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SCOTT, JAKE: Plunkett & Macleane

IN THE WAKE OF THE FATHER
First came Ridley, then brother Tony, and now there’s Jake Scott, son of the one, nephew of the other a movie director with his own unique slant. His first feature film is a contemporary take on a period genre, the story of 19th century highwaymen, Plunkett and MacLeane. PAUL FISCHER spoke to the young director in Los Angeles.

We can't help but wonder whether Jake Scott’s passion for filmmaking is somehow hereditary. "It's tough for me to answer questions like that without bringing my family into it, because it's true that it was so much influenced by them. I was exposed very early on to film." Yet there wasn't a sense of inevitability that he would follow in his family's footsteps, professionally speaking.

"always really loved film"

"I resisted it at first, and looked into other things, but I always really loved film, and have always tended to do odd jobs in film." Scott was not actively encouraged to follow in dad's footsteps, "but to be productive in whatever I did." But there's no denying his family's influence. "It's been my whole life; I grew up in it, was surrounded by it."

While Ridley and Tony went into filmmaking via advertising, Jake, who is Ridley's eldest son, formed a music video company through his family's business, and shot videos featuring such bands as U2 and Oasis. While his company has grown, Scott is now making the transition to feature films with his adventure romp, Plunkett and MacLeane. Plunkett (Robert Carlisle) is a bankrupt apothecary who turns to crime to pay for a ticket to the New World after his wife dies. He teams up with a penniless doctor's son, Jamie MacLeane (Jonny Lee Miller), who has the training to impersonate an army Captain in the highest social circles, from where he reports on who has made a killing at the gambling tables, thus fingering the pair's next robbery victim.

"a film about highwaymen"

"I was looking to make a feature film and one of my ideas was to do a film about highwaymen, an area of English history that I've always loved. Then Working Title came to me with this script that was a much bigger film originally - and far more swashbuckling. It would have been a 40 million dollar movie and you would have had to get big stars. I opted to do something a little bit more stripped down, something that would appeal more to a contemporary audience."

Scott's take on these highwaymen combines fact with fiction, and has been compared to the likes of Butch Cassidy. "Yeah, I can see where that comes from, and I suppose it's an interesting comparison; after all, highwaymen is the closest thing we have to the Western." Yet, surprisingly, Scott is unsure of its broad appeal, especially in America, where the release date keeps on changing. "If I could, there are lots of things I'd change to improve the film, and I have a feeling it won't connect with the Americans, but I could be wrong - I hope so."

He’s clearly less than convinced; "I wish I could be talking about something that I'm 100% passionate about. Maybe next time."

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