Of the more than 100 films he’s worked on, movie stock contractor John Scott says his favorite is the 1994 World War I-era drama Legends of the Fall, which he worked on for four years with director Edward Zwick.
“The actors were fantastic, and they worked so hard,” he says of Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Julia Ormond. “They didn’t know how to ride when they came here, but after some work they looked great in the film. Brad rode seven horses in that picture, so that shows his level of horsemanship.”
Scott also is sentimental about his work in the second and third sequels to the Academy Award-winning trilogy Lord of the Rings. “It’s quite a feather in my cap to have been selected from a field of qualified wranglers from around the world,” he says. Scott and his head wrangler, Lyle Edge, also of Alberta, spent two months on the New Zealand set, coordinating the cast of 400 horses and the horse-action sequences.
Although Scott was fond of the blockbuster film, during the Academy Awards he was supporting another nominee: Seabiscuit, his favorite contemporary horse story. “Everything was perfect with that film, from the wardrobe and set to the filming. It’s hard to film racehorses well.” he says. “The fact that another wrangler’s work is so magnificent encourages more horse pictures, which benefits me and everyone else in this industry.”
As for actors, Scott has an appreciation for old-timers Charles Bronson, Gene Hackman, Lee Marvin and Paul Newman. “Acting was a gift for them,” he says. “They knew how to position their bodies naturally for the camera, and they looked liked authentic cowboys.”
He also credits contemporary actors Sam Elliott, Brad Pitt and Tom Selleck with similar talents. There’s one actor he’d still like to work with: Tommy Lee Jones.