Vil­leneuve seam­lessly blends old, new

‘Time­less ques­tions’ linger in new Blade Run­ner

StarMetro Vancouver - - WEEKEND - Richard crouse

Blade Run­ner 2049 direc­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve and I are talk­ing about how tech­nol­ogy im­pacts our lives, when tech­nol­ogy im­pacts our in­ter­view. The phone goes dead.

“Sorry about that,” he says back on the line. “There was another call and I didn’t want it to be dis­tract­ing but I pushed the wrong but­ton. I was do­ing an in­ter­view with some­one who was not un­der­stand­ing a word I was say­ing! Then I re­al­ized, I’m not talk­ing to Richard any­more. I’m talk­ing to an un­known per­son. That says a lot about where we are now.”

Vil­leneuve, the Os­car-nom­i­nated Trois-Rivières, Que.-born direc­tor, saw the orig­i­nal Blade Run­ner when he was 15 years old.

“It was a hy­brid of film noir with sci-fi,” he says. “The world that was de­picted in the first movie, it was the first time I felt like I had seen a se­ri­ous vi­sion of what could be our fu­ture. There was so much po­etry in­volved in the char­ac­ters. There is strength in the vi­sion. It is very sin­gu­lar, very unique and at the time I was a sci­ence fic­tion ad­dict and for me it be­came an in­stant clas­sic.”

A self-de­scribed dreamer, Vil­leneuve says the movie lit his imag­i­na­tion on fire.

“In those years my strength was dream­ing,” he re­calls. “I spent the first years of my life more in dreams than in re­al­ity. There are a lot of dreams I had back then that are in­spir­ing me to­day.”

The­mat­i­cally the new film harkens back to Ri­d­ley Scott’s orig­i­nal but in­stead of be­ing a re­boot or a re­make it grows or­gan­i­cally out of the 1982 film. Like the orig­i­nal it is about dis­cov­er­ing what is real and what it means to be hu­man and how tech­nol­ogy fits into that puz­zle.

“I felt it had the po­ten­tial to tell a very strong story about the hu­man con­di­tion,” he says, “about our re­la­tion­ship with tech­nol­ogy. These are time­less ques­tions that were al­ready present in the first movie but I thought it made sense to bring back those ques­tions to­day, 30 years later when our re­la­tion­ship with tech­nol­ogy has evolved so much. When Blade Run­ner was re­leased it was the time when we were start­ing to see per­sonal com­put­ers in homes. It was the very be­gin­ning of the elec­tronic rev­o­lu­tion and now it is a dif­fer­ent world.

“When you make a sci­ence fic­tion movie it is a mir­ror of to­day. It is noth­ing else than that, an ex­plo­ration of to­day.”

Blade Run­ner 2049 is a mix of old and new, of Scott’s clas­sic vi­sion and Vil­leneuve’s new ideas. A throwback to the first film comes in the form of Har­ri­son Ford, who recre­ates his role of re­tired blade run­ner Rick Deckard. To find some­one who could carry him­self against the screen leg­end Vil­leneuve brought in fel­low Cana­dian Ryan Gosling.

“I needed that tac­i­turn qual­ity; quiet and strong,” he says. “I needed some­one with charisma, big enough to be in front of Har­ri­son Ford and not melt. A real movie star. I knew at some point he would be faceto-face with one of the big­gest stars of all time.”

Rein­vent­ing a beloved clas­sic like Blade Run­ner takes guts. When I ask Vil­leneuve if he looked to Scott for guid­ance he laughs. “His ad­vice was, ‘Don’t f— it up.’”

the pro­duc­ers had been think­ing about him any­way so it didn’t mat­ter what i thought.

Har­ri­son Ford on the cast­ing of ryan Gosling

Ryan gosling, Hari­son ford and de­nis vil­leneuve on the set of Blade Run­ner 2049.Con­trib­uted

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