Ridley Scott is a director principally, producer sometimes, never a writer. So if the plot of his films drift, don’t blame The Man. You have to ferret out the writer/s responsible. I thought it prudent to do this before I commit 200 irretrievable hours to Raised by Wolves (2020–).
But then I fell down the rabbit hole and researched ALL of Ridley Scott’s writers!
It was an interesting exercise, because Hollywood (and maybe life itself) rates us on how far down the credits we appear. Hapless writers, I’m sad to say, are usually a long way down the credits.
Now, I hate the word ‘iconic’ — because it’s been rendered meaningless by decades of overuse (like the word ‘hero’). But in Scott’s case it applies. He’s committed very few blunders in the past half-century. His work is iconic.
For example, Scott’s feature directorial debut, The Duellists (1977), is widely regarded as the best example of swordfighting in movie history. I mean, fuck Errol Flynn, that swashbuckling fool. But the script? From a novella by Joseph Conrad of all people, adapted for film by Gerald Vaughan-Hughes.
You all know Gerry, right?
Sure you do.
Scott’s next film Alien (1979) needs no preamble, but did anyone know it was written by an old guy from Pittsburgh called Ronald Shusett? Of course you did!
We all appreciate the writer’s craft evident in Scott’s third movie, the greatest science fiction film of all time, Blade Runner (1982). Story by Philip K. Dick, zhuzhed by the dynamic duo Hampton Fancher and David Peoples!
Yep, those guys.
And who the hell is this?
Thelma and Louise (1991) was written by Callie Khoury, who for her efforts won an Academy Award! I really should have known that. Callie now works part-time as lecturer of theatre arts.
David Franzoni began doodling ideas for Gladiator (2000) while motorbiking around Europe aged 23; he’s now 75 and still doodling. Ridley Scott is considering a sequel (cleverly named Gladiator 2) — but does anyone think Franzoni will be invited back?
Black Hawk Down (2001) was adapted by Ken Nolan, “who now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.” See where I’m going with this? It doesn’t say so in the fine print, but standing beside a poster actually counts towards your 15 seconds of fame.
I’m not saying Ridley Scott has the Midas touch, because for every The Martian (2015) there was also a GI Jane (1997). That earned Demi Moore a Razzie, by the way, so it wasn’t all for nothing.
The Martian was adapted from Andy Weir’s novel (which my wife decided was “too scientificky”) by somebody called Drew Goddard, who was last seen as an uncredited script consultant on Deadpool 2 (2018). Nice work Dave.
Even before plasic surgery and time turned Demi Moore into a demogorgon, beauty alone couldn’t save GI Jane. The lame script didn’t help. Blame goes to co-writers “Danielle Alexandra” (whom the world has never seen again) and David Twohy, who wrote both The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Waterworld (1995)!
Twohy. I mean, c’mon dude.
I won’t mention Prometheus (2012) out of sheer respect for the auteur, but my next bite of the Ridley Scott apple will be the HBO series Raised with Wolves (2020 — ) which nobody on the planet seems to understand the fuck at all, even after the second season.
That’s dictionary-definition bad.
And while I’m confident it will be a Riddleyesque triumph, who’s to blame for the script this time?
Guzzy to his mates, Aaron has been hiding in plain sight. Billed as as the ‘creator’ of the series, you have to dig a bit to find that he also wrote the script. Guzzy somewhat blithely admits never taking scriptwriting or writing classes. Instead, after working blue collar jobs in New York, he just started submitting scripts on spec.
Serendipity somehow explains the rest.
That, and maybe raw talent.
But I’ll wait until the final Ridley Scott director’s cut version comes out on BluRay before deciding. All I’m hearing right now is that Wolves is a hot mess. Guzzy may yet squander his opportunity and turn this into another Lost (2004–2010).
Either way, how long after the closing credits roll will we forget his name? Next to acting with animals or children, who in the world would ever want to work as a scriptwriter?