Mark Millar on Tony Scott’s Death

Everyone in the film industry is currently quite shaken up about the sudden and tragic passing of filmmaker Tony Scott who took his own life at the age of 68 in California yesterday, especially because he seemed to have so much ahead of him with many films in active development. Since the news broke fairly late on a Sunday night, many people are only just finding out now in the United Kingdom. 

Even though Scott hadn’t directed any comic book or superhero movies in his illustrious career, he had picked up the movie rights to Mark Millar’s graphic novel Nemesis with plans at one point to direct it himself. Over the weekend, Millar was quoted as saying that director Joe Carnahan had a “brilliant take” on the character after announcing that his Daredevil movie probably wasn’t going to happen.

Following Scott’s death, Mark Millar has posted some poignant thoughts about working and communicating withTony Scott while developing Nemesis over at his MillarWorld Forum, having been one of the creators actively developing a project with him.

Here are Millar’s thoughts as posted:

I’m just awake this morning and blinking at the screen, reading details about Tony’s suicide. I got back from LA a couple of days ago where I spent a big chunk of my time with Tony’s producer as Scott Free (the production company he formed with his brother Ridley) bought the rights to the adaptation of one of my books and so he’s a guy who’s been in my thoughts a lot over the past eighteen months.

In the brief period we got to know each other, where he was talking about directing this adaptation himself, I found an instant rapport. He hated email and instead used to communicate with funny hand-written notes which his assistant would scan and mail to me and he’d tend to communicate this way or by postcard if we didn’t speak by phone. In the short time we were planning our thing I found him incredibly funny and polite, courteous to a fault. I was a nobody writer from a world he really barely knew (he grew up a good ten years before Marvel comics really seized the public imagination), but he loved the anarchy of comics and my co-creator and artist Steve McNiven really appealed to him because he reminded him of the Heavy Metal work he dug, the Moebius and Rank Xerox strips he’d gotten into. I remember getting one of his cyber post-cards with a little drawing saying our scheduled call would be 30 mins late as he had a meeting and I think this pretty much sums him up: Polite and charming to a guy he barely knew and always keeping a personal touch in an industry where that’s often the first thing to go.

As a craftsman, I thought he had one of the most eclectic and interesting resumes in the biz, True Romance as different from Crimson Tide as you can get, The Hunger and The Last Boy Scout two of my absolute favourite movies. It bugged me when he was criticised for being all flash and no substance. It was short-hand for the lazy reviewer, the critic who missed what he brought to the screen and the breadth of what he was capable of. He was a nice man and a talented man and it’s such a sad end for someone I got to genuinely like in the short period where our world’s touched, but like everyone here I’ll mainly miss him as a brilliant and unique film-maker.

MM

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