Ridley Scott has directed some of the most iconic, influential, and commercially successful films of the past 50 years. Classics like Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and The Martian have made Scott a Hollywood legend. Yet at 84 years old, when most filmmakers would retire, Scott continues charging forward at a prolific pace taking on ambitious new projects across film and TV. So what is the tireless cinematic master Ridley Scott up to now?
Recent Theatrical Releases
Despite his venerable age, Scott impressively continues directing theatrical features regularly. His most recent major releases include:
House of Gucci (2021) – Scott took a juicy true crime drama about murder and betrayal in the famous fashion family and crafted a delightfully unhinged soap opera. Lady Gaga and Adam Driver delivered gloriously over-the-top performances as Patrizia and Maurizio Gucci.
The Last Duel (2021) – This medieval tale of accusations and vengeance saw Scott return to the historical epic genre he mastered with Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. The spectacular duel and visual authenticity were highlights.
All the Money in the World (2017) – Just weeks before release, Scott made the unprecedented decision to reshoot all of Kevin Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer due to Spacey’s scandal. It was a costly gamble that paid off creatively and commercially.
Even after so many years behind the camera, Scott clearly still relishes the excitement and challenges of making lavish theatrical features.
Small Screen Projects
In addition to his massive film resume, Scott has also accelerated his television production and directing in recent years:
Raised by Wolves (2020-present) – Scott executive produced this acclaimed sci-fi series and directed the pilot and second season finale. The show combines futuristic themes with Scott’s expertise in A.I. explored in Blade Runner and Alien.
The Terror (2018) – Scott executive produced this horror anthology series and directed three episodes over two seasons. It allowed him to oversee a creepy period piece bringing his skilled atmospherics to the small screen.
The Good Fight (2017) – Scott made a rare foray into comedy directing the pilot episode of this spinoff sequel to The Good Wife. While a deviation from his usual style, Scott ably established this show’s quirky tone.
Never content to just retire, Scott enjoys the faster pace and creative freedom of prestige television while still advancing his big-screen projects.
Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Even as he enters his mid-80s, Scott has multiple new feature films in various stages of production on the horizon:
Napoleon (2023?) – This long-gestating biopic on the French emperor starring Joaquin Phoenix will reportedly be Scott’s next film. The sweeping historical epic should play well to his strengths.
Kitbag (2023?) – Another Napoleon-related project, this one starring Scott’s Gladiator muse Joaquin Phoenix as the legendary military leader and Vanessa Kirby as Josephine.
Queen & Country (TBA) – Scott plans to direct this long-developing sequel to his 1987 wwii drama The Cruel Sea that he has described as his most personal film.
Battle of Britain (TBA) – Scott is attached to this WWII aerial combat movie as a follow-up to his classic war tale Black Hawk Down. It’s been a passion project of his for years.
Even nearing his ninth decade, Ridley Scott remains highly driven to continue his filmmaking legacy rather than retire.
What Makes Scott Tick?
So what creative fire continues driving Ridley Scott to stay so engaged as he approaches 85 years old? A few factors:
- BOUNDLESS AMBITION – Ever since starting in the industry in his 30s, Scott has maintained a thirst to take on big, bold stories and push technical boundaries. Even after so many iconic films, his desire to innovated has not waned.
- CONSTANT WORK ETHIC – Scott is known for tightly scheduled shoots with military-like precision. He thrives on the fast-paced, high-pressure environment of film sets. Retirement would likely bore him.
- COMMERCIAL INSTINCTS – While able to create indelible art films like Blade Runner, Scott honed his skills directing thousands of commercials. He knows how to deliver what audiences want.
- TECH ADDICT – Obsessed with cameras since youth, Scott is all about the latest tech innovations. He was an early adopter of digital filming and CGI. New tech energizes him.
- TRUSTED COLLABORATORS – From editor Pietro Scalia to composer Hans Zimmer, Scott has long-running teams he trusts to execute his vision. Loyal support keeps him going.
The Scott Brand
After so many acclaimed films across a breadth of genres, Ridley Scott has developed a distinctive directorial brand defined by:
- Strong, tough female protagonists – From Alien’s Ripley to Thelma & Louise to GI Jane’s Jordan O’Neil.
- Fantastic visuals and world-building – Scott crafts fully realized worlds infused with atmosphere, from Blade Runner’s L.A. to Ancient Rome in Gladiator.
- Flashy, kinetic action – Expertly choreographed battle and combat sequences are a Scott trademark, from Black Hawk Down to Kingdom of Heaven.
- Flair for the futuristic – Whether in Blade Runner, Alien or The Martian, Scott excels at envisioning high-tech futures.
- Textured realism – Scott combines gritty, textured cinematography with authentic production design for an immersive lived-in feel.
Now in his 80s, Scott has established directorial trademarks comparable to late-career masters like John Ford and Akira Kurosawa.
Looking to the Future
As he heads towards 85, Ridley Scott continues to display the ambition of a hungry upstart. Some goals he still has ahead of him include:
- Directing at least two more Best Picture nominees to cement his legacy
- Pushing new boundaries in digital effects and 3D filming
- Mentoring his two directing sons Luke and Jake as future successors
- Achieving a Lifetime Achievement Oscar from the Academy that has nominated him four times
- Convincing frequent collaborator Russell Crowe to play Napoleon in his biopic after previously directing him as a Best Actor winner in Gladiator
- Closing his career with the personal WWII drama Queen & Country he has called his most meaningful project
Knowing Scott, he likely has even loftier goals in mind. Retirement does not appear on his radar when there are still so many history-making movies left to be made.
At an age when even iconic directors slow down their output, Ridley Scott continues forging ahead with an overflowing slate of ambitious new films and TV projects. His relentlessly hard-charging work ethic and drive to innovate means retirement holds little appeal. After over four decades spent redefining genres and collecting masterpieces, Scott remains as engaged and energetic as ever.
Much like his own 82 year-old Blade Runner creation Pablo Picasso, the legendary Ridley Scott continues prominently creating and walking among us mortals. As long as he maintains his famous stamina, there is little reason to expect cinema’s most productive elder statesman to stop wowing audiences anytime soon.
FAQ About Ridley Scott
What was Ridley Scott’s first feature film?
Scott’s first theatrical feature was 1977’s The Duellists starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel about rival French soldiers during the Napoleonic era.
What genre is Ridley Scott best known for?
Scott’s name is most associated with science fiction thanks to iconic films like Alien, Blade Runner, and The Martian.
How many Oscar nominations has Ridley Scott received?
Ridley Scott has been nominated for 4 Best Director Oscars but has never won: for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, and The Martian.
What was Scott’s highest grossing movie?
Scott’s biggest box office hit was 2015’s The Martian starring Matt Damon, which earned over $630 million worldwide.
Does Ridley Scott have a favorite lead actor?
Scott has called Russell Crowe his “best friend” and most trusted go-to lead actor thanks to Oscar-winning collaborations on Gladiator and American Gangster.
What famous commercial did Scott direct?
Before films, Scott directed the iconic 1984 Super Bowl commercial titled 1984 that introduced Apple’s Macintosh computer.
How many feature films has Ridley Scott directed?
To date, Ridley Scott has directed over 30 theatrical films spanning a remarkable range of genres since his debut in 1977.
Does Scott have any upcoming sequels planned?
Yes, Scott is attached to two sequels – Queen & Country, which follows 1987’s The Cruel Sea, and a sequel to his 2000 hit Gladiator.
Who composes most of Scott’s movie scores?
Scott’s most frequent composer is Hans Zimmer. They have collaborated on 12 films including Gladiator, Hannibal, and most recently, All the Money in the World.
Which famous director started out in Ridley Scott’s art department?
Acclaimed District 9 director Neill Blomkamp got his start working in the art department on some of Ridley Scott’s films early in his career.
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