Ridley Scott | The best moments on the Napoleon press tour

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As Napoleon finally marches into UK cinemas, another work of epic movie entertainment makes its final bows. That’s right, it’s the end of another Ridley Scott press tour.

Ever since he blamed The Last Duel’s box office takings on phone-obsessed millennials and said the Gucci family should “be so f***ing lucky” while doing the rounds for House Of Gucci, the Blade Runner director has gotten a bit of a reputation for withering (and very entertaining) interview put-downs.

In honour of Scott’s artistic achievement (we thought Napoleon was very good too, by the way), here’re some of the highlights from Ridley’s wild month at the end of a Dictaphone.  

“The French don’t even like themselves.” (BBC)

Brutal. Pithy. Straight to the point. Works excellently in a headline – not that we’ve got a vested interest. Is there any truth in it? We’re not sure there is. Still, Scott has made three films set in France full of people doing British accents, so if anyone would know… Well, it’s probably not him, to be honest.

“I am obsessed with the fact Napoleon had piles,” (The Times)

Quite right, Ridley. The impact of haemorrhoids on global politics certainly feels like an underexplored field of study. We’ve heard they’re rather nasty (or, as Scott eloquently puts it, “It’s like having a migraine up your butt!”). Makes it very difficult to sit on a horse, apparently. This Director’s Cut is going to be very interesting.

“When I have issues with historians, I ask: ‘Excuse me, mate, were you there? No? Well, shut the f*** up then.’” (The Times)

Do you hear that sound? It’s every History undergraduate in the world whispering a reverent “F***” under their breath.

“I’d like to meet a ghost. It would be an honour.” (The Evening Standard)

He may be grumpy, but at least Ridley’s open to new experiences. Meeting a ghost would be an honour, wouldn’t it? I’m hoping for a proper Jacob Marley one, myself – I always thought the big metal chains were a good look. Scott would make an excellent Scrooge, too, I reckon.

“Well, since he started Killers Of The Flower Moon I’ve made four films.” (The Times)

Of course, with Ridley, everything has to be perfectly balanced. For every sweary rant at a superhero film or a millennial, there’s a sly dig at champion of cinema Martin Scorsese. Asked if he shares the legendary filmmaker’s concerns about mortality, Scott replied in his loveably bullish fashion. Of course, he’s actually only made three films since Scorsese started work on Flower Moon in 2019 (Napoleon, House Of Gucci and The Last Duel) but since when do we let facts stand in the way of some good old octogenarian fighting talk?  

“Josephine was naughty and Napoleon was like a little f***ing Jack Russell” (The Evening Standard)

Seemingly by accident, Ridley has once again strayed onto the film he’s supposed to be talking about. If anyone wants to photoshop a Jack Russell in a tricolour onto the Napoleon poster, be my guest.

“You can do a superhero film well or as a piece of crap.” (The Times)

This is true! I expect there might be a middle ground somewhere in there as well, but I’m too scared to tell Ridley that.

“How did the Egyptians build the pyramids? Rolling 20-tonne stones on logs? F*** off!” (The Evening Standard)

In all this furore about French people and whether or not historical figures had piles, we seem to have missed that Ridley Scott told the Evening Standard he thought aliens helped build the pyramids. I’ll admit, it was off topic. But surely that’s worth a headline or two? To be clear, though, the official Film Stories position is that aliens did not help build the pyramids. You’ll have to go to some less serious websites for that sort of thing.

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