(June 21, 1944- August 19, 2012) Anthony D. L. "Tony" Scott is an English film director. His films include Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Last Boy Scout, True Romance, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, Spy Game, Man on Fire, Déjà Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123, and Unstoppable. He is the younger brother of fellow film director Ridley Scott.
Scott was born in North Shields, the son of Elizabeth and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. His first foray into filmmaking was not from behind the camera, but in front of it. At the age of 16, Tony appeared in Boy and Bicycle, a short film marking the directorial debut of his then 23 year-old brother Ridley. He followed in his elder brother's footsteps, studying at Grangefield School, West Hartlepool College of Art and Sunderland Art School, the last for a fine arts degree. He subsequently graduated from the Royal College of Art, fully intending to become a painter. It was only the success of his elder brother's fledging television commercial production outfit, Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), that turned his attentions towards film.
Tony had wanted to do documentaries at first. I told him, "Don't go to the BBC, come to me first." I knew that he had a fondness for cars, so I told him, "Come work with me and within a year you'll have a Ferrari." And he did.
In the course of the next two decades, Scott directed literally thousands of television commercials for RSA, while also overseeing the company's operation during periods in which his brother was developing his feature film career. Tony also took time out in 1975 to direct an adaptation of the Henry James story The Author of Beltraffio for French television, a project he landed by virtue of winning a coin-flip against his brother. After the considerable feature film successes of fellow British commercial directors Hugh Hudson, Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne and his elder brother in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Scott was beginning to receive overtures from Hollywood himself in 1980, but in the same year his elder brother.
Scott persisted in trying to embark on a feature film career. Among the projects interesting him was an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Interview with the Vampire then in development. MGM, however, had a vampire yarn of their own that they wanted Scott to direct, and after failing to convince the company to drop their project and tackle Interview instead, Scott instead decided to accept the MGM project, and pour into it all of the visual design concepts he had bandied about for Interview. In 1982, Scott began production on The Hunger.
The Hunger starred David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as chic Manhattan socialite vampires, desperately searching for a medical cure to arrest Bowie's rapid aging. Willem Dafoe was introduced on film via a small, walk-on part in the film. The Hunger had elaborate photography and sumptuous production design, unlike many pictures at the time of its release in 1983. The picture failed to find an audience, received harsh reviews by critics and was ignored at the box office (though it later became a cult favourite). Finding himself largely unemployable in Hollywood for the next two and a half years, Scott returned to commercials and music videos.
In 1985, producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer signed Scott to direct Top Gun. Both of them were among the few admirers of The Hunger during its initial release. Simpson and Bruckheimer had settled upon choosing Scott largely on the basis of a commercial he had done for Swedish automaker Saab in the early 1980s: in the spot, a Saab 900 turbo is shown racing a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet. Scott, though reluctant at first, agreed on directing Top Gun, one of the highest-grossing films of 1986, taking in more than US$176 million, and making a star of its young lead, Tom Cruise.
Following Top Gun's success, Scott found himself on Hollywood's A list of action directors. He reteamed with Simpson and Bruckheimer in 1987 to direct Eddie Murphy and Brigitte Nielsen in the highly anticipated sequel Beverly Hills Cop II. A critical disaster, the picture nevertheless became one of the year's highest grossers.
His next film, Revenge (1990), a thriller of adultery and revenge set in Mexico, starred Kevin Costner, Madeleine Stowe and Anthony Quinn. Once again directing Tom Cruise, Scott returned to the Simpson-Bruckheimer fold to helm the big-budget film Days of Thunder (1990). Scott's next film was the action thriller The Last Boy Scout (1991).
Made for $13 million in 1993, True Romance boasted a cast including Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Tom Sizemore, Chris Penn, Val Kilmer and in bit roles, James Gandolfini and Samuel L. Jackson.
Scott's next film, Crimson Tide (1995), was a submarine thriller starring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. His follow-up film, 1996's The Fan, starred (Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin and Benicio del Toro). Scott's 1998 film Enemy of the State, a conspiracy thriller, starred Will Smith and Gene Hackman.
Spy Game was released during the Thanksgiving holiday of 2001. It garnered 63% positive reviews at Metacritic and made a little over 60 million dollars at the U.S. box office. Man on Fire was released in April 2004 and made over 75 million dollars at the U.S. box office.
Next for Scott came Domino (2005) starring Keira Knightley. In autumn 2006, Scott reteamed with Denzel Washington for the futuristic action film Déjà Vu.
Scott, along with his brother Ridley Scott, were co-producers of the TV series Numb3rs, which aired from 2005 to 2010. Tony Scott directed the first episode of the fourth season.
Scott once again teamed up with Denzel Washington on The Taking of Pelham 123, which also starred John Travolta and was released in theater on June 12, 2009. The film was a remake of the 1974 film of the same title starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. 2009 also saw the debut of The Good Wife, a legal drama television series; Scott and his brother are two of several executive producers.
In 2010, the Scott brothers produced the feature film adaptation of the television series The A-Team. Scott's film, Unstoppable, again starring Washington (with Chris Pine), was released in November 2010.