Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hollywood honors ‘Alien’ filmmaker Ridley Scott


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Sir Ridley Scott attends his hand and footprint ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on May 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images/AFP :Alberto E. Rodriguez / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

“Alien” creator Ridley Scott said Wednesday he hoped to make movie-goers ponder life’s bigger questions through his latest contribution to the “Alien” sci-fi blockbuster franchise — but also to scare them senseless.

The veteran British director, who made the groundbreaking original movie in the long-running action horror series in 1979, is readying to release the sixth film, “Alien Covenant,” in the United States on Friday.

“It’s (about) origin of the species, and have we failed or have we not failed? And are we going to correct ourselves? Sounds highbrow, doesn’t it? But this thing will still scare the shit out of them,” he told AFP, summing up the movie.

The 79-year-old director offered his thoughts on his latest project and filmmaking in general ahead of becoming the 304th star to sink his handprints and footprints into cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre, a tradition for Hollywood’s creme de la creme.

Scott chose the occasion to rail against the California tax system, which he said was not encouraging filmmakers who have left over the years to return to Hollywood.

Nine projects — including Fox series “Scream Queens” and “American Horror Story” — were allocated a total of $37.6 million in tax breaks last year as part of an expanded scheme designed to attract studios back.

But Scott told AFP it was “a pity” that California couldn’t stretch to the kind of rebates that have been successful back home in Britain.

Scott’s directing credits over a genre-straddling career spanning more than 50 years have included acclaimed works such as “Thelma and Louise” (1991), “Gladiator” (2000) and the Golden Globe winning “The Martian” (2015).

– ‘Holy Grail’ –

The filmmaker said he considered the handprint honor “a Holy Grail,” recalling his first visit to the Chinese Theatre, which turns 90 on Thursday.

“I used to walk up and down here. Hollywood Boulevard was perfumed, very clean and very pretty in those days,” he said. “It’s getting better now but it did take a downturn. It’s climbing out of that right now, and it should.”

“I would look at the names every morning. I used to eat breakfast just around the corner — two little old ladies with blue hair, great food — and I’d walk past and look at the names.”

The director — who was also the brains behind “Blade Runner” in 1982 and is executive producing the sequel “Blade Runner 2049,” due for release on October 6 — says “Alien: Covenant” has a religious subtext, although he is agnostic.

Harrison Ford — who starred in the original “Blade Runner” and is in the sequel — introduced Scott in front of hundreds of wellwishers as “Alien: Covenant” stars Katherine Waterson, Danny McBride and Nathaniel Dean looked on.

“I come to praise Ridley, not to bury him,” Ford joked.

Scott poked fun at Ford, calling the actor “a flipping nightmare” to work with, before telling the crowd he was “still learning and still curious.”

“I don’t feel I’ve ever worked a day in my life. I think to me it’s one big holiday. I just adore it,” he said.

“Alien: Covenant” the second of the prequel films, is set in 2104 on board a spaceship carrying 2,000 cryogenically frozen colonists to a distant planet when they chance upon an uncharted paradise.

But their voyage soon turns into a gory nightmare that makes “Alien”‘s original “chestbuster” scene seem tame in comparison.

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