Ridley Scott Talks Taylor Kitsch, Caine and The Last Duel

“…it was this great fireball… to, first of all, make it fuc–in’ cool again” said English director Ridley Scott about 1983’s The Last Duel. Scott’s greatest-selling work told the story of the circus horse, Act one. Famed actor Steve McQueen played its namesake, Marshal Casden. Act two featured ultra-intense physicality and mounted violence between the irascible young nobleman and the veteran plaintiff’s lawyer, Samuel Loomis.

The film was one of America’s best-performing movies of 1983. Despite formidable competition from out-of-the-box titles like Jaws 3-D, Gremlins 2 and Burden of Dreams, audiences flocked to its fiery, violent action. “It had cult value and a genuinely patriotic soul – the America we all love,” wrote The New York Times in its March 11, 1983, review.

Even more impressive, The Last Duel performed even better overseas, where Michael Caine’s charismatic British character, Paddy, figured prominently. Audiences around the world flocked to open-air cinemas to see Caine in an internationally acclaimed role.

Fast forward 35 years: Scott, the 77-year-old director of the illustrious genre movie Alien, was recently interviewed at the Toronto International Film Festival. The question-and-answer session was moderated by Yahoo Senior Movies Editor Alonso Duralde. Topics ranged from the 1980s to the “RIP Caine.”

“I like to think the Hollywood world is exhausted with that,” said Scott about the aging of the actor. “It takes a certain kind of a cynicism. I don’t want to say the world’s asleep, but the Reagan mania and all that happened when Caine was very young–there’s a lot of things to do, but I don’t think he’s going to rule a little over 30 years from now.

What about the individual movies?

“Escape from New York was a great example, so was Blade Runner, it’s really about people. I enjoy having people–I like having Ryan Gosling, I love seeing the Watts High guys. The Enemy is an homage to Goonies. It’s this odd side of nostalgia. I think we’re a little bored with ourselves.”

Scott sees the new reality through the lens of the increased technology.

“We’re living in a world that’s very insular. Part of that is digital–what is digital these days. I say too much about that sometimes. It’s not easy sometimes. You’re always over the Internet. You’re always socializing, you’re always looking in the mirror. But I think people do that. That’s what they’re doing. I think of Twitter as another part of it.”

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