Blade Runner 2049 trailer breakdown 13

There are multiple cuts of the original film. Which one of those were you making a sequel to?

The thing is, I was raised with the first one. For me, there was one Blade Runner. At the time, there was no internet; there was no [film critic] A.O. Scott. I remember seeing the first movie and falling deeply in love with it. It became, for me, an instant classic. Me and my friends were deeply in love with it. I remember a few months later reading a review of the movie that was very bad. I became so angry because I felt the critic was all wrong because he felt that the adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s novel was not right. I totally disagreed.

Later on, I discovered what Ridley’s initial dream was and I really loved Ridley’s version, too. The thing is, the key to make this movie was to be in-between. Because the first movie is the story of a human falling in love with a designed human being and the story of the other cut is the story of a replicant who doesn’t know he’s a replicant and slowly discovers his own identity. Those are two different stories. I felt like the key to dealing with that was in the original novel.

In the novel, the characters are doubting about themselves; they are not sure if they are replicants or not. For time to time, they’re running the Voigt-Kampff on themselves to make sure they’re humans. I love that idea. I decided that the movie would be on that side, too, that Deckard in the movie is as unsure as we are about what his identity is. I love that because I love mystery. That’s an interesting thing to me: not the knowing who he is or not but the doubt. Harrison and Ridley are still arguing about that. If you put them in the same room, they don’t agree. They start to talk to very loud. So I sat in the middle, like, “Welp.”

There’s a lot of secrecy surrounding this film, certainly more so than any other project you’ve previously worked on.

It’s insane. At one point I was talking to someone in my crew, and I realized, oh, he hadn’t read the screenplay. It’s a movie that’s designed on total secrecy, like a Star Wars movie or James Bond or something. The pressure of the internet, where every little spoiler goes viral…there’s like an appetite to spoil the movies.

Did you enjoy working on something so secretive?

[Laughs] No. Two things: one, on all of my previous movies, you go and you do a movie, and people don’t really care. No one was waiting for Sicario to get done. I didn’t have to lock my copy of the script in a safe at night. Nobody cared. It was easy. I want the audience to see the movie knowing as little as possible.

Once I was on the jury at a film festival. I watched every movie not knowing a thing about them, not even where they were from. You sit in a dark room, and that’s it. You don’t know if it’s a horror film or a comedy or if it’s from Kazakhstan or the United States. The impact of that, in discovering a movie that way, is just so powerful. But people have seen a ton of images or trailers [from movies]. Two days ago my editor, Joe Walker, saw the new trailer and he was watching like [in shock]. I was like, “It’s okay, Joe, it’s okay.”

But it’s hard. You work very hard to keep secret and create tension or surprise, and then the marketing department just shows it all. I hope some day I will have control of that. I understand the importance of marketing and the needs involved, but I wish we could sell movies without showing so much.

Blade Runner 2049

This is a much bigger movie than you’ve ever made, and you have Dune lined up next. Is that something you’re gravitating towards on purpose or is that just happening naturally?

It’s happening naturally, but at the same time, I never ever would’ve said yes to a project like this ten years ago. Each movie has its own challenges. I think it’s natural, as a filmmaker, to be inspired to take bigger risks. My movies have always been bigger, one after another, from a technical point-of-view. One of my favorite movies is Lawrence of Arabia. To make a movie like that, you need a lot of knowledge and experience. I’m slowly walking in that direction.

Honestly, it’s a blessing. If you’d told me ten years ago I was going to direct a Blade Runner sequel I would have laughed in your face. I would not have thought such a thing to be possible. But it happened naturally, and I had the time of my life doing this movie. To be working in that scope with these resources, to have the chance to build those sets, well… [Dropping a Roy Batty reference] I’ve seen things

There were some moments on set I never thought I’d get to experience as a director. Never thought I’d have those toys, and get to use them live. Doing it live makes it real. There is a weight and a presence to it. The Empire Strikes Back was much more impressive than the others with all the CGI. I’m not a big CG fan. It’s a powerful tool, but it cannot just be that. We did our best to always try to use models and real vehicles, to shoot real landscapes and have actual life in front of the camera. A lot of the shots are done in-camera. Roger Deakins was our cinematographer, and he really had the mastery to recreate the images. I’m not saying I’ll do it all my life, by right now I have the energy and desire that require these kinds of resources.

Did you keep anything from set?

There were some elements that I stole [Laughs]. You know, I have a lot of respect for directors who are doing sci-fi. I realized the amount of work required to do scenes in the future, to design all your clothes and all the little devices. It’s quite an exciting but exhausting journey. My admiration for Ridley Scott just skyrocketed while making this movie. It’s very difficult.


Blade Runner 2049 opens in theaters October 6.

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