Posted on Monday, October 6th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
Last week we broke the news that the original screenwriters of Eagle Eye were working on a big screen sequel to Blade Runner. We attempted to contact screenwriter Travis Wright for a few days before we ran the story, but were not met with a response (as it turns out he was in France location scouting for a film). We were however able to speak with three separate people who were in attendance at the Creative Screenwriting special screening of Eagle Eye where Travis revealed his intentions to script Blade Runner 2, and talked about his past history on the project. Within hours of reporting the story, Travis’ former writing partner John Glenn wrote in to clear up some of the story. Apparently he is no longer involved in the project, but he did confirm that he had worked with Travis in developing a sequel for Blade Runner producer Bud Yorkin years earlier.
I was on my way to my press screening of Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies (how ironic) when I received this detailed e-mail from Wright, explaining the entire story, clearing up some of the misconceptions (previs), and discussing his intentions in wanting to script a Blade Runner sequel. With Wright’s permission, I have included most of that email below.
First off, let me just state a few facts. John Glenn and I were paid to explore a potential secret sequel from 03-05 and wrote several BR sequel approaches working with Bud Yorkin. We never went to script — a fact I mentioned at the q and a — and it wasn’t meant to be some big announcement. I’m proud of my work on Eagle Eye and I was there talking about screenwriting to an audience of aspiring writers about my experiences. Having worked on BR is no bs, as I have the contract and pay stubs to prove it. And since Jg and I were paid to write a script, I plan to write one at some point solo with or without anyone’s blessings. Whether anyone ever reads it or even cares remains to be seen.
I probably should’ve never mentioned BR, actually, but it was the day before my first produced credit opened, I just had my first baby Sept 3rd (three weeks before), and I was talking openly about former projects and it came out in that context. I know jg isn’t interested now in even being associated with the idea of a BR sequel, so please have your readers devote any hate mail at me –> as I certainly am.
I am a geek. I am a total fan boy. I have toys all over my office that JG has always made fun of (we’ve been friends since third grade). But I’d sooner cut out my heart than give up the relics of so many hours of imaginative play. My toys are like my dreams — they sustain me.
My single mom (a paralegal, like the ‘Rachel’ character in Eagle Eye, whose name is a nod to the BR character) couldn’t afford to take my brother and I to the movies. So I was a paperboy in Phoenix from 4 grade through 8th grade to afford to see movies every friday and saturday night.
After my paper route, here’s how i supported my film addiction: busboy and then front desk clerk in Kansas City; a sales associate at Kay Bee Toy store in Phoenix; laying adobe roof tiles in the Arizona heat; a maitre de at the restaurant in the Space Needle; a tour guide at Pitzer College; a writing tutor for the Claremont Colleges; a deli employee at Bristol Farms in South Pasadena; a temp at Disney in publicity and marketing; volunteer driver at Sundance for three festivals; a tough desk for a sr. vice president of production at Walt Disney Pictures and Universal Pictures; received a MFA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, TV, and New Media; and even worked as a handyman for Winona Ryder because my former girlfriend (Sibi Blazic, now Batman’s wife) was her assistant and I’m handy with a hammer.
In short, I paid my dues. Again and again and again.
My only intention as a writer, in pursuing this project, is to help explore some of the questions Blade Runner raises that were the fodder for endless debate among my friends for two decades now.
What does it mean to be human? That’s the central question in life and the paramount question in Science Fiction. More pointedly: Is or isn’t Deckard a replicant? What happens to Rachel? What are the off world colonies like? What happens to replicants once Tyrell is killed by one of his creations? These are some of the questions we explored with Bud Yorkin for a few years and I believe are a great basis for a story many fans like me are dying to see. Working on them has been a dream.
A few more facts. Unrelated to BR, I’ve been developing an original Star Wars-level space epic that I’ve spoken to The Third Floor (the best previsualization team in the business) about ‘prevising’ some of my sequences like they did for Lucas on Star Wars III. As part of those discussions, I’ve taken Bud Yorkin to see what these genuises do in helping filmmakers achieve their visions in a way previous generations of storytellers never imagined. Seeing the techniques TTF are using is like taking acid and seeing a vision of the future of this business. It’s like seeing an iphone when the world is using rotary dials. Astounding.
Side note: TTF even work with dj caruso in ‘prevising’ the opening sequence of Eagle Eye, btw, as well as the tunnel sequence with the unmanned fighter in EE’s third act.
Bud and I have discussed informally about developing a ‘previs’ loosely based on one of my former BR treatments that’s set off world and explores the questions above. No deal is in place. Let me repeat, no deal is in place. JG may end up with a story credit depending on how much of any story work we did previously remains in the final approach. But that is years away and there are many hurdles between now and then, any one of which could kill the project moving forward. So far just keeping the conversation alive is like shark-fishing with dental floss. My fingers are bloody, but i’m convinced someday i’ll succeed. In the meantime, I’ve developed my own slate of original films that you’ll hear more about in the future. And that’s about as clear as I can be at two am in an old abbey outside of Paris on my iTouch.
I’m very proud of my work with John on RED WORLD, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, THE WARRIORS, CLASH OF THE TITANS, RADIANT, THE HEAVEN PROJECT (JG wrote and directed and I was one of five producers) and EAGLE EYE (which we did three official drafts for and I for one am very proud that the finished shooting script is scene for scene, character for character, our note cards from our initial pitch).
I know there will be haters in regards to ever continuing Deckard’s story, but in my lifetime I’d love to sit in the theater on a friday night of its opening weekend and watch as Deckard sees attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. Who wants to be there with me?!? Geek on.