Ridley Scott on Blade Runner 2049: 'It was f---ing way too long'
Blade Runner 2049, directed by Arrival‘s Denis Villeneuve, didn’t exactly become the box office sensation Warner Bros. might’ve hoped, but it still earned high critical praise. Now Ridley Scott, the filmmaker behind the original Blade Runner from 1982, shared his thoughts on the sequel — and he did not restrain himself.
“I have to be careful what I say,” Scott told Vulture when prompted in an interview. Though, he wasn’t that careful. “It was f—ing way too long. F— me! And most of that script’s mine,” he continued.
Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples received main billing for the Blade Runner script, while Fancher and Michal Green were credited for Blade Runner 2049.
However, as Scott explained, “I sit with writers for an inordinate amount of time and I will not take credit, because it means I’ve got to sit there with a tape recorder while we talk. I can’t do that to a good writer. But I have to, because to prove I’m part of the actual process, I have to then have an endless amount [of proof], and I can’t be bothered. But the big idea comes from Blade Runner.”
Spoilers from Blade Runner 2049 ensued.
Scott has long maintained that Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard is a replicant, though the answer to that question has changed depending on if you ask the screenwriters or Ford himself. “I’m not sure I ever got a straight answer from the people I was working with at that point,” the actor told EW. In Scott’s mind, Rick is — and that informs how he envisioned a sequel.
In laying out how his thoughts on how the original film shaped the sequel, the director said. “Tyrell [played by Joe Turkel] is a trillionaire, maybe 5 to 10 percent of his business is A.I. Like God, he has created perfect beings that, for all intents and purposes, there is no telling the difference from humans. Then he says, ‘You know what? I’m going to create an A.I. I’ll have a male and female, they will not know that they’re both A.I.s, I’ll have them meet each other, they will fall in love, they will consummate, and they will have a child.’ That’s the first film.
“The second film is, what happens to the baby?” he continued. “You’ve got to have the baby, you can’t have the mother, so the mother has to inexplicably die four months after she breastfeeds. The bones are found in the box at the foot of the tree — that’s all me. And the digital girlfriend is me. I wanted an evolution from Pris, who is inordinately sexy in the original, right?”
In the opening scenes of Blade Runner 2049, audiences learn that Officer K (Ryan Gosling) definitely is a replicant — which Green said was meant as “a private joke shared with millions.”
“It’s a thematic land grab because it allowed the movie to become about what it means for someone who is a self-aware ‘lesser’ creature and what happens when he begins to aspire? When a virus of better enters his imagination?” he told EW. “The idea was that aspiring can change you — that was the virus that I wanted to contain — striving makes a difference. From the first conversation I had with Ridley about the story to the last, he questioned day-to-day about the decision to make clear that K is a replicant.”
Much like Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 didn’t become a hit instantly. The film made $258.2 million worldwide, though it’s also in the running for Oscar nominations. In the years that followed Blade Runner‘s debut in the ’80s, the film became a sci-fi classic. Perhaps the same will befall its successor.