No time for the sequel

Special to The Times

“THE Company,” a three-episode miniseries (starring Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina and Chris O’Donnell) about the spies working in the heat of the Cold War, premieres tonight on TNT. Ridley Scott, one of the executive producers, is also the director of “Gladiator,” “Alien” and the forthcoming “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. And there’s chat about a movie based on the board game Monopoly.

They’ve got you scheduled left and right. What’s in your day today?

I’m finishing off the grading on the 25-year-old “Blade Runner” -- we’re digitally grading the prints for the release of the five-DVD box set. I’m doing my publicity for “American Gangster,” which opens Nov. 2, and casting for a film I’m doing with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, which starts in a month. I’m in choppy water, and the waves are slapping against my mouth as I try to talk. Which makes you choke. You get used to it. The trick is: Don’t worry.


Last week you teased people again with the idea of a “Blade Runner” sequel. What is the deal?

There is no sequel. And I intend probably never to do a sequel. . . . I like to do the first one, and if they want to do a sequel? Fine.

You’re a very successful rebounder, in terms of what have been termed “flops” like “Blade Runner” becoming culturally significant movies. But what is it? You? The system?

I was right the first time, see? That’s why I have no regrets about anything. One of the biggest decisions was to keep moving and change from genre to genre. That’s why I found my way to doing love stories, then finally down the road to “Thelma & Louise,” which was a social-comment, realism kind of movie. And I hadn’t done a war movie, so I thought I’d better do “Black Hawk Down.” I’m a bit like a pool ball.

“Monopoly: The Movie”?

Monopoly is still the most popular board game -- I might be misquoting! -- in the world. So it’s really finding the universe for that game. Because clearly it ought to be humorous and for the family -- the funny way it brings out, particularly when your uncle suddenly gets Park Lane and -- in England, we have Park Lane, Mayfair and Barclay Square, what’s it in America? Park and Madison? So you watch people change. You’re witness to Jekyll and Hyde. Somewhere in that is a hysterically amusing and I think rather exciting film.

About our gilded age of greed?

That as well. Isn’t that comical?

Sort of! Perhaps you can take cues from “Clue.”

I never really saw “Clue.” But I think it was quite clever. It was one of the first-ofs, wasn’t it, where you kind of engage the audience? Listen, in this business you have to examine everything, every direction that media is taking us. Because media is taking us into where, more and more, people have more and more time for more and more leisure. What’s happening is it’s affecting this shift and change in cinema, both with the material you do and the audience driving movies. . . . Aren’t you supposed to ask me about “The Company”?

Yes! Is working with CBS and TNT funner, easier or less annoying than the film studio system?

[Brother and partner] Tony [Scott] has just shot the pilot for the fourth season of “Numb3rs.” TNT, this is our first real experience with them. It was a film I was starting at to do, and by the time I got to it, I think “The Good Shepherd” was already beginning to tremble forward, and Sony didn’t want to go into a venture which would take them into competition.

So it sat momentarily there. And I thought, I can turn this around with TNT into a terrific miniseries. . . . These were guys behind enemy lines and they had their lives at risk on a daily basis. They were doing it in those days to protect the world from communism, as it was propagandized. So to do it in two hours is tough; a six-hour series is fantastic.