'No Better Person to Be in the Trenches With'

2012-30 FEA Scott Tony Scott Tom Rothman P

Scott and Rothman at the 2010 world premiere of "Unstoppabl"e in Westwood. "Through all the inevitable battles that come between studios and directors," the exec said, "I respected him immensely."

In his own words, Tom Rothman, Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman, recalls how Scott was "always gracious, kind and generous of spirit."

He was a good man. He was a really good man. I've known him for 20 years or more. And Tony and Ridley's Scott Free Productions deal has been at Fox since 2001. We've done a lot of projects. We've done a couple of big movies together with Tony as director, Man on Fire, and his most recent movie, Unstoppable. And he's produced a whole lot of movies for us, because he works with young filmmakers, and he has even produced a number of cool little Searchlight movies for us, like the Nicole Kidman movie Stoker that comes out next year. The thing about Tony and his brother is, they are activists. They are doers. They are making things happen every day of the week. Tony, like Ridley, loved to work and was very prolific.

I think the business took his skill for granted and didn't appreciate the level of skill and artistry involved. To talk about Tony as an "action filmmaker" is a misnomer, because his movies and his soul reflect the same thing, which is that he was in fact the consummate humanist. The humanity of the ordinary common man is a thread through his work and his life. He wanted complicated characters. If you knew him, that wouldn't surprise you, because he was a people person. You have to look far and wide to find someone who combined the level of talent that he had, the level of artistry, with the level of decency and generosity of spirit. For a guy who would stop at nothing to get the shot he wanted, he was always gracious and kind and generous of spirit. There was no better guy to be in the trenches with.

He also knew talent when he saw it. Obviously, Ridley Scott Associates, their whole commercial business, depends on that. And there's a long list of incredibly talented new filmmakers who've come out of that. He produced The A-Team for us, that Joe Carnahan directed. Joe was a protege of his. Tony was just so supportive of new talent and incredibly loyal. That loyalty was often manifested in his support for other filmmakers, the same way he and his brother were a mutual support society.

What struck you about their relationship is how they managed to be so supportive of each other and not be competitive. They were each other's biggest boosters. But you know, here's the thing. For a guy who made movies with such muscularity, he was tremendously softhearted. -- As told to Pamela McClintock