On paper – a sequel to Blade Runner seems like a pretty terrible idea. So much of the allure of Blade Runner comes from its ambiguity, from the fact that twenty years later people still debate whether Deckard is a replicant, from its notoriously troubled production and the seemingly infinite number of cuts Ridley Scott or the studio try to sell to the masses as the definitive take; but there is no definitive take. Blade Runner’s ambiguous state of being is (in and of itself) the point. The mystery is what makes it so enduring and cool.
Yet despite my initial misgivings, I must confess that every single new piece of Blade Runner 2049 footage forces me to question my Stalinist stance. If anyone was going to tackle the mysterious allure of Blade Runner, the guy who made the even more obtuse Spider would be at the top of my list. And pair Denis Villeneuve with Roger Deakins (that foggy, yellowed desert shot with the two open mouthed female statues is something else) – then well, okay, fine, maybe a sequel isn’t the worst idea in the world. Just, please, promise not to reveal if Deckard is a replicant or not (**and, yes, I know, Ford’s age seems to already ruin that mystery).
Today’s Comic Con Panel further assuaged my doubts, taking me one step closer to embracing my inner Blade Runner 2049. Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, writers Hampton Fancher & Michael Green, and the entire cast (Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Lennie James, and Mackenzie Davis) took to Hall H to preview exclusive footage from the sequel. Below are the bullet point highlights.
- Jared Leto speaks as a hologram, saying how much he loves Blade Runner and how important the film was to him. Hologram Leto creeps me out (especially the hot pink pants he’s wearing). Leto hologram disappears in a cloud of smoke a la a 90s effect.
- Per Villeneuve – he took the job on the Blade Runner sequel because he “didn’t want anybody else to fuck it up.” Blade Runner was the birth of his desire to become a filmmaker
- Why did Harrison Ford come back? Per Ford: “We had a really good script based on a really good idea. It deepened the understanding of my character… It had great depth.”
- Gosling on Blade Runner – “It was one of the first films where it wasn’t clear how I was supposed to feel when it was over.” So being part of the sequel was like being a part of The Avengers team.
- They roll a new clip from 2049. Gosling walks down a hallway in replicant-creation headquarters. He’s led by a female replicant. He’s taken to what appears to be the oddest archive room imaginable, bare, metallic and wide open. The female replicant takes out an a clear orb that looks almost like an eyeball and inserts it into a futuristic computer, playing archive footage – labeled as ‘The Tyrell Archives’. The old footage is of Deckard – garbled voice, close up shots of his eye. He asks the female replicant about the footage. She responds, “It’s invigorating being asked questions. It makes me feel desired.” She then asks Gosling if he enjoys his job. Gosling stares blankly at her and doesn’t answer her question. The footage looks icy and cold – but beautiful. It definitely feels of piece with Ridley Scott’s original film.
- Panel ends with the best question of the day: Is it Harrison Ford’s goal to reboot every single one of his franchises? Ford – “You bet your ass it is!”
Blade Runner 2049 opens everywhere October 6th.
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