So, due to family obligations and a few oddly timed assignments for CBR, I am without a wonderfully prepared article for the week
I know. I’m a huge disappointment. Luckily, that leaves me open to grouse a little bit more on the topic of Ridley Scott. One thing I wanted to bring up is this video our friend Bryn linked to following last week’s post. See, here’s something I didn’t bring up in my Disclaimers: Scott is a terrible interview. I don’t mean he gives clipped answered that are useless when writing an article (Thankfully, I’ve never encountered a director that disengaged), instead, he likes to ramble and riff his way to an answer. I think that’s a fair reflection of his directorial style.
That said, I think it leads him to a lot of trouble. Consider this recent chat with Hero Complex Grand Poobah Geoff Boucher:
Stop at 4:06. Now, remember that Boucher’s question was “What was your best day as a director?” Scott has mentioned storyboarding, cameras, and video assist … but not being on set.
“Boards are very important to me. That’s my writing,” says Scott. That’s something he’s said consistently over the years and it should give you a better window into how he thinks. By design, boards are about composition. They help a director plan his shots so all the technical aspects can be letter perfect on the day of shooting. This doesn’t necessarily apply to only action or Sci-Fi flicks. Hitchcock loved to board; even scenes of two people talking ended up on giant boards he referenced on set.
The difference between Hitchcock and Scott is an innate sense of timing. This is something you can’t get from a storyboard.
This next quote was the one that brought Bryn to my side: “What on Earth was in those eggs?” According to Scott, none of the films answer that question.
While some quibble about the strange dual-birthing reproductive system of the alien, I always thought it spoke to the adaptability of the creature. It produces eggs in its relatively primal form, but incubates inside a host presumably more accustomed to whatever environment the alien might find itself in. I could pull quotes from Alien and Aliens that back up my theory, but I think we’ve dwelled enough on this.
“A canvas is never done,” says Scott. Uh oh. That’s bad thinking. Now, this might be a fundamental difference between an artist and a writer, but I think a creative work has an ending: the moment it is unleashed on the public. At that point, it is something that can be discussed. From that time on, the creative work is judged as a complete product. To think otherwise is lunacy.
I know … I’m talking about the director of Matchstick Men and A Good Year.