Denis Villeneuve Thought Blade Runner 2049 Could've Ended His Career

The word behind the scenes even while Denis Villeneuve was making the 2017 sequel "Blade Runner 2049" was that Warner Bros. Pictures knew they didn't have a blockbuster on their hands, but were putting a lot of muscle behind the project because they believed in him as a filmmaker. In other words, every once in a while a studio will deliberately set a pile of money on fire and then stand next to a working fire hose without ever turning it on because they want to foster talent they feel will eventually bring in boatloads of money and/or awards. 

The fact is "Blade Runner 2049" performed to or possibly even exceeded expectations, losing around $80 million for the studio but scoring two Oscars for its brilliant cinematography and visual effects, and like its predecessor is almost assured to eventually slide quietly into the black as the years go on. With Warner Bros. now fully behind the director's big budget adaptation of "Dune," they're clearly hoping Villeneuve can pay them back the favor by giving them a thriving sci-fi franchise with many future books to adapt (including the second half of the first one). 

However, there was a time when the Canadian helmer thought his best days were behind him after he made the decision to possibly desecrate Ridley Scott's widely beloved 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner," which was itself initially a box office failure. 

"It was sacrilegious what I did."

In a new interview with MTV's Happy Sad Confused podcast (via IndieWire) Denis Villeneuve talked about how close he felt he came to truly falling into a Nietzschean abyss:

"The miracle for me about 'Blade Runner 2049' is the following: I'm still making movies and you're still talking to me. I knew that when I did this movie I flirted with disaster. I put myself into massive artistic danger. That was walking, as Christopher Nolan said to me once... walking on sacred territory. It's true. It was sacrilegious what I did. I was told, 'You don't do that.' Just the fact that I'm still here making movies, for least I wasn't banned from the filmmaker community. It was a dangerous game."

As one of those people who actively disliked the idea of a sequel to "Blade Runner," one of my all-time seminal favorite films, I had to admit upon leaving the theater that "Blade Runner 2049" was far better than it had any right to be. Did it justify its own reason for being? Not in my eyes. It still felt forced and unnecessary. Was it gorgeous to look at and full of brilliant Phil Dick-ian existential ideas? 100%. In the future "Blade Runner 2049" will be far more than a curious asterisk like Peter Hyams' hackneyed "2010: The Year We Make Contact," and hopefully Villeneuve will keep getting the support he needs to create more bold visions.