Q&A With Ridley Scott
“This is a fascinating and timeless tale at its core. Men destroy one another for power.… Booth’s plot to kill Lincoln and plan to destroy the entire federal government is a fascinating tale of the conspiracy and scheming that exists beside great leaders." — Ridley Scott
Q: What about this version (O’Reilly’s book) of the story made you think it would be a good fit for Scott Free? What attracted you to the project?
What’s tremendously compelling about “Killing Lincoln” is that even though it is about a terrible tragedy in this country’s history—losing one of its greatest leaders—it is also a suspenseful thriller that takes audiences on a true ride. What people never knew, and what both the book and the film capture, is the great tale of action and conspiracy surrounding the manhunt for Booth. It is ultimately a fascinating story, and that’s what makes it the perfect fit for us at Scott Free.
Q: How does “Killing Lincoln” advance or expand the story we all think we know?
“Killing Lincoln” is a true historical story that explores John Wilkes Booth’s actions before and after the assassination. We go into a life that has never been seen before from this perspective. And that life provides great insight into one of the biggest conspiracies in this country’s history.
Q: From a producer’s standpoint, what was most fascinating about the assassination of Lincoln? What part of the tale were you eager to see adapted onscreen?
This is a fascinating and timeless tale at its core. Men destroy one another for power. Specifically here, Booth’s plot to kill Lincoln and plan to destroy the entire federal government is a fascinating tale of the conspiracy and scheming that exists beside great leaders.
Q: Tell us about the actors.
Billy Campbell delivers an amazing performance as Lincoln, and Tom Hanks is a captivating storyteller that really helps to guide the audience through the entire film. Additionally, Jessie Johnson as John Wilkes Booth captures the man’s theatrical passion and complicated loyalty to the South. They all truly bring this story to life.
ABOUT RIDLEY SCOTT
Renowned Academy Award®-nominated director Ridley Scott has been honored with Academy Award® nominations for Best Director for his work on Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, and Thelma & Louise. All three films also earned him DGA Award nominations. Scott most recently released the acclaimed smash hit Prometheus starring Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, and Charlize Theron. Currently he is in post-production on The Counselor, written by Cormac McCarthy and starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, and Javier Bardem.
In addition to his Academy Award® and DGA nominations, he also earned a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Director for American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. As he also served as a producer on the true-life drama, Scott received a BAFTA nomination for Best Film. Scott also received Golden Globe® and BAFTA nominations for Best Director for his epic Gladiator. The film won the Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, and BAFTA awards for Best Picture.
In 1977, Scott made his feature film directorial debut with The Duellists, for which he won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed with the blockbuster science-fiction thriller Alien, which catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom and launched a successful franchise. In 1982, Scott directed the landmark film Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford. Considered a science-fiction classic, the futuristic thriller was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 1993, and a director’s cut of Blade Runner was released to renewed acclaim in 1993 and again in 2007.
Scott’s additional film directing credits include Legend, starring Tom Cruise; Someone to Watch Over Me; Black Rain, starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; White Squall, starring Jeff Bridges; G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen; Hannibal, starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore; Body of Lies, starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe and Albert Finney; the epic Kingdom of Heaven, with Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Irons; and Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell. Scott’s latest directorial effort was the hit version of the timeless tale of Robin Hood marking his fifth collaboration with star Russell Crowe, also starring Cate Blanchett.
Ridley and his brother Tony formed commercial and advertising production company RSA in 1967. RSA has an established reputation for creating innovating and groundbreaking commercials for some of the world's most recognized corporate brands. In 1995, Ridley and Tony formed the film and television production company Scott Free. With offices in Los Angeles and London, the Scott’s have produced such films as In Her Shoes, The A-Team, Cyrus, The Grey, and the Academy Award®-nominated The Assassination of Jesse James.
In television, they also executive produce the Emmy®, Peabody, and Golden Globe® winning hit TV show The Good Wife for CBS, as well as the hit long-running series, Numbers, which ran for six seasons also on CBS. In addition, Ridley and Tony also served as executive producers on the company’s long-form projects including the Starz miniseries The Pillars of The Earth; the A&E miniseries The Andromeda Strain, based on the book by Michael Crichton; the TNT miniseries The Company; and the award-winning HBO movies RKO 281, The Gathering Storm, and Into the Storm. Scott will also executive produce Reykjavik, directed by Mike Newell, and starring Michael Douglas and Christophe Waltz, shooting later this year. Additionally, Scott is in pre-production on The Vatican, a television pilot for Sony Pictures Television, written by Paul Attanasio which explores the relationships and rivalries, in addition to the mysteries and miracles behind the Catholic Church, which Scott will direct, as well as executive produce.
In 2003, Scott was awarded a knighthood from the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the arts.