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Feature
Tony Scott On Tony Scott
The glorious career of the action great in his own words

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Top Gun (1986)

Top Gun

During the barren years after The Hunger’s failure, Scott returned to commercials, including one for Saab that featured a stunningly shot Harrier Jump Jet. This happened to catch the eye of a young Hollywood producing duo who had this idea for an airborne blockbuster taxiing along the runway...

Jerry (Bruckheimer) was passionate about style and photography. He was a little bored with what was going on with American movie directors at the time. He was looking to me, my brother, Hugh Hudson, Adrian Lyne… He was looking to Europe. I met Jerry via Ridley, who used to shoot commercials for him. Rid shot Pepsi commercials for him. I had this idea that it was going to be Apocalypse Now. It was going to be in the bowels of this aircraft carrier. It was going to be this very different movie, a very dark journey: Conrad, you know, Heart Of Darkness. And then one of the boys, Jerry Bruckheimer, looked at me and said, ‘Er no, I don’t think sooo.’ I didn’t quite get what they were after. I love war movies and Apocalypse Now is my favourite. I wanted to bring that to it. Eventually I got it. It’s rock ’n’ roll stars against blue skies and silver fucking jets. It’s pure pop culture. In the end, that’s why I took the movie.

It was my first real studio movie. The Hunger had been slammed, as I said. When I sent back the dailies, I said, ‘For God’s sake don’t send back all the stuff in slow-motion — they’ll think I’m making some artsy-fartsy movie. Just send back the dialogue stuff!’ Of course, they fucked up and sent all the stuff I’d shot at, like, 400 frames a second. And they fired me. Fortunately there was bad weather and I couldn’t get off the aircraft carrier so I kept shooting. All they’d seen was the opening title sequence. They’d been thinking, ‘Christ, this guy’s making The Hunger with the Navy!’

When it came out I got slaughtered. ‘It represented everything bad that had ever been done in cinema.’ David Puttnam said that. He was meant to be my buddy and the fucker sank me! But with the material I had, you can’t do it in a serious way — it had to be pop. I think it is the ultimate piece of Americana from 1986.
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Your Comments

1 Revenge?
Where's 'Revenge'?! More

Posted by sredd on Saturday August 25, 2012, 17:40

2 Deja Vu...where is it...??
where da heck's Deja vu..?? i think of all Tony-Denzel collaborations THAT's the best one, second only to Crimson Tide. it's got Denzel, a Batman (Val Kilmer), the new girl from Mission: Impossible 4 (the pretty and pre-mom Paula Patton) and Jesus friggin' Christ Himself (Jim Caviezel). the plot's not that original and intriguing, nonetheless. it's got cool action set pieces and Tony's style didn't go TOO overwhelming that it distracts from the story, like it did with Man on Fire and Domino. i'm sad Tony's gone now...but, i wish he coulda done another collaboration with Tom Cruise in a reunion project. More

Posted by Avengers12 on Friday August 24, 2012, 14:14

3 Always remember
You sometimes forget how many great films people direct until they pass away. Tony may not have been recognised by Oscars, but no one can deny that he will be recognised by the public, the people that matter when it comes to films that he was the master of action and entertainment. More

Posted by only1brams on Wednesday August 22, 2012, 20:42

4 Things Are Missing!
There are several films missing from this list, Enemy of the State, Spy Games whats going oh here? More

Posted by Joe Cohen on Tuesday August 21, 2012, 20:13

5 Wait a minute......
Top Gun was literally HEROIC when it came out. Yes, it was a flamboyant copy of An Officer and a Gentleman (at the time) - bloke joining Naval Airforce, motorbike, dead mate etc, but for a 10-15yr old boy, this was extreme high jingoistic action with no homo-erotic mention at the time. Listen, all films suffer aging at some point, but growing up in the mid-80's this WAS rock n roll As per previous posts, this type of balls-out film making will be sorely missed, especially as you can see from 80's, thought the 90's to the 00's.....the guy just got better and stronger then the previous outing God bless, TS More

Posted by Lol78 on Tuesday August 21, 2012, 20:11

6 THE FAN, ENEMY OF THE STATE, SPY GAME
It really bugs me that The Fan, Enemy of the State and Spy Game were all left out. The Fan is probably his most underrated film, Enemy is a cracking action film and Spy Game is brilliant!! Please, please include them!!!! More

Posted by PANDAPOP1 on Tuesday August 21, 2012, 13:49

7 Where's Enemy of the State?
Where's Enemy Of The State? It is very odd that it is not listed. More

Posted by Josh91 on Tuesday August 21, 2012, 10:13

8 I love TRUE ROMANCE
It's in the top 10 of my top 500 best movies ever. More

Posted by kielerkai on Tuesday August 21, 2012, 09:01

9 @MuckyMuckMan
Top Gun is hardly a misfire - it's the first film mentioned in every obituary for the great man. It still has the best aerial action ever committed to celluloid. Loved reading this again, Empire, thanks. It reminded me what a lovely down-to-Earth, no-nonsense guy he was, and how many happy hours at the cinema he provided me with over my lifetime. Cinema just became a bit more boring now he's gone. More

Posted by Garth_Marenghi on Tuesday August 21, 2012, 04:22

10 RIP Action Maestro
A very sad day to lose one of the best action movie directors of all time. OK he misfired from time to time (Domino, Top Gun, Days of Thunder) but he's also made classics such as True Romance, Man on Fire, Crimson Tide and the ultimate guilty pleasure of The Last Boyscout. R.I.P. Tony you'l be incredibly missed. More

Posted by MuckyMuckMan on Monday August 20, 2012, 21:40

11 tony scott - amazing director
true romance and crimson tide are two of my favourites RIP tony More

Posted by Count Karnstein on Monday August 20, 2012, 12:57

12
"But I love the adventure and excitement. I mean, we had four bulletproof cars stolen. We had kids turning up shirtless at 3am on crystal meth carrying Uzis. We just said, ‘Fuck it — take the cars." That's crazy, I had no idea the Man on Fire shoot was so dangerous. RIP Tony, you'll be sorely missed. More

Posted by Whistler on Monday August 20, 2012, 11:33

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