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Film Director Tony Scott dies....






Julian Bray writes: Very sad news as I hear that Film Director Tony Scott, best known for the films “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” died in an apparent suicide on Sunday when he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, an official with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed earlier today.

Tony Scott, 68, according to reports jumped from the bridge at about 12:30 p.m., The bridge spans the Los Angeles Harbor, connecting San Pedro and Terminal Island.  A passerby who saw Scott jump from the bridge called 911, according to a statement released by the coroner’s office late Sunday. The L.A. Port Police later recovered the body from the water,

The coroner’s office declined to comment or confirm a Los Angeles Times report that Scott left a suicide note in his car, which was found parked on the bridge.

Born Anthony D.L. Scott in North Shields, England, in 1944, Tony — as he was known — got his start as a teenager in front of the camera, starring in his older brother Ridley Scott’s film “Boy and Bicycle.”  This led elder brother Ridley to start up Ridley Scott Productions directing commercials for film and TV. As Hollywood beckoned Ridley, so Tony Scott effortlessly became the lead director for RSA in the UK as it became known, and in the early days many clients thought they were getting Ridley, rather than his talented younger brother Tony.

I worked with Tony Scott many times during the late 1970's on commercials. All were excellent sets  to work on as Tony like his brother before him, employed all the cinematic magic  skills of a large production in order to get the look and feel even on a simple product based commercial shoot.

The award winning series of 1970's Guinness commercials particularly the one shot at Kenton cricket club, the batsmen are just walking towards the pavilion at the end of the game anticipating a pint of Guinness on a warm Summers day, no one would realise from the finished commercial, that it was shot mid-Winter  in February, and the snow had to be cleared from the pitch before they could shoot, and the actors playing the cricketers had to hold their breath as they ambled off the frozen pitch bathed in artificial summer sunlight.

Or a later shoot for the same product in a pub at Kew. At high tide the basement bar would flood, flood doors would be shut but the water would still seep in. Rather than lose a day, Tony shot the actors -all with trousers rolled up and shoes off,  from the waist up and mounted the cameras and track on top of empty beer crates.

He would work the same magic for Robinsons Lemon Barley Water, recreating the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for a day on the hallowed centre court lawn, but in March?

It worked. In 1995, the two brothers were reunited in Hollywood,  forming the production company, Scott Free Productions. Nothing could stop them now....

So having left a highly successful career directing TV commercials behind and in the process stepping out from his elder Brothers shadow in the UK, Tony Scott just a few years later  became a household name in 1986 as director of  “Top Gun,” starring Tom Cruise. Then in a complete change followed with the Eddie Murphy action movie, “Beverly Hills Cop II” in 1987. There was no stopping the talent.  In the 1990s, Scott embraced  big-budget action films with “Revenge” starring Kevin Costner and “Days of Thunder” with Tom Cruise. In 1998 he directed “Enemy of the State” with Will Smith and Gene Hackman.

My own memory of Tony Scott will be his gentle but confident way of getting his adoring film crew to do the impossible. He always had time for everyone, from the most junior runner upwards, and when he gave advice it was listened too, as he did have a solution for just about every difficult filmatic situation, you could find yourself in, a legacy from his years filming commercials, many of those techniques he'd employ on a daily basis on the feature film sound stage. Producers liked it, as Tony could wring extra production value out of every scene and in the process stretch the budget. Rest well dear friend, you work is done.    



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