Is Ridley And Tony Scott's Blade Runner Spin-Off Actually Happening?

Update: Henry Jenkins has told me via Twitter that he was referring to Purefold and had missed the update that the project was no longer happening.

As well as being interesting in all the ways you'd think an interview with Steven Lisberger, creator of Tron, would be interesting, a new video chat conducted by Henry Jenkins has a very surprising twist thrown into the mix too. You can see a video of their chat beyond the break – the first part anyway, while the rest resides at Confessions of an Aca Fan. At the 4:23 mark, Jenkins says the following:

I mean, the Scott Brothers are returning to Blade Runner with a new project right now, which is roughly the same vintage.

The same vintage as Tron, he's saying, in case you got lost. So, what's this about a new Blade Runner project...?

Wright revealed at the Creative Screenwriting event that they have been working on various treatments for a Blade Runner sequel over the last couple years. And there is also the claim that recently the duo have been working with Blade Runner co-executive producer Bud Yorkin on the project. It should be noted that Yorkin likely doesn't control the rights to a Blade Runner sequel, and all of this is being developed outside of the studio.

But this isn't just some small side project, Travis also claims that they are already working with a pre-visualization team on some of the hunter action sequences for their eventual pitch with the studio. I don't believe that Ridley Scott is involved, but the screenwriting team has worked directly with his brother Tony Scott on projects, so their might be a possible connection.

A week later, Wright e-mailed /Film with clarification:

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.

So we know that the project was in development, and we know that in 2005, it had not gotten to script stage. Has anything happened in the meantime?

Last June I wrote a post asking if Ridley and Tony Scott are "really working on a Blade Runner prequel". In that post I quoted co-producer as saying:

We don't take any of the canon or copyrighted assets from the movie. It's actually based on the same themes as Blade Runner It's the search for what it means to be human and understanding the notion of empathy. We are inspired by Blade Runner.

He then added the following in the comments:

A couple or so corrections/clarifications for you: Ag8 is not the 'studio' that will be making the films – that will be the RSA directors. Ag8 is the studio that created the Purefold franchise. There will not be any product placement – we are working with very different models of funding and interaction. The relationship to Blade Runner will be explained over the forth coming weeks, along with the 'use' values of the Purefold entertainment property. Stay tuned.

Well, I stayed tuned and what happened was not good news. Here's something of a statement from the AG8 site:

A combination of factors have prevented this ambitious project from gathering the required funds to get off the ground. Purefold envisaged to break with some of the traditional components of branded content initiatives. Set in the near future, the project relied on prototype placement (or product invention) instead of product placement as a way to integrate advertisers into storytelling.

Combining so many innovations proved to be a challenging recipe for most agencies and advertisers and despite advanced collaborations with several A-list brands, a lack of sufficient funding meant that Purefold was unable to move from script development stage into production stage.

So, it wouldn't seem to be that project Jenkins is talking about, unless he has only old information.

I don't think we know the truth about Blade Runner 2 yet, and I hope it isn't too long before something solid comes into focus. Unlike many people, however (or so I would assume) I'd be very keen to see Ridley Scott return to that world and those themes.

Here's the first half of the Lisberger interview. It's well worth your time.

Via Aint it Cool