Get a sneak peek at Ridley Scott: A Retrospective
Author Ian Nathan's new book offers an overview of the famed director's career.
"I was a Star Wars kid, I was obsessed with sci-fi, from probably 10 through to 14," says Nathan. "I remember my Mum going off to see Alien and being quite indignant about why I couldn’t go. She said, 'It’s a scary science fiction film and it’s too grown up for you.' She came back, and I was desperate to know what it was all about, and she said it was so frightening it was funny. That was 1979. There was no internet. No one knew anything about the chestburster. She said people were laughing because it was the only way they could deal with it. That really stuck with me."
Nathan finally saw the horror classic on video and "snuck in" to watch Scott's Blade Runner at the cinema. His interest in the Gladiator director continued into adulthood. During Nathan's time as writer and editor at the British film magazine Empire, he interviewed Scott on around a dozen occasions.
"I became the Ridley Scott go-to guy on Empire, probably at my own behest more than the magazine’s," he half-jokes. "I bullied my way onto the Ridley Scott gigs!"
In 2011, Nathan published a book about Scott's monster movie, Alien Vault: The Definitive Story Behind the Film, and has now written a career overview of the director titled Ridley Scott: A Retrospective. In addition to featuring detailed dissections of the filmmaker's movies, the author recounts his set visit to 2017's Alien: Covenant.
"What was brilliant about that experience was just watching him direct a scene," says Nathan. "He directs through a loud speaker and it’s an artist with his brush. He’s moving the camera and he’s literally going 'Left. Down. Along' and he’ll say, 'Stop! Stop! Stop! Michael Fassbender stand a foot to your left.' You can see the frame come into being, you can see the artist’s eye create the shot. When he’s got the camera rolling, and he's directing, it is an artist at work."
He may have brought us lethal aliens and killer replicants, but Nathan contends the director's secret sauce is that the now 82-year-old Scott is a big softie.
"I think he’s a very romantic director," says the author. "You look at Blade Runner compared to Blade Runner 2049, what is different is Scott’s film is so much more romantic. It has this fairytale element to it.
Ridley Scott: A Retrospective is out now. Check out the book's chapter on Blade Runner below.