has been at the top of Hollywood’s filmmaker A-list for decades because he can deliver anything. With a deep background in commercial directing, Scott has delivered sumptuous visuals and strong women characters from his debut “The Duelist” to his classics “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise” and “Gladiator.” With “The Martian
” Scott delivers his best effort since “Black Hawk Down” in 2001. (That was the year “Gladiator” took home Best Picture.) At age 78, he’s earned three Oscar
nominations (Thelma & Louise,” “Gladiator” and “Black Hawk Down”) and never won.
READ MORE: How Drew Goddard Made ‘The Martian’ Smart and Why It Needed Two F-Words
While Fox was expecting “The Martian” to score at the box office, the movie continues to perform so well ($590 million worldwide) that it knocked out rivals like underperforming “Steve Jobs,” which will nonetheless contend for Oscars—against “The Martian.” And Fox booked the film at festivals in Toronto and New York and Academy-friendly AFI FEST, where Scott participated in a Conversation. With rave reviews, the movie could score nominations in multiple categories, including Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Production Design, Costumes, Score and Visual Effects. There were turnaway crowds at the PGA and Academy screenings, who responded enthusiastically.
Scott has always stayed at the forefront of innovative cinema technology, shooting in 3D on such films as “Prometheus,” “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and is in top form on “The Martian.” It’s hard to believe that the spectacular Mars vistas—which Scott says were inspired by David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia”—were shot on the red sands of Jordan. He matched them with sets on a huge soundstage in Budapest, Hungary, where most of the movie was shot against green screens.
READ MORE: How Matt Damon Met the Challenge of Ridley Scott’s “The Martian’ (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)
The filmmaker digs into the filmmaking details in our video interview (above), but it should be remembered that he’s also a master of working with actors, as Matt Damon delivers his best and most delicate lead performance in years as an astronaut stranded on Mars who talks to video cameras around the base to keep himself pumped to survive. The movie sticks with the solo performer for 20 minutes until Scott finally cross-cuts with NASA on earth and the crew that had left their colleague behind. Somehow Scott managed to make a movie about Mars commercial; it’s considered death at the box office. “The Martian” is both epic and intimate. And much like Best Picture Oscar-winner “Argo,” the movie celebrates American ingenuity. It makes us feel good about ourselves.
While he was blessed with Drew Goddard’s ace adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller, it was Scott who moved the dramatic windstorm opening from the middle to the beginning of the film, and gave Jessica Chastain’s ship’s captain a dramatic action scene. Goddard’s signature line from the trailer, “I’m going to have the science the shit out of this,” is en route to Mars, written with a doodle by Scott on the first page of the script.