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Ridley Scott reveals how a coin toss decided if he or brother Tony would direct their first feature film

As the late Tony Scott's first feature is rediscovered, it turns out the careers of the director brothers could have been very different

Published: Thursday, 6th April 2017 at 3:24 pm

Director Sir Ridley Scott has revealed that he and his brother Tony flipped a coin to decide which of them would direct a film first, in a special video introduction to the late Tony Scott’s newly-discovered 1974 film The Author of Beltraffio.


Starring Tom Baker, the TV film was lost for decades until it was rediscovered by the British Film Institute, and will soon air for the first time in years at the BFI & Radio Times festival this weekend. However, if things had gone differently it could have been Alien and Gladiator director Ridley who brought it to screen, according to the man himself.

Be one of the first people to see The Author of Beltraffio in more than 40 years – get your ticket for the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 


“This was a great opportunity for both of us to expand our ambitions into long-form,” Scott explained (below), recalling the period where he and his brother were offered the Author of Beltraffio for their fledging company Scott Free Productions.

“So, as brothers we had to toss a coin as to who would do the directing gig. Guess who won…”

Now, more than 40 years on audiences will be able to watch the film again at the BFI & Radio Times festival this Saturday 8th April, where it will be screened at 11am at BFI Southbank in London followed by a Q&A with co-star Georgina Hale and Film 2017’s Danny Leigh.

“Tony would’ve been delighted that Beltraffio was being seen again by a whole new generation of filmmakers and audiences,” Scott said of the project, which led to Tony’s mainstream success with films like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II and Man on Fire in the following years until his death in 2010.

“Good films made for television can so easily be forgotten. So it’s terrific that his film has been rediscovered by the British Film Institute.”

Book tickets for the BFI & Radio Times Festival session From the BFI National Archive: The Author of Beltraffio on Saturday 8th April




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