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Many Movies, Only One Ending: Director Tony Scott's Secret

Like all great artists, I am inspired by the efforts of my contemporaries, and I am especially willing to acknowledge it as long as the artists aren’t working in the same field as I am or are as dangerously handsome. My renown as a journalist has afforded me interviews with many modern poets, painters, architects, actors and in the case of Amy Tan, one delicious night in a Holiday Inn hot tub.

We will always have the Holidome.

However, the countless interviews I’ve conducted revealed that art is pretty boring most of the time, as are the people who create it. This is true across the board with one exception: action movies. So, it was with great fervor that I tried to orchestrate an interview with Tony Scott after hearing that he might be directing the X-Men Origins: Wolverine sequel. His representatives were cagey and unwilling to comment on the rumors or put me in contact with him. But I persisted, and now I am proud to finally present the following conversation with Mr. Scott, uncensored and almost certainly as it would have happened if he had agreed to a meeting with me.

Soren: Thank you for taking the time for this and for personally returning every one of the voice messages I left.

Tony: Of course, Soren. And may I say, thank you for the courageous work you’ve done advancing the evolution of the English language. You supply an effortless voice to an aggressively inarticulate generation. It’s as though you are teaching an entire culture how to utilize a powerful weapon that strikes the heart of all mankind but never kills a soul.

Soren: You’re welcome.

Tony: So what’s up?

Soren: Well, first off: I love your movies. I am always excited to hear about new projects you’re working on, and right now rumors are circulating that you are a possible candidate for directing the next Wolverine movie. Is it true?

Tony: It’s true. I was approached by FOX to direct the Wolverine sequel. So was Matt Reeves. Ordinarily Matty and I would roshambo for it but I’m not entirely sure it’s a project I want.

Soren: If you don’t mind me saying so, this seems like a dream for an action movie director, why wouldn’t you want it?

Tony: [Sighs] It’s not really my type of… I, uh… OK, look turn your recorder off. This isn’t something I ordinarily discuss in interviews, however, your handsomeness assures me that you are trustworthy and I feel I should be honest with you. There is something I’d like to say off the record.

Soren: I give you my word that I will not include it.

Tony: [Whispers] I don’t know how to end a movie.

Soren: You don’t know how to end the Wolverine movie?

Tony: No, any movie. I don’t know how to make the climax in a movie.

Soren: That can’t be true.

Tony: God that feels good to finally say. I can’t end a movie. I have no idea how to make endings. I put the same ending in every movie and hope no one notices. I am, quite honestly, blown away that no one has ever said anything.

Soren: But, you’ve done some great films.

Tony: Yeah, maybe. Let’s do an experiment. What’s your favorite movie I directed?

Soren: True Romance.

Tony: Good. How did it end?

Soren: There’s a big standoff between the rich guy, his goons, the gangsters, the cops and the protagonist and it ends with a shootout.

Tony: Exactly. A big gunfight where everyone gets shot.

Soren: You’re so cool.

Tony: Hold on. What’s your second favorite movie?

Soren: Enemy of the State.

Tony: OK, Ene- Enemy of the State? That’s you’re second favorite movie of mine?

Soren: I saw it with a girl I was dating at the time. It has sentimental value to me.

Tony: Fine, how does it end?

Soren: There’s a big standoff between the rich guy, his goons, the gangsters, the cops and the protagonist and it ends with a shootout.

Tony: …

Soren: What?

Tony: …

Soren: Ohhh.

Tony: A big gunfight where everyone gets shot.

Soren: OK, well that’s two movies, they can’t all possibly be-

Tony: Domino. Seen it?

Soren: Yes.

Tony: How does it end?

Soren: I see your point.

Tony: How does it end, I want to hear you say it.

Soren: Gunfight between rich guy, goons, gangsters, protagonist and cops.

Tony: I. Can’t. Help. Myself. I don’t know any other way to wrap up a plot without a gunfight. It’s literally all I know how to do because ending a movie any other way is… I don’t know, complicated. I just kill off all the problem characters, and Bam! Ending.

Soren: I’m not sure you should be telling me this.

Tony: No, this is good. This is really liberating for me. It’s nice to get it out in the open. You know, between you and me, I tried to do variations on it too. I thought people would get suspicious so I changed little things. You ever see The Last Boy Scout?

Soren: No.

Tony: Well, spoiler alert, it ends with a gunfight. And it’s between a rich guy, a gangster, the protagonists and some cops. The difference is, I substitute two of the guns in the scene with a knife and a football.

Soren: Wait, what?

Tony: Yeah, a football. Messed up, right? No one said anything, so I just went with it. One guy gets shot, one guy gets stabbed and another guy gets hit in the nose with a football. In a gunfight!

Soren: What about the scripts?

Tony: Oh come on. Scripts don’t mean anything. I’m the director. By the time I’ve gotten to the gunfight I’ve changed so much shit the original ending doesn’t make any sense.

Soren: I think revealing this kind of information has the potential to hurt your credibility in the industry.

Tony: That’s why you can’t tell anyone about this ever. It’s just between you and me. Man, Ridley would lose his shit. This is good though, let’s keep rolling with this. What other movies you like?

Soren: Beverly Hills Cop II.

Tony: Gunfight.

Soren: Spy Game.

Tony: Gunfight. Also, bullshit, no one likes that movie.

Soren: Crimson Tide.

Tony: Yes! Crimson Tide! Oh boy, I almost doomed myself on that one. I tried to set up the old reliable standoff for the climax but then I said to myself, “Hey Tony, this is a goddamn submarine. People wouldn’t fire guns in here.”

Tony: Well I didn’t know what to do, I had a bunch of characters standing there with guns pointed at each other, pretending that they would actually fire weapons in a structurally compromised chamber under water that’s also filled with oxygen. Then I added a little twist. You know that that was?

Soren: They didn’t shoot each other?

Tony: They didn’t shoot each other. It was a gunfight without the shooting! And no one batted an eye. Audiences loved that movie and all I did was give them less than I normally would.

Soren: I’m not sure how to process all of this.

Tony: Well, soak it up.

Soren: OK. So the Wolverine sequel.

Tony: Well that’s the bitch of it all. After knowing everything I just told you, now try to picture me, Tony Scott, shooting the next Wolverine. Those assholes at FOX pitched me the one character I can’t put in a shootout and make it believable. Where are the stakes if I drop Logan in a standoff? They took away my only ending. They took away my Deus Ex Gunfight.

Soren: I’m sorry.

Tony: Don’t be sorry, I'm rich. I’m just not doing the movie. That’s it.

Soren: I don’t… I guess I don't have any other questions for you. This is not how I expected this interview to go.

Tony: Seriously though, you can’t tell anyone about this.

Soren: With all due respect, Mr. Scott, I can’t just write an article about you turning down the X-Men Origins sequel and say that I know the reason why but it’s a secret.

Tony: Well then make something up. Pretend the interview went in a different direction.

Soren: What direction would you suggest?

Tony: Honestly?

Soren: Yes.

Tony: Gunfight.

Soren: Thank you for your time.

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Soren Bowie

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