Back in March, we reported that Alcon Entertainment had obtained the rights to turn Ridley Scott‘s classic 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner, based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, into a franchise with plans for prequels and sequels inspired by the unique world Scott and his gifted cast and crew created. Little has been heard from Alcon since their acquisition, but now it seems they have found the director who will bring the Blade Runner universe back to the big screen. His name is Ridley Scott.
Yes it seems that Scott, currently deep in production on his Alien series continuation/companion piece Prometheus, has decided to return to the second film that established him as one of the best visionary directors to emerge since the inception of the era of blockbuster filmmaking and has since proved to be one of the most influential genre films ever made.
Deadline is reporting that Scott has signed on to direct and produce a new Blade Runner film. It’s not known yet if the film will be a prequel or a sequel or if Scott will retain the services of any of his creative collaborators from the 1982 film, including original star Harrison Ford. Alcon Entertainment partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove will also serve as producers on the new project.
I’m split down the middle about this news. Part of me is very intrigued at the possibilities of revisiting the dense and mysterious world depicted in the original Blade Runner that it seems the movie barely scratched the surface. But then again the Ridley Scott who made the timeless classic of potent ideas and visual mastery that will celebrate its 30th anniversary next June is not the same Ridley Scott whose recent cinematic output has been very watchable at best, but at worst tired and overdramatic. Even the usually impressive visuals were becoming old hat. Gladiator marked the beginning of a new chapter in Scott’s directing career, but the clout he gained from that film’s box office success he practically ran into the ground with follow-ups like Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood that borrowed heavily on Gladiator‘s visual aesthetic. I for one really enjoyed Kingdom of Heaven, especially in its longer director’s cut (Scott’s films typically benefit from the DC treatment, a boon for the director since the advent of DVD), although it lacked a strong lead performer and didn’t have the kind of emotional and philosophical impact on me that I hoped it would.
It’s a rare occasion when Scott finds a great story and a strong cast to match up with his distinctive directorial style. Blade Runner was one of those few times in Scott’s career where every element of the film came together in pure celluloid alchemy. The story was exquisitely crafted and stood up to repeat viewings, the acting was marvelous, the effects were outstanding and still look fucking beautiful three decades later, and Scott’s direction was some of the best and most committed in his career. Truly this was a film firing on all cylinders. It’s a masterpiece of cinema and it remains one of my favorite films.
After spending so much time making historical epics it’s fantastic to see Ridley Scott back working in the realm of grand scale science fiction after so many years, but I wish he was working with original material. There are so many great unmade scripts and classic science fiction and fantasy novels out there positively begging for the big-screen treatment. If Scott is smart he’ll round up as many of the creative talent that helped him make the original Blade Runner a reality and bring them back. The score must be by Vangelis. Hampton Fancher and David Peoples must write the script. Douglas Trumbull must supervise the effects. Syd Mead, David L. Snyder, Terry Rawlings, all except Jordan Cronenweth, the great cinematographer who sadly passed away in 1996. But there are plenty of suitable replacements just itching to get this assignment. I just hope Scott doesn’t decide to shoot the movie in 3D. But hoping is for suckers these days.
We’ll bring you more details on this story as they emerge.