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Sagittarian director Ridley Scott is mostly associated with his groundbreaking sci-fi masterpieces, Alien and Blade Runner. His trademarks include crafted visual mastery, heroes who triumph at the hands of defeat and strong female characters, like those in Thelma and Louise and G.I. Jane. He recently directed Hannibal, starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore, a thriller with established characters (ultra villain, fearless heroine) that match his style perfectly.

Additionally, his current Best Director and Best Movie Oscar nominations are two in a total of twelve for last year’s surprise smash, Gladiator, which recently won five of his home country England’s BAFTA awards, including Best Film. Astrology’s amazing insight traces the ups and downs of his career, including his uncanny connection to the women in his movies.

Gladiator: Pluto’s Creative Legacy

Astrology Horoscope: Ridley ScottScott’s present wave of success provides an excellent look at life after a tumble with Pluto, the transcendental outer planet of transformation. Pluto transited (traveled) past his Sagittarius Sun, his astrological “self,” in 1997–98 as G.I. Jane’s unfortunate flop seemingly exhausted his potential, edging him for a while into the comparatively less stressful job of television and film producer.

Pluto’s transit is associated with unsettling life experiences involving tremendous loss or upheaval. The planet’s corresponding mythological archetypes relate to knowledge that is gained at the expense of innocence, or earned at some high price. As an agent of expanding consciousness, it is inclined to expose what is hidden, forcing circumstances that test foundations and rebuilding on those that do not hold up. 

Pluto’s passage over Scott’s Sun reflects not only his fall from grace, but also the process of his subsequent rise to reinvention and higher achievement. G.I. Jane’s box office failure was ultimately empowering, as Gladiator’s blockbuster hit redeemed him after a commercially humbling decade. Set in the Roman Empire and featuring predominantly male roles, Gladiator’s extraordinary acclaim also means Scott’s most celebrated work can no longer be strictly identified with futuristic or feminist themes.

Triumph under Pluto was also mirrored in the movie’s story. Russell Crowe played Maximus Decimus Meridius, the betrayed Roman general whose family was tortured and murdered before he was ultimately sold into slavery as a gladiator. His rise to glory in Rome’s Colosseum, fueled by his drive for redemption and revenge against his oppressor, is a classic Pluto tale.

Maximus (Russell Crowe): “I knew a man once who said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.’”

However, for Scott, glory under Pluto could not be met without sacrifice. Oliver Reed, just two and a half months younger than Scott, died of a heart attack on May 2, 1999, before he could finish shooting his part as Proximo, the gladiator trainer. The devastating setback added three million dollars production cost to artificially reproduce Reed’s likeness and complete his scenes. This invoked Pluto’s creative legacy, illustrating its definitive role in themes of bringing life to the dead.

Cryptic Script Twist

Pluto’s underworld is known to hold secrets that shatter perceptions upon revelation. In a U.K. television documentary broadcast last July, Pluto’s purging influence prompted Scott to confirm speculation that Deckard, Harrison Ford’s character in Blade Runner, was actually a replicant, the movie’s term for dangerous, lifelike androids. The highly scrutinizing, fanatical element of sci-fi sub-culture reacted wildly to Scott’s remarks. Ford made his displeasure public, saying it was agreed during production that Deckard was human.

This cryptic script twist was only hinted at in a restored flashback scene from Scott’s Director’s Cut of 1992, issued ten years after the studio-hacked theatrical release. Completed as Pluto transited over Scott’s Venus, the new edit allowed him to completely reshape this pioneering classic to his original vision. As Pluto’s mythological underworld relates to power exchanges and big business, it flavored this post-apocalyptic rendering of Los Angeles with its bleak, ominous landscape, lit by high-rise corporate logos and blasts of refinery fire.

The reinstated gloomy finale gave him a rare chance to reverse a recurring creative compromise, having been repeatedly forced by producers to insert happier endings in his work. Adding to Scott’s symbolic vindication, the new, improved Blade Runner drove home what became known as the “Blade Runner Curse,” since all the real-life companies named in the movie’s backdrop, such as Pan Am and Atari, were long gone by the time of its re-release.

The Essence of Scott’s Work

The effects and consequences of any planetary transit are always mitigated by that same planet’s own position in an individual chart. Scott’s Pluto is in the last degree of the sign Cancer, in a special configuration called a grand trine, with Venus in Scorpio and Saturn in Pisces.

His triangulation of Pluto with Venus, the planet representative of aesthetics, creativity and womanhood, and Saturn, the planet of hardship and deprivation, points to the essence of his work. Integrated this way, the planets tell stories of survival under assault by powerful elements, stressing the value of inner victories over gratuitous rewards. Most important, Venus’ place in this grand trine reveals the major role women have played in his films.

His crucial decision to change the gender of Alien’s main character launched Sigourney Weaver’s career as the fighting survivor Ellen Ripley, modeling a new role for women in action movies. It premiered as Pluto transited Weaver’s Sun, reflecting both the nature of Ripley’s riveting encounter with the movie’s namesake, and her own life-changing experience with overnight success that year, all thanks to Scott.

Curiously, Weaver’s Venus is also in Scorpio, close to Scott’s Venus, and forms the same grand trine configuration with his Saturn and Pluto. More so is the fact that Scott’s Venus makes similar connections to the charts of virtually every major actress with whom he has worked.*

For example, Susan Sarandon (Louise from Thelma and Louise) and Demi Moore (G.I. Jane herself), both have Venus in Scorpio in exactly the same place as Scott’s. This remarkable connection reveals his part in their characters’ experience and his empathy for their feminine view of the brutal worlds he designs.

Another Force to Terrorize

Now, with Hannibal, Scott has found yet another compatible feminine force to terrorize in Julianne Moore, signaled by her Mercury in Scorpio, which also meets up exactly with his Venus. Again, the story’s theme echoes the mythological Pluto, as Clarice Starling (Moore) is stripped of her reputation and forced to go face to face with Mister Underworld himself, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins).

Having met with Pluto and survived, Scott can look forward to far more than just possibly winning Oscars. He can continue to do as Gladiator’s battle cry suggests: unleash hell.


*Other actresses with planets or astrological points matching Scott’s Venus in Scorpio, completing a grand trine with his Pluto and Saturn, include:

Geena Davis (Thelma, Thelma and Louise), Moon's North Node

Daryl Hannah (Pris, Blade Runner), Mercury

Mia Sara (Lily, Legend), Neptune and possibly the Moon

Sean Young (Rachel, Blade Runner), Mars



Nick lives in Montréal and is available for phone readings everywhere at a flat fee. Please see details for more information.

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For more information about Nick Dagan Best, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Nick Dagan Best:

  • Seth Green Makes It Look Easy   5/14/2001
  • Ray Liotta: An Open Mind For Something Wild   4/24/2001
  • Joaquin Phoenix: Good People Doing Bad Things   3/16/2001
  • Beck's Musical Lunaverse   2/18/2001
  • Fiona Apple: When Your Mind Is Your Might   2/16/2001
  • Julianne Moore Breaks the Silence   2/9/2001
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman: Fearless Actor   1/25/2001
  • Christina Ricci: Is Madness Too Glamorous?   12/28/2000
  • Frida Kahlo and Salma Hayek: Peas in a Pod or Saturn in Pisces?   11/30/2000

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