Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Scott (1944 – 2012)

Listen, I’m not going to go and say that Tony Scott (pictured above) was one of my favorite directors because he has passed away. I can say that I had tremendous respect for his body of work and I can call him an auteur…something I don’t say about many directors.

Because I’m a Denzel Washington fan, I have seen every Denzel Washington/Tony Scott directed film and enjoyed every one of them. That’s FIVE films I can say I enjoyed by ONE director and I also can’t say that about many.

Those five films are Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Déjà Vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) and Unstoppable (2010). I also enjoyed the Tony Scott films The Last Boy Scout (1991) and Enemy of the State (1998).

My favorite Tony Scott film though is absolutely Man on Fire.

Picture I took of my Man on Fire BluRay and posted online after I read about his death. 
Man on Fire is also one of my favorite Denzel Washington films. Aided by a great screenplay by Brian Helgeland who wrote the screenplays for L.A. Confidential and Mystic River, I think Man on Fire is a magnificent piece of work and Tony Scott’s magnum opus.

I thought Tony Scott imbued Man on Fire brilliantly with Mexican culture through the gritty realism of the setting and its use of Spanish music. According to sources cited at Wikipedia, "20th Century Fox wanted the film to be set in Italy. An early draft of the film script was set in Naples. Scott argued that if the setting would be Italy, then the film would have to be a period piece, since by the 2000s kidnappings became a rare occurrence in Italy. Mexico City became the setting of the 2004 film because Mexico City had a high kidnapping rate."

At first I didn’t get the “tremor effect” in the film, but I grew to not only accept it, but love it! I thought it was the perfect aesthetic for such a film.

The true driving force of Man on Fire though was the chemistry between its two leads Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. Without their chemistry you would never believe the whole plot of the movie which was the revenge factor. Even though he was personally on a downward spiral, you felt that his love of the little girl gave him something to live for and when she was taken—something to kill for. If you didn’t believe their love it would have just been another empty “shoot em up” picture.

I was looking forward to more films from Mr. Anthony David Scott, but at least we have his visual body of work to watch for years to come. May he rest in peace.

 More Man on Fire Trivia 

Denzel Washington was cast in this film because of a trip to a doctor. He ran into director Tony Scott in the waiting room of a medical office and the two men started chatting. Scott had not seen Washington in person since they worked together on "Crimson Tide". Scott happened to see Dakota Fanning in "I Am Sam" the night before and seeing Washington made Scott think using of the two actors together.

A. J. Quinnell (writer of the source book) had a favorable reception to this adaptation, mainly because the film used many of the book's lines. Quinnell said that usually screenwriters "like to leave their mark on the product." Quinnell added that even though he usually dislikes film adaptations of books, the writers "did a good job with Man On Fire and I loved the chemistry between Creasy and the girl" and "When I first heard Denzel was playing the part of Creasy I missed a couple of heartbeats but he played the part brilliantly. The film is violent and if the anger is not portrayed properly, the result can be awful."

In A.J. Quinnell's novel Dakota Fanning's character in Italy was named Pinta. After director Tony Scott's changed the film's setting to Mexico and discovered that "Pinta" is Mexican slang for "whore", he had the name changed to "Pita" and made her full name Lupita.

The kitchen scene between Creasy and Pita where she asked him about concubines were mostly ad-libbed by both actors. It started when they "accused" each other of smiling.

-Trivia from IMDb and Wikipedia

At Wikipedia Tony Scott

At The Hollywood Reporter

PHOTOS: Tony Scott's Films

From 'Top Gun' to 'Unstoppable' a look at his work. VIEW GALLERY

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