It’s fair to say that the upper echelons of Hollywood irked many a moviegoer when it was revealed that Blade Runner 2 would go ahead, but piece by piece, Ridley Scott’s decision to revisit the sci-fi world of future Los Angeles is beginning to win over the naysayers. After Scott himself passed up the chance to direct – more on that later – Denis Villeneuve stepped up to the plate.
Hot on the heels of Prisoners and the recently-released Sicario, Villeneuve has turned heads and raised eyebrows for his astute direction and approach to character-driven drama, and the director is already saying all the right things about the sequel’s creative process.
Re-teaming with his regular cinematographer Roger Deakins, it’s understood that Villeneuve’s rendition of Scott’s beloved universe isn’t necessarily designed as a sequel, and as the DP confirms, Blade Runner 2 is considered to be more of a standalone feature.
“We’re just treating the new one as what it is; it’s an entirely separate movie that will stand by itself,” he told ScreenCrush. “I mean obviously it has elements that connect it to the original. But it’s going to stand alone by itself as a movie. And I’m not going to do shafts of light coming through a window with rain just for the sake of doing shafts of light and rain — although it was really superb the way it was done. No, you have to think about the script and approach it anew.”
All things considered, Deakins and Villeneuve’s approach to the long-gestating sequel is one we can certainly get behind. For treading on hallowed ground, it is perhaps best for Blade Runner 2 to act as a spiritual successor to the original, drawing on the same themes of existentialism and identity, rather than acting as a simple remake.
But after almost 35 years, one can’t help but wonder why Ridley Scott didn’t take the reins of the follow-up himself. Ultimately, as the esteemed filmmaker explains to Deadline, it was a question of managing his own projects both past and future.
“Alcon [Entertainment] bought the title, and asked if I had any ideas. I did. So fundamentally it’s my essay about what happens and what the film is about,” he said. “I was going to get writers, but decided to call up my old buddy Hampton Fancher because he walks the walk and talks the talk, albeit in these awful sandals. We came up with a nice tight target. He said he wouldn’t write the screenplay, but wrote a short novel.
This was one of the writers I had the best experience with, on the original ‘Blade Runner,’ meeting him every day, polishing the script. We’d solve one problem and there would be another. It drove him crazy but what happened is that what started off as a small contained play inside an apartment, and into an epic. The new one, we’ve got a very good director in Denis Villenueve. He has taken my script, from Hampton and Michael Green, and that’s what he’ll make. I can’t direct them all, and I have to do ‘Prometheus.’ “
Harrison Ford will return as Rick Deckard for Blade Runner 2, which is currently slated for a release in 2017.