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Ridley Scott Says ‘The French Don’t Even Like Themselves’

director ridley scott in all black

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Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott has never been one to mince words. But now that he’s 85 years old, his willingness to say exactly what he feels has seemingly grown exponentially.

During his recent press tour for Napoleon, for example, Scott has been a quote-producing machine as he cuts through journalists’ questions with his famed acerbic wit.

One of the best quotes of the press tour comes at the expense of the very people that Napoleon is about, and that’s the French.

In response to some of the criticisms of his latest film out of France, Scott dropped a nuclear bomb of a response by surmising (to the BBC) that “the French don’t even like themselves.”

That in and of itself showcases Scott’s genius as a storyteller, as he was able to summarize centuries of French culture in a single sentence.

Scott also hit out at historians who have been critical of the film’s accuracy.

“I’ve done a lot of historical films. I find I’m reading a report of someone else’s report 100 years after the event. So I wonder, ‘How much do they romance and elaborate? How accurate is it?’ It always amuses me when a critic says to me, ‘This didn’t happen in Jerusalem.’ I say, ‘Were you there? That’s the f—— answer,’” he told Total Film.

Napoleon, which stars Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, will be hitting movie theaters in the United States on Wednesday, November 22.

In addition to Phoenix — who, of course, previously worked with Scott on his Best Picture-winning film Gladiator — Napoleon also stars Vanessa Kirby as Josephine Bonaparte, Tahar Rahim, Ben Miles, Ludivine Sagnier, Matthew Needham, Youssef Kerkour, Phil Cornwell, Paul Rhys, and more.

After its run in movie theaters, Napoleon will eventually begin streaming on AppleTV+.

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