News, — August 20, 2011 11:50 — 0 Comments
Thirty years on it will be interesting to see how the story is handled this time, although with no sequel from Philip K Dick to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep the studio, Alcon, will have to commission an original screenplay. “We are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction,” says Alcon who bought the rights. No pun intended I presume?
As a dark, dystopian flop it seemed, in 1982, that Blade Runner was a place its British director, Ridley Scott, should flee from and never return. As the years wore on, things changed. Rereleases – most significantly a director’s cut – saw it become a commercial success. Critics caught up with a growing army of fans, and it was hailed as a classic – a pioneer of neo-noir.
Inevitably, there followed calls for sequels, prequels and remakes. It had appeared that Scott was destined to resist, thereby disappointing those hankering to know more of Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, and Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). But 30 years on, it seems as though Scott is finally ready to go back to Blade Runner.
The US production company Alcon Entertainment, which bought the rights to make a new film earlier this year, confirmed this week that Scott had agreed to be involved. “We are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction,” said producers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. “We are huge fans of Ridley’s and of the original Blade Runner. This is a once-in-a-lifetime project for us.”
Kosove told Reuters: “The idea was always to go right to Ridley and that’s exactly what we did.” He added that having Scott attached “gives people a level of comfort about how serious we are”.
Based on the 1968 Philip K Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner was not a box office or critical hit at the time but has gathered plaudits over the years. Negative critical opinion of the film was largely reversed with the arrival in 1992 of Scott’s own director’s cut, which excised the original theatrical release’s studio-commissioned Ford voiceover and a ham-fisted pegged-on “happy ending” denouement which the film-maker is said to have hated.
At 73, Scott is a Hollywood elder statesman and will no doubt have secured final cut as part of his deal to return as director. Alcon has not revealed whether the new Blade Runner will be a sequel or prequel to the original. Dick never wrote a sequel to the book, so Alcon will probably be aiming to produce an original story. Three follow-up novels by the writer’s friend, KW Jeter, were written between 1995 and 2000 to try to resolve some of the differences between Blade Runner and its source novel, but they were poorly received and are not widely read.
Ford appears unlikely to return in the new Blade Runner. Alcon makes no mention of him in its press release announcing Scott’s signing and in any case, his involvement would ruin the central enigma at the heart of the original film.
Set in an overpopulated future Los Angeles that never sees the sunlight, Scott’s movie is about a “blade runner”, Rick Deckard (Ford) who is tasked with taking out a gang of replicants (android outlaws) who have escaped to Earth from an offworld colony. The film-maker left the audience to decide whether Deckard himself is in fact also a replicant.
The new film is unlikely to appear before 2013. Scott is also making Prometheus – which sees him return to the universe of his early sci-fi classic, Alien.
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