Sometimes what drives people to make a movie is money. Sometimes it’s ego. And, sometimes, it’s a desire to just tell a great story.
But for Denis Villeneuve, the directing firebrand behind the likes of Sicario and Arrival, when it came to Blade Runner 2049, it wasn’t so much a choice as a need. “Blade Runner is one of my favourite movies,” he says of Ridley Scott’s original sci-fi classic from 1982. “I said to myself, ‘They will do it. No matter what, the studio will move forward and make it [the sequel]. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I know I will give it all my love and skills. I will work so hard.’ I didn’t want it to fall into the hands of someone that wouldn’t. I knew I would give my blood to make sure it respects the spirit of the first movie. I was afraid to see a sequel to Blade Runner, but I knew that at least if I did it, I would have some control over it. At least then I could only blame myself.”
That’s what Blade Runner does to people. That’s what it means. And that’s why this sequel is the most-anticipated movie of 2017, by a lunar mile.
The original – that saw Harrison Ford’s future cop Deckard track down and kill a bunch of replicants headed up by Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty – was powered by Scott and his star, and both have given their seal of approval to this follow-up. The latter is even in it, now being hunted himself by Ryan Gosling’s Officer K in a world burned to a crisp by its brutal new climate.
And, like its ancestor, this is a sci-fi made up of equal parts spectacle and substance. “There was a melancholia in the first movie, a nostalgic feeling of loneliness and existential doubt,” says Villeneuve. “I hope what we have achieved is as meaningful for people as it is to me.”
Blade Runner 2049 is released on October 5.