29 December 2023

Sir Ridley Scott made Knight Grand Cross for services to UK film industry

29 December 2023

Director and producer Sir Ridley Scott has been made a Knight Grand Cross in the New Year Honours list, recognised for his services to the UK film industry.

In 2002, he received a knighthood in the New Year Honours for his services to the British film industry in a career that has produced memorable films such as Gladiator, Thelma And Louise, Alien and Blade Runner.

Sir Ridley began his career as a set designer for the BBC after studying at West Hartlepool College of Art and the Royal College of Art.

He was quickly promoted to director and worked on classic TV shows, including popular police series Z Cars.

Next he set up his own production company making TV commercials.

One of the most memorable was the Hovis advert which featured a delivery boy pushing his bicycle up a cobbled street.

In 1977, Sir Ridley made his first foray into movies with The Duellists, which won the jury prize for best first work at the Cannes Film Festival.

He followed it with the landmark science fiction films Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982).

Alien, starring Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, would go on to become what Bafta described as “one of the most influential science fiction films of all time”.

Thelma And Louise, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, was a critical and box office success on its release in 1991.

After a couple of flops – the Christopher Columbus biopic 1492: Conquest Of Paradise and GI Jane among them – Sir Ridley returned to winning ways with Gladiator.

The epic was nominated for 12 Oscars and won the award for best picture.

Success followed with Silence Of The Lambs sequel Hannibal and military drama Black Hawk Down.

Along with his brother Tony, he produced the acclaimed Winston Churchill biopic The Gathering Storm, starring Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave.

Receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015, he paid tribute to his director brother Tony, known for box office hits such as Top Gun, Days Of Thunder and Beverly Hills Cop II, who died in 2012.

“I dedicate this star to my brother Tony Scott, always my buddy and my partner.

“I share this star with him because I know he’s watching. Thank you very much,” he said during his speech.

Sir Ridley’s other directorial credits include Exodus: Gods And Kings, American Gangster and The Last Duel, which starred Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jodie Comer and Adam Driver.

In 2017, he directed and co-produced All The Money In The World, a drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of American-born oil tycoon J Paul Getty.

Sir Ridley had to reshoot scenes, with Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey weeks ahead of the film’s release, after allegations of sexual assault were made against the House Of Cards actor.

In 2018, Sir Ridley was honoured with a Bafta Fellowship.

In November this year, Napoleon, his historical epic starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, was released.

The film, which documents the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, contains epic battle scenes displaying Napoleon’s military might but the story focuses largely on his passionate, volatile and addictive relationship with his beloved Josephine.

“I think one of the reasons people are still fascinated by Napoleon is because he was so complicated,” Sir Ridley said of the character.

“There is no easy way to define his life. You can read a biography to know what happened but what interests me as a filmmaker is his character – going beyond the history and into the mind.”

Following on from the success of his historical epic, released in 2000, Sir Ridley is directing Gladiator 2 which is slated for release in 2024 and stars Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal, among others.

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