Ryan Gosling is such a fan of Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner that years ago when the actor lived in downtown Los Angeles, he and his friends found themselves drawn to many of the locales featured in the film. “There were more than a few nights when we’d wander around the Bradbury Building or Union Station half-pretending we were blade runners,” Gosling says. Now the actor, 36, is starring as a blade runner in the much-anticipated sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and featuring the return of Rick Deckard himself, Harrison Ford.
Read on for more from Gosling about Blade Runner 2049 and working with Ford, and check out an exclusive new photo from the film below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve never done a big-budget film like this before, though I imagine you’ve had offers.
RYAN GOSLING: I guess. I try not to discriminate against budget, but they never felt right. I’m glad I waited. [Blade Runner] was one of the first films that I saw that I didn’t know how to feel when it was over. The line between heroes and villains was so blurred. It’s not a hero’s journey in any way. When I was a kid that was the storyline I had seen. Thematically, there’s just so much there — it was rich, it was melancholy, it was romantic. It’s so special. So many other things have stolen ideas from it, but they could never steal its soul. I felt lucky to enter that world.
So how was the big-budget experience? Was craft services better?
Well…how do I say this? We were in Budapest. Once a week, a truck would come around and it was serving “meat in a cone.”
What kind of meat?
See, that was what we could never quite figure out. I’m lucky for many reasons that this was my big-budget film, but one of them is that you could see where the money was going. The sets were so beautiful, and every aesthetic choice was for the cleanest, most efficient, elegant way to communicate story. When [cinematographer] Roger Deakins creates a frame, half your job is done for you.
Roger Deakins has been nominated for an Oscar 13 times but never won. My fingers are crossed this will be the one.
I’m glad you said that. Maybe that should be the title of this piece. His whole team is incredible. One of my favorite shots when I was younger was this shot in Barton Fink, when there’s this slow push in on the wallpaper. I remember feeling so tense and thinking, why am I so tense? It’s just wallpaper. But then I realized it’s the shot that is creating that tension — it was a lightbulb moment for me. We were shooting a scene in 2049 when the camera starts to push in on me. I remember when it was over I said to Bruce [Hamme], who is Roger’s dolly grip, ‘Bruce, did you work on Barton Fink?’ He said yes. I said, ‘Did you do that slow push in on the wallpaper?’ He said, yeah. I said, ‘Am I the wallpaper right now?’ He said, yes. I told him I’ve never been so honored. [Laughs] We were talking about titles for the film for a while and I really advocating for Slow Bruce Rising.
What is it like to costar with Harrison Ford? Does one ever get used to the Harrison Ford-ness of it all?
The best part is that you hang out with him and you realize that all those iconic moments from his films that you love are his — like “I love you,” “I know” from Star Wars, or shooting the guy in Indiana Jones. He’s just like that all the time. Normally I’d say there are hundreds of ways to play any scene. Unless you work with Harrison and you realize there’s only one great way and he’s already figured it out.
Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford have been arguing over Rick Deckard’s replicant status for decades now. I heard there was a dinner during filming where they got into it again.
Yeah. It’s kind of like a McGregor vs. Mayweather situation. But I wasn’t there. I thought there’d be an epic battle but the truth is it turns out they like and respect each other very much. Which is great.
When I spoke to Denis Villeneuve, he said that you were a muse for him. He also said you have a smile that melts the camera.
Oh, good. He got my email.
Blade Runner 2049 arrives in theaters Oct. 6.