Storied director Ridley Scott, the filmmaker behind Alien, Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, and Blade Runner, among many other films, has set up a first-look deal for his Scott Free Productions at Apple. Notably, Scott has been linked to the tech giant since he directed their massively popular 1984 commercial, where his style of creating 'mini-films' worked wonders for the brand's identity.

Under the multi-year deal, Scott and his production shingle will develop projects for Apple TV Plus. Beyond Apple, several other companies were in the running to land Scott's services in a very competitive process run for Scott by his reps at agency WME. This would seem to be a pretty big loss for CBS, with their All Access streamer previously enjoying success on Scott projects including The Good Fight, the spin-off from the broadcast net's The Good Wife.

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Ridley Scott founded Scott Free in 1995 and has produced hits spanning both movies and TV, including projects directed by Scott and by his deceased brother, Tony Scott, among many others. Some of the company's notable movie production credits have included: Enemy of the State, Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, The Martian, Blade Runner 2049 and the upcoming Death on the Nile and The Last Duel. TV projects produced by Scott Free have included: The Good Wife, The Man in the High Castle and The Good Fight, all for streaming providers.

Scott, himself, has a very tight schedule, directing The Last Duel for Disney, starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Adam Driver, scheduled to release theatrically on December 25, 2020. With production currently delayed due to the pandemic, it remains to be seen whether Disney will be able to hold that date, and if the film will be finished.

Scott is also listed as producing Blade Runner: Black Lotus, an animated TV series set before Blade Runner 2049, along with other projects tied to his earlier success including: Gladiator 2 and a prequel to Alien.

Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing, for: Thelma & Louise, the buddy road pic starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon; Gladiator, the epic Roman gladiator drama starring Russell Crowe; and Black Hawk Down, the tale of the 1993 U.S. military operation in Somalia, starring Josh Hartnet.

A Brit, Scott has been knighted (in 2003), received a BAFTA award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema and a BAFTA Fellowship lifetime achievement award. He received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London and was named the 10th most influential person in British culture.

Apple has signed a variety of deals with creatives and production companies/studios, although lags far behind more active entrants in the streaming wars including Netflix and Amazon. As HBO's new streamer enters the fray and Disney's own Disney+ has ramped up aggressively, alongside network players like CBS All Access, where Scott has previously landed projects, Apple's relatively lower activity level stands in contrast. Apple has the financial capacity and size to play a longer game, though, as they continue to allocate an increasing share of their human and financial capital to services and content. Variety.

Justin Case