Reunion of Blade Runner icons

Harrison Ford, who returns to the Blade Runner franchise, talks about why the film is unique for the audience as well as the actors.
On the set of Blade Runner 2049 are (from far left) actors Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and director Denis Villeneuve.
On the set of Blade Runner 2049 are (from far left) actors Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and director Denis Villeneuve.PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
Blade Runner 1982.
Blade Runner 1982.

It has a new director at the helm and takes place 30 years after the events of the original, but Blade Runner 2049 reunites some of the key figures behind the iconic first film.

Ridley Scott, who directed the 1982 movie, serves as an executive producer; Hampton Fancher, a co-writer on the original, came up with a new story; and star Harrison Ford is back as Deckard, the "blade runner" who kills renegade androids even though - and this has been endlessly debated - he may or may not be one himself.

Working with Ford - the legendary star of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies - was pleasantly surprising for both director Denis Villeneuve and actor Ryan Gosling, they tell The Straits Times.

Villeneuve says he discovered "how strong a storyteller" the 75-year-old veteran star is, "that beyond his acting skills, how Harrison masters storytelling".

"He can think and express ideas about the overall arc of the movie and talk about his character in this context and not for the sake of his own ego, but to bring the story to a higher level.

"And that really impressed me. It was sometimes like going back to film school for me, in a great way - conversations with Harrison Ford about how to approach a scene, a line, a word, to make it so it would have an echo later in the storyline. I really loved it."

He's just as experienced as he is talented and that's a great combination... I didn't expect him to be so funny. I knew he was funny, but not that funny.

ACTOR RYAN GOSLING , on his Blade Runner 2049 co-star Harrison Ford, who was in the original Blade Runner (1982)

Gosling, 36, too, has nothing but admiration for Ford.

"He's just as experienced as he is talented and that's a great combination," the younger actor says.

"Most of what he's done is iconic and he's the common thread in all of that. You learn a great deal through working with him."

And, he adds: "I didn't expect him to be so funny. I knew he was funny, but not that funny."

For Villeneuve, the original film cast a long shadow; that is why his only condition before agreeing to take on the project was that he "needed Ridley Scott's blessing".

"I made the movie as best as I could, but my dream was Ridley would see it and that he would love it."

Villeneuve wanted to fashion his own take, but stay faithful to the feel of the original, which, like the 1968 Philip K. Dick novel that inspired Scott's film - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? - explores philosophical questions about the consciousness of engineered humanoids and what it means to be human in the first place.

"When I first saw it when I was 14, I was struck by the aesthetic point of view - it was the first time I was seeing a vision of the future like that, as sophisticated, as rich.

"And the more you revisit the movie over time, you will discover some philosophical themes that are quite profound.

"Every time I see the original Blade Runner, I see new things - that's the mark of a masterpiece. It's really a movie that you can grow up with."

Alison de Souza

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2017, with the headline 'Reunion of Blade Runner icons'. Print Edition | Subscribe