How the re­boot nearly cast David Bowie as a bad­die

Sunday Herald - - NEWS - BY PETER SWIN­DON AND KARIN GOOD­WIN

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

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