After 30 years, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, one of the most lauded and visually refined science fiction films ever made, is now due for release. The first footage of Blade Runner 2049 has just been revealed.
But, while the first Blade Runner now sits comfortably at the top of both the sci-fi and neo-noir genres, it wasn’t easy getting started. On its initial release in 1982, the film divided audiences and wasn’t exactly a hit in theatres. It eventually received praise through a variety of awards including two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe and, in 1993, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
Finding the film’s lead to play Rick Deckard, a burnt-out cop working for the LAPD in 2019, was also a challenge.
The script was written by Hamton Fancher with Robert Mitchum in mind but, when Ridley Scott came on-board as director, he wanted Dustin Hoffman. He declined over creative differences and – burning through a shortlist that included Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and Arnold Schwarzenegger for Deckard – the role ended up with Harrison Ford.
In an interview with Cinefantastique magazine in 1992, Ford said, “Blade Runner is not one of my favourite films. I tangled with Ridley.” The feeling was mutual. In 2006, Scott said Ford was “the biggest pain in the arse he ever worked with.”
Ford’s decision to return for its sequel Blade Runner 2049 might be thanks to the new name on the directorial chair.
Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve was at the helm of this year’s extraterrestrial drama, Arrival, as well as the three-time Academy Award-winning Sicario (2015). His take on Scott’s film is set again in Los Angeles but 30 years after the events of the first film.
As well as Ford, the film stars Ryan Gosling as Officer K, another blade runner for the LAPD who, while sent to catch genetically engineered beings known as replicants, unearths a dark secret. To help him on his journey, K tracks down the veteran blade runner Deckard.
It will take until next October to find out what happens. So, in the meantime, we will have to make the most of the trailer.