Denis Villeneuve has admitted that he stepped up to direct Blade Runner 2049, having already made peace with the project’s potential to fail. The movie is a direct sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult classic, starring Harrison Ford as the iconic Blade Runner. It’s been 35 years since Scott’s Blade Runner revolutionized cinematic science fiction, and the news that a sequel was imminent was met with some trepidation from fans.
Comparisons between Scott’s original and Villeneuve’s new instalment are already piling up, and there’s a generally positive consensus surrounding the sequel. Supporting actor Dave Bautista has claimed that Blade Runner 2049 is even better than the original, but not everyone involved in the production is as wildly positive. Villeneuve has now acknowledged that his movie has a very slim chance of actual success.
The Oscar-nominated director of last year’s exceptional Arrival, recently opened up to THR about the enormity of Blade Runner 2049, describing it as the “biggest artistic challenge” of his career. He said:
“Ryan Gosling and I made peace with the idea that the chances of success were very narrow. I came on board because the script was very strong. But no matter what you do, no matter how good what you’re doing is, the film will always be compared to the first, which is a masterpiece. So I made peace with that. And when you make piece with that, you are free.”
He went on to discuss the freedom that was afforded him by director Ridley Scott, who is credited with a great deal of the vision for the way Blade Runner was realized onscreen. Villeneuve claimed that Scott gave him a completely free reign when it came to the sequel, saying:
“To take Ridley Scott’s universe and try to make it my own was a really big task for me…He said, it’s your movie. I’ll be there if you need me, otherwise I’ll be away. And I must say he was not there physically, but I felt his presence all the time, because I was dealing with his universe all the time.”
The director’s comments reflect new frontman Ryan Gosling’s recent suggestion that Blade Runner 2049 is above all loyal to the original. That reverence for the first movie shines in the Blade Runner 2049 trailers, showcasing updated visuals and sounds that remain in-keeping with the universe’s neo-noir aesthetic. There’s also a sense of continuation in the forms of returning characters Rick Deckard (Ford) and the enigmatic Gaff (Edward James Olmos).
Villeneuve’s discussion of the movie’s potential failure shouldn’t be taken negatively however, with the director already having discussed the positive pressures of working on a movie like Blade Runner 2049. He’s previously described the movie as a “child of Blade Runner“, suggesting that this sequel is more than just a replicant of the first (pun intended).
Fans have had to wait almost four decades for a sequel to Blade Runner, but that wait is almost over. Blade Runner 2049 is one the most anticipated movies of the year, and though Villeneuve has tempered his own expectations of the movie’s success, he’s still dreaming of a future filled with electric sheep, having already teases a potential Blade Runner 3.
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