An excerpt from
Future Noir: The Making of BLADE RUNNER.
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One of the most fascinating questions still haunting BLADE RUNNER 35 years after its release is a simple query – is the Replicant-hunting Blade Runner Rick Deckard a replicant himself?
BLADE RUNNER star Harrison Ford and BLADE RUNNER director Ridley Scott have famously disagreed about the answer to that question since the film’s original theatrical run. In this excerpt from Future Noir: The Making of BLADE RUNNER, Ford offers some of his own reactions to the controversy with BR authority and Future Noir author Paul M. Sammon. After the interview you will find images, behind-the-scenes videos and links to take you deeper that will prepare for this terrific and engaging book.
Sammon will appear at the Balboa Theatre in San Francisco, Thursday, October 5 at 7:00pm to discuss all things BLADE RUNNER. Presented by SF in SF there will be a sneak preview of BLADE RUNNER 2049 at 7:30 followed by book signing and schmoozing.
“How Can It Not Know What It Is?”
(excerpt from an in-depth with Harrison Ford)
Paul Sammon: Speaking of tough, here’s the other BR question you’re always asked — is Deckard a replicant?
Harrison Ford: Here we go.
PS: Yes, time for that question. However, just so you know, I am aware of how opposed you are to the idea.
HF: Well, I’ve said this many times too, but I thought it was a mistake to suggest that Deckard was a replicant. A great mistake, because it left the audience with no one to root for.
PS: As I recall, you felt that that revelation would devalue Deckard’s emotional reawakening. That the idea of an unsuspecting android getting back in touch with his feelings just wouldn’t resonate on the same plane as the notion of a burnt-out human going through the same thing would.
HF: Exactly. The human touch. That is what I argued for.
PS: Yet would you not agree that there might be some dramatic value in the ambiguity of the situation? I mean, for 10 years, at least until 1992, when the Director’s Cut came around — um, do you mind if I spout off here for a second?
HF: Go ahead.
PS: The whole idea of Deckard being a Replicant has always been dependent upon which version of BLADE RUNNER you saw. Now, the original theatrical cut didn’t have the sequence where you’re at the piano and daydreaming about a unicorn. So when you ﬁnd the tinfoil unicorn at the end of the original cut, all it means is that Gaff’s been there and let Rachael live. But in the Director’s Cut, where you do have the unicorn daydream, that tinfoil origami not only suggests that Gaff’s been there, but that he somehow knows your thoughts! That’s a pretty creepy, paranoid moment. It suggests Deckard’s memories are implants.
HF: I understand that. I still don’t agree with it. Particularly since — the whole Deckard/replicant thing was handled, in a sense, like the (original theatrical release’s) narration. I thought we’d settled that early on, before we began ﬁlming. But then, towards the end of production, when we shot the scene of Deckard ﬁnding the origami animal outside his apartment, I asked Ridley, ‘What the fuck are you doing, man? That means that Deckard’s a replicant, right? Come on! You said we wouldn’t take it that way!’
PS: “I thought we were somewhere else with that.’
PS: So this sequence was ﬁlmed near the end of principal photography?
HF: I do think that scene was shot late in the game, yes.
PS: Given your reaction to the tinfoil unicorn, how did Ridley justify or explain the earlier scene, which that origami sculpture refers to? The one where Deckard’s sitting at his piano and daydreams a unicorn
HF: Well — (trails off)
PS: Did you not know that shots of a unicorn running through a forest would be included in this scene? Was it inserted after the fact, after you’d done your own shots for that sequence?
HF: That was done after the fact, as I remember it. I didn’t see that cut together until the ﬁrst time I saw the ﬁlm.
PS: So a unicorn suddenly appearing in that scene must have come as another surprise.
Excerpt from Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon. Copyright 2017 Paul M. Sammon. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Rediscover the groundbreaking magic of BLADE RUNNER with this revised and updated edition of the classic guide to Ridley Scott’s transformative film—and published in anticipation of its sequel starring Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, and Harrison Ford.
Ridley Scott’s 1992 “Director’s Cut” confirmed the international film cognoscenti’s judgment: BLADE RUNNER, based on Philip K. Dick’s brilliant and troubling science fiction masterpiece “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” is the most visually dense, thematically challenging, and influential science fiction film ever made. Future Noir offers a deeper understanding of this cult phenomenon that is storytelling and visual filmmaking at its best.
In this intensive, intimate and anything-but-glamorous behind-the-scenes account, film insider and cinephile Paul M. Sammon explores how Ridley Scott purposefully used his creative genius to transform the work of science fiction’s most uncompromising author into a critical sensation, a commercial success, and a cult classic that would reinvent the genre. Sammon reveals how the making of the original BLADE RUNNER was a seven-year odyssey that would test the stamina and the imagination of writers, producers, special effects wizards, and the most innovative art directors and set designers in the industry at the time it was made. This revised and expanded edition of Future Noir includes:
- An overview of BLADE RUNNER’s impact on moviemaking and its acknowledged significance in popular culture since the book’s original publication
- An exploration of the history of BLADE RUNNER: The Final Cut and its theatrical release in 2007
- An up-close look at its long-awaited sequel BLADE RUNNER 2049
- A 2007 interview with Harrison Ford now available to American readers for the first time
- Exclusive interviews with Rutger Hauer and Sean Young
A fascinating look at the ever-shifting interface between commerce and art, illustrated with production photos and stills, Future Noir provides an eye-opening and enduring look at modern moviemaking, the business of Hollywood, and one of the greatest films of all time.
Paul M. Sammon – Prior to principal photography on BLADE RUNNER, Sammon was commissioned by Cinefantastique magazine to do a special article on the making of the movie. His detailed observations and research later became the book Future Noir: The Making of BLADE RUNNER. As a writer, Sammon is the author of books on director Ridley Scott, the making of STARSHIP TROOPERS and horror films.. His journalism pieces have seen print in The American Cinematographer, Cahiers du Cinema, The Los Angeles Times, Omni, Cinefex, and Cinefantastique. Sammon’s fiction has appeared in Peter Straub’s Ghosts (1995), and he recently edited both the 1994 “dead Elvis” anthology The King Is Dead plus the “no limits” Splatterpunk anthologies. But Paul also works in the movies. He first entered the industry as a publicist in the late 1970s, before moving on as a second-unit director, special effects coordinator, still photographer, electronic press kit producer, and Vice President of Special Promotions, working on ROBOCOP, PLATOON, BLUE VELVET, CONAN THE BARBARIAN and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.
By the late 1980s, Sammon was working in Japanese television, returning to the U.S, in the 1990s where served as Computer Graphics Supervisor for ROBOCOP 2 and was Digital and Optical Effects Supervisor for 1995’s XTRO: Watch the Skies. Check out his other books.
An extended interview with Paul M. Sammon appeared in The Blade Zone, the online BLADE RUNNER Fan Club.
Check out Off-World: The BLADE RUNNER Wiki.
The original trailer
The editor/publisher of EatDrinkFilms, Gary Meyer, played a part in the BLADE RUNNER saga which is discussed in Future Noir.
In 1991 he booked the “work print” version ( thinking, as did Warner Brothers, that it was the “Director’s Cut.”) into the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles for a limited run. It got rave reviews and set house records. Ridley Scott heard about it and protested that this was not his “Director’s Cut” though he would like to work on one.
“A Prime Cut : Ridley Scott’s original ‘Blade Runner’–with its bravura visuals but without that grating voice-over–resurfaces after nine years” by Kenneth Turan; LA Times, October 13, 1991.|
The “work print” was not a Director’s Cut as advertised on this flyer.
This photograph was taken during the engagement and became the holiday card for Landmark that year.
Ridley Scott tells Wired how he created The BLADE RUNNER he always imagined.
“The Final Cut” is playing at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland ,California through Tuesday, October 3 and will also show in selected cinemas around the country October 4 and 5.
Roger Ebert’s 4 star review of “The Final Cut”.
Ridley Scott and his team discuss creating the unicorn dream sequence
How to make your own BLADE RUNNER origami unicorn.
First part with additional instructions here:
BLADE RUNNER Cuts: It Doesn’t Matter Which Version You Watch: Just watch it any way you can.
Listening To Blade Runner- The Music
Blade Runner: The Other Side of Modernity
Constructing a Future Noir screenplay
There are many editions and versions available on DVD including a special 4 disc set with all four versions of the film (the original theatrical cut, the international theatrical cut, the 1992 director’s cut, and the 2007 final cut). There are also making-of documentaries included. So far only The Final Cut is on BluRay,
What if BLADE RUNNER was made in another era? Check out more by Peter Stults.
Extended Trailer for BLADE RUNNER 2049, opening October 5 everywhere.
Here is the Official site.
Watch EatDrinkFilms for the BLADE RUNNER 2049 Prologue Trilogy of short films posting October 5.