In the Future with Director Tony Scott

ON just spent nearly an hour talking with filmmaker Tony Scott about his new movie The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which comes out tomorrow. At the same time, we had a chance to ask him about some of the other movies he’s been developing, including a sequel to his 1983 breakout vampire film, The Hunger, a movie based on Hunter Thompson* and Sonny Barger’s novels about the motorcycle gang “The Hell’s Angels,” being written by Stephen Gaghan (American Gangster), and another project called Potsdamer Platz. We also got a few more words on his version of The Warriors and that rumored prequel to Alien, which seems to be caught up in negotiations on who should make it.

(*UPDATE: A week after this story posted, we were contacted by one of the producers of the “Hell’s Angels” movie, who happens to be the legal counsel for the “motorcycle club.” He told us that the movie Scott is directing for 20th Century Fox is actually being adapted from Hell’s Angels founding member Sonny Barger’s book “Hell’s Angels: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.” The thing is that Scott made it clear that he has the rights for Thompson’s novel, so one assumes that he and screenwriter Stephen Gaghan are trying to create the fullest and most accurate representation of the group by including accounts both from Thompson and Barger, rather than favoring one side of the story over the other.)

As far as that sequel to the 1983 horror movie, which starred Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, Scott remained mum about whether or not any of the original cast would make it into the sequel–many of them are vampires after all–and how they’d accomplish that, but he did give us a few tidbits: “I’m not going to tell you how we’re doing it, but I’m controlling it and it’s gone to the next level. It’s not a reinvention or reinterpretation, it starts in New York and it ends up in Sao Paulo, so it’s a very different movie, but it springboards off the original. We’re writing it right now and we’ve got a great writer, Erin Wilson.” (We’re not sure if this is the same Erin Wilson who wrote Secretary, but it would be pretty interesting if it was.)

“My dance card is so full, I’m so lucky,” he told us before listing off some of the projects that are at the front of his mind. “I’ve got ‘The Warriors,’ I’ve got ‘Hell’s Angels’ – I’ve owned the Hunter Thompson book for 12 years and Steve Gaghan is writing the script right now. I own all these great titles. Another one called ‘Lucky Strike’ about guys who repro aircraft. ‘Potsdamer Platz,’ which is by the guys who wrote ‘Sexy Beast.’ Now with all these movies that are ready to go. They’re scripted, they’re budgeted, and now I’ve gotta make them before I die. I’m getting old.”

When pressed for more information about Potsdamer Platz, which is apparently based on a script from Louis Mello and David Scinto, Scott added, “We’re going to change the title and make it contemporary. It’s not a little movie, but it’s based on a true story of the Jersey mob and when they tried to take over the construction business in Germany.” (Potsdamer Platz is the enormous train station in the middle of Berlin, for those unaware.)

Scott’s next statement was interesting (and somewhat undecipharable), as he hinted that Mickey Rourke may be playing one of the roles in that movie. “I’ve got a great cast with Mickey? now all of a sudden the film became bankable because Mickey was always his own man before last year.” And then it sounded like he said, “I’ll use Mickey in three movies” but after repeated listenings, we still couldn’t figure out whether that’s what he meant to say.

Tony Scott’s version of the ’70s classic The Warriors has been getting the most print space in recent weeks as Scott has been doing the press rounds, and though there isn’t a lot of new information, it’s definitely a movie Scott is passionate about making.

“Retooling is a good word, it’s not a remake,” he told us today when asked about it. “I’m shooting in present day L.A. The original, they don’t stand up very well. They’re great cult movies, but that was the ’70s, and I’m doing it around the gang culture in L.A., which is a very fast disappearing culture. They’re homogenizing all the looks from the MS-13s to the 18th Streets, the Crips, the Bloods, and I met with all the gang members, and they all said, ‘If you get this movie on’–because ‘The Warriors’ is their favorite movie–‘We’ll all stand on the Vincent Thomas Bridge, 100,000 gang members for the beginning of the movie and we’ll sign a treaty and we’ll be there.’ But if I’m not making it, you have to think, ‘How hard can it be?’ Because in its simplest form, it’s about ten little Indians getting from Point B to Point A through the course of the night, and I can’t get the script right. I’ve been struggling to get the script. I’ve been wanting to make this movie for ten years now, and now I’ve got all these gang members. It’s not just hip to touch those worlds, it educates me and the public, and they’re so colorful and fantastic.”

(You can read more about Scott’s plans for the movie over on Cinemablend.)

At this point, it seems like Unstoppable may be next for Scott, although he was tentative listing that as his 5th movie with Denzel Washington as his lead despite Washington having been attached for some time. The plot seems similar to “Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,” involving a runaway train containing toxic chemicals being chased by an engineer and a conductor.

The movie people are probably the most interested in is the rumored Untitled Alien Prequel that was discussed heavily last week. Scott had told another site that director Carl Rinsch was going to be directing it, but then just a few days ago Entertainment Weekly reported that in fact, no director had been signed and that 20th Century Fox was holding out hope that Tony’s brother Ridley Scott would be directing. “I’m going to call a time out on that one,” he halted us when asked about it today, though he still seemed optimistic things would work out. “I don’t want to get caught in the middle. We’re in process on that, but I don’t have enough information to bring it to this table, but we’re going to make it.”

We also asked him about Emma’s War, a movie that’s been in development for a long time based on the book by Deborah Scroggins about a British aid worker who becomes involved in the Sudanese civil war, which had Nicole Kidman attached for a long time. “It’s something I’m not going to direct; somebody else is going to direct through our company. I love it.”

When asked whether he might mentor a few new filmmakers to make some of the above. “No, I’m like a jealous lover, they’re all mine. These are my babies. In the end, I’m going to have to, but it’s hard knowing what to give up because I love them all. They’re all touching really different worlds in really different ways. I’ve got a great cast attached to each of them. I’ll make them, all of them.”

It should be interesting to see how many of the above projects actually see the light of day, because like his brother Ridley, Tony Scott often has a lot of projects in various stages of development, and they generally only make one movie a year.

While we won’t have time to run our entire interview with Mr. Scott before tomorrow, you should be able to read some of the highlights of that riveting interview sometime next week after you see his new movie over the weekend.

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Weekend: Jul. 18, 2019, Jul. 21, 2019

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