How the reboot nearly cast David Bowie as a baddie
DAVID Bowie was pencilled in to play the villain in the hotly anticipated new Blade Runner 2049, it has emerged. However, after the musical icon died of cancer in January 2016, director Denis Villeneuve was forced to find an alternative and Jared Leto was cast in the villainous role for the Blade Runner sequel, which is released this week.
While Bowie was best known as a singer and musician, he was also an accomplished actor and was acclaimed for roles in The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Hunger, Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, and his role as the Goblin King in Labyrinth.
Villeneuve confirmed the Space Oddity star was his first choice to play Blade Runner baddie Neander Wallace.
He said: “Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways. When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that.”
Like Bowie, Jared Leto is a singer and songwriter whose band Thirty Seconds To Mars have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
Blade Runner’s sequel will be in cinemas on October 5, more than 35 years after the original neo-noir sci-fi classic was released.
The original cult movie, directed by Ridley Scott, starred Harrison Ford as protagonist Rick Deckard. Ford will reprise the role in the sequel.
Ryan Gosling takes the lead role in Blade Runner 2049, which has won rave reviews from thrilled critics ahead of its release.
Many have showered the film with praise with most awarding it five stars and some claiming it is “a visual feast” and a “spiritually staggering blockbuster” that is even better than the original.
London-born Bowie was at the forefront of British music for more than 50 years, and acclaimed by critics and other musicians alike for his innovative and groundbreaking work. He sold an estimated 140 million albums, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists and was famed for his style and capacity for reinvention.
Bowie died of liver cancer in his New York apartment two days after his 69th birthday. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public.
Left: the late David Bowie. Above: Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in the Blade Runner reboot. Below: Bowie replacement Jared Leto
Photograph of Bowie: AP