“A friend of mine says, ‘Art’s like a shark. You’ve got to keep swimming, or
else you drown.’ Keep bouncing around. People always ask me what’s the plan.
There is no plan. I go to what fascinates me next.” Ridley Scott
A talented director/producer of British heritage, Ridley Scott took home a
Cannes Film Festival Award for Best First Film, thanks to his 1977 project, the
war drama The Duellists. Scott then became a three-time Oscar nominee for his
directorial work in Thelma & Louise (1991, also won him a London Film Critics
Circle Award), the box-office smash Gladiator (2000, starring Russell Crowe) and
the historical war drama Black Hawk Down (2001, also produced). As a producer,
he was handed a Golden Globe Award after executive producing the acclaimed TV
drama RKO 281 (1999).
Outside the spotlight, Scott teamed up with his brother Tony to purchase
London’s Shepperton Studios in 1995, establish the commercial production company
Ridley Scott Associates (with which he has directed over 2,000 commercials in 10
years) and set up the film production company Scott Free. Scott is also the
owner of the visual effects company Mill Film, which did the majority of the
effects on his project in 2000, Gladiator. The director/producer was named the
31st person in the 2001 edition of Entertainment Weekly’s “Power List” and the
30th public figure in Premiere’s 2002 annual “Power 100 List.” Furthermore, in
January 2003, he received knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in the 2003 New
Year’s Honors List.
On a more private note, Scott has been married three times. He first married
Felicity Haywood in 1964 (later divorced), then Sandy Watson (1979-1989) and
later Donna Scott. He is the father of two sons and a daughter. Currently, he is
seeing actress Giannina Facio.
Childhood and Family:
The second son of Jean Scott (died in 2001) and a longshoreman, Ridley Scott was
born on November 30, 1937, in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. Ridley, who
was also called “R-Scott” or “Rid,” is the brother of Frank Scott (died of
cancer in 1980) and director Tony Scott (born on July 21, 1944).
Rid, who apparently possessed an interest in art, studied painting at the West
Hartlepool College of Art. He then continued his studies at the Royal College of
Art in London and graduated in 1965 with the title of B.A. Honors, Art and Film.
Furthermore, the college awarded him a one-year scholarship to the US, where he
worked at Time-Life, Inc., with Richard Leacock and D.A. Pennebaker. He also
took a one-year master’s program at the London International Film School.
As for his romantic life, Rid has been married three times. In 1964, he
exchanged wedding vows with Felicity Haywood, but the couple later divorced.
They share two sons who later would also be directors, Jake Scott (born in 1965)
and Luke Scott (born in 1968). He then had a ten-year marriage with Sandy Watson
(1979-1989), who gave him a daughter named Jordan Scott (also a future
director). His third marriage, with Donna Scott, also ended in separation.
Thelma and Louise
While in college, Ridley Scott first co-directed the crime drama series “Z Cars”
(1962). He then worked as the production designer for a number of BBC-TV
programs: the sitcom “Bold as Brass” (1964), the sci-fi drama series “R3”
(1964), “Out of the Unknown” (1965), as well as the TV movies Reluctant Bandit
(1965) and Some Lapse of Time (1965).
As a student of the Royal College of Art, in 1965, Scott made a short movie
titled Boy and Bicycle, which featured his brother Tony Scott and his father,
and did multiple tasks as the director, writer, cinematographer and producer.
Impressed by his work, BBC-TV soon promoted him to direct some of their
programs, such as the drama series “The Troubleshooters” (1965), an episode of
“Adam Adamant Lives” (1966) and the made-for-TV drama Robert (1967).
Moving to the big screen, Scott tried out the on-camera position with an
unaccredited turn as an officer in the short film One of the Missing (1971),
before gaining attention for his directorial work. His 1977 project, the war
drama The Duellists, was named Best First Film at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie starred Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel and Albert Finney. Scott
followed the victory with the stylish and thrilling sci-fi action Alien (1979,
starring Sigourney Weaver), as well as the less-inspiring action/adventure
movies Blade Runner (1982), Legend (1985), Someone to Watch Over Me (1987, also
executive produced) and Black Rain (1989).
The director then released the acclaimed, controversial movie Thelma & Louise
(1991, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis). The film won him a London Film
Critics Circle for Best Director and brought his first Oscar nomination for Best
Following the flop of his directorial project 1492: The Conquest of Paradise
(1992), Scott fared better when he directed Demi Moore in the hit movie G.I.
Jane (1997, also produced). He also produced the family comedy Monkey Trouble
(1994, as executive producer), the remake of The Browning Version (1994), the
adventure drama White Squall (1996, executive produced and directed), the TV
series “The Hunger (1997, as executive producer) and the big screen crime comedy
Clay Pigeons (1998).
Once again, Scott rose to eminence after executive producing the acclaimed TV
drama RKO 281 (1999), in which he took home a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series
of Motion Picture Made for Television. A story about the making of the movie
Citizen Kane, the TV film featured Hollywood stars Liev Schreiber, James
Cromwell, Melanie Griffith and John Malkovich. Back in the director’s chair,
Scott again proved his worth with the box-office smash Gladiator (2000). A Roman
epic movie with Russell Crowe among its cast, Gladiator received 12 Oscar
nominations, including one for Best Director, and won five of them (including
The producer of Where the Money Is (2000) and the TV movie The Last Debate
(2000, as executive producer), Scott was given his third Best Director Academy
Award nomination for his superb directorial work in the historical war drama
Black Hawk Down (2001, also produced). It was soon ensued with Hannibal (2001),
the sequel of the classic The Silence of the Lambs (1991). After numerous
productions in 2002, including the series “AFP: American Fighter Pilot,” Scott
helmed such big screen popular movies as the crime drama comedy Matchstick Men
(2003, also produced) and the historical war drama Kingdom of Heaven (2005, also
produced). He was also one of the directors for All the Invisible Children
(2005), a collection of seven short films that feature children as protagonist
Scott, who recently executive produced the drama Tristan + Isolde (2006), is
assigned to be the executive producer of the drama thriller Orpheus (2006, TV),
the historical drama Mary Queen of Scots (2006) and the Russell Crowe-starring
motion picture A Good Year (2006, also directed). He will also produce the
Western movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007),
Diamond Dead (2007), a third collaboration with Russell Crowe titled American
Gangster (2007, also directed), Shadow Divers (2007, also directed) and Emma’s
War (2007, starring Nicole Kidman). In addition, he is set to be the executive
producer for the six-part miniseries “The Company” (2007), an adaptation of
Robert Littell’s novel with the same title.
Golden Globe: Best Mini-Series of Motion Picture Made for Television,
RKO 281, 1999
London Film Critics Circle: Best Director of the Year, Thelma & Louise,
Cannes Film Festival: Best First Film, The Duellists, 1977