RIP “Top Gun” director Tony Scott, who jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro to his death around 12:30 PM on Sunday. The police identified the body they pulled from the water as the 68-year-old British filmmaker (“Unstoppable,” “The Taking of Pelham 123”). He left suicide notes in his black Prius parked on the eastbound lane of the bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard told The Daily Breeze. UPDATE:
According to ABC, sources close to the director say he had inoperable brain cancer. TMZ.com reports that the director’s family says those rumors are false.
Scott was the younger brother and producing partner of director Ridley Scott (“Prometheus”) with whom he owned production company Scott Free.
Coming into his own in the 80s as a commercial/feature hybrid, Scott helped to define the mainstream Hollywood testosterone action film. Among his best pictures are Simpson/Bruckheimer projects “Top Gun,” which propelled Tom Cruise to superstardom, and “Crimson Tide,” which starred frequent collaborator Denzel Washington (“123,” “Deja Vu,” “Man on Fire”). The tightly wound submarine film helped to make Washington a global star as he stood his ground against Gene Hackman.
Scott had skill and style and chops to burn. But I wonder, as successful as he was, what films Scott really wanted to make. “True Romance” and “The Hunger” are his most compelling and idiosyncratic films. The first was written by Quentin Tarantino, the second was a twisted vampire flick starring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve. Did he have more films like that tucked in his imagination that couldn’t get out?
In recent years, like everyone else, Scott was keeping busy with commercials, television (“Numb3rs,” “The Good Wife,” “Call of Duty”) and prepping sequels (“Top Gun 2” was in development for him to direct with writer Christopher McQuarrie and others). He was producing several upcoming projects including “Out of the Furnace” and Sundance-bound “Stoker.”
UPDATE: Hollywood was stunned at the loss of a well-liked and prolific filmmaker. Some took to Twitter.
Ron Howard (@realronhoward): “No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day.”
Michael Moore (@mmflint): “True Romance (written by Tarantino) did not receive the recognition it so rightly deserved (one of the decade’s best films).”
Duncan Jones (@manmademoon): “Awww Tony. Wish you had felt there was a way to keep going. What a sad waste. My thoughts go out to his wife and beautiful children.”
Edgar Wright (@edgarwright): “I just woke up to hear about Tony Scott. Can’t believe it. As I hope was evident in my work, I was big fan of his. Rest In Peace, sir.”
Joe Carnahan (@carnojoe): “Tony Scott as a Director was Sui Generis. Tony Scott as a friend and a mentor was irreplaceable. Tone, wherever you are, I love you man. RIP”