The announcement of any project that tinkers with the legacy of a beloved movie classic is always going to be met with mixed reactions – something that filmmaker Ridley Scott is well experienced at dealing with. Not only has he tinkered with his Alien franchise, but he has also repeatedly tinkered with Blade Runner – a habit that has helped create no fewer than seven different versions of the film.
Aside from the various preview versions of Blade Runner, there are two theatrical cuts (U.S and International), a Director’s Cut, and The Final Cut. So, when Ridley Scott announced his intention to make Blade Runner 2, there was plenty of criticism, but little surprise.
It has since been confirmed that Harrison Ford will reprise his iconic role as Rick Deckard, working from a script by Ridley Scott, Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. Director Denis Villeneuve will fill the director’s chair, bringing with him the legendary Oscar nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins – with whom he is now a frequent collaborator. The most recent movie to be completed by Villeneuve and Deakins is Sicario – currently receiving rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival – and it provided the opportunity for Villeneuve to discuss with Collider his unexpected move into the Blade Runner universe.
“When I heard Ridley Scott wanted to do another movie in the Blade Runner universe, at first my reaction was that it’s a fantastic idea, but it may be a very bad idea. I’m among the hardcore fans of Blade Runner. Blade Runner is one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s a movie that is linked with my love and passion for cinema.
“For me, it’s a monument. So when I realised that they put in front of me the Blade Runner project screenplay, for me I was very moved to have this honour to read the screenplay, but I accepted to do it because I felt that Hampton Fancher, Ridley Scott and Michael Green did a fantastic job on the screenplay. It’s a very powerful screenplay, and I felt it made sense to me, and I had the Ridley Scott blessing… I hesitated massively. It took a lot of time to say yes. Not because I didn’t believe in it, [but] because I was, like, ‘Who am I to touch that?’
“I’m totally aware of the huge challenge. It’s a risk I know that every single fan who walks into the theatre will walk in with a baseball bat. I’m aware of that and I respect that, and it’s okay with me because it’s art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It’s gonna be the biggest risk of my life, but I’m okay with that. For me, it’s very exciting; it’s just so inspiring, I’m so inspired. I’ve been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said ‘no’ to a lot of sequels. I couldn’t say no to Blade Runner. I love it too much, so I said ‘Alright… I will do it and give it everything I have to make it great.’
“The movie will be autonomous, and at the same time there will be some link, but I cannot talk too much about it… I can say to you it’s going to be next summer, so it’s going to be next summer, but where is still in talks.”
So, the incredibly talented, award-winning director of Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario is a Blade Runner superfan, and is all set to shoot Blade Runner 2, with Roger Deakins lending his intimidating expertise, and Harrison Ford heading the cast list. Given that production is confirmed as being planned for the summer of 2016, it certainly looks as though the tentative 2017 release plan remains possible – and as such, we may well begin to hear more casting news soon.