Blade Runner 2 has already attracted a star-studded cast behind and in front of the camera, with French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners and Enemy) spearheading the project, Ryan Gosling primed to star, and both Harrison Ford and former franchise director Ridley Scott returning in supporting roles (co-star and producer, respectively). With plenty of critical successes on his professional resume, Villeneuve is a reasonable choice for director going forward on the project, with the ability to enliven the franchise and offer a fresh perspective on its source narrative (especially when compared to Scott's prior genre film follow-up, Prometheus).
Excitement for the new film is steadily building to a fever pitch, though Villeneuve, Scott, Ford, Gosling, and company have a fairly steep task to surmount, as the original film from 1982 is a highly revered cult classic. Fortunately, it appears that Villeneuve has the legacy of Scott's original film in the forefront of his mind, and had plenty to say at the Toronto International Film Festival on the subject.
In conversation with Collider, the French-Canadian director took a break from doing press for his new thriller Sicario to comment on taking over a legacy film like Blade Runner. In regards to the importance of the film to viewers around the world, Villeneuve assured fans of the property that he is aware of the concerns involved in making his sequel, stating:
"When I heard that Ridley Scott wanted to do another movie in the Blade Runner universe, at first my reaction was that it’s a fantastic idea, but it may be a very bad idea. I’m among the hardcore fans of Blade Runner. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s a movie that is linked with my love and passion for cinema."
Despite said reservations as an acolyte of the original feature, Villeneuve went on to address his excitement about the project and his intentions behind the camera, commenting:
“I’m totally aware of the huge challenge. It’s a risk I know that every single fan who walks into the theater will walk in with a baseball bat. I’m aware of that and I respect that, and it’s okay with me because it’s art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It’s gonna be the biggest risk of my life but I’m okay with that. For me it’s very exciting; it’s just so inspiring, I’m so inspired. I’ve been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said ‘no’ to a lot of sequels. I couldn’t say ‘no’ to Blade Runner. I love it to much, so I said, ‘Alright fuck it, I will do it and give everything I have to make it great.’”
The director was reticent to comment on exactly where Blade Runner 2 might take viewers, though he did state that his film will be fully "autonomous," with the added support from Ford as a crucial link to the original motion picture. Additionally, cinematographer Roger Deakins' involvement was reportedly enthusiastic, with Villeneuve claiming that Deakins decided to become involved within "maybe 2.5 seconds."
Villeneuve's heart is definitely in the right place as director, and his enthusiasm and optimism for the sequel is as inspiring as anything that the original film had to offer. For now, fans can rest assured that the team behind Blade Runner 2 has the right idea regarding the film, and should be able to deliver on an entirely new narrative that's able to stand up on its own while offering thoughtful homage to the original.
We'll keep you informed on all Blade Runner 2 developments as they are released, but you can see Sicario in theaters in the U.S. on September 18th, 2015.