Ridley Scott has “no regrets” about his directing or Disney’s promotion of his 2021 historical drama “The Last Duel” — the box office failure is the fault of young people and their cell phones, he says.
The director, known for commercially and critically successful films such as “Alien”, “Thelma & Louise” and “The Martian”, appeared on comedian Marc Maron’s podcast “WTF” on Monday. One of the topics discussed was “The Last Duel,” the film Scott directed from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon based on Eric Jager’s book of the same name, which grossed just $27 million worldwide despite a budget of $100 million.
“No. Disney did a fantastic job of promoting,” Scott said when Maron suggested that the company might be the reason for the poor performance of ‘The Last Duel.’ them — but they really liked the movie, so their advertising, publicity, and so on was excellent.”
“I think what it comes down to – what we have today [are] the audience raised with these damn cell phones. The millennials never want to learn anything unless you’re told on the cell phone,” Scott continued. “This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with Facebook now. I think it’s gone in the wrong direction where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation.”
Maron said he thought the time period and action in the film would have been a draw for a younger audience.
“I agree with you. Especially with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver and this new girl called Jodie Comer. That’s the call you make. That’s the call Fox made. We all thought it was a great script and we made it,” Scott said. “You can’t always win. As for me, I’ve never regretted a movie I’ve ever made. Nothing. I learned very early on to be your own critic. The only thing you really need to have an opinion about is what you just did. Walk away. Make sure you are happy. And don’t look back. That’s me.”
“The Last Duel” isn’t the only flop Scott is blaming others for.
“[In 1982], I made a movie called ‘Blade Runner’. It was my third movie. Pretty damn good,’ he said to Maron. “I was murdered. I was killed by [film critic] Pauline Kael, who hasn’t even met me. She had never met me before and suddenly I was reading this article in the New Yorker, a very classy magazine. I read it and there is a series of four pages of insults. I framed it. It is now in my office.”
“I never read criticism. I never read criticism again,” added Scott, “because she was so wrong. I was just way ahead of her.”