Confirmed: BLADE RUNNER 2 to Shoot This Summer…But Should it?

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BLADE RUNNER 2 is happening…but will it be any good?

Despite the headline above, it’s a fruitless pursuit to argue or comment as to whether or not remaking or sequelizing a beloved film classic is a good idea. Because, when it comes to the business of cinema, creative choices are almost always secondary to financial ones. If there’s ‘gold in them hills’ to mine, it will be mined regardless of what people want.

You get what you’re given.

Like Orson Welles sneers in CITIZEN KANE:

“The people will think what I TELL them to think!”

And really, once we accept that, we’ll all sleep easier.

Filmmaking is indeed a business, one that occasionally sculpts enduring works of art that transcend commerce and become mythical.

Ridley Scott’s beloved 1982 science fiction noir BLADE RUNNER is one of those films that has become lore and is one of a handful of genre pictures that truly earn the handle “visionary”.

Talk of a follow-up to that film (one that has never really cried for a a follow-up) has been bubbling for decades, but yesterday, Sony confirmed that yes, Virginia, BLADE RUNNER 2 is absolutely happening and going before the lens this July.

But like SUSPIRIA, BLADE RUNNER is not a mere movie, rather it is a completely realized, immersive experience whose environment relies heavily, almost exclusively, on the genius of its creator, Dario Argento in the former, Sir Ridley Scott in the latter.

It’s a mood piece that depends on several factors to live and breath. Scott’s direction. His sense of timing, rhythm and editorial discipline. His sparse use of dialogue and effective use of Vangelis’ New Age synth washes and orchestrations that combine with still-immaculate production design to present one of the most memorable filmed worlds ever captured.

Not to mention the film being based on the concepts of author and oracle Philip K. Dick…

BLADE RUNNER is not STAR WARS. It can’t be fabricated. It’s not a “Happy Meal” movie. It’s the real deal.

That said, the impending BLADE RUNNER 2 has quite a bit going for it already.

Scott has been replaced by French-Canadian visionary Denis Villeneuve, the remarkable talent behind such opulent films as PRISONERS, ENEMY (my God…what a movie) and the recent drug-drama-cum-giallo-thriller SICARIO.

He’s one of the most vital and interesting filmmakers working today.

The film will also star Ryan Gosling, whose Clint Eastwood -esque presence in Nicolas Winding Refn’s brilliant, designer psychodramas DRIVE and ONLY GOD FORGIVES add considerable gravitas to both of those stylish features. Gosling of course went out and directed another highly personal and sophisticated film of his own in the surreal, sexual LOST RIVER.

And, following in his franchise invigorating renaissance sparked with the new STAR WARS pic, Harrison Ford will also return as android hunting Deckard, who presumably, unless they pull a Schwarzenegger/TERMINATOR digital buff on him, is NOT an android himself, as many fans have long speculated.

BLADE RUNNER co-writer Hampton Fancher has also returned to write the script, itself based on ideas first laid out by Scott (who is also one of the producers).

So while none of us will know if BLADE RUNNER 2 will be a success creatively or financially, we hardcore fans of the near-perfect, expressionist original can rest easy that the project is in perhaps the best possible hands it can be in.

This writer is moderately excited and extremely intrigued.

Have a peek at the official studio press release below…

 

LOS ANGELES, CA, JANUARY 25, 2016 –Sony Pictures Releasing International will distribute Alcon Entertainment’s follow-up to Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece BLADE RUNNER in all overseas territories in all media; with Warner Bros. Pictures distributing in North America and Canada through its output agreement with Alcon, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. 

Denis Villeneuve is directing the film starring Ryan Gosling (The Big Short) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars) who is reprising his role as Rick Deckard. Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original) and Michael Green have written the original screenplay based on an idea by Fancher and Ridley Scott. The story takes place several decades after the conclusion of the 1982 original.

Alcon Entertainment acquired the film, television and ancillary franchise rights to BLADE RUNNER in 2011 from the late producer Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic science-fiction thriller. Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will produce along with Johnson and Kosove. Bud Yorkin will receive producer credit.

Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers. Ridley Scott will also executive produce.

The film marks Villenueve’s third collaboration with 13-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins, who will serve as cinematographer, following Alcon’s Prisoners and the hit drug-trafficking drama Sicario, which brought Deakins his latest Oscar nomination.

Principal photography on Villenueve’s new BLADE RUNNER film is scheduled to begin in July 2016.

States Kosove and Johnson: “We are excited to work with Tom Rothman, Michael Lynton and then entire Sony team on this very special project as well as maintaining our important and long-standing relationship with our domestic partner Warner Bros. Pictures.”

States Tom Rothman: “At Sony, we have made a strong commitment to the international marketplace.  We know of few projects with greater international potential than the long dreamed of sequel to Blade Runner, especially given the all-star creative team Andrew and Broderick have assembled.  We are deeply grateful to everyone at Alcon, Denis and Ridley for entrusting us with such a gift.  Working on a Blade Runner film also fulfills a long-time personal ambition, as I deeply love and admire the original.”

Among its many distinctions, BLADE RUNNER has been singled out as one of the greatest movies of all time by innumerable polls and media outlets, and overwhelmingly as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications.

Released in 1982 by Warner Bros. Pictures, BLADE RUNNER was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and was directed by Ridley Scott, following his landmark film, Alien. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction) and is now regarded by media and cineastes as one of the greatest movies of all time and the defining vision of the cyberpunk genre. 

In 1993, BLADE RUNNER was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry 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.