The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 was not the best film of Tony Scott's career-- it seems safe to acknowledge that even today, when we're mourning his shocking death yesterday at the age of 68. But Pelham 1,2,3, did give me the opportunity, back in 2009, to participate in a lengthy roundtable interview with Scott, one of the longest interviews I'd gotten to do that point, and more freewheeling and wide-ranging over his entire career than I ever would have expected.
Wearing his trademark orange hat, and with an enchanting energy that I think inspired everyone in the room to ask him more out-there questions than they would have otherwise, Tony Scott seemed to be talking about everything-- including summing up his trademark frenetic camera style, which wound up in Pelham 1,2,3 as a gigantic 360-degree pan shot around James Gandolfini talking on the phone:
And in talking about how he defined New York as a character, he good-naturedly described himself as a "plagiarist," and name-dropped probably the last movie you'd expect to inspire Tony Scott:
He also allowed for a little nostalgia storytelling, including the warts-and-all story of how Top Gun got made, which includes late producer Don Simpson channel-surfing while high and catching Scott's low-budget feature The Hunger:
Scott had previously described his working relationship with brother Ridley as "right arm/left arm," but when asked a fairly boilerplate question about what turns an action movie into a classic, he allowed a little insight into a life was hugely successful, but not as well-regarded as for the man who made Alien and Blade Runner and won Oscars for Gladiator.
He ended with an anecdote that's fairly chilling in light of his death, jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles. Having used the word "fear" many times to describe a motivating factor in his filmmaking, Scott first described the darker side of his many characters, then told us of his pastime of rock-climbing when he was finished with a movie.
You can read the full, original interview here. Tony Scott, who changed commercial filmmaking forever with his much-initiated but never-repeated style, will be missed immensely.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.