Ridley Scott and Tony Scott and their production outfit Scott Free have closed a three year-producing and directing deal with 20th Century Fox to develop and make movies with all producing divisions of Fox. In addition to producing films for Fox, the brothers have committed to direct at least one film each for the studio.

"It's something we've been pursuing for a while," explained Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman Jim Gianopulos. "When it became apparent they were looking for a new home, we pursued the deal very aggressively."

Tony Scott is already developing Hell's Angels with Elizabeth Gabler's Fox 2000 unit, and although Gianopulos couldn't confirm it would be his next film, he did say that it was in a "very aggressive state of development."

Gianopulos said that Fox would offer them projects to direct from its roster as well as inheriting films already in development. "They have a number of ideas which we're very open to as directors and producers," he said. "They know great material when they see it and they can identify the potential in material."

He also said that the relationship would afford Fox the opportunity to base films at Pinewood or Shepperton Studios in the UK whose holding company is co-chaired by the Scotts. In addition, they can bring directing talent from their commercials operation RSA to Fox.

With his recent hits Gladiator (2000) and Hannibal (2001), Ridley Scott has re-established himself as one of the world's leading film-makers. He started his career in 1977 with The Duellists and his only previous film with Fox was his second picture Alien in 1979. His other films include Blade Runner (1982), Legend (1985), Someone To Watch Over Me (1987), Black Rain (1989), Thelma And Louise (1991), 1492: Conquest Of Paradise (1992), White Squall (1996) and GI Jane (1997). He is currently in post-production on Black Hawk Down for Revolution Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions.

Tony Scott concurrently developed a name as one of the biggest directors in Hollywood with credits including The Hunger (1983), Top Gun (1986), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Revenge (1990), Days Of Thunder (1990), The Last Boy Scout (1991), True Romance (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), The Fan (1996) and Enemy Of The State (1998). His next film Spy Game starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt opens for Beacon Pictures and Universal in November.

Scott Free has a previous relationship with Fox under old management, when they set up a deal at the studio in 1993 financed by Italy's RCS. Under that arrangement, Ridley Scott was set up to direct Crisis In The Hot Zone to star Robert Redford and Jodie Foster but the movie fell apart as did the deal.

In May 1995, the company signed a four-year arrangement with Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group and later that year, based on the model of Ridley Scott's White Squall, they brought in Largo Entertainment to handle foreign rights on the films that resulted from the deal. A third partner signed on in the UK's First Independent Films. The only subsequent picture to emerge from that structure was Ridley's GI Jane starring Demi Moore.

In 1996, Scott Free signed a second-look deal with Guy East and Nigel Sinclair's Intermedia which saw films produced such as Clay Pigeons, Land Girls and Where The Money Is, and is ongoing.

In 1997 Largo and First Independent withdrew from the Disney co-financing arrangement, leaving Disney to take over worldwide distribution of Tony's Enemy Of The State which was a worldwide hit.

Also in 1997, the Scotts moved to PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, signing a two-year, first look production pact with the company which was inherited by Universal Pictures when it bought PolyGram; on expiry they moved back to Disney via Jerry Bruckheimer Productions for a further two years.