Sir Ridley Scott didn’t get to the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Even if he had, he wouldn’t have been strolling along the internationally famous and beautiful croisette with the stars, movie moguls and paparazzi.
As Russell Crowe took to the screen in Cannes to portray the legendary English character, Robin Hood, Scott was at home in Los Angeles nursing a post-operative knee. Cannes would have to wait till 2011. If his mind was dwelling partly on the film’s critical reception and partly on his painful knee joint, it was also pretty much already on future film projects.
Interviewed by British Telegraph journalist Craig McLean, Scott discussed the making of Robin Hood and his working relationship with Crowe, with whom he has now made five films, but he also outlined six film projects he’s working on.
Director of, among many other films, Alien, Thelma & Louise and the sublime Blade Runner, 72-year-old Scott seems to have inexhaustible energy for bringing stories to the screen.
After rumours that he was working on an Alien prequel, it turned out he has two in progress. He has said they’ll be spectacular, in 3D, and has also said he plans to top James Cameron’s achievement with Avatar. “Jim’s raised the bar” Scott said “and I’ve got to jump to it. He’s not going to get away with it!”
The first Alien prequel will be set in 2085. A team of astronauts discover an alien on a planet called Zeta Reticuli. The film will ask and answer the questions: were the aliens created as biological weapons? how did they get out of control? who was the individual in the first film, shown collapsed with his chest blown out when the astronauts first enter the spacecraft?
Scott is also making a film version of the Red Riding Trilogy, the acclaimed 2009 UK Channel 4 adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding novels. The British series, set in the UK, was a powerful study of police corruption exposed when several young girls go missing. Scott’s movie will set the action in the US.
Add to those projects a bizarre-sounding film version of the board game Monopoly. Asked if the film is really going to be about someone trying to buy up real estate, Scott replied:
“It is indeed. If you circle Central Park at night in a helicopter you’re looking down at the most expensive real estate in the world. It’s the American Monopoly board.”
It will be interesting to see how the movie turns out. Although it doesn’t sound very exciting, Ridley Scott doesn’t make boring films.
However, notwithstanding more Alien and Red Riding and Monopoly Scott says “the thing I’m desperate to do is a western.”
Consequently, he’s enlisted Larry McMurtry – who wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain – to write a script for him.
“I want to return” he says “to the epic idea of the grand, big western.”
And finally – as Robin Hood hits the screens, Scott already has a follow-up in mind. He’s already discussed a Robin Hood sequel with Russell Crowe and the two of them have an idea to “bend the truth a little bit – the film would end with the signing of the Magna Carta. You have to assume that somebody forced King John into signing the Magna Carta. So why couldn’t it be Robin Hood?”
The outlaw Robin Hood forcing the English king, John, to limit his own powers, accept the supremacy of the rule of law and guarantee rights to his subjects? Well, it’s a movie so why not?