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Exclusive: Tony Scott On Pelham 123
On Travolta's villain and the script

26 May 2009  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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Tony Scott is back this summer with The Taking Of Pelham 123 and the director shared some interesting titbits with Empire on his typically kinetic remake of Joseph Sargent’s 1974 heist classic.

Pitting John Travolta's remorseless hijacker against Denzel Washington's Everyman subway controller, Scott's Pelham originated with a call from writer and long-term collaborator Brian Helgeland. "Brian came to me with it. He said, 'Listen, I've done this version of this - it's not the Pelham you remember, but it's a version of it.' And whenever Brian brings me anything, I'm interested."

As you'd expect, Scott's Pelham is a more multimedia environment than the original, with modern technology (mobiles? Bluetooth? live hostage tweets?) promising a more twisty-turny plotline and some major character changes. "Even when I saw [the original] back in the '70s I had thought it didn't make sense. Holding hostages in a subway - it's a cul-de-sac. But then we reinvented it: we found a real guy who was just out of prison and we told his story."

The guy in question is Travolta's Ryder who, with shorn barnet and Village People-gone-rogue handlebar, provides a malevolent heart for the movie. "Travolta plays it beautifully," says Scott. "But it's all from the real guy. He's funny, he's fucked-up. He's dangerous."

Scott explained that, unlike Robert Shaw's inscrutable Mr. Blue in the original, Ryder will have more back-story and a clearer motive. "He had been set up in during a previous crime and lost everything. So he hatched this plan where he takes revenge on the entire city."

Check out the July issue of Empire - onsale on Thursday - for more on Scott's summer blockbuster as well as a fascinating blow-by-blow from the director on his entire canon, (jump-cutting) from Top Gun to shotgun actioners like The Last Boy Scout and True Romance.

The Taking Of Pelham 123
is out on July 24. Click here for the trailer and more on the film.






 


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Your Comments

Tony Scott is retarded
The original didn't make sense? Wow, the villain now has a motive and a back story? Oohhhhh, VERY important for the audiences these days, who need to be spoon-fed exposition in every scene. I'm going to watch this movie, but I'm not paying for it. I'm going to download it for free, watch it, and make fun of it relentlessly during the opening week to as many people as I know so no one will go and see it. NICE More

Posted by krushgroove at 05:24 on 29 May 2009 | Report This Post

Tony Scott is retarded
The original didn't make sense? Wow, the villain now has a motive and a back story? Oohhhhh, VERY important for the audiences these days, who need to be spoon-fed exposition in every scene. I'm going to watch this movie, but I'm not paying for it. I'm going to download it for free, watch it, and make fun of it relentlessly during the opening week to as many people as I know so no one will go and see it. NICE More

Posted by krushgroove at 04:19 on 29 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Spank Me
Ooh Matron. Read the issue yesterday, was disappointed that it missed a few out (Enemy of the State, The Fan, Revenge, Spy Game). Still, good to see the man in Empire, even if he largely derided. More

Posted by UTB at 14:06 on 27 May 2009 | Report This Post

Spank Me
You can spank me.. More

Posted by Halo14 at 13:25 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

Thanks!
Dunno if this has anything to do with it, but I sent Empire an email asking for a piece on Tony Scott and my prayers have been answered. Spank you all!! More

Posted by UTB at 13:17 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

A Fan of The Fan
I miss the old Tony Scott. He has made such good movies like The Fan, True Romance and Crimson Tide. Then he stated messing up.. Domino. Oh well. At least he has a good taste in music. Has anybody noticed that he likes to use Nine Inch Nails in most his movies...? More

Posted by Halo14 at 13:15 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

Scott The Younger really didn't get the (fantastic) original, did he? I'm waiting for the interview in which he states that David Shire's (sublime) score is "kinda dated", which is why he hired Paul Oakenfold/Harry Gregson-Williams for something more "cutting edge" and "exciting". More

Posted by Manfrendshensindshen at 12:32 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

Totally random......
....but does anyone else think he looks like the spitting image of Bruce Willis in that picture? More

Posted by movie_manic_1983 at 12:21 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Uh-oh.....
Saw this at the West End screening last week and although it does elevate itself above the usual Tony Scott/ face-off fodder (this is more in part thanks to its casting) it's still not worth the admission price. Especially seeing the quality of films due to hit the silver screen this summer (Star Trek and Terminator Salvation are both absolutely fantastic and I have high hopes for Transformers ROTF) this is a film that will fade fast in the memory.   If you're only able to venture to y More

Posted by Ghost Mutt at 12:15 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Uh-oh.....
I'll take that as confirmation that Scott's completely missed the point of the original, which is one of my favourite films. Shall be giving this a wide berth. More

Posted by nutteronabus at 12:14 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

Uh-oh.....
I'll admit, I'm late to the Pelham party, I only watched the original about a month ago, but it's brilliant, and the whole idea of taking hostages in the subway was to confuse the cops and give the hijackers a way out no-one could see. The fact that Scott is basically saying "That's stupid, I can do better" does not bode well for this film. And I say that as someone who usually enjoys his stuff, and was intrigued by the trailer. It's just gone down a notch. More

Posted by the ageless stranger at 11:59 on 26 May 2009 | Report This Post

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