The director of Blade Runner 2049 just revealed that the theatrical release is his final version. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) helmed the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, which takes place 30 years after the events of the first film. Scott’s original took years to catch on with audiences, polarizing critics and tanking at the box office. It also had to endure several different versions due to meddling from various studio execs. The first theatrical edition of Blade Runner included a forced happy ending and voiceover narration from Harrison Ford, which were ultimately removed in later releases.
Even the 1992 “Director’s Cut” of the original Blade Runner wasn’t Scott’s final version, as the director didn’t hold total creative control over the film until the “Final Cut” released in 2007. But it appears that Villeneuve didn’t face the same kind of problems, as the film that you see in theaters will be the director’s definitive vision.
According to Villeneuve’s comments on the new film in his interview with Europe Plus, fans won’t have to wait for a special release to see the “Director’s Cut” of Blade Runner 2049, because they’ll see it when it’s released on Oct. 6. He also believes you do not necessarily need to see the original Blade Runner in order to understand or enjoy the sequel – which makes sense, considering the world-changing events that take place in the 30 years between the two films. Here’s what he had to say about the theatrical release (scroll to the 5:09 mark to see the full comment):
“The thing is, the movie you’re going to see is the director’s cut. There will be no further … maybe there’ll be a ‘studio version’ [laughs], maybe a producer version, but not a director’s version. That’s my director’s cut. So I don’t think there will be further versions. If there are alternate versions, they’re not from me.”
Recent reports about Blade Runner 2049 suggested that Villeneuve was able to exercise complete artistic freedom over the project. The sequel is much longer than its predecessor at 2 hours, 32 minutes, and its R rating indicates that the director did not need to use much restraint with its content. Additionally, he did not rely on green screens to create the film’s world, instead using real sets and minimizing CGI in favor of practical effects. Actress Ana de Armas said the approach was a huge benefit for the cast, who had “nothing to imagine” while performing.
Although Villeneuve is tackling his first big-budget production with the Blade Runner follow-up, the fact that he was able to deliver his official cut of the film in the initial release shows that producers may have learned from the mistakes made with the original. The director is coming from quite the hot streak with recent works like Arrival, Sicario, and Prisoners proving he can be trusted to create visually arresting, thematically compelling films on his own. He may be under a lot of pressure to live up to the original’s legacy, but as far as modern directors go, there were few better choices to put behind the camera.
Of course, just because the theatrical release of Blade Runner 2049 is technically the “Director’s Cut”, that doesn’t mean Warner Bros. won’t try to find ways to release other versions. An extended edition with deleted or alternate scenes may be possible, even though it could stretch the film over three hours and wouldn’t necessarily receive Villeneuve’s endorsement. Ridley Scott famously re-cut Alien so 20th Century Fox could re-release it, even though he prefers the theatrical release. For now, though, the idea that the director did not face any creative resistance has to be taken as a promising sign for the impending release.
Source: Europe Plus
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