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Sir Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 5, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Alan Colmes. The acclaimed director of "Black Hawk Down" (search) and "Gladiator" (search) has now taken on the tale of the Crusades, opening nationwide tomorrow. "Kingdom of Heaven," starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons brings the times of knights and conquest to the big screen, but not without some controversy.

"Kingdom of Heaven" (search) director, Sir Ridley Scott (search), joins us. I was able to see this film thankfully before the opening. Phenomenal film.

RIDLEY SCOTT, DIRECTOR, "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN": Thank you.

COLMES: It's amazing what you have done on this film.

SCOTT: Thank you, sir.

COLMES: But you've had, as I understand it, when you first started making it, Muslim fundamentalists, death threats?

SCOTT: No.

COLMES: That was what one press report said. Is that not true?

SCOTT: Untrue, no.

COLMES: You have Christian fundamentalists upset. You've upset both sides, is that it?

SCOTT: No, that's not true.

COLMES: That's not true. The press has being saying it.

SCOTT: Yes, but press — you have heard about tabloid press?

COLMES: Never.

SCOTT: OK, right.

COLMES: Never heard that.

SCOTT: Those two old stories...

(CROSSTALK)

SCOTT: ... those two old chastises have been going around for about ten months or a year, where people write about things without having ever read or seen.

COLMES: Right. They have never seen it. It's barely out yet.

SCOTT: Absolutely.

COLMES: But this is — it's very even-handed. But you humanized both Saladin (search) and the Christian side and make them seem like, of course, real people, which we don't really get in the history books. And that seems to have inflamed people on each side, just like the fact that the other side was humanized.

SCOTT: I'm a good traveler. I started work three times on three big movies in Morocco in the last five years. I did "Black Hawk Down." Can you imagine how difficult that was to do?

COLMES: Sure.

SCOTT: And then this one, of course, is a subject which is very close to the bone. But I'm working on this one with an average of 1,700-2,000 (INAUDIBLE) and 1,000 of them Muslims. So I got on great.

COLMES: Were you trying to portray one side as more blood-thirsty than the other, or was there an equality you were going for here?

SCOTT: Life isn't black and white. It's a million gray areas, don't you find? So on both sides you're going to find, if you like — in simplistic terms, the good guys and the bad guys.

COLMES: But that's why you object — you have objections for both sides — who feel that their side was not fairly portrayed?

SCOTT: I believe Saladin was very fairly portrayed, who is the Muslim leader. And on our hand, I think, on our side, we were very well- represented, with the Christians, with a wonderful king, called Baldwin IV, the leper, whose a leper king. Then you have David Thewlis, who voices one of the most beautiful scenes in the film, who talks about — beyond religion — he talks about just simply right action.

COLMES: Do you see parallels between what is being portrayed here and what is happening in modern day?

SCOTT: You can. Yes, obviously, there's this degree of wanting people to accept other people faiths and philosophies. So that is there. That's really what this film is about.

HANNITY: All right. Let me go back to what Alan was saying. Because this was reported in the Detroit Free Press (search). And you can shoot it down if you can, that you did receive death threats from angry Muslim fundamentalists. You were soon assailed by English academics for distorting history, yet in the last month, Christian fundamentalist groups have mounted an orchestrated campaign against the film, calling it mean-spirited and unfair to Christianity.

SCOTT: I haven't gotten any phone calls. And I know because I was there. My one great week — when I was doing 16 weeks in Morocco, was I — to play tennis with a Muslim (INAUDIBLE) Sunday. And that was war on the tennis court.

HANNITY: But do we forget this is a film? You and I were talking about "The Passion of the Christ," which you thought was a great film.

SCOTT: Yes, absolutely. Yes.

HANNITY: I thought it was a great film, very well-done. I'm also a fan of both "Black Hawk Down" and — what's the other one that I like that you did...

COLMES: "Gladiator."

HANNITY: "Gladiator." Just terrific films.

SCOTT: Yes, thank you.

HANNITY: We forget though, it's a movie.

SCOTT: It's a movie. And I think moviemakers are dramatists. And I think it is not a documentary. What I'm doing is taking — not even taking a position in this subject, which is very tricky, particularly given today's politics and where we are today.

But actually I'm having Balian of Ibelin, who is Orlando Bloom (search), walk me through this portal into the 12th century and take me through the — and brush shoulders with Saladin, and brush shoulders with all of these people who, at this moment in time in the 12th century, were actually enjoying a moment of rare truce.

HANNITY: What I noticed about "The Passion of the Christ,"(search) though, I mean, Mel was very clear about this. This was his clear belief interpretation of the bible, and in dramatic form.

SCOTT: Sure.

HANNITY: Do you have to be considering the political sensibilities of the day? In other words, did you think about how Muslims would react to your movie? Did you think about how Christians would react to your movie?

SCOTT: Of course. I think that was one of the — I had already predetermined, pre-decided the screenplay before any of this present problem — about a year and a half before this present problem had begun.

HANNITY: Does political correctness creep its way into your film? Do you not say certain things for fear of offending people?

SCOTT: No, no, no, because I felt I didn't have to. You haven't seen the film.

HANNITY: No, he has.

SCOTT: You've seen the film?

COLMES: Yes.

SCOTT: Was it balanced or was it...

COLMES: I thought it was very balanced.

HANNITY: Yes, but he didn't like "The Passion," and I loved "The Passion."

COLMES: I didn't like "The Passion."

HANNITY: We don't agree even on that.

COLMES: Because Mel Gibson (search) claimed that that's the way it was. And I had a problem with that.

SCOTT: Well, it's a movie. So it's his vision of what occurred. And that's what you have got to remember. It is not a documentary. There weren't cameras there shooting Christ when he was being beaten to a pulp.

HANNITY: No, I'm going to go see it this weekend. And Alan did give it two thumps up, if you will, to quote a phrase. But I have enjoyed your past movies, and I'm really looking forward — $140 million spent on this thing?

SCOTT: Yes, a little less. A little less.

HANNITY: A lot of money.

SCOTT: A little less.

COLMES: Like the Orlando Bloom character, you're knighted as well, like the character of Orlando Bloom.

SCOTT: Yes, a few years ago.

COLMES: Thank you, Sir Scott, for being with us tonight.

SCOTT: Thank you.

HANNITY: Nice to meet you.

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