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Feature: Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Making the Cut

The very secial DVD release

With The Final Cut hitting DVD, director Ridley Scott reflects on his Science Fiction masterpiece…

It’s 25 years since Blade Runner opened to public indifference and a critical savaging. In the intervening years, director Ridley Scott’s remarkable future noir has gone on to be consistently reappraised, slowly coming to be seen as a visionary piece of Sci-Fi art, rather than the bleak misfire it was initially dismissed as. Having been presented in various cuts throughout the years, starting with the initial 1982 theatrical cut, complete with an unconvincing happy ending, Scott’s masterpiece is finally complete with the release of the Blade Runner: The Final Cut DVD. “The beginning of my film career was pretty damn good really,” says the no-nonsense Scott when asked how he came to direct Blade Runner. Having left behind an extremely successful career in advertising, Scott had won critical acclaim for his feature début, period drama The Duellists (1977), before a viewing of Star Wars had spurred him on to make his first Science Fiction classic Alien (1979). An international hit, Alien made Scott one of the most sought after young directors on the scene. “The producer, Michael Deeley, had this script called Dangerous Days which was based on a novel by Philip K Dick called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? And he said ‘Do you want to do it?’ And I said ‘no’ first of all, because it was another Science Fiction film.”

Deeley had initially approached the director while he was in post-production on Alien, and although Scott initially declined the offer, a meeting with screenwriter Hampton Fancher changed his mind. “Hampton had written something with the perception of a certain kind of budget,” reveals Scott. “A very internalized piece that would take place for the most part in an apartment block. And I said for this story to support the premise of Replication and creating more Human than Human robots I want to go outside and I want to open it up so the world outside supports that science, and that’s how the budget grew.” As anyone with a cursory knowledge of Blade Runner’s (as the film soon came to be known) production knows, the shoot was not a happy one with Scott having difficulty following Hollywood studio edicts and clashing with leading man Harrison Ford. “In many respects, no matter what Harrison thinks, I think this is one of his better performances. If you ever see him, tell him that,” laughs Scott. Brought in to play the film’s tortured central character Rick Deckard, the titular ‘Blade Runner’ sent to kill a group of renegade synthetic Humans known as Replicants, Ford, despite his misgivings about the storyline, helped give the film the believable quality Scott was hoping to achieve. “Science Fiction is so marvellous because it is an arena or a universe where anything can happen,” says Scott. “The problem with a lot of Science Fiction is that you have to draw your rule book, your parameters of what the truth is within the context of the fantasy. If you don’t do that, the story doesn’t really work and it all becomes rather bloody silly.”

by Chris Prince

Read the full interview in
Starburst #357

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #357
December 2007
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