Famed director Ridley Scott had no idea who Steve Jobs It was when he was hired to do Apple’s “1984” commercial for the launch of the Macintosh.
Some 38 years after the release of the original Mac, Ridley Scott is still known for directing the “1984” commercial that launched him. He also became famous for directing “Thelma and Louise” by Callie Khouri and “Blade Runner” by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he says that it was by directing commercials that he learned to maximize budgets and stick to schedules. In 1983, Chiat/Day, then Apple’s public relations firm, asked him to do the Mac commercial and he initially thought “Apple” stood for “The Beatles”.
“They said ‘no, no, no. Apple is this guy called Steve Jobs,'” Scott said. “I said, ‘Who the hell is Steve Jobs?'”
Scott says Chiat/Day explained the Mac to him and said “it’s probably going to be something”. So he read the script.
“My God [I thought]. They don’t say what [the Mac] that is, they don’t show what it is,” Scott says. “They don’t even say what it does.
“It was advertising as an art form,” he continues. “It was devastatingly effective.”
It was therefore the “1984” screenplay by Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow that convinced Ridley Scott. But all these years later, Scott says advertising has become more difficult because of one result of that Mac launch — the iPhone.
“Advertising is changing dramatically,” Scott said. The Hollywood Reporter. “And the problem is that he went on it, [the iPhone]who was both the genius and the enemy.”
Scott’s concern is that advertising is now creeping into what people are trying to read, becoming a disruptive — and very short-lived — distraction
“It’s now in segments, where you try to find an article and there are 19 little snippets of it,” he says. “Is it effective? I highly doubt it.