Yesterday, director Tony Scott jumped to his death from a bridge in San Pedro, California.
I'll be honest, when I saw the news it didn't immediately hit me how many films and other projects I love were directed or produced by Scott. From Top Gun to True Romance, his body of work is worth reflecting on as we try to make sense of just how much we've lost.
These are seven reasons why we'll miss Scott. They reflect only on his artistic contributions, there are obviously many more both personally and creatively.
Obviously, Top Gun is its own reason to miss Tony Scott. The film helped cement Tom Cruise as an action star, contributed extensively to pop culture, and gave us a righteous loving feeling.
What you may not know is what Scott did to assure the film's opening would be the memorial piece of cinematography you see above. From The Aviationist:
During the filming, Tony Scott and his crew spent some days onboard USS Enterprise to shoot aircraft as they landed and took off from the aircraft carrier. Since the U.S. Navy's flattop was on an operational cruise, the crew had to film normal flight ops. However, Tony Scott wanted to shoot flight deck activitiey with planes backlit from the sun. So, when the ship changed course with a consequent change of the light, Scott asked it they commanding officer could keep on the previous course and speed for a little longer.
However, he was answered by the commander that it would cost 25,000 USD to turn the ship, so he wrote the aircraft carrier captain a check so that the ship could be turned on the previous route for five more minutes thus giving him the possibility to shoot under the desired lighting conditions for another five minutes.
The footage was used during the movie's stunning opening scene.
BMW spent a ton of money to create "The Driver" series, starring Clive Owen, to promote its new line of cars. The episodes were among the first viral Internet car videos and included contributions from directors John Frankenheimer, Guy Ritchie, and Tony Scott.
All the short films are great in their own way, but Tony Scott gets credit for the most bizarre, starring James Brown as James Brown having to meet at the crossroads to settle an agreement he made with the Devil. In this case, the Devil is a freaky Gary Oldman. It's psychedelic and weird and, for a car commercial, daring.
I don't know if it made me want to buy a Z4, but it did entertain. Stick around for the great Marilyn Manson Cameo.
A list about Tony Scott on this website will, of course, include a reference to Days of Thunder. It's a movie that made stock car racing exciting and, in addition to including a lot of actual NASCAR folks, captured the spirit of racing.
Also, the thing was shot without a full script. According to IMDB:
Production began without a finished script; scenes were often written the day of filming. During one driving sequence, Tom Cruise actually had to read his lines off cue cards attached to his windshield, which resulted in a minor car accident. For subsequent driving sequences, Cruise was fitted with a special earpiece to have lines fed to him.
The end product, even if a little formulaic, never seems slapped together.
Pity the director having to film a movie in 1987, when we still had mostly a crop of shitty malaise cars. BHC II isn't an amazing movie, but as a sequel it's not bad. Despite the limitations, the cars in the film are a pretty good time capsule of the area with a few surprises.
There's the classic late '80s Fleetwood, Diplomat, and Camaros galore. There's also Foley's primo Ferrari 328 GTS and an 80s-tastic Porsche 928.
For car lovers there's a super rare 1957 Dual-Ghia Convertible and a Volvo 164.
Quentin Tarantino directs most of the films he writes, but he handed over the duty of directing True Romance to Tony Scott. The result is a film that doesn't exactly look like a Tarantino flick but sounds like one.
In the original script, the Christian Slater character dies. Tarantino fought over the ending, but Scott eventually convinced Tarantino to let him try it. As explained in an interview, Tarantino eventually came around to Scott's direction. Sort of:
Scott: I just fell in love with these two characters and didn't want to see them die. I wanted them together.
Tarantino: When I watched the movie, I realized that Tony was right. He always saw it as a fairy tale love story, and in that capacity it works magnificently. But in my world Clarence is dead and Alabama is on her own. If she ever shows up in another one of my scripts, Clarence will still be dead.
Everyone loves Bruce Willis. He was in Die Hard and The Fifth Element and a million other action films we happily remember.
But there's one we're all trying to forget and that's the terrible Hudson Hawk. One of the worst movies ever made. It's possible Bruce Willis could have bounced back on his own, but Scott's The Last Boy Scout revived his career.
It's an impressive feat not only because HH was so bad, but also because the story and script for The Last Boy Scout are a little weak. It's a fun to watch movie, if a little ridiculous.
Tony Scott and his brother Ridley were all set to make a TV show called The Drivers based on the Le Mans 24 hour race in the '50s and '60s.
Think Mad Men meets Le Mans. We're not sure about the future of the project, but it's one of those amazing ideas that Tony and his brother surely would have made into something special