Why Blade Runner 2049 Director Was ‘Frightened’ to Make the Sequel

Blade Runner 2049 poster art

Denis Villeneuve says he was initially frightened by the prospect of making Blade Runner: 2049. The long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi film, Blade Runner (loosely adapted from Philip K. Dick's novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), comes 35 years after the original movie hit theaters and changed the scope of the genre forever. Although Scott returned to the director's chair for the Alien prequel series, he opted to have another filmmaker take over those duties for the Blade Runner sequel.

Villeneuve was an inspired choice for the job, considering that he hadn't done any major sci-fi projects at the time, but his filmography - consisting of critically-acclaimed films such as Prisoners and Sicario, as well as Arrival, which released after he already joined Blade Runner: 2049 - proved that he was ready for the task. Still, that doesn't mean he wasn't at least hesitant and worried about taking on such a bold undertaking, especially considering how high the expectations are for the upcoming sequel.

Den of Geek has spoken to Villeneuve ahead of Blade Runner: 2049's release this weekend, and the filmmaker revealed that he was "frightened" at first about the idea of directing the Blade Runner sequel, but once he read the script - written by the original film's screenwriters Hampton Fancher and Michael Green - and understood that it wasn't a rehash of the original, then his initial fears were alleviated.

Blade Runner 2049 - Denis Villeneuve, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling

“At the beginning, I was frightened to the core. Before I read the screenplay, my first reaction was I thought this was very exciting that Ridley Scott wanted to do it, but at the same time, I was thinking, ‘Is it the most fantastic bad idea of all time?’ There's a trend to revisit all those classics. I wasn't sure until I read the screenplay. When I read the screenplay I understood what the idea was behind it and saw the potential to make a great movie.”

It's no secret that Hollywood has been consumed with remaking and rebooting classic films, as well as finally getting around to producing long-awaited sequels. However, just because certain films were critically and commercially successful the first time around, that doesn't mean they would be again, especially if the only goal is to simply repeat what came before. Thankfully, that's not what's happening with the Blade Runner series.

“There was very strong ideas in the screenplay. I said, ‘Okay, I get it.’ It's not a regurgitation, it's not recycling something. It's really approaching it from a different angle with the same kind of poetry. That's why I felt compelled [to do it]. It took me a while before I said yes because it's such a huge responsibility. But at the same time, it made sense, from an artistic point of view, to take that risk. I had done some movies that were giving me the privilege to maybe be part of this project, and I was ready to risk everything because artistically it made sense.”

Although much of the film's burden was placed on Villeneuve's shoulders, he wasn't the only one who was initially fearful about making a Blade Runner sequel. Ryan Gosling, who plays LAPD Officer K in the film, was also skeptical about the project, that is until he read the script. Considering that Blade Runner: 2049 has been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and is projected to have an exceptional worldwide opening, it sounds like Villeneuve and the rest of the cast and crew were able to overcome their fears and create a worthy Blade Runner sequel.

Source: Den of Geek

Key Release Dates
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017) release date: Oct 06, 2017
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