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T.V. Documentary

Andrew Abbott


Running Time: 55'

With the participation of:
Rutger Hauer
Ridley Scott
Joanna Cassidy
Joe Turkel
Daryl Hannah
M. Emmet Walsh
William Sanderson
James Hong
Hampton Fancher - Screenwriter
David Peoples - Screenwriter
Syd Mead - Visual Futurist
Bud Yorkin - Co-Financier
Lawrence G. Paull - Production Designer
David Snyder - Art Director
Douglas Trumbull - Special Effects Director
Richard Yuricich - Special Effects Director
Michael Deeley - Producer
Katherine Haber - Production Executive
Paul Sammon - author of "Future Noir - The Making of Blade Runner"

Presented by:
Mark Kermode

At the beginning of the 21st century, Andrew Abbott celebrates this cult film (originally released in June 1982) set in the year 2019, with exclusive interviews with Ridley Scott and key members of the cast and crew.
Now "Blade Runner" is considered one of the most influential films in the cinema history but upon its release it got controversial reviews, going from "a complete failure" to "a forewarning masterpiece". To Mark Kermode now "Blade Runner" looks "increasingly like dark prophecy as we move even closer to the edge of it".
Rutger says that one of the messages conveyed by "Blade Runner" is that, "The future is old".

Philip K. Dick, the writer of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"(which inspired "Blade Runner"), got the idea of replicants by reading the diary of an SS officer who said that "the screams of children keep me awake at night". Dick could not see the released version of it - he died just before it, but he could see the shape it was taking during the months of production and shooting in the clever hands of Ridley, and he (notoriously difficult to please and in constant conflict with Hollywood's system) commented, "How was it possible? This feels exactly like what I had in my head when I was writing this".

The documentary features never before seen footage (like the hospital scene with Harrison Ford-Deckard and Morgan Paull-Holden), as well as special effects, original design and storyboard drawings, and some locations where this film was shot, such as the Burbank Studios where some of the buildings still exist - for example Chew's Eye Factory, or the Bradbury Building, downtown L.A., where the final chase scenes between Roy and Deckard take place.

"We were filming in a helicopter about one inch from Los Angeles skyscrapers" says Abbott, and the striking effect is that you cannot see so much difference between the Blade Runner's sky-viewed L.A. and the real, present L.A.
As Rutger recalls, "When Blade Runner was released, some people's reactions were 'No, it's not possible, this is not L.A. It can't be!, that's not my city! JEEZUS'". People were in fact realizing that what they were watching was not that far from reality.

In "Blade Runner - The Director's Cut" one of the added scenes was the appearance of a unicorn while Deckard is lost in dreams. This same image appears again at the end of the film when he picks up an origami model discarded by another character, Gaff. Since the replicants had no memories of their own (which were in fact implanted) this can be seen as a sign that Gaff knew what Deckard was thinking because it was an image shared by other non-humans, and in this documentary Ridley confirms - with a grin, "He's a replicant".
Rutger thinks that this may be a sort of Ridley's joke, "In films we can make you believe whatever we want you to believe" he once stated.

Another strong characteristic of "Blade Runner" is the music, prepared working on every single scene by the Greek composer Vangelis. Rutger remembers, "When I heard the first notes I went 'WOW'".

Ridley explains, "What we've done was a kind of a dark novel, it was rather novelistic. I didn't realize that that eventually became the true longevity of the whole film - you revisit it constantly like re-reading one of your favourite books. You always find you get sucked in again. I still think it's one of the best films I ever made".

"Unfortunately we couldn't get an interview with Ford", admits Abbott. "He hates talking about it. But we did get a good sense of the on-set conflicts that occured. In part it was because Ridley was new to L.A. at the time and the crews were unused to working the way he did. He was perceived by Ford to be uncommunicative, but Rutger Hauer totally got it. I think it's because they're both from northern Europe. Ridley is a Geordie so doing a 'dark city' kind of film probably appealed. Rutger also enjoyed the ironies of the script - and consequently he became the true star of the film".
Rutger comments, "The replicants were all such great characters and Harrison Ford's character is such a dumb character - he gets a gun put to his head and then he fucks a dish-washer and falls in love with her. He doesn't make any sense. He's introduced as the detective hero, but he is not the hero, he is the bad guy. His world didn't seem to fit him, or he couldn't make it fit - I know that that was going on and I don't know why, but if he would have been stronger, I wouldn't have been so shiny, you know".

Philip Kindred Dick was born in Chicago on December 16, 1928. His twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick (some sources mention her middle name as Kindred too) died forty-one days after their birth but she remained a part of his life until the day he died.

During his high school years, Dick showed a passion for and comprehensive knowledge of classical music. This interest led him to work for a few years with a T.V. sales and repair store that also sold records. Dick's love of music had also influenced many of his stories. Although Dick briefly attended the University of California at Berkeley, studying philosophy and German, in 1947 he abandoned his studies. During his short experience with higher education, Dick got acquainted with many intellectual and radical artists, and became deeply involved in the popular literature of the community, including realists such as John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Richard Wright. Dick also admired authors such as H. P. Lovecraft and Fredrik Brown.
After meeting Anthony Boucher, editor of 'Fantasy and Science Fiction', and attending some of his workshops, Dick was inspired to return to writing with renewed enthusiasm. Science fiction started to attract him more than ever before due to its lack of boundaries - he said that science fiction excludes no types of ideas.
Dick continued to write sci-fi novels throughout the '50s, but at the end of the decade the genre went through a crisis period. Dick attempted to get into the literary mainstream and be accepted as a realist writer, but publishers rejected all his works. The best of these, 'Confessions of a Crap Artist', was finally published in 1975.
Although Dick was much more prosperous in the 1960s, due to an increasing general interest in science fiction, he was only paid one/two thousands dollars per novel, and he had to write at an amazing speed for he and his family to survive. In that period he won the Hugo Award in 1962 for 'The Man in the High Castle'. Unfortunately, Dick had to depend on amphetamines for creativeness and energy, and this further worsened his already undermined physical and mental health. Breakdowns went on, and he earned only an average of $12,000 per year, and this was accomplished only by writing at a tremendous high speed to sustain the productivity level.
Dick stopped writing for a while and got even deeper into drug-addiction. He tried to commit suicide in Vancouver, got into a drug rehabilitation center and in 1972 he moved to Southern California.
Dick suddenly died on March 2, 1982 of a stroke. His death came just at the beginning of his critical acclaim and increased book sales. In the few years before his death, Dick had eventually experienced some self-accomplishment from his writing. The book 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' (1968) inspired the cult film 'Blade Runner' in 1982, and the sale of its rights brought Dick a good living. He had finally succeeded in obtaining from the literal community and from readers the critical success he was looking for.

Dick had wonderful comments about David Peoples and his professionalism as a screenwriter. He commented, referring to the script, "This is the February 1981 version by David. Now there's no problem. Now I can quite sincerely say that I am terribly enthusiastic and it won't be just the special effects because there will be a coherent storyline. There's an excellent storyline. Peoples did a terrific job. He's got one thing there that moved me to tears, and it's not in my book. It's something that he inserted and it's beautiful. The guy's a genius. It was a scene between Roy Batty and Deckard. It's the final confrontation where artistry is needed. I started reading that scene and it starts out about the same, 'I'm gonna kill you or you're gonna kill me, only one of us will emerge', and I thought, well, we're gonna wind up with the same thing, but we didn't! The guy solved it artistically; how to take that scene, retain the confrontation and yet handle it artistically - and he substantially revised it - and I was moved to tears. I have to admit that in some ways Peoples improved over the book".

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