biosphere and create different versions of the classic Xenomorph depending on what sort of environment it is interacting with. David’s cave (stumbled upon by Oram) is filled with dissected Xenomorphs of varying sizes and styles: “idle hands are the devil’s playground,” he explains. Having gotten as far he could with observation, he has begun his own experiments with genetics and crossbreeding of the aliens leading to his prized collection – a room full of the classic facegrabber pods, heavily implying David created the version of the Xenomorph we are most familiar with and all David needs is one last ingredient. “What are they waiting for?” Oram asks; “their mother,” David says as one of the pods opens. You can guess what happens next. As much as Alien: Covenant is a return of the classic creature, it also delves deeply into Scott’s fascination with artificial intelligence and explores the way mankind’s own creations (and thus mankind itself) were a part of the development of the villains of the Alien universe, the downside of mankind making its own superior beings.

Ridley Scott: A computer beat a chess master, just barely, but I’m not sure how consistent it may be… I’m just hoping you can’t quite replace a human. Can you have a computer write a screenplay or a book or a poem? It’s always going to be very derivative. And only based on what’s been done on trillions of different ways before.

AMD have a chip right now that is virtually AI. It will be incredibly useful, where it would take time for a group of humans to sort through for an answer – say cancer – this will do it in a fraction of the time. We’ll have cross collateralization of cause and effect, which will bring it down to ‘have you tried this?’ You’ll get that in four days instead of four years or 10 years. It’s amazing. So medically it will be fantastic. I don’t think it will make better movies or books. Movies are getting worse already. Except us. We are getting better and better all the time and this one is the best yet.

Katherine Waterston: Ridley might be an AI. You sprained your wrist, you stopped for like half an hour, his bone healed, kept shooting.

CS: Would you ever let someone else take over again? You can’t do it forever.

Ridley Scott: I’m trying to. That’s why I have AI’s and everything so they can, I don’t know what they do, stick a chip in you.

CS: So you could see yourself doing more Alien movies?

Ridley Scott: I’d like to. This is, dare I say, clever and violent and everything you want, a real cut above what we’ve seen before. It leaves things open and you can see how it can go on. I enjoy doing them so much, honestly I’d like it to go on forever.

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Benedict Cumberbatch Wants ‘Doctor Strange 2’ Directed by Scott Derrickson Again

Doctor Strange 2 Director - Scott Derrickson

Doctor Strange is officially out of theaters, and it racked up an impressive $ 675.8 million at the worldwide box office. It’s going to make even more now that it’s available to download on Digital HD, and next week it will be available on Blu-ray and DVD too. Despite the film’s success though, Marvel Studios has been quiet about any plans they might have for a sequel. That’s not stopping Benedict Cumberbatch from letting us know who he’d like to direct a follow-up.

Deliver Us from Evil and Sinister director Scott Derrickson made quite the leap in his career by taking on his first blockbuster tentpole with Doctor Strange. Apparently Derrickson’s work on the film was impressive enough to convince Benedict Cumberbatch that the director should be brought back behind the camera for Doctor Strange 2.

In an interview with Cinema Blend, Benedict Cumberbatch explained why Scott Derrickson is his choice for a Doctor Strange 2 director, assuming Marvel ends up moving forward with one:

“[Scott Derrickson is] very good on process, and he’s very good on visuals and he had to cram a lot in. I mean this was a much harder shoot in many ways than I imagine some of the other origin stories had been. They’re all hard, not to detract from the hard work that they put in, but my point is that there was a massively fast turn around. So he was having to edit and approve special effects shots at the same time as setting up these huge sequences live and getting the camera and angles and performances and visuals right on the day. So he was double tasking in a pretty full on way and then he was, for someone who’s done stuff to do with the supernatural before but never, as he’d be the first to admit I’m sure, never quite on this scale. He had to do it all with great skill and the results are on the screen. So yeah I think this film speaks to why Scott would be a great choice to direct it again.”

In addition to directing the movie, Scott Derrickson also helped write the script with Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, so he was an integral part to the film’s success. Even though it featured some all too familiar elements of a superhero origin story, the trippy visuals and mystical elements of the movie helped made it feel a bit more refreshing than it otherwise might have. Even the climax, which utilized the cliche “portal in the sky” plot device, was given an interesting twist in how Doctor Strange faced off with the ultimate threat to the world.

Again, Marvel hasn’t yet ordered a Doctor Strange sequel that we know of, but they could easily already be developing it behind the scenes. They’re always planning years ahead, so I’m sure they already know what they want to do with the franchise. Scott Derrickson has already expressed his desire to make a visceral sequel in the vein of The Dark Knight, and he already has a villain in mind too. Hopefully he gets a chance to act on those ideas.

Otherwise, Doctor Strange will be featured in Thor: Ragnarok this fall, giving some assistance to Thor in finding his father Odin (as hinted at in one of the credits scenes from Doctor Strange). Then he’ll help out Earth’s mightiest heroes when they face Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. So even if we have to wait awhile for Doctor Strange 2, the Sorcerer Supreme will be back soon.

Doctor Strange is on Digital HD now and hits Blu-ray and DVD on February 28.

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Ridley Scott Is Not a Fan of Superhero Movies, Is “Concerned” for the Future of Cinema

Ridley Scott on the set of The Martian

At the age of 79, Ridley Scott is still going strong. After completing his last film, 2015’s The Martian, he wasted no time diving right into the upcoming Alien: Covenant. But although Scott continues to like making movies, it seems he doesn’t have much use for modern moviemaking trends. The director admitted that he is “concerned” about the future of cinema — expressing a particular distaste for superhero films, which he says have “no story.”

In a recent interview with Digital Spy, Scott revealed he’d been approached to direct superhero movies in the past. However, he’s never been interested, because he doesn’t care for them:

Superhero movies are not my kind of thing – that’s why I’ve never really done one. [I’ve been asked] several times, but I can’t believe in the thin, gossamer tight-rope of the non-reality of the situation of the superhero.

I’ve done that kind of movie — Blade Runner really is a comic strip when you think about it, it’s a dark story told in an unreal world. You could almost put Batman or Superman in that world, that atmosphere, except I’d have a fucking good story, as opposed to no story!

With films like AlienBlade Runner, and Thelma & Louise, Scott has more than earned his reputation as one of our greatest living filmmakers. And it’s impressive that he’s still doing as well as he is. The Martian was pretty fantastic, and Alien: Covenant looks very promising. That said, he’s not infallible — The Martian was preceded by a string of misses, including Exodus: Gods and KingsThe Counselor, and (arguably) Prometheus — and his assessment of superhero movies seems rather unfair.

True, some superhero movies are shoddily constructed and make no apparent effort to ground themselves in any sort of narrative logic or emotional realism. (Ahem, X-Men: Apocalypse, I am talking about you.) But there are also some very good superhero movies, and there’s nothing inherent to the genre that would prevent a good filmmaker — maybe someone like Scott — from delivering a thoughtful, grounded work.

Then again, Scott’s issues with modern cinema don’t stop with superhero movies. He expressed concern for the medium as a whole, summing up movies today as “mainly pretty bad.” Which isn’t to say he wants to quit the business altogether. “I want to keep doing cinema and I hope it doesn’t affect those of us who still keep making smart films,” he said. “I’m hoping it doesn’t affect me.” On that point, I think we can all agree. Here’s hoping Alien: Covenant is “smart” cinema that delivers on its promise.

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