Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007) Movie Script

Enhance 224 to 176.
You have all the tools...
...colors, toys,
everything at your disposal...
...to transport you to
an imaginary world.
People's patience and their willingness
to persevere tended to erode...
...as we went on
shooting nights in smoke.
It was a bitch working every night.
All night long, often in the rain.
So it wasn't the most pleasant shoot.
The tension...
...and the atmosphere created
was absolutely palpable.
It was enormous. Overwhelming,
beautiful, enormous, great.
And I was living there.
I don't think some of these people
on the crew really understood how far...
...Ridley was pushing the medium.
The chaos of that production.
Everybody hating it.
People don't wanna be in movies
after they worked on that movie.
It's like all those things informed this
in a magical way, I guess.
When it first came out,
it was too intense to let in...
...the darkness and the poverty...
...and the projection of what life
would be like in 2019.
What Ridley created was this
multilayered, very intense...
"investigation into
how that world might be.
How do you prepare the audience...
...for seeing something very different?
Now time has prepared them.
It was so dark.
And so intense
and so beautifully constructed.
I was absolutely about coordinating
beauty. Shot by shot had to be great.
My weapon was that camera.
I'll get what I wanted.
If you're there with me, great.
If you're not there with me, too bad.
In 1975,
someone gave me some money.
They pitied me.
They said. "You gotta...
...do what you wanna do.
Here's some money.
You can go away and write."
And so I did.
And it didn't work out, you know.
I thought I would produce a movie.
And this guy Jim Maxwell, who's
a close friend and knows me well...
...and he said, "You might..."
I said. "I think science fiction's
gonna happen."
And he said. "Okay, I know a..."
He says. "You know
who Philip K. Dick is?" I said, "No."
He said, "There's a book called
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
I said. "Okay, I'll read that."
I read it, I didn't like it that much.
But I thought, "Okay, that's commercial.
Here's a throughline:
You know, bureaucratic detective
chasing androids."
In '78 or so, my friend Brian Kelly,
he had $5000 or something.
He said. "You could get an option. That
might be a good commercial project...
...that you could get behind and make...
You know, make some money."
That's all we were talking about,
making some money.
I'd been pursued for about two years
by Brian Kelly...
...a close friend of mine,
who had this idea in mind...
...to make a movie based upon Dick's
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
And I'd first read it
and thought I wasn't very interested.
He read the book, and he said.
"It ain't a movie."
And then Brian came back to me
and said. "That's what-l'
I said. "He's full of shit.
There's a movie there."
He said. "Could you
write something down to prove it?"
So I wrote five pages,
what I thought could be a structure.
And he took that to Michael Deeley...
I didn't know Michael Deeley.
And Brian came back and said.
"Michael Deeley says it sucks."
Then he came back with a script,
which wasn't terrific...
...but it was interesting.
Unfortunately, the scripts
Hampton generated initially...
...did not meet with Phil's approval,
to put it mildly.
He thought, again,
that it had been dumbed down...
...that it turned into, you know,
a detective just chasing androids around.
Well, he was really protective...
...of Do Androids Dream
of Electric Sheep? Understandably so.
Certain things were dear to him
in that story...
...mostly around, you know, what is
human, and what makes us human.
It was the Hampton Fancher script...
...which Phil was skeptical of,
because it did include a voice-over.
The very first draft that he did
was much smaller in scale...
...than anything
that's been on the Internet...
...or anything
that has been talked about.
It was a...
Probably maybe a low-budget...
...maybe a one-room
kind of motion picture.
And it all took place mostly
in apartments, a few street scenes...
...and at the very end.
Rachael kills herself.
This was a small movie.
That's how I wanna do it, It's rooms.
You know, a strange movie,
but it's, you know, a face-to-face movie.
People are talking.
And I had this dream of actors...
You know, like the right kind of actors.
The right kind of actors' director.
Hampton saw the novel as reflecting
a lot of real-world current concerns.
And strangely, one of the largest
motivating factors...
...was the ecological concern
that is in the original novel.
The fact that the Earth is slowly falling
apart because of these world wars...
...and because of these biological
plagues and that type of thing.
And, of course, those are all analogues
for pollution and for overpopulation.
The intellectual aspects
of the screenplay...
...were taken from my response to
the death of animal life on this planet...
...and what that meant. That's probably
the thing that saw me through it...
...the first draft,
was I had a passion about that...
...so my affection for the project
was consistent.
Finally, when I was
really looking for something...
...Brian popped back in again
with another script.
The way he put it was he told me that
he'd got several studios interested...
...because I was a friend,
he'd let me have a crack at it.
And I read it,
and I thought it was darn good.
Twenty-four hours later,
it was like. "Can we meet?"
And they wanted to do it.
It was a comic-book... Kind of a big...
Like a coffee-table comic book
I found in London...
...called Mechanismo.
These, like, replicants.
You know, gyro...
You know, metallic thing...
I love that book.
And I showed it to Michael Deeley.
I said. "This is incredible. This is like...
Visually, this is like
where we should go."
And... This is before Ridley.
And I said,
"I wanna call it Mechanismo.."
I kind of talked him into it,
so it was Mechanismo...
There's one script
where the cover says Mechanismo..
The title we finally settled on
was Dangerous Days, which I loved...
...because it was very much in tune...
...with the much more romantic script
that Hampton had written.
I was dead set against it,
but I figured I could get a vote in later.
But go ahead and we'll... They'll finance.
We'll call it Dangerous Days...
...for the time being.
And then Michael Deeley
came up with Blade Runner.
I'd used it already.
You know, it's a term
that I got from reading Burroughs.
He had a little book.
It was called Blade Runner.
It was a matter now
of getting into it.
We tried to get Ridley
from the outset...
...but he was, at that point,
planning to do Dune.
As I was mixing Alien...
...Michael Deeley had come to see me
at EMI.
And I'd known Deeley
from his days with EMI.
And he said. "I've got this script
called Blade Runner."
I said. "I don't wanna do another
science fiction, I've just finished one.
But I'll read it." And I read the script,
which was Hampton Fancher.
It was called Dangerous Days.
And I turned it down.
Ridley Scott was going to be
the original director on Dune...
...and Dino De Laurentiis hired him,
and their sets were being built.
They were gonna shoot it, and
it was going to be based on the novel...
...and it was going to be
this large-scale science-fiction film.
I was attracted to Dune because it was
beyond what I'd done on Alien...
...which was kind of hardcore
kind of horror film.
And Dune would be a step,
very strongly...
...very, very strongly.
In the direction of Star Wars.
At this point,
something rather sad happened...
...which was that
Ridley's older brother died.
Died rather young, obviously.
And Ridley was in some depression.
He really had to get to work.
He wanted to do something, because
when he's working, he's working.
To be faced with, you know...
...a brother dying of cancer...
...and then to die, it can often...
I think what happened is maybe
the lack of control over that...
...kind of created a darkness.
I remember, you know,
him talking about Frank...
...his older brother, from time to time,
and I knew that they were very close.
...I know it had
a tremendous effect...
...on sort of
his emotional state at that time.
It's a strange coincidence that he's doing
a film that is, on the whole, very dark...
...about creation, about control.
And also losing the control
and losing the battle over death.
I think we were shooting
a commercial.
I remember sort of having persuaded
him, saying. "Look, let me read it."
And I think I was reading it on the train
while we were traveling to the location.
I said. "Listen, I think-l'
Because everything else
was kind of not working out right...
...I said. "Listen, I think you should
give this, you know, a second thought."
You know. "I really think this
is powerful, and, you know, emotional...
...and really interesting."
The Blade Runner idea
had stuck with me.
So I'd called up Deeley saying, basically.
"Where are you with it?"
"We're nowhere."
"All right, I've re-read it. We...
I think it's interesting.
It'll make the basis of a very good...
...futuristic, urban film noir."
He said. "Let's have a look
at the material, and he did.
And we were off.
It was a very exciting moment,
of course...
...for suddenly,
you had a talent attached to the thing.
We then went to Filmways,
which had just been taken over...
...by a former Universal person.
Raphael Etkes.
Very nice guy. An old friend of mine.
We were with Filmways, which
Michael had found a person for that.
But, of course, his conception of what
the budget of this film would be...
...at that particular point
was way off-course.
We were way down in terms of
our target of where we would be.
We'd spent about
2 and a half million...
...by the time it became perfectly clear
that the world we were building...
...was much bigger than 12 and a half
million dollars. Much, much bigger.
And this put Raphi in a jam...
...because he couldn't allocate
more than that to this picture.
It was an old company, a small one,
and they didn't have that much money.
I know we were beginning to feel
that something wasn't right...
...and then suddenly
one read in the trades...
...that Filmways
was in financial trouble.
And suddenly we sort of said, well,
you know. "Shit. We're in trouble...
...and we need to find another backer."
So we sort of set up this room...
...with all our sort of artwork
and God knows what, you know...
...like a kind of package,
and sort of...
...these VIPs from other studios
were kind of wheeled in...
...and given the executive treatment
to see if we could get them interested...
...in taking the movie over.
But we were building sets...
We started to have these meetings...
...dog-and-pony shows
with all the distributors...
...and we met with MGM...
...with United Artists,
who was on the brink of bankruptcy...
And we were building sets and
finding locations and all the rest of it.
And we had an entire crew
that needed to be paid.
We felt it would collapse if
we didn't do something very, very fast.
First thing I did was I talked
to Alan Ladd. Jr., who's an old friend...
...who had a deal at Warner Bros.
And we thought
it was a terrific script...
...and we put it into production
almost right away.
The way it worked was that
Warner Bros., through Alan Ladd...
...put up 7 and a half
or 7 million, roughly 7 million...
...against U.S, distribution rights.
Of theatrical, not television or DVDs
or any of those things.
"Would you like to invest in that?"
He said. "Let me read the script."
And he got right back to us and said.
"Yes, I do want to invest."
He said. "What kind of movies
do you have that I could invest in?"
We said. "Well, there's one we're doing
called Blade Runner with Ridley Scott.
Would you like to invest in that?"
He said. "Let me read the script."
And he got right back to us and said.
"Yes, I do want to invest."
And then we needed
the last 7 million.
And that came from a company
which consisted of...
...Jerry Perenchio. Bud Yorkin
and another partner...
...who didn't want to
come into the venture and didn't.
Tandem Productions
was a company...
...that Norman Lear and myself started
probably 15 years before Blade Runner.
And at that time,
we were doing television...
...and motion pictures
at the same time.
People were always
submitting scripts to us.
Movie scripts, mostly television scripts.
And by the time they got to us...
...because we weren't, at that point,
in the picture business...
...they had been shopped
all over town...
...and most of them
were pretty uninteresting...
...and things that we didn't
wanna get involved with.
And somehow the script for
Blade Runner ended up on my desk...
...and I read it, and I loved it.
We saw the storyboards, we saw...
We loved all the toys,
we loved the gun...
...and the look that Ridley
had in mind for it.
The idea was basically one of cloning.
Here we are able to do it genetically.
That's part of the thing
that I liked about it...
...the fact that it really
was futuristic and film noir...
...and I thought
it could be a big smash hit.
I liked Philip Dick, and I was kind of
a sci-fi fan for many, many years.
Never ever dreamt of making one.
It just seemed to me a great relief
just to read something like that...
...and I had no idea
that you could put that on film.
So we got involved in it financially.
They put up $7 million,
and for that...
...they received all the television
and DVD and other such rights...
...to recover their money, and also
a share of the surplus, theatrically.
...they chose to take a fee.
Admittedly, a deferred fee,
but a fee of a million and a half dollars.
It was guarantor's completion.
What happens is that
they come out with a budget...
Let's say just for the sake of argument
the budget was a million dollars.
...And if they started to go over
to $1,200,000".
...or 1.300.000,
whatever it would be...
...there had to be somebody that
would put in that completion money...
...that would pick up
the $300,000 that they were over.
So if the picture went over 21.
22 million, whatever it was...
...then they would
have to provide that amount...
...which gave them a lot of rights.
In fact, it gave them many rights more
than we would have given...
...if we'd had more time to negotiate it,
which we didn't. We had two weeks.
I was worried about going over
because I'd done Alien with Ridley...
...and he shot a lot of film on that.
It was such a brand-new way
of trying...
...to do all the things that they were
going to do on this picture.
Special effects and so forth.
Everyone was worried about
how many months will it take...
...or how many years to make it.
As we were trying
to put together the budget...
...I was talking continuously
with Hampton Fancher...
...so our evolution of the world
was growing.
And we'd work all day,
every day, I think.
I don't know how long,
but it felt like weeks.
I was constantly saying.
"That won't work. It's not commercial.
It's too vague. It's not cinematic."
So I was really being the hard man
to Hampton's romantic.
I liked Hampton's script a lot.
I loved the way he worked and wrote.
I loved his wit. His gritty
way of seeing things and his wit.
Ridley started asking questions,
you know, of the script with Hampton...
...and started to say, well, you know.
"What is the world that we're in?"
"What's outside the window?"
You know.
I said. "What do you mean?"
"But there's a world."
"Fuck the world. No, this is in here."
You know, and I'd argue or whatever.
The hunter falls in love
with the hunted...
...except they never move
outside the apartment. It's very interior.
I wanna take them
outside the door.
Once we go outside the door,
this world...
...has to support the thesis
that she's android, humanoid, robot.
By the way, that's another word
I don't wanna use...
...because it's abused and overused.
We'll find a new word for that soon...
...which we found the word replicant.
Next day, he brought in
a Heavy Metal comic book.
"Oh, yeah!"
I was very much engaged
by the Heavy Metal comics...
...and was looking very closely
at people like Jean Giraud "Moebius"...
...who I still regard as probably
the father of it all and one of the best.
There was some kind of great
graphic short story in there...
...which was about
a detective in a modern world.
And I know that
that seeded something in Ridley's mind...
...for the future.
You know, for Blade Runner.
Because I know some of his drawings...
If you look at some of his storyboards...
...I mean, they are sort of...
Not to take any visual imagination
from Ridley, but he just... He saw it.
One of the things I think is interesting
about sort of the crossover...
...from Heavy Metal writers like
Dan O'Bannon or artists like Moebius...
...artists like Bilal...
God, there's so many that had this
really interesting vision of the future...
...that I think that, you know,
to Ridley's credit...
...again, being sort of a person
that would be interested...
...and absorb so many influences
to sort of broaden his scope...
...broaden his storytelling abilities
and his vision...
...which, you know. I mean, every artist
thrives for that next inspiration...
...that next vision that's gonna take
them to another place or another level.
Nothing's in straight lines.
I don't think in straight lines.
I put...
I still put things on a blanket...
...and flip it,
and see which way it lands, right?
That's the only way you find out.
And then suddenly,
you start to formulate logic.
He says. "What about snow?"
"Snow? Yes, snow. Yeah."
He'll write snow, you know.
"What about it's a train? What about
it's a desert? What it's...? Oh, heated."
You know, all the...
It just kept going.
When he finally...
When the shit hit the fan the first time...
...and he said, "Hampton.
I have to be frank with you."
You know. "You've taking a lo..."
They used to call me "Happen Faster."
I mean. Ridley's
a gold mine to work with.
I mean,
he's just got beautiful notions.
And you have to be discreet as a writer,
or else he'll go off...
...and, you know,
he'll write an encyclopedia.
He wanted to introduce the character
in a really spectacular way...
...but he wanted to do it
in a way that visually got across...
...the idea of this very, very strange
future world...
...that he was starting
to put together in his own mind.
He's gotta go retire
an earlier version.
And he said. "I see, like,
a cabin. you know.
"On the stove, there's, like, a pot...
...and there's soup boiling in the pot."
I went:
You know, that was it, man.
I loved it. Soup boiling in the pot.
And I just went home
and I just started writing.
The original idea was to have
Deckard sit in the kitchen, and as...
Through the windows, you saw that
the day was getting darker and darker.
And then it was supposed
to be late afternoon.
A strange vehicle pulls up.
A guy in farmer overalls comes out,
goes into the house...
...sees Deckard sitting there,
ignores him...
...walks into the kitchen,
starts stirring a big pot of soup.
Says. "Do you want your soup?"
Deckard doesn't say anything.
He says. "Who are you with anyway?"
This guy's stirring.
Deckard gets up, says.
"I'm Deckard. Blade Runner."
He kills this guy.
For no reason. Just shoots him.
You go. "What is going on?" And then
as the guy slumps against this wall...
...falls to the floor.
Deckard reaches into his head...
...and pulls his lower jaw out.
And you see it's an aluminum construct
with an ID number stamped on it.
You realized. "Oh, it's not a person,
it's a robot."
And then Deckard takes this...
...puts it into his trench coat
that he was wearing at this point...
...walks out of the farmhouse,
across the field...
...a little dog shows up,
starts yapping at his feet...
...and is barking
as Deckard takes off.
We're in preproduction,
and it's a big table now.
Huge. Many people.
And they're saying.
"What about the love scene?"
I said. "Well, the love scene's there.
It's not explicit."
"What about getting explicit?"
"That's bullshit. No way."
I do remember one difference
that Hampton and I had...
...which goes straight back
to the issue of commerciality.
I wanted to have
a much more visible sex scene.
They're cool. They're gentlemen.
You know, I'm, like,
walking around the table fuming:
"What is it you want, man?
What do you want?"
Hampton felt that was
in rather bad taste at the very least...
...and he demonstrated it to me...
...in a way he thought would convince
me that it would be in bad taste.
He may have probably kissed me
at one point.
And it was pretty convincing, but
it wasn't quite the scene I had in mind.
I think Hampton got a bit precious
about doing things...
...and it was always a bit of a drama
when we wanted things changed.
I remember
having an argument with Ridley...
...and Ridley went into the bedroom
and sat down on a bed.
I'm following him, I said.
"Ridley, we can't do that. Here's what-l'
And he wouldn't
argue with me, exactly.
We got it up to a point where Hampton
was just getting exhausted.
Going back to the anvil,
back to the anvil.
I said.
"Yeah, but if this, you've got that."
And the problem is, the more I talk.
I suddenly start to evolve.
I was angry,
and I walked out by the pool...
...and Ivor,
lovely, wonderful Ivor came out...
...and he tried to tell me.
...it hurt somehow.
This is the tenderness of Ivor.
He didn't come right out and say it.
He says.
"You know, if you don't do it..."
And I remember
he reverted to street talk, kind of.
He says. "I know me man."
You know. "He'll do something. He'll
do what he wants to do, Hampton."
I sat with Michael and said.
"What should we do? I'm not there yet."
And Michael said.
"Well, what do you wanna do?"
I said. "We should give him the choice.
What does he wanna do? Let him...
Give him two days off and let's
talk about it and see what to do."
I always like to keep the writer on,
the original writer.
This was difficult in a way...
...because Hampton had been in it
from the very start.
And he was credited
as an executive producer...
...which he'd remain, of course.
But his days, for the time being,
were over.
I get this call...
...that Ridley would like to talk to me
about Blade Runner or something.
And usually.
I react to these things as:
"Oh, this isn't gonna work.
This is a disa..."
I remember saying to Mike:
So they flew me down to L.A...
...and put me in the Chateau Marmont
in this terrific suite...
...and sent the script over
by messenger, right?
Now, I'd never had any of these
kind of things happen to me before.
And I read the script...
Two hours or something like that
sitting there.
...And I was knocked out.
I thought it was a great script.
So Ridley and Michael came over
at the appointed time or something...
...and then they said.
"Well, what'd you think?"
And I said. "I thought it was terrific."
I said. "I can't make this
any better than it is or anything."
And they both sort of chuckled, right?
Like... And I realized years later
what a naive answer that was...
...because who gives a shit
what the writer thinks?
It wasn't the writer who was gonna
make it better, it was Ridley...
...and I was gonna do his bidding.
Michael said. "Oh. Ridley has
a few ideas." in that Michael way.
And I got hired.
I remember there was a Christmas dinner
I was invited to at Ivor's house.
...we sat down...
...he put the script in front of me
on the plate.
I didn't know what it was.
Sometimes, somebody would say:
"Hey, you wanna rewrite something."
or whatever. And I opened the script...
...and it said...
It was our movie, you know.
My movie. And then I opened
the first page, and it was in a...
Actually, it wasn't a bad scene.
It was in a junk...
You know, off-world junkyard.
You know, androids being plowed under.
It was like I just wrote an off-world
scene of all these bodies heaped up.
Just the wrecked replicants
just lying there, you know, in this heap.
And then gradually,
somebody emerges from the heap...
...and it's Roy Batty, right?
And that was a beginning
that I wrote.
Then I looked at a couple of pages,
because I recognized the idea...
...and then I saw my interview scene,
you know, that opens the movie.
And I looked at him, and he was
standing. And I said, "What's this?"
And he says. "This is the new script."
And I said. "What new script?"
And he told me.
He said. "This David Peoples is..."
I said. "Who's that?"
I really... I couldn't hear anything.
I was standing...
I stood up because I was gonna cry.
I was like... My whole world fell apart.
What's anybody gonna be?
Incredibly hurt.
Because, you know,
what he'd written was fantastic.
And suddenly to have somebody else
come in and take over your baby...
Michael Deeley's so diplomatic.
I remember kind of, like, beseeching him:
"This is wrong." You know.
"Whatever that guy...
Whoever this guy is...
...who's writing this stuff, no."
It's, like. "Me.
Don't you understand?"
And I remember Michael saying:
"Well..." Diplomacy.
He didn't say. "Well. Hampton, yeah, but
you're an idiot, so we can't use you."
He said, you know.
"Yes, your things are very elegant...
...but this is what we need to do
to make the movie.
Now we're making a movie.
Peoples, I think, is more...
And I mean this
in the best possible way.
Is simpler. Hampton's more cerebral.
And, for the most part,
this was very cerebral.
And I thought actually bringing in
something like Peoples...
...would maybe create some fresh air
in the corridors to make it move.
Because my danger as a director
is I tend to get very cerebral...
...and get engaged
with darkness and detail.
I think my first story meeting was at
my suite at the Chateau Marmont.
And I'm trying to follow
where we're going with this stuff.
We go into Sebastian's place...
...and Ridley starts talking
about a mouse...
...that's gonna pop out
with a bow tie.
And Ridley started describing it
in all these details...
...and the meeting sort of
had been derailed now...
...from the story to this mouse.
And I'm sitting there,
and I must have been going:
Because I'd never seen or heard
anything like this.
And Michael Deeley says.
"Now you know."
So we're in for... You know, this was not
exactly sticking with the narrative.
We were dealing with this wonderful,
wonderful, magical mouse who'd pop up.
He was kind of very grounded
in sort of sci-fi.
He brought in some good dialogue.
I think he was able, quite easily,
to sort of fill in some of the holes.
I was writing for them,
and they were thrilled that I was so fast.
I was writing pages,
turning them out... like a madman, right?
And they'd had Hampton,
but of course...
...Hampton had only done like
God knows how many drafts for them...
...and he...
That stuff is wearing and everything...
...so we're talking about Hampton
after, you know. 10 drafts.
I don't know.
"Hey. Hampton, why don't you try this?
Why don't you try that?"
And that stuff makes you crazy.
It made me crazy
in the short time I was there.
I changed Batty a fair amount.
If I remember right...
...Deckard just killed Batty
off the top of the thing in the fight.
But I know some of those speeches...
That. "Over the shoulder of Orion"...
...was me, except for the fact
that in the first read-around...
...when I sat there and the cast
sat at a table and read the script...
...Rutger read that speech,
and then went on...
...with a couple of lines
about memories in the rain.
And then he looked at me
like a naughty little boy.
Like checking to see
if the writer's upset.
I didn't let on that I was upset,
but at the time, I was...
...and I was a little threatened by it
and all of that stuff.
Later, seeing the movie, that
was a brilliant contribution of Rutger's.
That line about the rain,
and tears in the rain and stuff.
It's absolutely beautiful, and I've...
You know, that's Rutger.
They had the good fortune
to get David Peoples, who...
I mean, I see that movie,
afterwards, and I think:
"Oh, yeah."
And I would have not done that.
You know. David knew how to do this,
and David worked well with Ridley.
Initially, he just did what Ridley asked.
Which, at that time, we really needed.
We needed
to put the damn script to bed...
...because everybody... You know, every
time something changes, you know...
...there are kind of
domino repercussions.
Ridley found that much later,
with the final Hampton script...
...after Hampton
had done everything...
...that he thought Ridley wanted...
...it still didn't have
what Ridley finally felt...
...he could only get
from David Peoples...
...which was a much harder edge,
and really the character...
...the nature of the film
which he was doing.
I was completely wrong.
Ridley totally right...
...and Peoples was definitely
totally right.
If that hadn't happened,
there would be no Blade Runner.
Deckard's character
is not described in the script.
Any actor could play it, really.
It was up to the casting
to tell about the character.
One of the more interesting ones
that Hampton...
...lobbied for was Robert Mitchum.
Robert Mitchum, of course...
...is one of the quintessential
noir actors of the '40s.
So I'm sure that Hampton
had that in mind...
...when he was actually
thinking about the person...
...who would ultimately be portraying
Deckard on the screen.
Robert Mitchum, at that time,
was still young enough...
...you know, still robust enough
to be Deckard.
And that's who I wanted,
and that's who I wrote it for.
And I wrote dialogue
based on my sense of Mitchum.
There was other... Of course, like always,
you know, a thousand suggestions...
...like Dustin Hoffman...
...and that was starting
to actually work for a minute.
But then I jumped on, you know,
whore that I am, or should've been:
"You mean we won't
have a movie if we don't..."
That's what they tell you.
Deeley was saying. "Then forget it."
Because I was like, "No way."
Seems strange now, but at the time,
it seemed a very interesting idea...
...to have this unlikely,
not really very heroic figure...
...in this rather sinister movie.
Of course, the thought was:
"Yeah, but Dustin is not exactly
physically your heroic cop.
And although he's athletic,
he's not the man."
I said. "Yeah, but he's a great actor,
and I wanna go for the character."
And I didn't know Dustin
and how he worked in those days...
...but I went to New York
and met him for hours and hours.
Dustin's interest
was in the nature of the film.
It was about whether it was
a major social document.
What did it do? How did it enlarge
the imagination or whatever, the mind?
And there was a lot of social implications
attached at that time.
We heard that, well, okay,
we're gonna get Dustin Hoffman.
This will be great. As a matter of fact,
if you look closely at the storyboards...
...Mentor Huebner was starting
to lay in images...
...that were similar-looking
to Dustin Hoffman...
...as opposed to the characters
he had drawn before.
We spent months with him. Months
in New York and around the place.
We all got to know
each other very well...
...but the longer we went on,
the further and further we got away...
...from the project which we had
and the project which we liked.
We looked at various people. One who
seemed attractive was Harrison Ford...
...because he hadn't played
this sort of person, really...
...and he'd had some very good training
under some good directors.
I liked Harrison Ford always.
I mean, The Conversation was the first
time I saw him, and something about...
And, of course,
then we saw Star Wars.
And I was really impressed
with Star Wars...
...because that's not easy to do,
what he did.
Errol Flynn didn't do it as good
as he did it, and that's hard.
That guy knew...
That guy is a super actor.
Super film actor.
It's the luck of the draw
that I happened to fall into...
...a couple of science-fiction-type films
that were successful.
I like the films I've made
that were basically science fiction.
I found them interesting.
But I don't have a particular appetite
or taste for it, I don't think.
I knew he was in London,
working in London...
...doing this thing
called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Barbara Hershey was the one who
initially suggested to Hampton Fancher...
...that Harrison Ford
was someone to consider.
Barbara calls Spielberg, says.
"What's that like, editing that film?"
Spielberg says. "Huge star now."
The boys. Michael, Ridley,
fly to London to look at dailies.
He just looked fantastic,
and we just thought he was wonderful.
We were convinced. The only thing
that went wrong was that...
...when he came into the hotel lobby
to talk to us afterwards...
...he was wearing this hat,
which he always wore, this Indiana hat.
And Ridley was cross because
he had intended to use that hat himself.
I remember that I read the script...
...which I thought was interesting.
At the...
The first version that I read of it...
...of the film, had some issues...
I had some issues with.
There was a voice-over narration
attached to the original script.
And I said to Ridley that I played
a detective who does no detecting.
How about we take some of this
information that's in the voice-overs...
...and put it into scenes?
And so that the audience could discover
the information, discover the character...
...through seeing him
in the context of what he does...
...rather than being told about it.
And some of that survived
and some of it didn't.
We spent a couple of weeks
sitting around my kitchen table...
...trying to find ways
to accomplish that.
With meetings that followed
in Los Angeles...
...he got carried along
with the enthusiasm of:
A, doing another science fiction...
Because he's on a really good roll now,
Star Wars, Indiana Jones.
So whatever it is,
it's really exotic, okay?
And don't forget, he's had his little taste
of other things with the best:
Francis Ford Coppola
in The Conversation.
And Francis Ford Coppola
in Apocalypse Now.
Teeny things, but nevertheless,
he's been there.
He's always been
in pretty good company.
Here I am, coming in
with this kind of weird thing...
...if not a little confounding
because it's not straightforward, right?
It's very Marlowesque...
...and very dark.
Harrison has that loose, wonderful...
...devil-may-care smile and attitude.
And he has a wonderful presence,
he's a good athlete.
Harrison's naturally laconic...
...dry wit...
...and smart.
So you better be ready.
When we were casting, and Ridley
was looking at different actors...
...I made him sit down
in the screening room...
...and look at Katie Tippel,
Soldier of Orange and Turkish Delight.
And I said. "This is Batty.
I mean, you've got to realize that."
And he said. "Absolutely."
And he actually cast Rutger
without ever having met him.
He came in... Because he was always
a weird dresser, this guy.
He was a big man, and he was wearing
a puce nylon jump suit...
...it was a one piece zip-up.
A Kenzo sweater that had a big fox
across the shoulder with two red eyes.
He had already cut his hair
the way he thought Batty should look...
...which was the short, short,
pointed blond hair.
And he was wearing green, floral
kind of Elton John sunglasses.
We're so happy you found us.
I could literally see
Ridley's heart stop.
"This is gonna be my tough guy?"
And I...
And I said. "Ridley, I can assure you
that the guy is Batty."
And, of course, obviously, it was, you
know. Rutger playing a joke on Ridley...
...or maybe he wasn't.
Then I had a meeting with Ridley. You
only have that a few times in your life.
You talk about all kinds of stuff,
and you're having a good lunch.
And you never get to the subject,
and it doesn't really matter that much.
But I think at the end I said, "Ridley,
so, what about this Blade Runner?"
You know.
"What does it look like?"
And he said. "Well, you know,
one of the major influences for me...
...is Bilal."
which is a cartoonist in France.
And I happened to know
that cartoonist, and I went:
The talk about character was... I think it
was almost in the second talk we had...
...before I got signed on,
where I explained to him, you know...
...what I thought would be interesting
for the character...
...and basically saying, you know:
"Can I put in all the things
that don't belong there?"
The things that are so amazing
about people, you know?
Sense of poetry, sense of humor.
Sense of sexuality.
Sense of the kid, sense of soul.
And Ridley said.
"You know, I like all of them.
Keep them in. We'll work with them.
When we'll find a way to get...
...you know,
get them out in different scenes."
In those days,
different from today...
...we actually did
real studio screen tests.
And they were quite elaborate,
and they were quite expensive.
And you had a short crew in
to shoot them.
And obviously.
Ridley was not convinced...
...that any one of our young women
was the girl to go with.
We wanted somebody
who nobody would recognize, frankly.
Somebody completely new.
My agent called me
with a strange request. He said:
"There's this director. Ridley Scott.
He's doing this sci-H picture
named Blade Runner...
...and he wants you
to be Harrison Ford."
I said. "What do you mean
be Harrison Ford?
What are you talking about?"
He said. "Well, they need
to test a bunch of girls...
...to be his love interest
and another girl in this picture...
...and he thinks you bear
some resemblance, or something.
And so I agreed to do it.
And it turned out to be
a lot of fun. Met Ridley.
We went to the Warner Bros, stage...
...and he had blocked every girl
for the same thing...
...so that I was, you know,
basically feeding them...
...so it would be an equal treatment
kind of deal.
And I'd be Harrison,
pretty much the same way each time.
The only girl who departed...
...from the blocking and everything
right away was Sean Young.
Young says.
"We're not gonna do it this way."
And I said. "Oh, this is great."
And Ridley, you know, indulged her.
And I indulged her, I said:
"Fine. Do you want me
to play with this girl?" He said, "Yeah."
I met her in a casting session,
and she just reminded me...
...funny enough, of Vivien Leigh
for some bizarre reason.
And I always thought that acerbic
toughness that Vivien Leigh had...
...apart from being extremely beautiful
and quirky, was...
An intelligence
was what she needed.
I think he recognized that he could
make a classic-beauty type of picture...
...you know, with me in it.
I like what she did a lot.
They were less enamored.
She looked beautiful...
...but I wasn't absolutely convinced
about her as an actress.
Sean Young was cast because she was,
in Ridley's eyes...
...the perfect Rachael, visually.
As soon as he cast her, he told me
that he wanted me to work with her...
...so that she could...
Her performance could match her look.
I remember being a little freaked out
when I heard that I got the part.
I remember being, like,
almost depressed...
...a little bit, I know that's
kind of a strange reaction...
...but I think that it was
because when I got the part...
...I realized I'd have to live up
to the responsibility...
...of playing the part,
and I was pretty young...
...and it was very unknown to me
what would be expected of me.
So I was probably a little scared.
She just came across
so perfectly superior and so right.
And utterly beautiful.
I mean, she could be an android.
She may still be an android,
for all I know.
And I remember the first audition
was in a small trailer...
...on the 20th Century lot.
Originally, in the screenplay...
...Pris was supposed
to be sort of dangling on these rings.
You know, the gymnastic rings.
And there wasn't any kind of gymnastic
stuff incorporated into the fight.
It was just taking place
in a gymnasium.
And so I had been a gymnast
as a kid in school...
...and so I suggested to Ridley
that I could do gymnastics...
...and that maybe I could put that
into the fight sequence.
And so I remember he asked me
to show him what gymnastics meant...
...and what that was.
So I did a back walkover or something
like that for him in the trailer...
...and that was it.
I'd met Daryl,
and Daryl was pretty well it.
I liked Daryl immediately
on meeting her.
She's kind of, you know,
perfect physically.
She's bright.
She's got this quirky side to her.
We were called
to do screen tests...
...and there were four other women
who were testing for the part.
All completely different from me.
What's your name?
Stacey Nelkin,
perfect, tiny, you know?
Like, little curls
and the most beautiful face...
...and this, you know,
Va-Va-voom body...
...but, like, small
and perfectly proportioned.
I do remember the set
being exceedingly smoky.
It's not like being in a bar, it's worse.
At least in those days.
Ridley must have said
that was part of it.
The environment had already started to,
you know, break down the lungs...
...and all of those things.
Everybody who was screen testing
got to create their own character.
You know, had days
to meet with the Makeup team...
...and the Wardrobe team.
And I remember I had found that wig
in a basket full of stuff.
And, you know, it looked cool,
and then kind of built from that.
And I had seen
Werner Herzog's Nosferatu...
...and I remembered
the sort of puttied-out eyebrows...
...and then the black circle... You know,
black hollow eyes of Klaus Kinski.
And so I was inspired by that kind of.
And so I puttied out my eyebrows and
did that sort of black thing on my eyes.
The screen-test process
was an entire day and night.
I think it was a pretty early call to
get in Hair and Makeup and everything.
And we were pretty much kept isolated
from one another, It was...
It was very, very well
and thoroughly produced.
They had a big dinner set
on the sound stage...
...like they do on, you know,
movie lunch breaks.
And I actually went in for that.
And that's the first time
that I got to see the other girls.
And Monique van de Ven
looked like a doll.
And, you know,
she was all, like, sort of...
...beautiful new doll woman.
And I was like a freak.
I was like a total freak show.
I was, like, giant because
I had these big platform shoes on...
...and ripped-up stockings and this
fright wig and, you know, black eyes.
And I just started crying.
You know, I was a little teenage girl.
And I just looked around, I thought:
"Oh, my God.
I've made myself into a monster."
And everybody else
looked so beautiful.
Ridley just didn't think,
because I was so tiny...
...that I could conceivably
beat up Harrison Ford.
And he's right.
You know, I mean, I buy that.
So that was,
you know, the big letdown...
...because I do think it was down to me
and, you know, just a few other people.
I think there was
a bit of time that passed...
...before then they decided they wanted
to add this part that was in the book...
...of this fifth Replicant. Mary.
And Mary was a fabulous part.
There was a beautiful scene.
She was dying...
...you know,
and she was extremely vulnerable.
She had already
completely broken down.
At the time,
the writers' strike had happened.
And it wasn't good.
Everybody was picketing...
...and, you know, rumors,
and, you know, it was a very bad time.
And I was calling Michael
and actually talking to him on the phone.
Him saying. "Well, darling, you know,
we haven't gotten to your part yet."
And, you know.
"The strike has gone on, and we..."
You know,
and the whole thing. And...
And. "We haven't gotten there, and
we're gonna have to cut your part out."
And... it was just...
It was devastating.
God, she must have been
so disappointed. But we had to...
We stared at the schedule...
And I'd finished my casting sessions.
Everyone was in place.
...And we looked at the budget,
and I said:
"I've gotta cut things out.
We can't even build this.
We can't even schedule this."
So she was" Would be
one of the Replicants who would die.
There would be
a Replicant's fu... Wake.
There was a bit of... Like the wake
of the vampires. It would've been cool.
I was asked at the end of the days...
...you know, who I thought
was the best for each role.
Because I'd then rehearsed
with each one of them...
...so I knew a little bit about
how they were approaching things...
...as well as doing the actual test.
And I said. "Well, it's hands down
Daryl Hannah for Pris."
And it was hands down
Nina Axelrod for Rachael.
And Ridley said.
"Well, I think Sean Young."
Harrison was probably
looking for somebody...
I think he was nervous about
a first-timer.
I think he probably did it being:
"Oh, no. What about this?
What about her? What about her?"
I said. "Well, I tried that.
Don't you think they're a bit old?
Or a bit worldly?
We want somebody who's less worldly."
So we went through a bit of that.
He wasn't thrilled.
Once it's on, it's on.
Harrison's a consummate professional.
Once it's it, that's it. You go.
At the end of all these tests.
Ridley said:
"That was terrific.
It was fun working with you."
I said. "Great. You too."
So he said. "Well, I think
we got a role in this for you."
I said. "Oh, you do?
What would that be?"
He said. "He's a guy who kind of
interviews these Replicants...
...at the beginning,
and we hadn't even thought about it.
I'll call your agent and explain it to him."
I said. "Sure, fine."
So I got home,
was happy to do the test...
...and sure enough, got a call...
...was offered this role of Holden,
which I thought was terrific.
When I got the script from my agent...
...you know.
I told him to call Ridley and say:
"I've got the snake.
So, you know,
you can't go to anybody else...
...because I know
how to work with a snake."
The darling was a Burmese python,
and he was a very cool snake.
He was about 8 years old.
He did those scenes just perfectly.
I thought she was a very impressive
combination of physical power...
...feminism, to great sexuality.
She's really powerful physically.
As a whole physical female type,
she's great.
If you're gonna cast an Amazon,
there she is.
Very athletic. And really,
of all of them, the most athletic...
...and the most able to perform
whatever feats had to be performed.
Definitely the femme fatale.
I mean, I...
I sort of really fit right into that.
So, you know,
of course I was going to be cast...
...as someone
that was slightly dangerous.
She was Superwoman.
She was built to be as strong as a man.
And, I mean, like,
almost, you know, machine-like.
And yet there was a femininity there.
And Ridley and I talked about this a lot.
About... She was just a survivor.
Eddie I'd known for a long time.
And I brought him in
to meet with Ridley.
And it was Eddie's idea
to play a multinational...
...multiethnic, multilingual character
who had a vocabulary of his own.
That was tricky, because Eddie
was saying. "What's this Cityspeak?"
So Eddie. God bless him, drove me crazy
coming up with ideas of Esperanto...
...and rhythms of speech...
...that actually vaguely dovetailed and
made sense into what he had to say...
...in terms of the drama.
He was absolutely obsessed with that...
...getting that right.
Cityspeak was never nailed down
on the page, at least not by the writers.
That all came from Eddie Olmos.
Eddie, during his preparation
for the role of Gaff...
...went to the Berlitz School
of Languages here in Los Angeles...
...took some lessons...
...and found out some key phrases
from Hungarian. German and French...
...that he then rolled into
what he considered to be Cityspeak.
And that's what
he's talking to Deckard...
...at the beginning of the film
at the noodle bar.
And it's primarily Hungarian.
And I've heard that when Blade Runner
plays in theaters in Hungary...
...there's an enormous laugh.
He say you Blade Runner.
As long as he went along
with my understanding...
...of what was
going to be happening...
...which was the culturalization
of Los Angeles...
...in a way that people
wouldn't be expecting.
And he went with it
right from the start, from the get-go.
And he said.
"Sure, that sounds right."
He's very matter-of-fact.
And that really allowed me
to then explode in my own world.
He never questioned it.
Of course, I guess
the powers that be at that moment...
...questioned the fact
that nobody knew what I was saying.
And I could care less.
You know, because I knew
that what I was saying was correct.
And it was...
It was real dialogue.
it was up to him.
I basically didn't think
you needed those.
He would be very, very Hispanic.
Could almost be dressed
as if he was a well-to-do drug dealer.
And, in fact, was the manager
of all the dirty work for the department.
The word Gaff
is a good name, actually.
He groomed himself
obsessively, actually.
And efficiently.
He changed his eyes...
...but the most elaborate
was this curious gutter speak...
...which he helped put together
or maybe even invented mostly.
It's a huge amount of work by him
put into not a very big part...
...but very effective.
Today, as we look back on it,
it was an extraordinary cast.
Then, it was a cast who I knew,
and who Ridley was meeting...
...and who Ridley would guide
through the film.
He brought out the best qualities
in his performers.
It may not have always been
the most pleasant process...
...but on the other hand, he coaxed...
...and very gently manipulated
performances from these people...
...that in some instances
I think they've rarely topped.
I saw a very large canvas.
I saw a very eclectic canvas...
...where basically we were
gonna make our own rules.
Art direction, set design, I think
generally was one massive challenge.
But evolution told us it
had to be this much money.
We had to make it on a backlot.
Michael had a saying
that when Ridley takes out...
...the pencil it's hundreds of dollars...
...and when he takes out a pen,
it's thousands of dollars.
Ridley was over here,
hunting around for people...
...to work on this film
that he'd agreed to do.
I went over and had a meeting
with Michael Deeley. Ridley Scott...
...I think Ivor Powell and John Rogers.
And got the script handed to me...
...called Dangerous Days.
Isn't it fortunate it wasn't used?
And took it home
and started to do sketches.
And started to submit work
to Ridley and then...
...Lawrence Paull was hired.
I was the first hire on the staff.
A futurist, Syd Mead,
was one of the great illustrators of...
...industrial objects.
Cars, electric irons...
skyscrapers, cityscapes.
Urban development.
And I'd looked at this.
Started looking at them
as if they were fantasy.
Now. Syd was actually a great preview
on where we've gone now...
...in Tokyo, in... I've just been
to Shanghai. In Shanghai, certainly.
The way the urban development
is going.
Syd absolutely had it nailed.
And I didn't know that at the time.
I just felt he did.
And I brought him in
for a meeting and said:
"Look, we gotta do it this way.
I'm gonna be on the backlot...
...we're gonna do the best we can.
We have a limited budget.
I can't make things..."
Like Stanley took... At the time, I think.
2001 for the time was expensive.
But he'd actually made everything
including the centrifuge wheel...
...and it all worked and I would
never have the budget to do that.
That's why the idea
of retrofitting things came about.
It would have to be
retroed to the surface of...
...the backlot which had
traditional buildings.
Upon which
we would put pipes and ducts.
And air conditioning.
And one famous architect
years later...
...stopped me and brought me
to his offices, his rather...
...superb offices in London
and said to me:
"We run Blade Runner
about once a month."
Because he said.
"When I saw Blade Runner...
...the evolution
of the beauty in technology...
...suddenly became very apparent."
Which is...
...where the building
and where the guts on the outside...
...and the guts become
part of the decoration.
So that's the way we'd gone with
Blade Runner, so it was by necessity...
...we actually kind of started
to design it that way.
Syd Mead,
although his visual influence...
...on Blade Runner was indeed great
was only part of a larger entity called...
...the Art Department.
Every film has an Art Department.
And this is where
the designs and the blueprints...
...and the whole overall
visual concept of the films...
...is nailed before filming starts.
The one in charge of the Art Department
is called a production designer.
On Blade Runner, that was
a guy named Lawrence Paull.
And Larry had a lot to do with hiring
the other people in the Art Department...
...and coordinating
all of the varying looks...
...and synthesizing them
to Ridley's specification.
The big advantage we had
was the famous actors' strike.
That lasted for months.
And the fact that... Because I don't
think we ever would have been able...
...to finesse the designs...
...that we were developing...
...in the Art Department.
Finesse the technical aspect of it...
...had there not been
an actors' strike.
We needed the time, so consequently
we were in preproduction...
...for nine months,
or nine and a half months, which is...
...as long as I've ever been
on preproduction on a film.
We went over to Sunset Gower and he
brought me into Ridley's office.
He said. "I want you to meet...
This is David Snyder.
He's the... He's gonna be
the Art Director."
Ridley took his Macanudo out of his
mouth and stood up and shook hands...
...and he said.
"Too bad for you, mate."
This is a rather different
Art Department situation.
Ridley's in charge
of the Art Department on this picture.
And I imagine on most pictures,
but this one specifically.
It's not quite fair to sound
as though one's diminishing...
...the Art Department or the art director
but one is in a way because...
...Ridley's so on top of it and he's
micromanaging the Art Department.
Which is pretty hard for art directors to
take but okay when the credit comes up.
It was them.
Those guys had to work awfully hard
to do what Ridley wanted...
...and they had to be very efficient
to do what Ridley wanted.
But it was Ridley
who decided what it would be.
I knew that he had been
an art director and I knew that...
...that was probably a good thing,
you know, that he understood...
...and it would mean that unlike
some pictures where a lot of money...
...and focus is placed on the script...
...and the performances,
which is a good thing...
...that a fair amount of emphasis
would be placed on the look of the film.
We were evolving what
the future would be with...
...Larry Paull,
my chosen production designer.
I hadn't worked with him before, I think
he thought I was absolutely crazy...
...but because I could draw,
it helped a lot.
The three illustrators
that were working with...
...Larry Paull are Mentor Huebner.
Sherman Labby and myself.
Ridley looked at absolutely
everything that I drew.
Everything that I was proposing.
And would say yes or no to it.
We'd be in meetings
and he would be wanting me...
...to have more and more variety.
Take more chances.
Be more like Heavy Metal,
which is those Moebius strips where...
...they're in a futuristic city
and everything looks different.
And it's a hodgepodge of everything.
What Sherman was doing
was the storyboards...
...working very closely
with Ridley Scott.
Ridley would hand
little tiny drawings...
...we'd call Ridleygrams to Sherman...
...and Sherman
would then do fairly large...
...renderings in tone and light.
And they were gorgeous.
Mentor was doing
the production illustrations...
...of the sets that Larry was building.
Mentor Huebner,
grand old gentleman...
...of real classic movies...
...did his lock-off drawings in, I think,
Cont pencil.
They're gorgeous, gorgeous drawings.
I was hired to work one-to-one
with the director. Ridley.
After all, he's God.
A director is God on a film.
So I worked essentially
for his approval...
...through this
staff-structure overlay...
...who would then, you know, make
the thing look like Ridley had approved.
So it was kind of an elitist approach
to being involved in the film.
But I got along very well
with all the staff people.
One of the troubles we got into
with Syd Mead was he became...
...so important to the film,
that he'd only been originally hired...
...for a few days
at 1500 bucks a day or something...
...suddenly he was
on the thing for weeks.
And it was one factor
of going over budget.
In retrospect.
I guess I seduced the process...
...of being hired in the first place
only to do the vehicles.
And because I could render.
I'd been rendering for 20 years...
...at the time I started
in the movie business...
...so I knew how
to reproduce the mood...
...lighting, the fixtures,
what you saw...
...and I had never done an isolated
object on a white sheet of paper...
...because that's not the way
things exist in the real world.
They have surroundings,
you know, in sit...
So once I designed
Sebastian's truck...
...have it sitting on the street...
...it's not being used, behind it is a
building with sort of this patched-over...
...screened windows
with a cold cathode light inside...
...off in the distance
is sort of a misty...
...indistinct alignment
of architecture...
...and it has a very, very,
dreary effect.
And that's what I pursued
all the way through.
Showing these vehicles in place.
Syd designed this whole world,
but he designed not just...
...what would be
the matte paintings...
...but conceived of what
the streets would look like...
...and what the neon would look like.
And what it would look like when it was
all drenched in grisly oil-soaked rain.
And then designed the vehicles as well.
So the whole thing kind of knit together.
Syd wasn't really the production
designer per Se, but he was the stylist.
I think it was a really smart
decision to get someone...
...who didn't have
just an idea about the future...
...but he was actually someone who was
an industrial designer and illustrator...
...who was designing products
for the future for people...
...who were going to
manufacture them.
Syd had gone into
great wonderful details about:
"Will there be parking meters?" "There'll
be much worse than parking meters."
He developed a parking meter
that would actually kill you.
The post-mechanical case
becomes electrified...
...so that if you touch it
or try to attack it...
...you're electrocuted, which is a very
brutal attack on your... You as a human.
I said. "Oh. Syd, that's a bit much."
The first thing to do
was to design the vehicles...
...because they take the longest...
The most elaborate prop to build.
So Gene Winfield made a trip
down to my house...
...in Orange County and drove down,
we went over the designs...
...Ridley had approved them.
The spinner, the taxi.
Sebastian's truck, that vehicle.
And some other vehicles
which were...
They were really never built
because of budget problems.
They had me bid on 54 cars,
and I knew that they would never...
...be able to afford...
...all of these cars and I knew it would
be reduced, so it got reduced to 27 cars.
I had three shops going.
I had as high as 50 people...
...working on this project altogether.
I had, I think it was.
18 people just in fiberglass.
Working in fiberglass.
And we worked 18 hours a day,
seven days a week.
For five and a half months
to produce these vehicles.
Because they were very involved and,
you know, by the shape of them...
...and everything
that Syd did a wonderful job...
...designing, but they were
a little bit hard to build.
They took his renderings and
scaled them. They had seven people...
...working in the Art Department...
...scaling those blueprints...
...so that I could build the cars
and then they could build scale models...
...of some of them to fly in the movie.
Once we got started on the vehicles
then they came over to my shop...
...Ridley Scott and all the different
people in the Art Department...
...kept coming over all the time
and they were shooting pictures...
...and then I was
shooting pictures as we went.
And I was mocking up the sedan.
I was using...
...some metal, some wood,
some fiberglass.
And then I had a shop
down the street doing the taxis...
...there was a carpenter shop,
and so we built the taxis...
...basically out of wood. And they
were built on a VW van chassis.
And then I used VW chassis...
...for most of the smaller cars.
I shortened...
...the coupe chassis and then I
lengthened the ones for the sedan.
Like Harrison Ford's sedan,
and the police sedan...
...those were all made on VW chassis
which I lengthened 12 inches.
One of the spinners was
a complete mockup...
...of which we put on a table.
Some of the dialogue
was filmed in this unit...
...and this unit had all kinds
of things working, you know...
...the doors came up and all
kinds of things moved and whatnot.
And then it had all
the complete interior.
All the gadgets and, you know,
the monitors and all that stuff.
Everything was working in that unit.
And that was, like I say,
on a rolling table.
And the actors would get in
and sit there...
...and they'd film different sides
and do the dialogue...
...and everything on that unit.
And then the one spinner...
...that they lifted to fly,
that we didn't have an engine in that...
...but it had everything working,
all full hydraulics, you know.
I went through
and then designed some vehicles...
...from one of Ridley's
wonderful contour-line drawings.
And presented it to him.
And this was a huge...
...toxic mobile waste dump
that was big like a fortress.
Stephen Dane would kluge...
...pieces and bits and parts...
...that he found from
Arizona to New Mexico...
...and brought all these
aircraft parts and pieces here.
And had his own group
out at the Burbank hangar...
...manufacturing that.
As a matter of fact. Ridley liked...
...Stephen so much that he
wanted him at his side...
...all the time with a sketch book,
and Stephen could knock stuff out...
...like crazy.
He was the assistant art director...
...but he was
sort of like Ridley's pet guy.
Many of the things in that movie,
the umbrellas, all that...
...were all built at
little tiny garage shops.
Dream Quest, that did the readouts
for the spinner dashboard...
...they were in a garage too
or someone's house, you know?
Everybody in the Art Department
was tickled to work on Ridley Scott's...
...film following Alien.
Alien is a gorgeous film,
the best piece of art direction...
...I think I've ever seen in my life.
And we all thought, "Okay, we're doing
this picture about Replicants...
...and the future and a flying car...
...and I'd say.
"Whoa, we're doing Alien II.
We get to walk down
that same road."
Everybody got turned around
at a certain point and said:
"No, wait, we're not doing Alien II.
We're doing something completely
different. And it is the future...
...but it's not that far in the future."
The caveat,
when I was gonna do the show...
...was it was not gonna be
a big movie.
American International Pictures
was making this movie.
They wanted us to eventually
go to Mexico and make the movie.
And I was told that the only set...
...that I would be designing...
...because the rest would be
all location...
...would be the street.
Everything else was
gonna be done live location.
And, you know, given what is
going on in the film business...
...and so forth and so on,
you say. "Yes."
By the time I got on the film...
...there was a location manager
on the film already...
...that the production manager hired...
...and there were two locations
that Ridley liked in L.A.
One was the Bradbury Building...
...and the other was Union Station.
The Bradbury Building turned out
to be the hotel where...
...one of our key characters lived...
...and Union Station
turned out to be the police station.
Where we built the set in the corner
of the station, and the set is still there...
...in Union Station.
It's part of the offices now.
And we made a deal with them to...
...cut back on the location fee
if they would...
...you know, take the set,
which they did.
I think, funny enough, it took
somebody not to come from L.A...
...to actually do it in L.A, because
I'm new, I haven't seen this before...
...and I'm going. "Wow, that's good
and that's good." Yeah?
And the Bradbury's great
and we put a little cheap canopy on.
I even brought the columns from the
studio because they're only Styrofoam.
So I had a style of crunchy
kind of comic-strip architecture.
Which is nearly real,
ls real, you've gotta make it real.
The Bradbury Building, everyone
in the TV series uses that and I had said:
"Back off, I'm gonna use it, I'll shoot it
in a way you haven't seen it before."
Being an architectural student I said:
"You know, it doesn't make
any sense to me that...
...you're walking along the corridor
of the Bradbury Building...
...and all of a sudden you walk in
and there's these plaster walls."
And I said. "It doesn't
make any sense to me."
I mean, that was exactly the point.
Why does it have to make sense,
and isn't it so much more interesting...
...that the architecture is different?
And I think what he said to me was.
"Don't rationalize with me."
Michael Deeley said, "Okay, it's 3:00.
Ridley's gonna come...
...I want the drawings on the wall.
He's gonna look at the drawings."
So in those days, you had
to go to the blueprint shop...
...and make copies which was,
like, interminable in time.
And everything smelled of ammonia...
...because they just came out
of the machine.
So the whole room
stank of ammonia...
...with these drawings
that had just been put up.
Michael Deeley and Ridley
were walking around...
...and I was standing
with Larry Paull like this, you know...
...terrified and walking around
looking at the drawings...
...and as if we had left the room...
...he looked at Michael and he said.
"Well, you know...
...it's never really all
what you want, is it?"
He said.
"You never get what you want."
Because there was so much to do...
...and I think at the peak, we had...
...400 plus-minus carpenters,
painters, plasterers...
...I mean, there were so many
people working on the show...
...that it was just a job
managing all that...
...which was under the jurisdiction
of the Construction Department...
...but someone needed to be the liaison
between what was being built...
...and what was being designed.
So my job got really busy because
as Larry was concentrating...
...on the design and I was gonna
sort of manage that for him.
I've never seen anything like it.
I quite honestly never had seen...
...a set built like that.
It was just an amazing...
...amazing amount of...
...construction that had to be done.
Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin
came to the Burbank hangar.
We were manufacturing
the cars and the furniture.
And they walked in
and saw this entire hangar...
...filled with people and I'm telling you.
I could see the blood drain...
...out of Bud Yorkin's face.
He had no idea what was going on.
He couldn't believe it.
"You're making chairs, you're making...
What are you making? Go buy a chair,
buy a table. What are you making?"
But it was all beautifully designed
museum pieces that you can't buy.
I'd always known what the idea
of the street was gonna be.
That everything
was gonna be claustrophobic...
...that the buildings were gonna be
out to the edge of the sidewalks.
And it was gonna be very heavy
and very heavy-handed looking.
But what...
But to see Syd's illustrations when
he came back was like, "Oh, my God."
The street set which has
the oblong, sort of hot-dog-shaped...
...lights around
the corner of the building...
...that was right from the painting.
Right exactly from the painting.
So all these things went together
based on sketches from Ridley...
...direction from him
through Lawrence Paull to myself...
...accompanying Lawrence Paull
to the Warner Bros, backlot.
Some of those streets had been used
in Westerns, I mean, for decades.
They were very, very, visually familiar.
I walked on that backlot,
it's what it looks like now.
When you walk on there,
that's what it looked like.
And it's got... As all backlots...
...it can only be limited.
So it's limited to, I think,
two, maybe three stories.
Mostly two. So it's not tall enough.
So in those days because I haven't got
digital CGI or anything like that...
...the decision to do it at night
makes a lot of sense.
Because I was a designer.
I'm up there often...
...and all over Larry. God bless him.
A very good way of telling you how Ridley
was in control of the Art Department...
...is that when the first walk-through
which we did of the finished set...
...when it happened, Ridley...
...we're trying to look
at everything else, said:
"Very good. Very good start,
now let's get on with it."
And I did a walk-through, backwards,
on the set, street set...
...for one of the
publicity-release clips.
And for me it was spooky
because I was walking through...
...one of my miniature renderings.
It was very close...
...to the little painting
I'd done for Ridley.
He had Lawrence Paull
and the staff essentially...
...come as close as possible
to duplicating that design.
And it was very fascinating
and very complimentary of course also.
That I'd come that close to what
he had in his mind as how it should look.
Larry Paull came into my office
and said:
"I want you to come up
with two designs for a neon sign...
...two neon-sign designs a day
for the next 20 days."
And I mean, it was $100,000 worth
of neon that I was gonna draw.
And then they were gonna inherit neon
from One from the Heart...
...and they made
a purchase or something...
...that we were gonna use it for the film
in a new way.
We weren't gonna make it
look like it did in their film.
I saw a poster that had this...
...katakana or kanji letter form on it...
...and I said. "What does that say?"
And she said.
"Well, that says 'origin.'"
And so I turned that form of "origin"
into the neon sign...
...that's behind Deckard
when he's looking at the newspaper...
...waiting to get served
at the noodle bar.
And the way I perceived it...
...was that I could make it look like...
...a map of the world because
these look like land forms...
...more than they look like letter forms
to me because I don't speak Japanese.
And I chose, you know,
orange or pink...
...and blue neon
and you see this glow...
...and origin is really the question
of Blade Runner.
It's kind of a hidden little secret...
...that, you know, what is our origin?
Where do we come from?
Who are we?
The thing that was very smart
about Ridley Scott was...
...most English-speaking people
aren't gonna know what it says...
...but in those characters...
...it becomes visually
very, very important.
If you could read it, your eye
would go to it and you'd be distracted...
...you would be looking at it
and reading it...
...and he doesn't want you
reading it...
...he just wants you to be
dazzled by how beautiful it is.
Deckard's apartment, which was great.
I think was great...
...Frank Lloyd Wright set.
We went in the Frank Lloyd Wright
house, realized we couldn't shoot...
...because I was in there a long time.
So Larry and I, we took castings
off the walls of the Ennis House.
We had also gone to the
Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis-Brown House.
But when we had gotten to
Lloyd Wright's house...
...and I had photographed it.
I realized the way...
...the concrete blocks
were designed...
...and broken out in coffers...
...and it literally felt like
a cave enclosure.
That was the whole tip-off
for the whole set...
...for me, designwise, was to
make it feel totally claustrophobic.
I designed the interior
of Deckard's bedroom.
Which was supposed to be
the ultimate, you know...
...moveable bachelor pad fun pit
kind of thing. That was never built.
Some of the things that he did
didn't work and we let him know.
It was more Playboy-ish.
It belonged in a Playboy magazine...
...conceptual apartment kind of thing
as opposed to Blade Runner.
I would have discussions
with the director.
And then I would have to
go back and revise...
...not just designs, but revise what
they're gonna cost me because things...
...got bigger, better, best.
So consequently.
Deckard's one-bedroom apartment...
...which was supposed to run
45 or 50 thousand dollars...
...at that time...
...ran at that time $175,000.
But I'd never budgeted an apartment
that could cost $175,000.
There was never that need.
But when I got done
with my meetings with Ridley...
...the need was there.
We're several weeks into the shoot, and
I was around and I was writing pages...
...and I would rush them
over to the set...
...and sometimes Ridley
had already had a new idea...
...so my pages were totally outdated
before he ever read them.
And so that's the kind of thing
that can make you crazy.
I brought some pages
over to Ridley, right?
And in the course of
while I was there...
...they struck for the day.
And the lights went off
and there's just this apartment.
And I went and I sat down in a chair.
And I swear to God.
I was in a place that people lived.
I mean, that place was so alive
and so real, it felt nothing like...
...any set I'd ever been on
and I visited a set...
...of Ridley's some years later...
...when he was doing
Someone tn Watch Over Me.
I walked into the house
they'd built on the set...
...and again, little pieces of spaghetti,
mold on the wall...
...it was unbelievably real.
I mean, it was...
...true. It was true to life.
And that set felt like
people lived there.
I went out a couple of nights,
and we certainly went out...
...when they weren't shooting
and saw sets and everything.
And right on down the line
from the scenery...
...the costumes
and the entire thing, I think...
...you know, it speaks for itself.
The people at the studio...
...would walk by or walk through the set
as it was being built.
And they'd walk through the set
and they'd all walk away...
...shaking their heads saying.
"What are these people doing?"
I never chuck away the set...
...or the proscenium or the landscape.
The set is the landscape.
And to me in all my work...
...the landscape and proscenium
is a character.
Sometimes to the irritation
of some actors...
...and always to the
irritation of critics...
...who'd tear me apart for...
...many movies before I realized:
"You know what?
I have a real advantage."
I can actually conceive a world,
a universe and carry it out so it's real.
I always remember the first day
was not good because I got in there...
...and the columns were upside down.
All the columns. And I'd seen it...
I'd even drawn it for them.
Saying. "Like this."
And I'd put the weight at the top.
He basically said.
"Well, the only thing I'd like to do...
...is turn the columns upside down."
And I looked at him incredulously.
Like. "What do you mean,
turn them upside down?"
And he said.
"Just that. Put that down here."
I said. "Okay."
The columns are not
supporting the ceiling...
...but they're just big bastards.
I said. "Look, without damaging
the floor, how long to cover the floor...
...without scratching it,
turn each column over?"
He says. "You won't be shooting
until 12:00."
I went to the first AD, told them...
This is at 7 in the morning.
"Come back at 2:00,
and we'll be ready to shoot.
The director wants a change."
Sure made hell
for the construction crew.
You know, because they had to come in
here, and this is all block-and-fall stuff...
...turn them around... like that.
And then the floor.
God, the amount of time...
...they spent polishing this floor
and just wax...
And they could not get
the really high gloss.
And they pull it out... And so
each square was, like, two-by-two...
...and they were polishing
those things.
At 2:00 in the afternoon,
when everybody came back from lunch...
...Ridley was a happy camper,
the columns were upside down...
...everything else was in place,
and they shot.
It was worth turning the columns over
because otherwise that stuff...
...would've been
at the top of the shot.
Those eyes are one of a kind.
It's like Rutger's character.
It's like. "If you could see what I could
see with my eyes." You know?
That's Ridley Scott.
And Ridley was very demanding.
I mean, from the point of view
of the lighting...
...and the acting, and the design.
I remember him saying.
"Put more stuff on her lips.
Put more stuff on her lips,
keep putting that stuff on her.
No, no, no. More."
I'd heard later that Ridley wanted me to
stay in my little cubicle dressing room...
...because he didn't want me to have
too much interaction with everyone.
So, I mean, that could've been
part of the manipulation.
Ridley, who also came
from a lot of commercial background...
...was constantly trying to add a kind of
scintillating visual stimulation to scenes.
A good example would be
in Tyrell's office.
We're sitting there in this big set.
We're struggling with our part...
...which is the front projection
out the windows...
...the live-action guys are struggling
with the weird lighting stuff...
...and Ridley's saying.
"Well, I want this light to be like...
...up against the wall."
And we're saying.
"Well, what's motivating that?
Is it raining? Is the floor wet?"
And he said, "No, it's just gotta...
You know, it's just gotta happen."
And so I go. "If that's what Ridley
wants, that's what he should have."
I mean, you look at the movie,
you do have to ask:
"Well, what's that all about?
Is that something coming in the window?
From some atmospheric thing
going on outside?"
You don't need to explain it.
But Ridley had this...
Has always had this incredible sensitivity
to all kinds of ways...
...to create visual stimulation.
After the first day of shooting.
Doc Erickson came to me and said:
"We're now five days behind."
This is not what I wanted to hear but.
I mean. Ridley was dealing...
...with the smoke and the mirrors,
and this and that...
...and the columns,
and so on and so forth.
In the meantime. Harrison's
just sitting there waiting to act...
...and getting pissed off because
he's not being called to the set...
...to act in the scene.
The reason I was thrilled
about having Ridley...
...is he's got
the very best eye in the business.
And that comes with a price.
Which is the time and the effort
that he has to put into it.
So he'd often be sitting up
in the sky on the crane...
...doing the last
book-on-the-table position...
...when Harrison was sort of seething
and not being told what to do.
Ridley didn't think it was necessary
to tell him what to do.
Harrison always up to this point,
had been dealing with directors...
...for instance, like Francis Ford Coppola.
Steven Spielberg...
...and working with George Lucas,
there was a commonality...
...among all three of them,
which was...
...all three of them
very much pulled Harrison...
...into the creative process
of building that character.
Ridley felt Harrison was perfectly capable
of doing everything he had to do...
...knew how to do it, and Ridley,
meanwhile, was composing the picture.
There's a part of you
that wants to be...
...totally in sync
with the director's ambition.
And then there's a perverse part of you
that says. "You know what?
It doesn't really matter.
What matters is being there.
And participating truthfully...
...in whatever the relationships
in the scenes are.
And fuck it, it's just a movie.
Let him worry about it."
Maybe Ridley was giving me more
attention than he was giving Harrison...
...because he was making
the assumption that he didn't need that.
Harry was never happy on that show.
He never was.
Not really.
The only time he was happy...
...was if it was gonna be close to wrap,
you know? Then he was happy.
In the case of the first property master,
who departed...
...it was over the mug and the desk
in the Holden interview.
The prop guy, you know,
brought in, like, two or three pens...
...and maybe three or four mugs,
and Ridley wanted to see more.
And he couldn't figure out.
"Why would you want to see more?
It's, like,
only a mug and it's only a pen."
I took the prop guy aside, I said.
"Go buy, like, a hundred mugs...
...go buy, like, a hundred pens.
What do you care?
Just go buy...
Don't you see what's going on here?"
Because I could see
what was going on.
He wanted to see every mug ever made
before he chose that mug.
We had our man in Havana,
so to speak...
...there on the set every day
and watching it.
And we saw some of the rushes.
Bud was more involved...
...but Ridley's a perfectionist.
And Ridley came from the world
of commercial...
...doing commercials, from England,
and he was very, very successful.
And he's very meticulous,
that's what his genius is.
And I won't take anything away
from him, but it starts to slow down...
...when you start to take many, many
takes of certain scenes, and we did.
We started out,
we were a few weeks behind...
...within a few weeks, so it was...
I thought things
could start to take off.
Presume behind closed doors
he started getting twitchy...
...after the first week of shooting,
we were two, three days behind.
Then after the first couple
of weeks shooting Tyrell's room...
...suddenly, we went back
and started re-shooting them.
I would've thought he went apoplectic
because they put X amount of money...
...and they were guaranteeing
completion, you know? Jesus.
I mean, I would imagine him
getting pretty irate.
I remember Ridley heard
that they were upset...
...at the number of takes he's done
once when they were watching dailies.
And Ridley got very angry.
And in retrospect.
I think Ridley was sending a message...
...back to them in his own way.
He was having a tantrum and stuff.
I think he was letting them know.
"Don't fuck with me."
What I saw, I liked.
I did think, you know,
and I told this to Ridley...
...I thought he printed
way too many takes in those days...
...and shot too many takes.
I didn't think he needed...
I thought he...
Now, obviously, he was looking
for something in every one.
And he and I sat...
Actually, a couple of times.
...And I explained to him.
"I don't quite understand.
Tell me why the 16th take was
the best one out of this whole group."
And he would. He, in his own way,
he had explained why he wanted it.
And there was a lot of film
that was used.
Yeah, there'd be irritation.
I'd do seven takes.
"Why's he doing seven takes?"
I know people who do 40 takes.
But seven takes in those days
were not inordinate at all.
I was definitely very different...
...which is why I've been very successful
as a commercial maker...
...and would look at things
in different lights...
...and put things in a different way...
...so they hadn't seen that before.
It's why you're hiring me.
And I think that went on, definitely.
And that's, you know, how it goes.
Ridley is a very strong-minded,
knows what he wants, knows the look.
And when you're trying to do a project
that's this different...
...and you've got the studio laddie
on the one side, and then Ridley and...
Nothing ever gets made
without having its difficulties.
All I remember in Ridley's making
Blade Runner, anger.
Anger at people not understanding
his process or how he worked.
A lot of people
don't bother to understand...
...what is it that he's trying to do.
And I think that's what happened
at the time.
There was a lot of nervousness,
you know?
And there was a lot of competition
within themselves.
And I think people made a lot of it
in the beginning.
Everybody already anticipated
before shooting:
"He's not gonna like us.
He's gonna be unhappy.
He thinks American crews are not good."
I don't think he sat there...
...and said.
"American crews are not good."
He wanted everyone
to be at their best.
I realized I couldn't bring in
the people I'm used to...
...because of the union. A lot
like the union, that's the way it goes.
And so being new on the block here.
I had to learn the process of...
...I couldn't use this,
couldn't use that.
You know, I'm used to being
my own operator.
There's nothing worse
when you've done 2500 commercials...
...and I know I've got a very good eye.
In three seconds I can give you a setup
having walked in a room...
...without even seeing it before.
So I don't like discussion.
I know exactly what I want
when I walk in and say. "Do it."
That's the director's job.
Director's not meant to stand there
and consult with half a dozen people...
...in the room.
The term "director" means direct, mate.
Do the job.
On your mark.
And what can he do for you?
Can the maker repair what he makes?
My first day was a scene with...
Where I had to strangle my father...
...or whatever I did to him.
My father-maker.
I'd never been
on a production like this, you know?
Two hundred and fifty people,
had no idea who everybody was.
You know, got there at 6 in the morning
and seeing this develop so slowly...
...and start to shoot a scene
one day...
...and end up with a scene being shot
three days later...
...not knowing
where you started again.
It was a shock.
But the great part about the shock
was that, you know...
...there was some brilliant people
at work.
The DOP was wonderful.
To see him... How he would just...
...paint, you know, with his light,
and it took him hours sometimes.
Jordan came with his team,
which I thought was fine...
...because he's a great cameraman.
And he came
with two really good operators and...
So I thought, "Well, I can't operate."
I would line up as much as possible.
I like to line up, so, like that:
That's what I do.
That's what I know I'm doing.
And that is more efficient and it's faster.
On any film, people get frustrated.
And you have an artistic director
that sees it his own way...
...and he's definitely
the one driving the show.
Jordan wasn't in the best of health,
so it was frustrating for him...
...because he couldn't jump up
and be with Ridley.
He just wasn't physically able.
For a number of years,
my father had suffered from a disease...
...that we eventually found out
was Parkinson's.
That progressively through the course
of the movie...
...it took its toll...
...and for the last month or so
of the movie he was in a wheelchair.
Ridley, to his credit, saw past the illness
and made a very bold choice...
...in going with Jordan.
That's the best way to describe it.
We had our scenes together.
You have your sort of very, very long...
Roy. "I want more life. and all.
Very intense.
Looked him right in the eye...
...he looked me in the eye,
we went at it and it was great.
Rutger's naturally theatrical.
I mean, in a good way.
He understands
the theater of it all.
Take five.
Camera rolling, mark it.
I want more life.
The facts of life.
Then the whole kill.
There was a major sort of a deal.
Because they had made
an extra sort of head.
I think it was a $20,000 head
of Tyrell.
That was one of the prosthetics
that was made...
...and it was made
so that it could be crunched.
They never used it.
What we did is I ran some tubes up
behind the ear...
...and when they did this... it'd be:
About as primitive as you can get.
You know, a bulb, and a tube,
and some blood:
And the blood squirted.
Tyrell was a Replicant as well.
When he got his eyes squeezed out,
and his head squeezed out...
...nuts, bolts, springs.
And that was the idea,
that he was another front...
...and another form of NEXUS 6.
I guess.
And that would trigger me
to go to the next floor.
And in the next floor,
in the pyramid of glass...
...would be, you know. Mr. Maker
himself, dead for four years.
And so I had to design the sarcophagus,
and Batty was supposed...
...to be there looking at his maker.
And I had him standing off to the
right of the little painting I did...
...with this sort of Mayan capsule he'd
come out of, the entrance to the crypt.
That was never filmed either.
Harrison was supposed to be having
this on-screen love affair with Rachael.
And Sean Young was very young
and extremely inexperienced...
...and Ridley, I think, was more or less
talking Sean through her performance...
...to a certain extent.
And Sean and Harrison just did not click
on any level.
Anytime you're doing
a love scene is tricky.
First of all, I feel for the actors
having to do it, saying it's real.
Or uncomfortable.
And you can't really let it fly...
...let go, because that's not
what you're doing.
It's not very professional.
And so it's a waltz,
it's actually a delicate waltz...
...to find out what should it be,
how far should it go...
...and where's enough, enough.
We scrapped an idea. Ridley did,
where they put a piece of tape...
...around my legs
and they greased up my legs.
And then it got all over the costumes,
and then it didn't work...
...and they're trying to grab my legs,
the grabbing leg thing...
...pulling my skirt up,
and getting it all over the costumes.
People complained,
and it just didn't work.
So we scrapped it.
So they cleaned my legs up...
...and then we did something else.
But then Ridley told him to push me.
And I remember being really surprised
about that.
And I also remember Harrison being...
I think I was crying afterwards too.
And I remember Harry
going to the side.
Like, I was sitting on that ledge
where the blinds were behind me...
...and we did the scene.
And he went over to the corner there...
...and he turned away from me and
he took his pants and he mooned me...
...because he was trying
to make me laugh, because I was going:
And I looked up
and he was mooning me.
I think I started laughing, you know?
And I think what he was
trying to say was, you know:
"Hey, it's not that bad, kid."
Sean had a very interesting part
to play.
Maybe one of the most interesting parts
in the movie.
She understood what was going on.
She did, I think, a good job.
was always the great technician.
I mean, "No, kid. You have to sit here.
Your face has to be here.
You have to be here.
You have to move that way.
Back up. Come here."
He always knew exactly what to do.
And, you know, very much a technician
in terms of lighting and talking.
I remember we had a metronome
that was supposed to create a rhythm.
And we had this metronome going.
And he went over and he went like that.
And he stopped it.
I said. "Why'd you do that?"
He says. "I don't feel like...
...looping it, kid." You know?
And I was like, "What's looping?"
You know, I had no idea of anything.
So he was very much
kind of teaching me the...
Well, making fun of me more.
But, you know...
Pointing out my errors.
Harrison never left his dressing room
unless he was shooting.
So there wasn't a whole lot of
interaction with any of us and Harrison...
...and/or Ridley and Harrison.
Harrison came prepared to work.
There wasn't a lot of dialogue...
I think that's fair to say.
...between the two.
Maybe all of that unhappiness
actually helped him, you know...
...to at least subliminally convey,
you know. Deckard's own desperation.
And his own unhappiness
with his own life.
Because Blade Runner,
for better or worse...
...is one of Harrison Ford's
signature performances.
I think
it's one of his best performances.
Harrison Ford
is probably one of the smartest actors...
...I've ever worked with.
Top of the line.
A, for what they can do.
But B, they're able to do it
because they're smart.
It's not just intuition.
They work it out, you know?
Sometimes they don't comprehend
what I do for a living on a big movie.
My performance is important
as any other performance...
...of any person in that film,
particularly the star.
My film...
The film that I make...
...at the end of the day, is my movie.
It may be a team thing as well.
But I'm taking the knocks.
I'm taking the bashes.
And probably I've developed it,
et cetera, et cetera.
So yes, it's my movie.
And I'm inviting people to come in
and do it. And that's what a director is.
I find it really easy
and very encouraging...
...to do what you feel.
And then if he liked it, he'd just smile
and be very happy.
And maybe then if he liked it, he'd
even ask you to do something else...
...you know? Because that was fun.
Let's do something further, you know?
I can't imagine an actor not liking him.
It's good to see you, old buddy.
Downtown L.A., in front of
the Bradbury Building...
...in the middle of the night.
Usually, our call...
...pretty much always was at sunset.
We're vampire hours, you know?
I was, you know,
kind of buried in a pile of trash...
...much like the screen test.
And kind of met J.F. Sebastian
the first time.
And also there was, of course,
lots of rain.
And so one time when I was running
away from J.F. Sebastian...
...I ran and hit the van and my arm
went through the window.
And it wasn't breakaway glass
so I still have a scar.
It's a little bit keloided.
So you can see there.
But I had, like, you know, eight chips
or nine chips taken out of there...
...and there's still some more
floating around in there, I think...
...which didn't help doing
the back walkovers and things...
...on the chipped elbow.
I'd filmed in the Bradbury Building
before, which is very pristine...
...very clean.
An amazing place.
Great ironwork and so forth that,
visually, just is fabulous.
And lit it for a set.
You know, a lot of backlight.
Again, had the xenons passing through,
and smoke.
It was eerie.
But the amazing part about it is...
...I don't really think
that the Bradbury people understood...
...how Ridley wanted to do it,
because it was a total mess.
In the interior,
we had a 65-foot truck filled with debris.
And we had, of course,
rain inside the building.
We had rain everywhere.
And what we would have to do...
Because the building
was occupied at the time...
We could get it at 6:00 at night
and at 6:00 in the morning...
...we had to be out of there
and it had to be clean.
So because it looks like it's decrepit
and filthy...
...we couldn't figure out a way at first
but then we came up with the idea of...
...we took cork
and crumbled up cork...
...because it has the same texture
and color as mud and dirt.
So we'd throw cork all over the floors
and the rain would absorb it.
So the next morning,
when you swept everything up...
...it was, like, clean, and didn't have
to be scrubbed with soap and water.
Because we probably had no more
than an hour...
...to get out of the building every day.
When I first came onto the set, I walked
down the lot through this maze...
...and saw these signs and buildings
and whatnot.
I said to myself.
"Wow, this is astronomical.
It's gonna take forever to do this film
if it hasn't already."
I thought
I was going to go to the studio...
...and see a so-called refrigerated lab.
They shot it in a real fridge, basically.
A monster fridge.
Let's say inside was frosty.
That was cold
in that meat locker, boy.
I didn't know how long it took
before the cameras would freeze.
But you had to really be in and out
after maybe 20 minutes, half an hour...
...something like that, or else the oil
would all freeze up on the damn things.
In a way, it was kind of strange
why they did that...
...because the conditions
were almost uncontrollable.
They could not set the temperature
of that freezer...
...to where they could just get the cold
and see the breath coming out...
...and everything looks frozen.
We started off with a couple of arcs
in the freezer.
Well, they're carbon arcs.
They are actually burning coal.
And after about an hour...
...people were sniffing around.
About another hour,
people were starting to get ill...
...because we were, number one,
taking the oxygen out of the air...
...and the carbon...
The smoke from the carbon...
...people were getting sick.
We had to shut down the arcs
and literally open up the freezer...
...get all the air out, had fans going.
The lights were not working and then,
you know, people are yelling:
"What they gonna do?"
And bring the lights out and the camera.
And the producer was on to Ridley:
"That's good enough.
That's good enough." Or whatever.
Like I said, I wouldn't wanna work
in that atmosphere again.
It's just too much.
Too much was at stake
at too short a time.
Probably one of the most
unique experiences on a backlot...
...for sure, that I've ever seen.
All of the night scenes on Blade Runner,
which were long...
There were approximately
33 days of night.
The night scenes were all shot on
what's called the New York Street set.
And this, of course, is where
The Maltese Falcon had been filmed...
...by Warner Bros, in the 1940s...
...and it was just their
standing urban New York type of look.
To shoot a studio street
on Blade Runner...
...you know, on the Warners lot,
would look crap.
If you look at all
the sort of TV series and things...
...and see where they've shot on the
studio street, it looks like a studio street.
So wetting it down and
having things in heavy rain, you know...
...certainly started to bring it to life.
The reason why I could not
have done those sets in daylight:
It wouldn't have looked good.
They would've looked pretty bad.
And we would've
had to spend more money.
So by shooting at night,
you save money.
And it looks better.
And it's always raining, it looks better.
That's what it's about.
And where's"?
Why is there always smoke?
I haven't got enough money,
and it looks better.
So those three elements are all...
Those are my armory.
Night, wet, smoke.
Someone on the crew once said that
if you walked on the Blade Runner set...
...you felt like you were
at a Pennsylvania coal mine.
And it's very true, because the crew
had all these white painter's masks on...
...and they had soot all over their face
and they had little painter's goggles on...
...and everyone was tired and it stank
and it was mildewed and it was wet.
The smoke... They had beehive smoke.
Basically, you were looking for
an urban area in 2020 that is just...
The sun never shines, that...
Perpetual fog and drizzle.
Blade Runner had tons of atmospherics.
A lot of it's at night, smoke and...
And the crew would be walking around
with these gas masks on...
...because they've been breathing
the stuff 20 hours a day, you know...
...for weeks and weeks.
I was outside our stage.
It was filled with smoke too...
...and Ridley came out
to smoke a cigar or something...
...and I looked at him, I said. "Ridley,
do you have smoke in your house?"
He laughed, he said. "No, not really."
But, you know, very good effect.
Well, I thought
the art direction was brilliant...
...and the world that was created
was very dense and interesting.
Part of the look of the film had to do
with the fact that it was shot outside...
...at night.
But it was a bitch working every night,
and the...
All night long, often in the rain.
So it wasn't the most pleasant shoot.
Action, please. Action, everybody.
Anyone that watches the picture knows
that we were doused with water...
...day in and day out.
And that meant we had to have
twice as many costumes...
...because how many ti...
Every time, they got soaked.
You had to reshoot
the damn scene again.
You had to put on another costume,
you couldn't wait to dry it.
There was always dialogue
that we were behind schedule.
I think it all culminated...
...when we were shooting on the backlot
at night with the street exteriors.
Never less than 13, 14 hours.
We would shoot all night.
Kind of the joke was:
"Keep your eyes in the east,
because soon as you see that glow...
...you know we've got
only about another hour."
Some days we never shot.
And then some days
we made two shots a day.
One was on meal penalty,
and one was at sunrise.
And that happened more than once.
What he did, which was the first time
I had been allowed to experience it...
...was that he ran...
He had huge Voice of the Theaters
speakers on top of the buildings.
And so when he would start the scene...
...and get the understanding of what
the reality of that moment was...
...he'd play the sound score.
Vangelis was...
Had already given him some temp stuff.
And he'd blast it into the street...
...so that you were working
inside of a full, ongoing environment...
...of sound and special effects.
The spinners were coming up and down
and they had the cranes working...
...and all the smoke and all the water.
And that backlot came alive.
What he was trying to do
was just incredible.
And I remember we would sit
for eight hours trying to do one setup.
And you would do it, like, right?
And you could... What you're seeing
in your eye is what you're gonna see.
It's really pretty much that.
But then I remember going to dailies,
and it's the one film to this day...
...where I went to dailies and I went.
"We shot that?"
I st... I was shocked.
Blade Runner, particularly to fans.
Is known as a movie...
...that has some fairly egregious blunders.
And one of the most visual of those
would be...
...Zhora's death scene,
where Joanna Cassidy, as Zhora...
...is crashing through all these
display-case windows.
It's like another one
of these gigantic oversights...
...to put hair on someone that looked
nothing like my hair.
I mean, that's something that
was such a big stunt.
Had to be planned in advance,
and unfortunately it wasn't.
It was basically a wig pulled out of
somebody's bag.
And it just never... It never cut it.
She's the double,
because I won't risk Joanna.
Running through... Because even though
you're running through sugar...
That's not plate glass, It's got to have
been large sheets of sugar glass.
But the sugar glass that usually breaks
is thin, which is panes like that.
That must've been large sheets
very carefully put up.
So when you go through that stuff,
you could still cut yourself.
That was a very famous stuntwoman,
by the way, named Lee Pulford.
Lee was really well-known and
respected within the stunt community.
But the problem with her particular scene
and moment in the movie...
...was that at that time, that was shot
at the end of principal photography...
...and, once again, the money issues
were bearing down hard on everyone...
...and now we were facing time issues.
Everything was rushed. And you only get
one shot at that. There's not two shots.
That's it.
Now that would probably be...
...digitally done, or I'd shoot that
for two nights minimum.
Once you make that mess
and you tidy up...
...you gotta move off
and do something else.
I remember them putting that wig on
and I just looked and I went:
"I can't believe we're shooting this now."
And I protested, I said, you know:
"For God's sakes, wait another night."
You know, let the woman
get a decent hairpiece on.
I think one of the greatest images
in the film...
Ridley came over... He came over to me,
said. "Okay, I want you to do this now.
I want you to go get some Plexiglas
and break it up."
He took all these pieces that I had cut up
and laid down...
...that looked like shattered glass,
and mixed it with the glass...
...and there must've been about
six or eight C-stands around there...
...where we hung neon on there...
...and what looks like
a happenstance kind of thing...
...it took forever to set it up...
...and that image really sticks in my mind
because it's so beautiful.
That time, I was invited down.
I was on the set, man.
I saw Yorkin and those guys
on Ridley and on Deeley...
...and it was not pretty.
I didn't have much to do with them
and didn't see much of them...
...I know, till we started getting
behind schedule.
I know Bud Yorkin was the guy
who used to come down on the set...
...and in particular.
I remember one night...
...when we were shooting a difficult
sequence, Zhora getting shot.
And I remember Bud Yorkin
was down there, just wanting to know...
Expletives apart,
why we were going so slowly...
...and what the hell, you know,
was going on...
...and pointing his finger pretty
aggressively at Ridley.
As a director, I really had empathy
for what he was going through.
I knew it was a huge task and so forth.
I never liked the idea of producing.
I only produced, in my life, two pictures
that I produced and didn't direct.
And that's very frustrating for anybody
who's a director...
...directors that wanna produce, because
they're watching another director work...
...and they could say. "God, come on,
move it" or "Change that"...
...or "Why are we arguing?"
I think Bud
secretly wanted to direct himself...
...and if he had, it would be obviously
a very different movie.
There was conversations like that that led
nowhere because we stood by Ridley...
...and said. "You gotta finish the movie.
That's what we bought,
that's what we're paying for."
They'd say. "The suits are coming in."
And you'd see the suits...
...and Ridley would look over. He'd
keep going, whatever he was doing...
...and they'd say. "We're gonna have
such-and-such a meeting. whatever.
Then we'd break for lunch
and you'd see them all go in...
...and everybody going.
"That's it, they're gonna shut down."
And I used to think:
I knew it, I used to always, to myself...
I never said anything.
And you'd see Ridley go in,
and he'd come out...
...and it must've been like a 12-round
punch-up, you know...
...but he came out. He wasn't budging.
I was warned a couple of times
to speed up, that's about it.
I said. "I can, I will speed up if I can,
but unfortunately, these are big setups."
I came on at the end of the movie.
The pressure was unbelievable.
I don't know how Ridley made it through.
I mean, I guess he just toughened up...
...and just, you know, as he can do, and
just put one foot in front of the other.
He was not about to let anyone stop him.
There were a lot of people on Blade
Runner, looking around, watching...
...you know, because it was taking
a long time to shoot it, and it...
There were always money people
coming, saying. "You can't-l'
You know, and Ridley would not give in.
Basically, they couldn't break him...
...and, you know,
he was breaking them...
...and no one knew what in hell
was going on, except Ridley.
And he wanted to do
what he had to do...
...you know,
reminded me of George C. Scott...
...in The Hustler.
"I'm talking about money!"
Or whatever. "You owe me money!"
I think we went through that 20 million...
Went through $20 million...
...and all of a sudden somebody's tapping
on your shoulder and saying...
So then you start paying
a little closer attention...
...when you have to start writing
the checks yourself, so to speak.
He's completion guarantor, and they put
a lot of money into a movie...
...and if you try to see it
from his point of view, you know...
...what the hell was going on, you know?
Why were we so far behind schedule?
You know, we were supposedly,
you know...
...professional filmmakers and such...
I was concerned about the budget...
...but I knew that Jerry and Bud
were on completion.
I mean, not that I wanted
to go into their completion...
...but knew we were safe if we had to.
I would never, ever deliberately ignore
a budget and just say, you know:
"Fuck it. Let's just spend the money."
I just don't function that way.
It drives me crazy to go over budget.
I hate that.
For me to go over schedule, I hate that.
And one of the important things is, when
you're shooting, particularly from my...
I'm one of those directors who always
must be told where I am financially...
...what I've got to do...
...but be told early enough
so I can do something about it.
My job is to get
what I promise I'm gonna get.
And that's why it was good
for any investor...
...as they probably
all have discovered by now.
There was a sequence
where they wanted to do...
...hand-to-feet, hand-to-feet, flip-flop
gymnastic things across here...
...and wind up straddling Harrison Ford.
So I had this girl that... Her and I had been
rehearsing at nights for, I don't know...
...in the gymnasium,
and she got it down pretty good.
Well, in that sequence, in about.
I'll say. 20 minutes...
...Ridley had her totally wore out.
She was over in the corner gasping for air.
She'd done it
I don't know how many times.
And they came to me and they said.
"We got a problem here."
I said. "Yeah, well,
go shoot something else...
...or go to lunch or whatnot
and I'll have a guy here after lunch."
I knew there was a gymnast guy,
a little guy that could double girls...
...and so I brought him in the afternoon.
One of them was a guy, actually,
and quite a stocky...
...kind of wider guy than me.
Not shaped the same at all.
Rehearsal for Ridley was really doing it.
Not. "I'll do this, and this, and this..."
You really did it. Flip-flop, flip-flop,
hit the wall, you know.
And then slide down the wall.
For 15 times,
or whatever it was, you know.
So that guy on that afternoon
probably made more money...
...than he'd made in two years,
you know.
So before we started shooting
the next morning...
...we went into this trailer
and Mr. Deeley said:
"We got a problem
with your stunt people."
I said. "What's the problem?"
"This guy made..."
I said. "You don't have a problem with
the stunt people, you got a problem...
...with Ridley." I said, "The guy did it." I
kept track, because I knew I was gonna...
...be called on to cover. So I kept track.
"How many times is it?"
And I just paid him a little bit
every time he did it.
So when I explained the situation to him,
he said. "Oh, thank you very much."
So I left and nothing changed, you know.
They just accepted it.
Harrison insisted that, you know, when
I'm supposed to be shoving my fingers...
...up his nose and lifting his head up and
throwing him back down, I really do it...
...you know. Like, I was, like, trying
to sort of gently, you know...
...and pretend, and he was like,
"No, you gotta just do it."
And his nose was bleeding
and it was gnarly, but, you know...
...it was sort of the only way to do it,
was just to go for it.
And at one point, actually, we had to do
a reshoot of some of my close-ups...
...and I was really stunned because I had
been... I mean, it was a...
It was a gnarly fight.
I was really fighting...
...and I was sure really hurting
Harrison as well.
And he really wanted me to be,
you know, grimacing and mugging and...
You know. And so we redid
the close-up of it so that I could be...
...you know, looking a little more horrific.
I guess.
It was a place where she's sitting there
all froze up in this real skintight outfit...
...and she kept trying to kick Harris...
She had to kick Harrison.
Kick him away or something,
and it didn't work for Ridley.
And he said. "Combs,
you get in the outfit." Well...
I said... It was a girl's tight-knit...
I made them pull the dressing room...
...right up the back of the stage
and I said. "Okay, now...
...I'll get in the outfit and then I'll get
it right here, and don't nobody laugh.
And as soon as I kick Harrison, I'm going
back out in the dressing room."
So, yeah, I did the kick for Daryl.
It was terrible.
There was a scene that I did
that wasn't in the film.
I was supposed to be sort of frozen
and there were all these rats...
...crawling all over me. And I was kind of
freaked out about the idea...
...of working with rats, because I'd never
really been around rats before...
...and then they told me that the night
before we were supposed to shoot...
...they left the water drip
in the terrarium on...
...and it had accidentally overfilled
and filled the terrarium...
...and my compassion,
you know, came on...
I felt so bad for the rats that suddenly
I wasn't afraid of them anymore...
...and so I had them all, like,
crawling all over me.
And I think that was actually
the only thing that we shot...
...that didn't end up in the movie.
Among the many,
many things and ideas...
...that were being developed
and then discarded...
...this particular sequence
almost made it to the camera.
And that was supposed to be
the snake dance with Zhora...
...in Taffey Lewis' bar.
Ladies and gentlemen...
...Taffey Lewis presents
Miss Salome and the snake.
Watch her take the pleasure
from the serpent...
I was gonna use clay animation.
It was gonna start off as a mud pit...
...going to be much more exotic, and it'd
start off with what I called a clay dancer.
So it's a dancer in a mud pit, right,
who starts off to be a snake...
...which will morph
into becoming a woman...
...then a woman and snake,
and it was very elaborate.
And this was all,
you know, pie in the sky.
I'm never gonna get to this.
I just thought it'd be pretty cool to do it.
We had created this beautiful dance,
and we choreographed it...
...and had it worked out with a snake...
...and it just was such a pity
that we never got to do that.
The cheapest thing of all, I had to
play it off on Harrison Ford's face...
...with this guy off camera
saying what was going on...
...which was kind of...
That's the cheap way out.
But it shows you that you don't wanna
watch a whole set piece...
...the whole film grinds to a halt.
You wanna get on with the story.
So in fact, the narrative...
That was a good decision, not to bother...
...because it really was about
Harrison getting to Zhora.
Any long picture is exhausting
for everybody on it.
So once that patience goes,
then people get really snappy.
The gulf between Ridley's way of working
and a lot of the members of the crew...
...who'd been, in some cases,
lolling around studios for years...
...began to become apparent.
The crew that we had was a fast crew.
They were a thorough crew
and a professional crew.
All departments. Props. Wardrobe.
Makeup. Hair, everybody was fabulous.
And I've worked with these people
subsequently, on other shows.
Ridley, who, at the time, he was not
well-liked by the American crew...
...because he felt
they were not a good crew...
...and that sort of set a problem pace.
But everybody worked exceedingly hard,
and was right there on the dime.
We went off and then we... Somebody
handing out these free T-shirts...
...which had a rather defiant,
or revolutionary, statement...
...addressed towards Ridley.
And this had come about...
...because, most unfortunately,
somebody had filched from his trailer...
...a British newspaper article
in which he was asked...
...whether he'd rather work in England
or in America.
Now, working for an English paper,
you say England.
You know, in England, I'm so, you know,
known here, crews are more liable to say:
"Ready when you are, guv."
That's it. That is it.
Really upset the crew.
Really upset the crew.
- So I did the T-shirt wars.
- Katie Haber came in and said:
"They made these T-shirts
and they're gonna wear them tomorrow."
I said. "What about?"
She said. "The article you did."
I said. "What article I did?"
Somebody had actually got the article
from England, printed a pile of them...
...and put them on the tea trolley.
Michael and I sat down with Ridley
and said. "What can we do...
...to smooth this over? We can't
make a film with everybody hating you."
I think Deeley came up with the phrase
"Xenophobia Sucks."
He said. "Well, xenophobia means
fear of strangers.
And basically what's going on is
these people don't understand you...
...and the way you work.
So if we put something on a T-shirt...
...that makes people come up to us
and say. 'What does it mean?'...
...it'll sort of smooth over
a lot of rough edges."
And I got a hat made
with all this scrambled egg on it.
With a Naval... You know, like
head commander of a big aircraft carrier.
You know how people
wear those ridiculous hats.
And on it, it had "guv" printed.
So I put on the T-shirt the next morning
with "Xenophobia Sucks" on it...
...with "guv" on my hat
and walked onto the set.
I bought and paid for the T-shirt.
And I put mine on
and went to walk out the trailer door...
...and who's the first one to see me?
And he had his T-shirt on,
the "Xenophobia Sucks"...
...so it was a standoff.
But it helped release some tension.
And I said. "Right. Morning. Harrison.
We're gonna do this."
And it was this...
And there's all these people...
...standing there in their shirts,
which I completely ignored.
I didn't say a word about it.
And they ignored me.
We got on with the first scene...
...and we're all
just wearing this ridiculous gear.
And about midmorning,
those T-shirts started to disappear.
By lunchtime, it was all gone.
These were guys...
You know, they're all one's friends.
You know.
I couldn't think of a crew member...
...that wasn't doing his absolute best.
But suddenly this story
spread around like wildfire.
And just" They all decided, you know,
they'd had enough.
Ridley was, you know,
kind of stern a lot.
But for me, being a new guy at it.
I didn't care about any of that.
I just, like... So happy that I
had a chance to work with him.
I never got involved in any...
I wouldn't have worn a T-shirt.
I would've been too embarrassed,
because I thought it was, like, stupid...
...you know,
to display that kind of behavior.
And it just slowed things down.
You get all sorts of talking
behind the scenes, and...
"Here's this foreign director.
Who the hell does he think he is?"
You know. "These limeys are over here.
and this, that and the other.
They were tired...
...and you could see
that they didn't feel appreciated.
You know, I would say to Ridley:
"Go talk to these people, for God's sakes.
Tell them how great they're doing.
Because, you know,
everyone is devoted to you...
...but they're devoted through fear."
The only way you knew
if you were working...
...was if you got a call sheet
and your name was still on it.
Because people just,
all the time, disappeared.
On the property-room door,
there was a list of people...
...who had said they'd had enough,
and they quit.
And we kept a roster
of everybody who quit the film.
It can be tough on a set,
and it can be long hours.
And I remember some pretty long hours
on that show.
So what?
I'm sorry, but, you know,
sometimes our work is grueling.
And I don't think PR is there for...
You know, to whine about, you know:
"It destroyed my life
and it was so grueling."
It was a tough shoot.
We were doing something very special.
To most of the crew, this was just a job.
To a few of us, this was special.
This was really... It was magic time.
There was tension from time to time...
...and there were times
when there wasn't.
And I think every big, ambitious movie...
...has tension involved.
Eventually, we shot that sequence
on the backlot of Warner Bros...
...with a jump
from one building to the other...
...in the building
that we could move around...
...and position the way we wanted,
you know?
I'd laid out the distance of the building...
...and I'd jumped it on the ground
many, many times, and it was fine.
And I'd put a rope on the other side
that was blended into the building...
...where you couldn't see, where I could
get ahold of the rope and hang on to it.
And then we got all ready to do it.
Again, it was at night...
...and it was smoking, and it was raining,
and it was a mess.
They kept coming up to me
with this Hudson spray gun.
They kept spraying me with this thing,
and trying to make it look wet.
Well, it'd just suck it in,
and it wouldn't look wet.
The guy'd come back and wet me again.
And Ridley said, "Make him look wet."
Well, finally, I run him off, I said.
"Quit it, this thing weighs 50 pounds."
You know, I mean,
it just weighted me down.
So come time to do the jump,
and I made a long run and made the jump.
And I was about halfway and I could see
I wasn't gonna make it, you know?
And the best thing I could do...
...I threw out my arm
and I hooked one of these rafters.
Under my arm.
And that kept me on the building.
They liked it so well, they wanted me
to do it two or three more times.
So every time, I'd have to hook my arm.
I had a big bruise under my arm,
but, you know, we made the jump.
I had a great rapport with stunt guys,
because of this...
You know, because I ride horses.
I fence, I do some martial arts...
...and that sort of stuff.
And I always watch them. See how
they prepare, watch what they do.
It might have been 30 feet
from the floor to the top.
So we had an air bag at the bottom
so if you didn't make it...
And if I remember correctly,
the guy that doubled Rutger, he...
The first jump he made,
he didn't make it.
He hit, bounced off
and went to the air bag.
Another stunt guy comes in.
He does the same thing.
And now we're at 5:00 in the morning.
We haven't got an hour.
And I'm saying to Ridley.
"Ridley, if you put the building-l'
And the building was on wheels.
"... If you give me a foot closer...
...I swear, you know,
it's not a problem for me, I can do this."
And he's desperate by now,
so he goes. "Okay, let's do it."
And then, you know,
we did one take, and I jumped.
Rutger just did this one big, bargy hop.
He went:
With a dove in his hand.
He came to me and said, "I thought
a symbol of peace. Is this okay?"
And I'm going. "Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Go on, will you? The light's getting blue."
What if I take a dove with me,
and then when I die...
...I just hold on to the dove
for the last bits?
And then when I die, I just let it go,
and that's it. You know:
End of story.
And then the dove can act for me.
And he said. "Well, interesting.
But let's shoot it two ways."
That was sort of the visual part of,
you know, death.
There was a real page of opera talk...
...that, you know, is bad in any script.
I don't care how you look at it.
And this was high-tech speak
that had very little bearing on anything...
...you know,
that the movie had shown you before.
So I just put a knife in it. And I...
And I did this at night, and I didn't know
if Ridley was okay with it.
Like most actors aware that, you know,
this is his death scene coming up...
...this is his kind of moment.
And they suddenly start
getting pretty tenacious about their...
What they wanna shoot
and have covered.
And I think he was...
You know, he was quite demanding
at that time of Ridley.
I came up with, you know, two lines that
had some sort of off-worldly feel to it...
...and some poetry in it.
And then I came up with a line
at 4:00 in the morning:
"All those moments will be lost in time
like tears in rain."
And I brought it to the set
and really liked it.
Rutger is big and bold...
...and interesting as an actor.
It was...
I had a great time working with him.
Some of the scenes we had together...
...are some of the most satisfying
professional moments I've ever had.
And I think that the two characters
depend on each other...
...in a dramatic sense.
So I was very grateful
to have his capacity...
...and his strength and his focus
to work with.
When Roy Batty finally finds
his four-year lifespan is up...
...and he dies
with this wonderful dove in his lap...
...and the dove starts to fly away.
And up to this moment in the film,
it's been, you know...
...a metropolis that's constantly overcast
and raining and dark and gloomy.
And all of a sudden you do a shot...
...where you see the dove flying up
into a clear blue sky.
Which is a daylight shot...
...and there are just some clouds
of steam around and stuff like that.
And people noticed that, I remember,
...even when the film first came out.
This was a matter of something
that had happened during the filming.
The dove that they had got wet...
Because of all this constant rain.
...And when he was releasing it to let it
go, the dove was so wet it couldn't fly.
So instead of, like, flying up
off of Rutger's lap into the sky...
...and then following it up, the dove
literally just hopped out of his lap...
...and waddled across the roof,
out of the frame.
So they weren't able to use that.
The last two days
were actually a nightmare...
...because we had only two days. They
were definitely cutting off the money.
And we wouldn't be able to shoot
beyond that.
And we still had
rather a lot of work to do.
The last day of shooting
was 27 or 28 hours.
We must have gone to work at 5
in the afternoon or something like that.
Four or 5 in the afternoon.
And we shot all night, and of course,
you know, everybody thought:
"Well, we'll finish when the light comes
up, because you can't shoot anymore."
We were really, really dying.
We were absolutely in the water here.
Swimming with the sharks around us.
And I knew by then,
it'd be now. April. May. June...
...I've got dawn coming in at 5. 4:45.
So it's gonna go blue. It's going blue.
In fact, there's beautiful light,
because it is blue. That's dawn.
When the sun came up, the suits
were all standing off to the side...
...there was like four guys in suits.
So the sun came up,
and they were all smiling and all that.
"Oh, this is great."
You know. "We can pull the plug now."
And then, so Ridley said:
"I'm not finished yet."
because the death scene was incomplete.
So Michael Deeley came over to me
and said:
"Listen. you know.
"we gotta keep going."
And so, what we decided to do was
literally take chainsaws and Sawzalls...
...and literally cut the set out of the street
and put it on vehicles and forklifts...
...and move that set piece
with the rooftop down to the stage.
I've read reports about that...
...they rolled the Bradbury set
down to the stage.
I only wish that would have been true.
That wouldn't have been so tough.
Everybody was just beat.
And we still had all the wet, all the dirt,
all the smoke, everything going on.
And when we finally cut
on the last shot, it was...
From top to bottom, it was.
"Let's get out of here."
And everybody walked away.
For the first time in weeks...
...my excellent Scottie dog
and I drove home in daylight...
...thinking the whole nightmare was over.
But we were not aware of what
was lurking in our mailboxes next day.
Which was a communication
from the lawyers...
...representing Perenchio and Yorkin...
...invoking their right,
since we were 10 percent over budget...
...to discharge us from the picture.
In fact, it was funny.
I didn't know why they did that.
I know they had the right to,
and I think it was done out of pique.
I think Perenchio was so cross with us...
...because he'd had to pay up on
his guarantee of completion...
For which he was being paid
a million and a half.
...That he wanted to punish us.
We went over budget, needless to say.
It was...
Went quite a bit over budget.
And it was just one of those things that
happens in motion pictures in particular.
And one that was as difficult
as this was to make.
And a big part of that
was the cost of special effects.
And also the fact that Ridley was taking...
He'd do 30 takes of something.
When they wanted to remove Ridley
from the film, I said:
"Wait a minute. No. There's no way.
I mean, he's gotta finish this film,
because we bought a Ridley Scott film.
We'll persevere and take down
the budget as best we can."
And we had meetings
about special-effects shots...
...did we need this one or that one?
And Ridley, quite frankly, didn't get
all the stuff that he wanted, you know?
Quite honestly, what happened was
we had the right to edit the film.
And there were things
that I wanted to take out.
And not only me,
but other people that were involved.
And the picture was running
very long at that time.
And that became very difficult for us,
I remember Jerry Perenchio coming in
and saying:
"Now we can put this film
exactly how we want it."
And I said. "Well, that won't be too easy,
everything has been broken down...
...because I'm working
with the sound crews at the ti..."
Which it hadn't, but I'd... We're trying to
sort of tap-dance around this situation...
...because I knew
that Ridley would come back.
It's just... You don't fire a director
unless he's really done some horrible thing.
Didn't have the slightest effect.
I mean, the job continued to be done.
So Ridley was on the picture all the way
through and nobody went anywhere.
There's a lot of forgiveness in it all.
And over a period of time,
you just realize...
...that you are doing something
that is so different, so special...
...so unique.
You've done a man's job, sir.
But are you sure you are a man?
I think everyone
who worked on that film...
...when they realized
what had been accomplished...
...was extremely proud
that they were involved.
And all of those skirmishes that take
place, to the point of making it better...
...not just getting on people
for ego's sake.
I don't really think Ridley does that.
He doesn't deal directly with you.
He deals with, what's gonna be the best
damn thing we can put on the screen?
The fact of it is
that in our going over budget...
...at least it can be said
that the money was... ls on the screen.
No doubt.
It's not the usual thing
of just mis-planning.
It's just that it's up there.
I look at Blade Runner as the last
analog science-fiction movie made...
...because we didn't have the
advantages people have now.
And I'm glad we didn't, because
there's nothing artificial about it.
There's no computer-generated images
in the film.
The things that pervaded us
during the whole production...
...was. "How do we pull rabbits
out of hats? Do more for less?"
I always remember them
coming off, going:
They nearly got me involved
in special effects in a big way.
It was plain,
old-fashioned filmmaking...
...with C-stands and gaffer's tape
and running the big 65 mm cameras.
In retrospect, this is
probably one of the last great...
...in-camera special-effects movies
ever done.
In the late '70s,
there was kind of a resurgence.
As far as visual effects went,
it was like a rebirth...
...because there was a large void...
...the decade and a half before.
There were effects in films...
...but there wasn't
enough infrastructure...
...to do a film like Star Wars
or Close Encounters.
The ground was changing, you know.
Suddenly, we had
motion-control cameras...
...and suddenly, computers
had reared their head.
But as we were doing Blade Runner,
I did have personal connection...
...with Dougie Trumbull
and Richard Yuricich.
And I know I had a part in persuading
Richard, you know, to do the movie.
It was a very small film at the time.
It was about $2 million,
and it was about 50 or 56 shots.
They had based it on
doing a like number of shots to Alien...
...which really
wasn't enough for this film.
And the more Ridley got into it,
the grander his vision, I think, expanded.
Once they saw what could be done...
...and some of the demonstrations
of the fine work that was there...
...of course it would be any kid's desire,
or any good director's desire...
...to just do more of the same,
to actually say:
"Wow, if we can do this,
then we can also do this."
So there was always the business
part of it barking at our heels:
"Well, how much can we spend?
How much time do we have?"
But little by little, we got on board.
It's not like.
"Spend all the money you guys have...
...and make it look as good
as you can."
it was like. "Do more with very little
money and very little time."
And that was kind of fun.
Part of what worked for Blade Runner
was the fact that we were all stupid...
...and didn't know much,
so we had to figure it out ourselves.
Some of the choices we made then...
...I would never make now,
although they're good choices.
The thing that made our work
in Blade Runner fit the movie...
...was that we worked
to the concept.
And you never design a visual-effects
shot to have the audience go:
"Oh, wow, what a neat visual-effects
shot. What a great design."
It always has to tell the story.
And fortunately.
In the case of Blade Runner...
...one of the protagonists was the city,
was the environment.
People had to live
in this very oppressive environment...
...and that is one of the key characters
in the story.
The good thing is that there was
pollution as part of the story.
Pollution's not good,
but there was gonna be...
...lots of aerial perspective and haze...
...and that was all part of the scene.
So the Hades landscape is what's called
a forced-perspective miniature.
You have larger little miniature elements
in the foreground...
...smaller ones, smaller ones and smaller
ones going all the way to the horizon.
And from the camera
to what appears to be the horizon...
...is only about 15 feet.
And it's just a plywood table
that's about 20 feet wide at the back...
...but only about 5 feet wide
at the front...
...because the field of view
is looking out.
So you don't build anything
an inch outside that field of view.
That's just wasted money
and wasted time.
So we designed it
for the focal length of that camera lens.
Mark Stetson and his crew
had developed...
...a very good system
of photoetching.
Basically, you would draw...
...you would do intricate drawings, and
that would be applied photochemically...
...to a piece of brass,
and they would apply acid to it...
...which would eat away
the areas where the lines weren't.
And so you get this really fine
filigree detail that really, really was nice.
And all those spires, you just
draw kind of a side view of all those...
...and then you can replicate
hundreds and thousands of them...
...very, very easily
with the etched brass.
Even though the acid-etched
brass components are two-dimensional...
...flat cutouts,
if you put enough of them together...
...you kind of imbue it with more
three-dimensionality than is really there.
I like to get in there, because I like
to see what the lighting was.
And I pushed hard for smoke.
When you're shooting things
that are only 10 feet away from you...
...and it has to look
like it's two or three miles...
...the only way to build up the sense of
aerial perspective, at that time...
...was to fill the miniature room
full of smoke and create things...
...blurring off
and graying off into the distance.
It had to be in the camera,
and that's where Doug came in...
...and again put his brain to it,
saying. "I know what to do."
Again, he went off
and did a lash-up...
...with fans, electric fans,
smoke detectors.
And we absolutely tented in the area
with black drapes and then plastic...
...so we contained it.
And then the smoke detector
would sense...
...that the smoke was
dropping in the room...
...would trigger a puffers,
which puffed smoke into the room...
...maintain the level in the room.
Because if you're only doing
frame-by-frame animation...
...which is what we were...
...then you're gonna get flicker,
because the smoke's gonna vary.
It's gonna flutter.
And there was no flutter.
If two towers
were only three inches apart...
...but there was a lot of smoke in there,
they would separate from each other.
One would be a little more crisp,
and the one behind it would be darker...
...and the lights on the one behind
would create an edge...
...and it would just take on
this huge amount of scale.
And there's kind of a magical point...
...where the smoke density
gets to be so dense...
...that the horizon almost disappears.
That's kind of where you
get to the magic point.
Where you suddenly get
all the separation...
...between these little cutout layers.
I just had this scheme.
I just wanted to do it as
a series of silhouettes in smoke.
And I wanted the smoke to really
be the light, and the light to light it up.
Everything about that miniature
had to be lights.
I think it was 20.000
fiber-optic light tubes...
...coming up into all of these points.
And in the foreground, we had
some towers that were about this big.
And we set them in there, and set
little interactive lights on them...
...because nothing exists in space
without reflection...
...and light affected
by everything else.
And that really started to bring it to life,
it still looked pretty crazy to look at...
...but I don't know.
Like I said, we were stupid back then.
And it worked.
One of the things
about the Hades landscape...
...is that it is almost totally abstract...
...and so you don't have
a lot of cues to tell you...
...how big it's really supposed to be.
And we had this idea that there
would be these kind of smokestacks.
You know, like venting
a burning-flame gas...
...off of some cracking plant
or something.
And that was one of the elements
that really added a lot of scale...
...and a lot of excitement
to that miniature.
Doug had previously shot
these huge explosions...
...of flammable material. Big fireballs.
And he had those on 35 mm.
We took those and put little white cards
in back of the tower...
...and literally just projected
with a 35 camera...
...and then re-photographed
with our 65 camera...
...that explosion in place, in sit...
So for every explosion, that's another
exposure through the camera.
So the camera has to do that shot
over and over and over...
...and they're all in-camera
superimposures onto one piece of film.
That opening shot, I think,
had 17 passes.
So they ran it, stopped, wound it back,
ran it again, wound it back.
Very tricky work. If you make one
mistake, you have to start over.
And that's where guys like Dave
come in and make that magic happen.
It was a very different time
for visual effects.
It was all optical composites,
and quality was a major concern.
When you re-photograph something
like you would in a still photo...
If you have a negative
and you take a snapshot...
If you take a snapshot...
A new negative of that snapshot,
which is what you're doing in opticals...
...you'll notice that
there's a little loss in quality.
It's called one generation away.
Back then, every time you did
an optical composite, it lost quality.
And at EEG, they used 70 mm film
to shoot the elements.
So when you degrade that optical,
when you add imagery together...
...on a large format,
you do lose quality.
But if you start with a large format, that
quality cuts more easily with the original.
And many times, instead of doing it
as an optical composite...
...we would do multiple exposures.
Which was risky,
because you'd shoot one pass...
...roll the film back, shoot another pass,
roll the film back...
...and I remember a couple times,
they'd open up the camera...
...and there'd be
nothing but shredded film inside.
You know, recently finished
Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Blade Runner was the beneficiary of
having all that equipment already in place.
Blade Runner was the beneficiary of
having all that equipment already in place.
All the lenses, the cameras,
the motion control.
It all had been worked out.
We were working with tools, by today's
comparison, that were very crude.
Just to program a move, sometimes,
would take all day long...
...because it was done with a system
almost the same as Etch A Sketch.
You'd sort of mark a trajectory
and then mark another one...
...and mark another one,
and then run a motion test...
...with black-and-white reversal film...
No such thing as
a computer video at that point.
...And then process it, look at it and go.
"Well, that was all wrong.
What were we thinking?"
And go back and...
You know, and after a while,
it became clear to me...
...that we had to previs in our heads.
We had learned to work
that way with Doug...
...because of his use
of the smoke room...
...and how much that
obliterated detail.
But it was so totally
dependent on light...
...that miniatures really became, like,
substrates for light.
Dave Dryer, when he came on board,
had the same philosophy.
He said, you know.
"If there's a problem, solve it with light."
There's a joke, I'll start with the joke.
If it doesn't work, try...
Crop it, flop it or drop it.
If none of those work, add a flare.
That's just a joke, but the flares...
A lens flare is something that's...
Exists in the lens. It's in nature.
Well, it's something you can't make,
you don't draw. It happens in the lens.
And every camera lens
has its own characteristics...
...but when you overexpose this source
of light like about 10 f-stops...
...that's when the flaring
starts to happen.
When light starts bouncing around
inside the glass of the lens.
We just focused on that.
And, of course, it adds that element of...
...truth, realness, credibility
to some of the imagery.
Of course,
one of the challenges of this show...
...was it was very different than, like,
let's say Star Wars...
...where everything was kind of
a matte-finish surface.
The spinner is just completely glossy,
like a car...
...which means you have
reflection problems...
...and, technically, for visual effects,
a lot of problems pulling mattes.
It had a bunch of lights on it
that were great. That were wonderful.
And we start shooting it, and we start
putting it against backgrounds...
...just as tests. We weren't...
Not necessarily even the backgrounds
that it would go against.
And it just looked like a big hunk of junk
just hanging up there in space.
There was no magic to it.
So I asked the guys
in the Engineering Department:
"What's the brightest fiber optic?"
"We got this xenon thing,
and it'll just blow your lens away."
We ran that huge fiber optic
right up to the top of the spinner...
...and at the end of every pass...
...we'd make along pass
with that bright light there.
And as soon as we put that light in
there, it just... blew everything away.
It solved the technical problems,
but more importantly...
...that thing became magical.
Well, the Tyrell pyramid,
the base of it...
...was about 8 feet square at the base,
tapering up to an opening...
...that was about maybe
2 and a half feet wide at the top.
We knew that we were
making a mega-structure...
...to represent something
as big as a city.
And we thought, "Well, let's light it
single-source, like a big light box."
And so it was decided
to construct it out of clear Plexiglas.
The detailing that was put on the outside
was also cast in clear...
...so basically,
you had a big light box.
And then we sealed it with paint...
...and scraped off the paint where we
wanted the windows to come through.
We only built that one pyramid
with only two sides on it.
So you had the front side
and one side.
And then we would flip it around
and shoot it again...
...so it would seem to be two pyramids,
but it was really only...
...half of one pyramid.
And we backed it up with ribbing
where we could...
...but we wanted to keep it
as open as possible on the inside...
...so that we could light it with a big
bare-bulb 10K in the middle of it...
10.000 watts of light.
"Which, altogether, it generated
a lot of heat...
...so when it was to be
shot on-stage".
In those days, motion control being
a very painstakingly slow process.
...Each shot would take hours to film.
That means the lights had to be
burning constantly during that time.
And after all the required shots
were done, we were still shooting...
...backgrounds for cityscapes,
just for some of...
...the wide views of
the city of Los Angeles in 2019.
And everybody thought
it would be a great idea...
...to turn the thing upside down...
...and make this big
cantilevered city shape...
...that would be somewhat of
a complement to the Tyrell pyramid.
So we rigged it like that,
but didn't pay very close attention...
...to the ventilation of it, and the thing
finally caught fire during filming.
And that was...
It was really ruined.
It wasn't as dramatic...
What you heard in the model shop:
"Oh, my God! It caught on fire!"
And they were filming when it happened,
but it did indeed melt.
Luckily, it was toward the end of the
shoot, so it wasn't that big of a disaster.
During that early era
of new visual effects...
...people were not specialists.
So the model makers were painters...
...the painters were model makers,
and on Blade Runner, that was the case.
When you'd approach a model, you'd
look at the drawing, the illustration...
...and kind of break it down
into its component shapes.
Sometimes it was clear
that you'd have to create a piece...
...because it was very specific,
and other times...
...if you had a rectangular piece
with some sort of detail on it, you'd go:
"I know a model kit that has that
piece in it. The Revell jet F-18."
So it was kind of
figuring out your component pieces...
...putting them together,
and constructing them...
...in a way that looked like
they belonged together.
And knowing what they had
done on the set...
We had photographs,
and then later in the production...
...actually went down
while they were shooting...
...and saw the sets, and once again,
you see it and you go:
"Oh, okay, I see.
Everything's got this gritty look.
It's dirty, it's nasty,
it's leaking, it's corroded."
And we applied all that
to the miniatures as well.
We learned early on...
...that even though we planned to work
at a certain scale on the miniatures...
...that that really wasn't gonna work.
What we had to do was
work the same way that Ridley worked.
You'd go into a large stage,
take the brightest light you've got...
...shine it back
at where the camera sits...
...and then start putting stuff
in front of it...
...and add lots of smoke
into the room.
And so I started
posing miniature shots that way...
...and that's when it really
started to happen.
When you build something in miniature,
and you build it at a very small scale...
...you have to be very careful.
So they look real, so they look large...
...and the mass and the speed
that you shoot them with.
And one of the things
that first goes is the detail.
If your detail isn't beyond
what's good...
...as it loses resolution, it falls apart...
...so the paint job
turns out to be the most important thing.
One of the things I realized
in the beginning...
...was that 50 percent of what you do,
you never see anyway...
...so you have to be
pretty heavy-handed with it.
So when I work with miniatures...
...I try to make them look
as visually realistic as I can...
...and then I add 25 or 30 percent
heavy-handedness on top of that...
...because the camera's
gonna lose that.
We started out with a set of buildings,
about a dozen buildings...
...that were meant to be
this retrofitted old base of the city.
Most of them were only
two-sided buildings...
You know, the front side
and the oblique side.
...Which were miniatures on plywood
with lights inside the windows...
...and a lot of detail on the outside.
One of the main
miniature sequences...
...that was in the show
when I first came on...
...was the flight through the buildings.
And a lot of time and effort
was spent on laying out the buildings...
...what the detailing was on them
for that sequence...
...because everyone knew it was gonna
be what was outside the windows...
...in the spinner.
It got to the point
where those shots...
...grew and grew
and became more and more vast.
So we were using anything we could
to represent buildings.
No budget?
You can't build something else...
...so you borrow it. God.
You just throw it in there.
If it looks okay in the distant...
...and lots of smoke.
"Hey, let's do it. Just put it in there."
We grabbed other things
that weren't even buildings.
Spaceships from another movie with a
bunch of antennae and stuff glued on it.
And we took the flying-buttress wings
on the pyramid itself...
We would take those
because they were all separate...
...and bring them together
and create a building.
There's even a kitchen sink
in one of them...
...with a bunch of stuff glued on it.
There were some purpose-built buildings
that were different from this building set.
The precinct tower was a main one.
They were sort of off-scale
and forced-perspective-scale things.
And they were really just
a lot of fantasy shapes.
And to save time, we just thought.
"Well, let's start with something."
And we started with the roof.
Once again, it was a hybrid building...
...that was constructed out of
pieces that were left lying around.
The top of it is actually a piece from
the Close Encounters revised edition...
...where Richard Dreyfuss
goes into the mothership...
...and the ceiling lifts off.
And that was the ceiling piece...
...that eventually became
the top of the police station.
What most people are amazed at...
...a lot of those sets were
no bigger than 12 feet by 12 feet.
You know, we weren't
shooting on very large stages...
...and this one shot, spiraling down onto
the roof of the precinct tower...
...we wanted to get the camera up and
the camera wouldn't boom up that high.
So we brought the whole miniature
down to the camera, basically...
...by tilting it onto
an oblique angle on its side...
...so that the camera could reach
high enough to get that aerial shot...
...and be far enough back from the tops
of the building at the same time.
That Bradbury Atrium shot.
I was there that evening with...
We went out to do that plate,
and the crew was so busy...
...and so difficult, and every
piece of equipment was used...
...and there were cables everywhere,
so when they left the interior...
...of the Bradbury Building, it was dark.
It was turned off.
And we didn't have
time to light that whole thing...
...looking up with the staircases
and the elevator and up to the skylight.
So we found an angle for that shot,
the camera was set up...
...and Douglas said.
"Just fire when I say so."
And I wasn't...
I didn't know what he was gonna do.
He marched through the building
and illuminated the building in pieces...
...so we'd open...
We'd take the lens cap off...
...and he'd say. "Fire."
And he'd fire the strobe,
and that amount of exposure would...
Was maybe 20 strobes.
...Would go to the 8-by-10.
And that built up the exposure
that gave us the upshot.
And then John Wash and company
mounted that on a large piece of glass...
...and cut out every one of
those windows on a mullion.
And then that sat
right in front of the blimp.
We just put the miniature blimp
behind there...
...and all the light effects
coming through the glass...
...were happening
right in front of the camera.
The shots looking up through
the skylight of the Bradbury Building...
...with that blimp going over...
...it's breathtaking,
and I don't think it's been surpassed.
I mean, you talk about
digital effects looking real or impressive.
Those shots of that blimp
going overhead...
...when it's against the miniatures or
when it's against that Bradbury skylight...
...with the shafts of light
cutting through.
That's inspiring.
You know, it's just beautiful.
In those days, in the case of some of the
visual-effects work on that movie...
...we used a process
called matte painting.
And matte painting is a technique that
is used to alter the look of a location...
...or a set in a motion picture.
And mostly, it is a process
that is done in postproduction.
So it's a combination
of painted artwork...
...and live-action photography.
That is even beyond digital.
I mean, it's better than anything,
because it's photography that is shot...
...and exposed at the same time.
The matte painting's exposed
with the live-action photography.
So it just is on one piece of film.
So everything I did
was kind of a lock-off.
And Matt Yuricich,
the matte painter...
...was the brother of Yuricich,
the special-effects cameraman.
There are technical issues that go
into matte painting to make it look real...
...and that's where the real
matte-painting art comes in.
Certain colors photograph differently,
you have to work in certain densities...
...to produce
the effect of depth and everything.
And Matthew was a genius at that
and could achieve that.
And one of his unique skills
was painting for dupe stock.
It's a very kind of hard thing to
understand, but in order to retain...
...the quality of
the matte painting without...
The matte painting would have to
go through generations of duplication.
The matte paintings would be added
as the last exposure in a completed shot.
And so the last exposure
would be onto dupe negative...
...not regular, normal
cinematic negative.
And so Matthew had learned to
transpose all these colors in his head...
...and paint matte paintings that
he knew green would turn into blue...
...or orange would turn into red, yellow
would turn into green, or whatever.
He could paint these paintings that,
of themselves, looked horrible...
...but exposed onto the dupe stock,
just looked like magic.
Of course, what that does
is save a generation...
...going straight from the dupe stock
to the screen.
Now, with the paintings themselves,
on the case of Blade Runner...
...they were about
3-by-6 feet in dimension.
And you can paint,
with certain-sized brushes...
...and loose enough so that the camera
doesn't see the brushstrokes...
...and you can use broader strokes
and actually get away with it.
Well, there's a kind of
a natural blurriness...
...to live-action photography
of real things.
If you actually analyze
a motion-picture photograph...
...of a building or a horizon
or the sky or clouds or whatever...
...it's always kind of a little bit blurry.
The straight lines
aren't really straight.
If you stand next to a pillar
or next to a...
The detail or the texture
of something is lost.
If you paint so sharp and so perfect
on something in scale...
...it comes back that way
and it doesn't look real.
So it's just the...
It's the texture and light.
And so there was always a little bit
of what we call scumbling or blurring...
...to just soften
the edges of the painting...
...to just make it kind of
fall back into the scene.
There are, like,
really not paintings in this film.
There's portions of paintings.
And some shot...
...might have had five or six paintings
where a section was burnt in...
...that could've been fluorescence.
Well, in the Tyrell office,
there was a painting for the exterior...
...where the pyramid
had to be finished, going up.
But Ridley wanted
to backlight it, of course...
As it should have been.
The sun ball was directly out.
...And when you shoot front projection,
you never backlight...
...because you're lighting
into the beam splitter...
...and it flares everything
and washes it out.
So it was a very nervous time.
The whole top third of the frame
is a oil matte painting.
And passes. The sun was put in on
a subsequent machine called Compsee.
We would then take an optical
and do a holdout...
...for the wing of the pyramid
and burn it in.
And Matt Yuricich, who was
doing the painting, would know that:
"Okay, there's a bright light there."
So he would work the rest of it out
to all fit.
But a lot of that was re-created.
The pillars were extended up. The ceiling
was added in in matte painting.
Those shots all came together real well.
I really like seeing...
...Sean walk through the sun ball,
because that was all rotoscoped...
...and it was a very scary shot.
It was a beautiful shot.
It's my favorite in the film.
And you watch the film,
and you know it's an effect...
...but you just don't
perceive it as an effect.
You're in the Tyrell Corporation office,
and you just fall into it.
Katy Haber gave me a call and said.
"Ridley wants you to meet Philip Dick...
...and can he come down and see it?"
And I knew what I had, he'd love.
So I took him down to see rushes
one day in Santa Monica.
We did a little show-and-tell.
Most of our miniature photography
was over at that time...
...and we drug out a few things
and showed him...
...and he was very polite. Nice man.
We went through everything, he was
very reserved, he asked a few questions.
We politely answered,
and we went into the screening room.
And Katy had said.
"Just tie together 10 minutes...
...of your better shots and run them."
So the Vangelis music started to play,
the seats started to rumble...
...and we ran through the thing.
The lights came back up.
Philip Dick turned around...
...and looked right through
the back of my head.
And he said. "How is this possible?
How did this happen?
It's like you guys hardwired my brain.
That's what I saw
when I was writing that story.
I don't understand this.
How can this happen?"
And the compliment
came when he said:
"By the way, could you
run that reel for me again?
I wanna see it once more."
So he asked them to rerun the thing...
...and I'm told that he
enjoyed it very much.
He was completely blown away.
Could not believe it, that something so
serious was happening with his book...
...and we were friends thereafter.
When I think about it now, in comparison
to what we're doing today...
...with computers and everything, it...
Was just amazing.
Everything was really done, because you
can feel that when you watch a film.
I think when you see a film,
and it's a in-camera effect...
...it feels real.
We were all very impressed
with the work in Blade Runner.
And to this day.
I think that it's a high-water mark.
And the work, for the most part,
still stands up very well.
There was
an interesting thing that happened...
...because I knew, and we knew,
how few visual-effects shots...
...we had in the movie.
Compared to Star Wars
or Close Encounters or anybody else's...
...you know, big effects movies.
It was like a third
of the number of shots.
But the fact that the effects shots
didn't stick out like a sore thumb...
...they were just integrated
into this big, amazing event...
...made it seem like there were
more effects shots than there were.
It was very pleasing to see it, you know,
fit together so seamlessly.
You take a look at how these images
were expanding the story...
...and everyone on our crew,
they got it.
My whole team got it,
and they got it big time.
Ridley and I decided to see this film
before we showed it to Tandem...
...on our own.
So we sit there, the lights go down...
...and we never said a word
through the entire film.
And when the lights came up.
Ridley said:
"I think it's marvelous,
but what the fuck does it mean?"
And we knew then that we had
some restructuring to do...
...and a lot of work
to make this thing work.
It didn't mean
changing everything around...
...it meant
getting into each of the scenes...
...and developing them more.
When the film was first screened
for us at the Ladd Company...
...it was a very long cut,
it was a very dark, you know, story.
It was impenetrable on some levels...
...in terms of that's why
they eventually decided...
...to add the voiceover and there was
all of that kind of controversy...
...of how do you make this
more accessible.
In a rough cut...
...and they showed it to Hampton
one day...
...then showed it to me the next day...
...so we wouldn't run into each other
or anything.
And Hampton was kind of horrified
by the picture.
I hated the assemblage, everything.
I said. "I told you guys that
you didn't have an ending. you know?
It was at Warner Bros., over in
the screening room, the amphitheater.
And we go in a room and we start
talking and I'm furious.
He says. "You've ruined it."
Which made me feel really bad...
...the screening out at the valley.
He had no idea what it takes
to put a film together like that.
And that scared me
more than anything...
...that somebody would say that.
You know, I mean that thing's
four hours long.
And there was a three-page scene
I'd written...
...that was now 14 minutes long,
I mean, it was quite startling...
...but it also magical and awesome
and stunning.
When the film finished shooting,
we showed what we had...
...and they didn't like it,
of course.
And then we took it back to England...
...because we were going to mix
the picture in England...
...so we did our cut back home.
In the school holidays,
rather than bum around the house...
...we'd actually go, if we could go,
and work.
Get production experience somehow.
Or, you know, in this case,
go into the editing rooms...
...with Terry Rawlings
and Blade Runner.
We were labeling film cans
and obviously doing all that:
Trim bins and cataloguing
of things and making tea...
...and go and get curry for lunch,
you know.
But that was a great experience
just to watch the...
To be able to go through
all the footage.
We were given this responsibility,
when you've got a white glove on...
...and you're winding this stuff
...and you stop and go.
"That's interesting.
What the hell's that?"
You know?
And then Terry'd go:
"Yeah. Jake. Luke,
come and have a look at this."
And it's filled with smoke and he's...
...chuffing away.
It's all very dark
and there's this steam back in there...
...and it smells of celluloid and smoke
and sweat.
There was all of these "Scene Missing"
frames would come up.
And I'd go. "Yeah, but what's that?
What's the 'Scene Missing' bit?"
But it was absolutely remarkable.
You'd kind of go:
"Oh, my God, I've never seen
anything like it."
Went back and stared to edit through...
The attractive thing was editing
through the English summer.
Into the autumn.
Bud and I and Robin French,
who was one of our partners...
...we spent, I think, six weeks
in England...
...with Ridley,
you know, cutting the film.
And doing all the special effects
and whatever else.
And it was" You know, it was
a lot of tug of wars...
...what should stay in,
what shouldn't stay in.
They would come over to see things...
...and the trouble is no matter
what we did, they didn't like it.
Took out a ton of things
that I felt were necessary...
...and we had to cut the film down.
We also had a legal right
at that time...
...that Warner Bros, had the right to...
Anything over two hours,
they could take out if they wanted to.
What you reading?
Old favorite. Treasure Island.
I think the first scene to be dropped
was the Holden hospital scene.
Basically, there was lots of trimming
going on.
You know, taking things out.
When he comes back,
having been beaten by Leon...
...and he takes her back to his place...
...he's washing at the sink.
And it was much, much longer.
And sort of hypnotic.
She just wanted to look at him.
And she just watched him for ages.
You had far more detail of him washing
and the blood coming from his mouth...
...and she slowly got closer and closer.
And that was wonderful.
And the scene where he kisses her
against the wall...
...that was more sort of...
It was more sensuous...
...at one time.
It becomes sort of violent now
because it's been cut down.
But I mean, she put her legs round him,
and his hand was on her thighs...
...and all that sort of stuff,
it was far more sensuous.
But that was cut down.
Towards the end...
...on Blade Runner
we were thinking about the next movie.
There was this project
that we were working on...
...which was called Legend,
affectionately known as Leg End.
Behind Penn was this
beautiful Black Park.
About two and a half thousand acres
of great, like. Robin Hood forest.
And we got one of Vic's horses
out there.
I always believed
he's gonna come out the trees...
...gonna gallop down towards me...
...gonna pass between the two trees,
gonna pass right in front of the camera.
That's exactly what he did.
He shook his head...
...tried to get the unicorn off,
he shook his head right there...
...so it was absolutely perfect.
Ridley never, ever kind of divulged
what was going on in his mind...
...at that time. And I thought:
"Well, we're just slipping in
this little thing which is a little test."
Unfortunately, that went on to
the Blade Runner tab for another film.
But Ridley maybe did have
something else in his mind.
It was something more than a test.
I wanted it to work like...
...the thoughts of his.
So he would pick up a photograph...
...he would then start looking at it
and remembering...
...and you'd see this unicorn running
through the forest, coming towards you.
It'd come right up the camera...
...and it would shake its head.
And as it shook its head.
I cut to him shaking his head...
...like shaking that thought away.
And it just made it
such a lyrical piece...
...and magic.
I never understood the unicorn.
I never understood a lot of things.
But they were things that Ridley
obviously was fond of and likes.
To this moment, when he comes
flying through the... I had no idea...
...what was it,
nor did anybody in the film.
I don't remember now,
were they in his cut?
You look at that and you say.
"Well, what does that unicorn mean?"
I remember them saying. "If it doesn't
mean anything, we're gonna cut it out."
So they were throwing away things
that were...
...there for reasons.
I mean, it's all tied together
in the final frames of the film...
...when he lifts up the unicorn...
...the fact that they know that his
thought pattern works with unicorns...
...it's one of his memories.
Another scene where he's standing
behind her in his apartment...
...and he's out of focus...
...but you have this glow in the eyes
which makes him...
Could he be a Replicant?
Could he be...?
That was trimmed down.
And all the subtleties were taken out.
That's the terrible thing
about filmmaking anyway.
Most of the things that go first
when they think a thing's too long...
...are the subtleties.
You know, the terrible thing
about Blade Runner...
...was it was being made for people who
didn't understand what it was about.
I showed it to Tony, said.
"Do you want to see it?"
Tony said. "Yeah."
And Tony was, I think...
...genuinely knocked out.
I'll tell you what my five most favorite
movies are.
The top of that list it is Blade Runner,
not just because my brother did it.
Because Blade Runner is
such a brilliant film.
It touches so much of my past...
...and I saw so much of Ridley
and where we grew up.
Bringing in so much of his imagination
and so much of his dreams...
...you know, come to the screen
with that movie.
And most of all, you know,
the big stamp...
...in terms of our background,
where we grew up was the rain.
You know, we grew up in the north
of England, it was always raining.
And the comics that Ridley
used to read, you know.
So when I saw the movie.
I saw so much of him...
...being brought to the screen.
When we finally screened the picture
in Denver...
...and we got the cards...
...a lot of the people said
they couldn't understand it.
It was unintelligible.
They couldn't follow...
They didn't know what the people
were saying.
It was a different language.
Too much confusion at this point,
saying. "What's this? What's that?
What's Cityspeak? I don't-J'
And stuff like this.
"What's he saying?"
And I'm going. "Oh. God."
And then the previews reflect that.
Bud and I insisted that we do...
We put some voiceover with Harrison...
...to clarify some of... You know,
to move the thing forward.
And I know this.
Ridley never agreed to that.
And he never liked it.
And the minute they ended up doing
the director's cut...
...and that was the first, I think,
the first thing he removed.
It wasn't their idea,
it was our idea.
It was. "I am not stupid."
I looked at the results and said.
"This ain't working."
"I agree with you,
but what can we do?"
"How about voiceover?"
"Okay, yeah, let's do it."
Hampton had had a voiceover on it,
a noir kind of voiceover on it.
I did a lot of rewriting on that.
They asked me to come to England,
where Ridley was editing it and stuff...
...and write some more voiceover
to solve some problems and stuff...
...which I did. And then I learned...
And I can't remember exactly
when I learned.
...That they'd asked Hampton
to do it too...
...because, as Michael Deeley said
to Hampton:
"Well. David's stuff's wonderful
on the page...
...but when you speak it, it's,
you know, not right or something."
And you have to understand,
by this time...
...the story needed help
from the voiceover.
But of course, that sounds awful...
...when you just start telling
the audience what's going on.
- Now, is "far-fetched" in or out?
- Reel 3, section 1, take 1.
It didn't help me any.
Neither did the flake from the bathtub.
Nothing helped, not even booze.
I was restless and hungry.
I needed the streets and I needed food.
- Pretty weird. Pretty weird.
- Okay.
The flake. Maybe it was a scale.
A fish scale.
Real or artificial?
You need an expert to tell.
This is bizarre.
Goddamn, this is bizarre.
- Why?
- I don't know.
I never believed it was gonna be used.
And when I started talking
to Ridley about it...
...it turned out that they were things
that he was not out of sympathy with.
And he's right.
He said. "That doesn't sound right."
And I said, "No, you're right."
So we tried every which way
to rewrite...
...except it was difficult to write.
We couldn't actually land on
what he should actually talk about.
It's a romanticized view of being...
...internalizing what's in his mind.
What would he be thinking?
Reel 11, section 1, take 4.
She told me she loved me too.
No. Wrong.
"She told me..." What the hell?
It's gonna work great. Really.
This method is perfect.
Let's go again.
Take 11.
I figured I wouldn't get the headaches
or the shakes anymore.
Oh, shit. No, no, no.
Let's go again.
I told her about Batty on the roof.
Dying, making every second count.
- Sorry.
- I'm breaking my fucking hide here.
And he's laughing.
Turned out Ridley and Warner Bros,
had some issues...
...with the voiceover narration.
And the final versions of the narration
were done without Ridley.
And I missed him.
We went to London to do
the cutting. The post-production.
When we were away, that's when
they sneaked in and did the voiceover.
I was obliged by my contract...
...to supply that voiceover narration.
And on the last one, I went in to do
the voiceover narration...
...and I was looking around
for somebody...
...the room was there
and the mike was set up...
...but there was nobody around.
So I went to a nearby room...
...and there was a guy
in a little gray hobby suit...
...with one of those
twist-together belts...
...with the little elastic around it.
And he had a little pipe, I believe,
and he was hammering away...
...at a little portable typewriter.
I thought. "This must be a writer."
So I leaned to him, I said.
"Hi, I'm Harrison, how you doing?"
And I got this.
So I went away.
And about 15 minutes later,
he appeared...
...obviously the author
of what I was to read.
Tandem. Blade Runner, narration,
quarter-inch roll number 3.
And I thought, "This guy is
so far away from the process...
...that I mustn't fall into the trap
of trying to discuss this with him."
Simply do it. Do it the best you can...
...and go home
because I had arduously argued...
...through other versions
to try and get the best version...
...that we could of the narration...
...even though I didn't think
it was necessary.
- All right, go again.
- Testing one, two, three.
Gaff had been there.
He'd let Rachael live.
He had nothing to fear from Bryant, but
a lot to fear from me if he'd killed her.
I don't like that, let's start again.
- Excuse me.
- Yeah.
Didn't you say that bothered you?
NO, but I...
I thought you said
that was getting in your way.
- No, sir, not...
- I'm sorry, I heard you wrong.
Go ahead then.
There are a lot of people that like it
with the voiceover.
And as a matter of fact,
maybe because they're friends of mine...
...the majority of the people
that I'd shown it to...
...liked the version
with the voiceover...
...better than the director's cut
with the voiceover out.
I loved that voiceover, I wanted...
I keep replaying
my Criterion laser disc...
...to hear the voice.
You know, I think that there was
an effect that worked for me.
If there's one area...
...where I thought the voiceover
was so clunky...
...it landed with such a hollow thud...
...it's the "tears in rain."
I remember when I first saw the movie.
I'm in the theater...
...I'm so drawn in
by what Rutger Hauer's doing.
I'm so drawn in by what the theme
of the movie has brought us to.
This magnificent moment where he is
letting go of life.
And in those last moments
of letting go of life...
...he's really learned to appreciate life...
...to the point
where he spares Deckard's life.
And where he's even holding
this dove...
...because he just wants to have
something that's alive in his hands, right?
It's an amazing sort of crescendo
that's going...
...and there's Rutger Hauer saying:
"I've seen things
you people wouldn't believe.
All these moments will be lost in time
like tears in rain."
I'm like:
"Time to die."
And right as I'm just...
It's like having sex and somebody dumps
cold water on you.
Right at that moment, where I'm like
at my emotional crescendo...
...as a viewer, here comes this thudding,
dunderheaded voiceover.
I don't know why he saved my life.
Maybe in those last moments, he loved
life more than he ever had before.
"Or maybe, I guess,
in those last moments...
...he appreciated life
more than ever before-J' Like:
Yes, I know that. Thank you.
Thank you for kicking this beautiful,
delicate, emotional note...
...that we were achieving,
right in the nuts.
Only after that had been dissected
from the film...
...that I got any pleasure
out of seeing that movie.
- Rolling now?
- Yeah.
Once I knew that people were not
getting with it...
...and I hadn't connected with the idea
that maybe we're ahead of our time...
...and all that nonsense...
...the fact is if you are ahead
of your time...
...then that's as bad as being
behind the times, nearly.
You've still got the same problem.
And so I'm all about trying to fix
the problem...
...so I'm always there to try and say.
"Right, what can we do?
Shit, it's not really working."
I think as Jerry's team said...
...you know, it's a dark ending,
we need a happy ending.
Now there was a mandate...
...that we needed something
to lead the theatergoers out...
...with a much happier mood.
So it was decided to show
the two of them...
...escaping from the city,
driving through a lush wilderness...
...and essentially going into something
very nice and upbeat...
...from a world that had been
anything but.
Okay, cut.
They took a very small crew
and a spinner on a flatbed truck...
...up to Big Bear Lake.
The spinner was on a flatbed...
...and they were very tightly shooting
through the cockpit...
...so that you could just see
Sean Young and Harrison Ford...
...sitting in the driver's seat...
...and you saw the forest of Big Bear
going by...
...as Deckard told the audience.
"Oh, by the way...
...everything we've told you
over the last two hours isn't true.
Rachael's gonna live forever
and we're all gonna be happy."
Are you and I lovers?
They decided to try to get some
wide-screen shots...
...of really nice-looking nature.
I was sent to shoot it with a cameraman.
So it was just him and I.
We were flying around in a helicopter
for six days.
When we got back,
you couldn't see anything...
...because there was a lot of cloud
and a lot of snow.
So everything we shot
was completely useless...
...which is why the final sequence
in the first cut of the thing...
...was outtakes from The Shining.
Ridley, being a fan
of Stanley Kubrick's...
...remembered the footage
that opens The Shining.
If I know Stanley. Stanley doesn't fly.
He has never gone to Montana...
...so he must have done a blanket shoot
of every peak in Montana...
...for The Shining, using the best
helicopter crew.
I'll bet you he's got weeks
of helicopter footage.
I got through to him,
which in itself is quite something...
...to even get Stanley's number,
because he's so private...
...even though you've worked with him.
And he was very receptive,
he loved Alien...
...he really sort of admired Ridley,
and said. "Yeah, yeah, yeah."
But, you know, as long as there's
no footage used...
...that's actually in The Shining,
there's a lot of outtakes, et cetera...
...and if it's any good, fine.
Within about 17 hours.
I had six weeks of helicopter footage.
In trolleys, arrived in trolleys.
It's a getting-away shot...
...where I have to shoot them
on the road...
...and just doing this, you know.
"Let's get married"...
...and all that schlocky stuff.
And I did it because I figured
it might actually affect...
...what I thought the outcome
of the movie would be negative.
I better deal with it.
I didn't know how long
we'd have together.
Who does?
I knew then that we were gonna have
Vangelis do the music.
And I'd worked with Vangelis before
when I did Chariots of Fire.
So I went up to see him at his studio.
And really that's how I found this thing.
You know, the one... It's like
the love theme in the film.
"Memories of Green" is eight minutes.
It's fantastic.
And one of the great things...
...the experiences that would follow
for me...
...would be scoring at Marble Arch
with Vangelis.
And most of that, every night I'd go
to Vangelis' studio...
...and it would be him and maybe one
assistant, that's it...
...in a big, barn-like place
behind Marble Arch.
When I'd arrive, he'd go.
"Come, listen to this."
And he would actually say. "Watch."
And he would actually play, physically,
what he was... The recording was.
And as he's doing it, he's looking
at me, and he's doing that.
And it was watching this evolution
of this great music.
That's where I learned about, really,
his real art.
He would... He was
an absolute movie fanatic.
He would sit and watch every frame...
...and say. "Watch the actor here,
watch this blink.
I wanna start here, on the blink."
He'd be that close.
All the time I was drawing.
I was listening to Vangelis.
Chariots of Fire, China.
And I would play them
in my earphones...
...and draw away, and to hear
that music come in...
...and be, you know,
drawn into this thing...
...was, like, magical for me.
It was a wonderful experience.
And, you know, I think
you're into it maybe five minutes...
...and I'm no longer involved
in looking at my artwork.
I'm feeling the story, I'm feeling
the emotions of the characters...
...and lost
in the middle of this wild world.
You know, it's so rich and it's painful.
I mean, it's a very bluesy, dark story
and told very compassionately.
I was in London
when the movie was getting scored...
...by Vangelis, so I'd seen
a lot of the footage...
...and I just... I mean,
it just made me weep.
The beauty of it was...
It was just extraordinary.
Ridley talking about his images
and how he wanted this to be...
...and what he wanted it to look like.
And it all happened. It was very sweet
to see that come together.
I knew somewhere that it was not...
Shouldn't be a disappointment.
I knew somewhere that I had done
something pretty good.
It was then about. "Well, I've done it.
I don't know what else to do."
So we released it
and the rest is history.
It was a very tough subject matter.
We were talking about replicants...
...robots, if you will.
I mean, when you think what's happened
between then and now.
I think L.A, more and more...
I mean,
whenever I walk around downtown...
...I think this is becoming
more like Blade Runner.
This was a study of the future.
And I don't think, at the time...
...people wanted to see the future.
Especially like it predicted in the film.
The brilliance of what it really did
with the scale of it...
...and the production design of it
disguised the fact...
...that there was
a very compelling story there.
It became so convoluted,
what people thought of the picture.
There were people who thought
it was the greatest.
There were others that said.
"What the hell was it about?"
This movie is one of the movies...
...that changed my life.
Like, I came out of it
and I was not the same person.
I felt like with every car
that raced across the screen...
...I was spiraling into that world.
We finally did the cut.
And we screened it out at MGM
in one of the screening rooms out there.
Just with five or six people.
And I guess it was because
we were involved with it, you know.
It was part of...
It was our baby.
But I remember when the lights went up.
I said:
"This picture
is gonna do sensational business.
It's gonna do $100 million."
And that was when $100 million
was still a lot of money.
"It's gonna be a smash."
It was a premiere in Hollywood,
at Sunset Boulevard or something.
And I could literally feel the crack
that went through the audience.
It was either... or:
There was no middle, no in between.
As soon as that first instant happened
on the screen...
...I went. "What?" You know.
And at the end, I was like...
You know, relief isn't the word.
You know, I was overjoyed.
And then, you know, it was a big crowd.
This is Hollywood,
and everybody was there.
And everybody loved it.
I just remember
that everybody was so awed...
...by the magnificence of the film that
it was almost silent after we saw it.
When you see something that good,
there's nothing else to say.
It was an extremely emotional
experience for me.
I felt, when I was watching it,
that I was giving birth in public.
And I was very disappointed
that it wasn't...
...absolutely adored
and critically acclaimed instantly.
I was very excited about it.
When I went out to Westwood
that morning.
Because lines had been...
They'd been up overnight.
People slept on the pavement,
waiting to get in to see it.
But I was disappointed with the reviews.
You know, something so totally different.
And an audience didn't know
whether to come or not come.
And then they decided.
A lot of them after reading reviews
or talking to other people.
It opened on a Friday night.
It was huge, the numbers were huge.
And then the word of mouth
just that weekend petered out.
So Saturday business fell off.
Sunday business fell off.
And, of course, the guys at the studios
live and die by the opening weekend.
I guess they called Bud,
and then Bud called me. And he said:
"In the tank. What a...
It's a disappointment."
I went into the theater.
And there were probably
three other people in the theater with me.
I had already, you know, read reviews.
And had listened
to what people were saying.
Which, for the most part, was not
entirely positive, to say the least.
I felt really, really disappointed
that people didn't seem to get it.
When the film opened in London,
there was a film critic lady.
She used to be
quite a prominent film critic, at the time.
She said. "When I saw this film, I
thought. 'What are they trying to say?
It's all filth, rain, millions of people
everywhere and all the rest of it.'"
She said. "Then I walked out
into Leicester Square, into Blade Runner.
And it made sense.
I mean, that's what it was about."
I thought it was really great.
I liked everything except the last scene,
the driving off into the sunset.
Didn't buy it.
Didn't believe it.
It looked like it came
from another movie to me.
I went in 4:00
on a weekday afternoon.
I sat down in the theater, and there were
four other people. It broke my heart.
But I looked at this absolutely
perfect print, and I said to myself:
"Someday, someone will notice."
That point in my life, when I saw
Blade Runner for the first time...
...I was really profoundly affected
by the bleakness of it all.
And I didn't really like it very much.
As a moviegoing experience,
as a visual filmic experience...
...I thought the whole thing
was completely extraordinary.
I remember thinking that it was
much more of an art director's vision...
...than having the emotional impact
that I had anticipated it having.
Because of course I was, you know,
an actor, I was feeling all this stuff.
So I was expecting to have a very strong
sort of emotional reaction to the film.
And instead, I was sitting there
just sort of watching it.
And overwhelmed with the look
and the feel of it.
For me, it still emotionally falls short...
...of total satisfaction.
Because I just think
there is an emotional logic...
...and a sort of a narrative logic...
...that doesn't run as true
as I feel that it should do.
And in a sense.
I felt that what we made...
...was an incredibly beautiful-looking,
as one would expect with Rid...
But it's almost like an art movie.
It was the first science-fiction art film.
I think that's a good way to describe it.
It is a futuristic film,
it's a science-fiction film.
But it's beautifully put together.
It's really impeccably made by one of...
Really, we have to say
at this point in time...
...one of the great visionary directors.
And you really saw a future
that looked...
...very different from the futures
you had seen before.
A future that looked very believable.
Not only was it different, it didn't look
like it was different just to be different.
It looked like someone
had actually figured it out.
Someone had looked
into the future and said:
"You know,
it's gonna probably be like this."
Empire and Indiana Jones...
...those were
incredibly strong marketing hooks.
Particularly with fans.
So, I mean, I... We were
absolutely disappointed in the opening.
But it was Bob
who said to me afterwards:
"Can you only imagine
how bad it would have been...
...if we didn't do what we did?"
Everybody expected a heroic follow-up
to Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars.
And the way it was advertised
on television...
...with only the visual-effects shots of
the flying car going over a futuristic city.
And sort of a fight sequence is...
Doesn't prepare you for the traumatic
emotional side that there is in the film.
It kind of leaves you sort of broken.
When people see spaceships, they're...
And from me, at that moment,
though I'd only done one.
Saying science fiction, I think
they were expecting violence, horror.
It's fair to say that there were two films
that really suffered that summer...
...from the release of E.T.
And they were Blade Runner
and The Thing.
We had two very dark movies come out...
...when everyone
was absolutely E.T.-crazy.
'82, I think, was owned by E.T.
It is a brilliant film. I'm taking
absolutely nothing away from it.
But it was definitely happy comfort food.
That's, you know... It always will be.
It's one of the best examples
of that kind of film ever.
I'm not damning it with faint praise.
It's wonderful.
But everybody was so plugged into
the happy comfort food at that time...
...that they weren't giving movies
like Blade Runner a chance.
Or John Carpenter's remake of The Thing.
There were people in the trade papers...
...the industry journals,
like Variety and so forth, at the time...
Starting around the winter of 1981...
...predicting that the summer of '82
would have such casualties.
Simply by the fact that there was
so much product coming in all at once...
...that they wouldn't be able
to find their audience.
You have Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
You have Poltergeist.
You have E.T., John Carpenter's
The Thing...
...Conan The Barbarian,
The Road Warrior.
TRON, I mean, you even had
Rocky III, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
And Cat People, you know.
And then, amongst that, Blade Runner.
It was the beginning of the '80s.
People were over the '70s.
And there was a lot of depressing stuff
coming out.
And what they wanted to see
was a slice of utopia.
People wanted to see happy movies.
People wanted to see something where...
Reagan promised everybody that
the future's gonna be great.
And America's
gonna be strong again.
And the economy's gonna be great.
And Ridley came out with an amazing,
brilliantly executed future.
Of an absolute dystopia.
There's absolutely no question
why that movie failed.
At that point...
...sci-fi audience had just gotten used
to the idea of sci-fi again with Star Wars.
Which is a much more sort of
satisfying sci-fi film.
You know, with laser beams and,
you know, robots and monsters.
Then comes this Nietzschean,
sort of dystopic...
...philosophical and dark existential film.
In those days,
people were making Logan's Run.
With Michael York
dressed in a white suit...
...and a silly hat
being chased around the place.
Chased around white corridors.
Because that's the future.
This wasn't what we were doing at all.
I think, in a way, we made it very alien.
It was a kind of grungy world,
a grungy character.
And there was
the romantic grunginess of the wet...
...the dirty, the pavements, the
romantic notion of being down-and-out.
The fact that the film
has been underground for so long...
...has given it a very special status.
On Thursday nights
in the Lower East Side...
This is, like, about '83 now.
On the Lower East Side...
...they're having midnight showings
on Thursday nights of Blade Runner.
Then I knew it was going to become
something. And history bears it out.
The reason the film stayed popular...
...is not because
of a mass audience wanting it.
It's a group of people that love it.
And there's a Blade Runner
fan club.
And a Star Wars fan club and Star Trek
and all sort of those things.
A lot of those were not big
when they came out.
But the people that love them never
forget them. And they're very vocal.
So they talk about them all the time.
And they're recognizing
the value of those to cinema.
And the value of those films
to the cultures.
So it's a good thing
that these are not just...
That they don't just disappear.
And it's a good thing that we've got
DVDs that are keeping them going.
We're sitting here, what.
25 years after the release.
You go on...
There are all kinds of web sites,
there are people all over the world...
...that are interested in, you know.
"Was Harrison Ford a replicant or not?"
And that self-promotion,
that self-generating kind of thing...
...that's generated by fan appeal,
that you can't buy.
After Blade Runner, there were rock
videos that had the Bradbury Building...
...and the rain and that kind of a style.
I noticed that more and more and more
of the bands...
...there were dark nights with rainy shit
with lots of steamy drains.
And, actually, lots of stuff where
I'm going. "That's from Blade Runner."
And then I suddenly realized
it was taking a huge impact.
Production design
had tremendous impact...
...on both film and science fiction
from that point.
There's no question that
the kind of noirish aspect...
...led to what became cyberpunk.
It spawned a whole genre
of science fiction...
...where the future was no longer
a pristine. Star Trek type of future.
Where we began to see the wears
and tears of society and humanity.
If you wanna become
an aesthetic filmmaker...
...there is no other way
to cross that threshold. I feel...
...unless you study Blade Runner.
And so when I started studying
Blade Runner around 15, 16...
...and watching it on television
on my worn-out VHS tape...
...I mean. I think I pretty much
threaded that thing down...
...trying to figure out Ridley's lighting,
his lens choices, his focal lengths...
...the way he composed things
where he decided to do darkness...
...and light and contrast and silhouettes
and things like that.
Blade Runner is almost a playbook. I feel,
for filmmaking of the last 30 years.
There's a lot of times when we're talking
in writers' rooms...
...or in production meetings
or with studio execs or whatever...
...and you'll talk about a Blade Runner
look, a Blade Runner feel of the future.
And that... it just sort of defines
a certain iconography.
You know, the rain,
the sort of perpetual night feeling...
...the dystopian future, the world that
shifted culturally into another aesthetic.
I mean, the whole idea the Los Angeles
is very heavily influenced by, you know...
...an Asian aesthetic to the point where
there's giant illuminated billboards...
...with women in what appears to be
geisha makeup talking to you.
That whole sort of, like, landscape is now
part of the conversation, you know...
...in the entertainment business.
I would say of all the big, influential
science-fiction films...
...the ones that made a real serious stab
at predicting the way things would be...
...this film has been the most accurate.
The overpopulation, the sort of
crowd scenes is so rich and varied...
...and there's such an extreme detail...
...designing the magazine covers...
...designing the look
of the punks, the Hare Krishnas...
...the biological salesmen,
everything is designed.
And there's such... It's not just one-note.
It's not just that you have
the Moebius type of characters...
...in the foreground or the background...
...but you have also
just Piccadilly Circus punks walking by.
You have a sense of layers
in that society.
That is one of those things
that you see again and again.
The city landscape with the big billboards
a la Kyoto or Tokyo.
We were able to create the look...
...based on what goes on
in various cities all over the world.
Whether it be Tokyo. Kyoto or Beijing
or Hong Kong or whatever.
In fact, the last two times I was
in Hong Kong, you go into Kowloon...
...and you walk up and down
the side streets...
...you're right in Blade Runner country.
The whole idea of artificial life
is actually more salient now than ever.
And becomes more interesting
and more possible...
...as we get toward this kind of
super-high technology...
...of computers that can play chess
better than people.
The whole idea of a replicant
becomes more feasible every day.
What's an interesting irony. I think,
is that, you know...
...one of the central themes and motifs
of the movie...
...is this oppressive corporate culture.
And it's that
oppressive corporate culture...
...that has resulted in a lot of bad films.
And that's one of the reasons
that Blade Runner is still so vibrant.
There really wasn't
that much of a lag time...
...between its theatrical failure
and its rediscovery on cable and cassette.
The early '80s
were also the dawn of home video.
And this was
a profoundly altering technology.
Audiences suddenly started to realize
that, you know...
...when they saw it on their home TV set
and when they could pause it...
...or stop it or go back...
...when they could actually
manipulate the film...
...just as Deckard
manipulates Roy Batty's photograph...
...then they suddenly realized
what an accomplishment it was...
...and then the buzz started to gather.
It wasn't till 1990, when the work print
leaked out...
...at that Fairfax 70mm film festival...
...that people realized.
"Oh, there's yet even another version...
...and what's up with all these versions?"
And that's when the troubled history
of the film started to get out...
...and people realized that Ridley's vision
for the film had...
...you know, been diluted somewhat
through the process of test screenings...
...and getting the film, you know, more
palatable for a mainstream audience...
...you know,
it had been kind of diminished.
I've come to appreciate
the much more kind of uninflected...
...immersive, uneditorial...
...just purely visual, no-voice-over
version of the film.
And I actually like both now.
And I do genuinely like both equally.
And you can kind of pick your mood
that you're in.
When I saw the unicorn in the
director's cut. I thought of it as a symbol.
And that's the beauty
of something that's good. I guess.
You know, you can... It's ambiguous.
And my interpretation
had nothing to do with:
"Oh, that shows
that Deckard's a replicant."
I don't think that anything should show
that Deckard's a replicant.
If you think that, you're already wrong.
You know? I mean, it's just
the question mark is what's interesting.
The answer is stupid.
All of this is kind of a process...
...of people coming to realize
what an exceptional film this is.
And a lot of different things have
to happen before it really catches on.
You know, the initial screenings,
everything, it's like a snowball effect.
And, you know,
my story was part of the snowball.
You know, it kind of created interest,
it got anthologized in books...
...it intensified interest in the film.
And because it was a great story,
everyone got more interested in the film.
You read the story, you say. "This sounds
really interesting. I really wanna see this."
And people... Either they saw it in the
re-release in theaters or they rented it...
...but more and more people decided to
reacquaint themselves with Blade Runner.
And when you reacquaint yourself with it,
you fall in love with it.
It's one of those films that I watched
again and again and again growing up...
...and then, you know, again and again
and again as an adult.
And every time you watch it, you see
something you never noticed before...
...or you pick up on, you know,
a theme you didn't notice before.
This movie, to me,
embodies the elegance...
...the power...
...and the uniqueness
of a film experience.
You know, it does not depend
on a screenplay...
...that is written in any other form.
It's the most classical, beautiful,
purest moviemaking writing...
...and then the filmmaking itself is...
The images and the sound
and the music...
It's eight of those 10 layers
of storytelling.
That's the difference. It's pure cinema.
The films that I've worked on
that have been filled...
...with angst, trepidation, pain...
...those seem to be
the films that seem to be successful.
With really such gifted people involved
in that. I mean, they were all...
Both writers, you know. I have nothing
but the greatest respect for.
I certainly do for Ridley.
And. I mean, every picture that I've seen
of his since then, for the most part.
You know, you gotta give him credit.
He's a hell of a director.
It was really before its time, and Ridley's
to be complimented for that...
...because of his vision
and how he saw the thing.
And also the people
who wrote the script.
Also Dick, who had the imagination...
...to think about these things
way off in the future.
Blade Runner
is essentially a cautionary piece.
It's telling us to beware.
It's telling us. "Look where we're headed.
Look what we can do to each other.
Don't be a replicant.
Don't be someone who just follows
orders and shoots women in the back.
Be someone who has a monitor
on your own empathic pulse. Be human."
Which was the whole point
of Philip K. Dick's career.
And that was a pretty heady message.
Particularly at a time when
there was an emphasis on the material.
And Blade Runner, ultimately,
is about the spiritual.
Time is the essence of what makes
for something great or classic.
I mean, we're in a movie business where
most movies are disposable commodities.
They're the summer blockbuster.
I'm not gonna name what they are...
...but they come and go in weeks
and bye-bye...
...nobody wants to resurrect them,
nobody wants to see them again.
So the ones that
are really, truly well-made...
...the kind of Casablancas
of science fiction...
...survive and get seen over and over.
The intensity of his perfectionism
on this movie made the movie.
This is a master at his best.
I was absolutely about
coordinating beauty.
It was shot by shot had to be great.
What I'm expecting from you
will be very high.
You're not gonna be wasted.
I've chosen you...
...because you're really good
at what you do...
...and I'm gonna actually push you
like crazy. I'm gonna get the best.