Ridley Scott is returning to the Alien franchise (or at least with a film that has “Alien‘s DNA”) with the upcoming sci-fi flick Prometheus. Now he’s revisiting another classic from his past as Alcon Entertainment has sent out a press release announcing that Scott will direct and produce a new installment of Blade Runner. For those unfamiliar with the original, the 1982 sci-fi thriller was loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” [Correction: It's a novel, not a short story] and starred Harrison Ford as Richard Deckard, a burnt-out “Blade Runner” assigned to track down and destroy rogue superhuman androids known as “replicants”. However, he then falls in love with one and there’s also some ambiguity as to whether or not Deckard may be a replicant himself.
Hit the jump for more details on this intriguing project. [Update: We've updated the story with the press release, which you can check out after the jump.] [Update #2: Alcon producer Andrew Kosgrove has stated that the earliest production could begin would be 2013, with a possible 2014 release, and said that it's unlikely that Harrison Ford would be involved in the film. His quotes have been included after the jump.]
There’s no word on weather or not Ford would return for the film, presuming that it’s a sequel. Just as Prometheus looks like a pseudo-Alien prequel (and the movie started out as a straight prequel to Scott’s film), the new Blade Runner could be a prequel or a spin-off or, in the cryptic terms used to describe Prometheus, the new movie could have Blade Runner DNA. It’s important to note that this is just the first step, Scott has scores of other projects he could do, and there’s currently no script. It could take years for this project to go into production assuming it ever does.
Alcon Entertainment handle the production of the film and would easily be the company’s most high-profile project to date and likely their most expensive. Their biggest hit to date with 2009′s The Blind Side. Alcon has an output deal with Warner Bros., who made the original film and released the 25th anniversary DVD and Blu-ray back in 2007.
Currently, I’m ambivalent on the prospect of a new Blade Runner. I’m not a hardcore fan of the original, but I understand why it’s so popular and it has an amazing aesthetic that could really be helped by the advances in technology. I think fans will either be encouraged or discouraged by what they see with Prometheus and how Scott handles returning to the universe of his other sci-fi classic.
[Update #2] Alcon Entertainment producer Andrew Kosgrove recently gave his two-cents on the project in a discussion with 24 Frames and said that the soonest he could envision shooting beginning is 2013, which gives Scott 18 months to hire a writer, get the script written, cast the film and work on pre-production. This also means that Scott feasibly has time to direct another project between Prometheus and the new Blade Runner film. This means that the earliest we could see the film hit screens is probably 2014. Kosgrove was also asked whether or not the new film would include Harrison Ford, to which he replied:
“In no way do I speak for Ridley Scott, but if you’re asking me will this movie have anything to do with Harrison Ford, the answer is no. This is a total reinvention, and in my mind that means doing everything fresh, including casting.”
Kosgrove said the film will be created “as separately as possible” from Scott’s original film, and this would be “wholly original.” Although he didn’t confirm whether that meant a prequel or sequel with different characters, a reboot, or something with the original film’s DNA a la Prometheus.
Here’s the press release. It’s insubstantial:
ALCON ENTERTAINMENT PARTNERING WITH RIDLEY SCOTT TO DIRECT AND PRODUCE NEW ‘BLADE RUNNER’ FOLLOW UP. BUD YORKIN AND CYNTHIA SIKES YORKIN ALSO TO PRODUCE.
LOS ANGELES, CA, AUGUST 18, 2011—Three-time Oscar-nominated director Ridley Scott is set to helm a follow up to his own ground-breaking 1982 science fiction classic “Blade Runner” for Warner Bros-based financing and production company Alcon Entertainment (“The Blind Side,” “The Book of Eli”).
Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove will produce with Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, along with Ridley Scott. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.
The filmmakers have not yet revealed whether the theatrical project will be a prequel or sequel to the renowned original.
Alcon and Yorkin recently announced that they are partnering to produce “Blade Runner” theatrical sequels and prequels, in addition to all television and interactive productions.
The original film, which has been singled out as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently taught in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.
State Kosove and Johnson: “It would be a gross understatement to say that we are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction. We are huge fans of Ridley’s and of the original ‘Blade Runner.’ This is once in a lifetime project for us.”
Scott is represented by David Wirtschafter at WME and David Nochinson at Ziffren Brittenham.
Released by Warner Bros. almost 30 years ago, “Blade Runner” was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick’s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and directed by Scott following his landmark “Alien.” The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction). Following the filming of “Blade Runner,” the first of Philip K. Dick’s works to be adapted into a film, many other of Dick’s works were likewise adapted, including “Total Recall,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Minority Report,” “Paycheck,” and the recent “The Adjustment Bureau,” among others.