Ryan Gosling, over the past few years especially, has tended to collaborate with noteworthy filmmakers and/or auteur-types - including, Nicolas Winding Refn, George Clooney, Derek Cianfrance, and most recently Shane Black (on the 2016 detective film The Nice Guys). He's readying himself to continue that practice in the future, on such projects as the Haunted Mansion movie developed by Guillermo del Toro - and, as we learned today, the Blade Runner sequel.
Blade Runner 2 (official title TBA) isn't going to be directed by original Blade Runner helmsman Ridley Scott, though the latter has spent years developing the script along with Michael Hampton (screenwriter on the original Blade Runner), as well as Michael Green - who also co-penned the upcoming Prometheus 2 (the followup to Scott's Alien quasi-prequel), which Scott does plan on directing.
The new Blade Runner installment will instead be helmed by Denis Villeneuve, who's made a bigger name for himself over the past couple years - with his work on such acclaimed features as the kidnapping drama/thriller Prisoners and the doppelgänger mystery/thriller Enemy. Variety reports that Gosling has entered negotiations to play a lead role in Blade Runner 2 (with Harrison Ford already confirmed to return as Rick Deckard), though beyond that there are no details about his potential role in the movie.
Villeneuve's next directorial effort - crime drama Sicario starring Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin - releases in theaters this fall, around the same time that the director will be working his next science-fiction feature: Story of Your Life (headlined by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner), with a 2016 release date target. It sounds as though scheduling won't be an issue for Gosling, given that he will have more than a year to go work on another film (like Haunted Mansion) before Villeneuve and his crew get the cameras rolling on Blade Runner 2. We'll let you know if things change, of course.
For a long time, the rumor was that Blade Runner 2 will have a female protagonist - but, given the Gosling news, it sounds as though that's either no longer the case or Gosling is up to sharing leading duties with the movie's actual protagonist. Scott has indicated in the past that Deckard's role in the Blade Runner sequel's narrative is limited - much like Ford as Han Solo is expected to be a supporting character in the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Which is to say: Blade Runner 2 will be Gosling's (and, maybe, a female costar's) show, first and foremost.
Many Blade Runner fans have strong reservations about a sequel, but admittedly... the project sounds fairly promising, thus far. It was partially developed by the same team responsible for the original trend-setting sci-fi/Noir feature (based on author Philip K. Dick's literature); that premise has been handed off to a good filmmaker whose artistic cred is only rising higher; and now, it looks to feature one of the better-respected 30-something leading men currently working in Hollywood. Doesn't sound at all bad, yes?
Blade Runner 2 is scheduled to begin filming in Summer 2016. We will let you know when the movie gets an official release date.