Documentary about the troubled creation and enduring legacy of the science fiction classic Blade Runner, culled from 80 interviews and hours of outtakes and lost footage.
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Enhance 224 on 76...
You have all the tools, colours, 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, er, 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 want to be in movies after they've 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 co-ordinating beauty,
shot by shot had to be great. My weapon was that camera.
I'll get what I wanted.
And if you're there with me, great. If you're not with me, too bad.
In 1975, I thought I would produce a movie.
and this guy, Jim Maxwell, who's a close friend and knows me well,
he says, "You know Philip K Dick?" I said no.
"There's a book called Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?" I read it. I didn't like it that much.
But I thought, "OK, that's commercial. Here's a throughline."
You know, bureaucratic detective chasing androids.
My friend, Brian Kelly, had 5,000 or something and said,
"You could get an option, that might be a good commercial project to get behind
"and make some money." That's all we were talking about.
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.
The very first draft that he did was much smaller in scale.
It was probably a low budget, one-room kind of motion picture.
This was a small movie, that's how I wanted to do it. This rooms...
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,
the right kind of actors, and actors' director.
Hampton saw the novel as reflecting a lot of real world current concerns.
And one of the largest motivating factors was the ecological concern that is in the original novel.
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.
And then, finally, when I was really looking for something,
Brian popped back in again with another script.
The way he put it was he'd got several studios interested,
but because I was a friend, he'd let me have a crack at it. I read it and it was darn good.
24 hours later, it was like, "Can we meet?"
And they wanted to do it!
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 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.
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. So Michael Deeley had come to see me.
"I've got this script Blade Runner," I said, "I don't really want to do another science fiction,
"but I'll read it." And I read the script, and I turned it down.
At this point, something rather sad happened, which was that Ridley's older brother died.
I know it had a tremendous effect
on sort of his emotional state at that time.
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. I think it's interesting
"and will 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.
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.
And then we needed our seven million. And that came
from a company which consisted of Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin.
People were always submitting scripts to us. And by the time
they got to us, cos 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 we didn't want to get involved with.
And, somehow, this 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
and the look that Ridley had in mind for it.
It really was futuristic, and, erm, I thought it could be a big smash hit.
It was such a brand-new way of trying to do all the things
they were going to do on this - special effects and so forth -
everyone was worried about how many months will it take, or how many years, to make it.
They put up 7 million, and they chose to take a fee -
admittedly a deferred fee, but a fee of 1.5 million - as guarantors of completion.
So if the picture went over 21 million, 22 million, whatever,
they'd have to provide that amount, which gave them a lot of rights.
It gave more rights than we'd have given if we'd had time to negotiate, which we didn't, we had two weeks.
As we were trying to put together the budget,
I was talking continuously with Hampton Fancher,
so 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.
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,
"Er...what do you mean?" "But there's a world."
They never move outside the apartment, it's very interior.
I want to take them outside the door. Once we go outside the door,
this world has to support the thesis that she's android, humanoid, robot.
Ridley's a gold mine to work with.
He's just got beautiful notions.
You have to be discreet as a writer or he'll go write an encyclopedia.
And he said, "Hampton, I have to be frank, you're taking a lot..." They used to call me Happen Faster.
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 think Hampton got a bit precious about doing things,
and it was always a bit of a drama when or if 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." And he wouldn't argue with me!
We got it up to a point where Hampton was just getting exhausted.
I was angry and I walked out by the pool, and Ivor,
lovely, wonderful Ivor came out, and he tried to tell me.
He didn't come right out and say it, but he says,
"If you don't do it..." I remember he reverted to street talk, kind of.
He says, "I know me man," you know, "he'll do something."
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, um...
his days, for the time being, were over.
I get this call that Ridley would like to talk to me
about Blade Runner. So they flew me down to LA
and put me in the Chateau Marmont in this terrific suite.
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, and said, "Well, what did you think?"
And I said, "I thought it was terrific, I can't make this any better than it is or anything,"
which...and they both sort of chuckled.
Michael said, "Oh, Ridley has a few ideas,"
in that Michael way. And, er...I got hired.
MUSIC: "One More Kiss, Dear" by Don Percival
There was a Christmas dinner I was invited to at Ivor's house.
And we sat down,
he put the script in front of me on the plate.
He says, "This is the new script." And I said, "What new script?"
And he told me. He said, "This is David Peoples'."
I said, "Who's that?" I couldn't hear anything.
I stood up, because I was going to cry. My whole world fell apart.
What's anybody going to be? Incredibly hurt, because, um,
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, he said, "Yes, your things are very elegant.
"But this is what we need to do to make the movie. Now we're making a movie, Hampton."
I was writing for them and they were thrilled that I was so fast.
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.
"Hampton, why don't you try this or that?" That stuff makes you crazy.
It made me crazy in the short time I was there.
Initially, he did what Ridley asked, which, at that time, we needed.
We needed to put the damn script to bed, because everybody, every time something changes,
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 that you see today.
I was completely wrong, Ridley totally right, and Peoples was definitely totally right.
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.
We looked at various people. One who seemed very 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. The conversations
the first time I saw him about... And, of course, we saw Star Wars.
I was 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.
I knew he was in London,
doing this new thing Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Barbara Hershey was who initially suggested to Hampton Fancher
that Harrison Ford was someone to consider.
Barbara calls Spielberg, "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.
Erm, we were convinced.
I remember that I read a script, which I thought was, er,
er, at the first version that I read of it,
of the film, had some issues, I had some issues with.
That there was a voiceover 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 voiceovers 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.
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 our 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, OK?
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, um, smart. So you'd 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.
"You've got to realise 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, with 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, the short pointed blond hair.
And he was wearing green, floral kind of Elton John sunglasses.
And I said, "Ridley, I can assure you that the guy is Batty."
And, of course, obviously, it was Rutger playing a joke on Ridley, or maybe he wasn't.
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,
basically saying, "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 humour, sense of sexuality, sense of soul.
And Ridley said, you know, "I like all of them. Keep them in.
"We'll work with them. 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 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.
My agent called me with this strange request.
He said, "There's this director,
"Ridley Scott, he's doing this sci-fi picture, Blade Runner,
"and he wants you to be Harrison Ford."
I said, "What do you mean? What are you talking about?"
He said, "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."
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 I was basically feeding them, so it'd be an equal treatment kind of deal.
'The only girl who departed from the blocking and everything right away was Sean Young, who says,
' "We're not doing it this way." I said, "Oh, this is great." '
She reminded me 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 recognised that he could make
a classic beauty type of picture, you know, with me in it.
I like what she did a lot, um, they were less enamoured.
She looked beautiful,
but I wasn't absolutely convinced about her as an actress.
Harrison was probably looking for somebody...
I think he was nervous about a first-timer.
I think he probably did it being, "What about her? What about her?"
We went through a bit of that. He wasn't thrilled, no.
Once it's on, it's on. Harrison's a consummate professional. Once it's it, that's it. You go.
When I got the part, I realised 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, so period and so right and utterly beautiful.
She could be an android, she may still be an android, for all I know!
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 I had been a gymnast as a kid in school,
so I suggested to Ridley I could do gymnastics and 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! And so I did like a back walk over or something in the trailer, and that was it.
I met Daryl, and Daryl was pretty well it. I liked Daryl immediately on meeting her.
She's kind of perfect physically. She's bright, she's got this quirky
-side to her.
-Everybody who was screen testing
got to create their own character, you know, had days to meet
with the make-up team and the wardrobe team.
And I had seen Werner Hertzog's Nosferatu, and I remembered the kind of puttied-out eyebrows
and the black circle, you know, black, hollow eyes of Klaus Kinski.
And so I was inspired by it 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.
It was very, very well and thoroughly produced,
and there were four other women who were testing for the part,
all completely different from me.
And I just looked around and thought, "Oh, my God, I've made myself into a monster."
And everybody else looked so beautiful!
I was asked at the end of the days, you know, who I thought was the best,
and I said, "Well, it's hands-down Daryl Hannah."
At the end of all these tests, Ridley said, "I think we've got a role in this for you."
And I said, "What would that be?" "He's a guy who kind of interviews these replicas at the beginning.
"I'll call your agent and explain." I said, "Fine." So I got home,
got a call, was offered this role of Holden, which I thought was terrific.
Definitely the femme fatale.
I mean, I sort of really fit right into that.
So of course I was going to be cast as someone that was slightly dangerous.
I thought she was a very impressive combination of physical power, feminism to great sexuality.
She was really powerful. Physically, as a whole physical female type, she's great.
-If you're going to cast an Amazon, there she is.
-Very athletic - of all of them, the most athletic
and the most able to perform whatever feats had to be performed.
She was superwoman. She was built to be as strong as a man.
And I mean, like, almost machine-like, and yet there was a femininity there.
And Ridley and I talked about this a lot. 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, multi-ethnic, 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
in to what he had to say in terms of the drama.
He was absolutely obsessed with getting that right.
As long as he went along with
my understanding of what was going to be happening,
which was the culturalisation of Los Angeles,
in a way that people wouldn't be expecting,
and he went with it right from the start.
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 man who did all the dirty work for the department.
The word Gaff is a good name, actually.
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 going to make our own rules.
Artistic direction, set design, I think generally, was one massive challenge. That evolution
told us it had to be this amount of money, 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 punting around for people to work on this film that he's agreed to do.
I went over and had a meeting with Michael Deeley, Ridley Scott, Ivor Powell and John Rogers,
and got the script, handed it to me, called Dangerous Days.
Isn't it fortunate it wasn't used?
And, er, 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, apartments, skyscrapers,
cityscapes. And I brought him in for a meeting and said, "Look,
"we've got to go it this way, on the backlot, the best we can on a limited budget.
"I can't make things. I would never have the budget to do that."
That's why the idea of retro-fitting 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.
So it was by necessity we had to design it that way.
This is a rather different art department situation.
Ridley's in charge of the art department on this picture.
Not to diminish the art department or the art director or whatever,
but one is inevitably, in a way,
because Ridley's so on top of it and he's micro-managing the art department.
Those guys had to work hard to do what Ridley wanted and they had to be very efficient.
But it was Ridley who decided what it would be.
I knew that he had been an art director and I knew that was probably a good thing,
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.
I was hired to work one-to-one with the director, Ridley.
After all, he's God. The 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.
One of the troubles we got into with Syd Mead was he became so important to the film,
he'd only originally been hired for a few days at 1,500 bucks a day.
Suddenly he was on the thing for weeks. And that was one factor in going over budget.
Sid designed this whole world, but he designed not just what would be the matte paintings,
but conceived what the streets and the neon would look like
what the lighting would look like,
and what it would look like drenched in grizzly, oil-soaked rain,
then designed the vehicles as well, so the whole thing knit together.
Sid wasn't really the production designer, but 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 someone who was an industrial designer and illustrator
who was designing products for the future for people who were going to manufacture them.
We were evolving what the future would be with Larry Paull,
my production designer, I hadn't worked with him before.
I think he thought I was absolutely crazy.
But because I could draw, it'd help a lot.
The big advantage we had was the famous actors' strike that lasted for months
and the fact that, because I don't think we would have ever 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 pre-production for nine months or nine and a half months,
which is as long as I've ever been on pre-production on a film.
Everybody in the art department was tickled to work on Ridley Scott's film following Alien.
We all thought, "OK, we're doing this picture about replicants
"and the future and flying cars. Whoa, we're doing Alien II.
"We get to walk down that same road."
Everybody got turned around 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."
Michael Deeley said, "At 3.00pm, I want all the drawings on the wall, Ridley will look at all of them."
So Michael Deeley and Ridley were walking around, I was standing with Larry Paull, 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 or 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.
Some of those streets have been used in westerns, I mean, for decades. They're very visually familiar.
When I walked on that backlot, it's what it looks like now.
When you walk on there, that's what it looks like.
it can only be limited, so it's limited to, I think, two, maybe three storeys, mostly two.
So it's not tall enough. So, in those days, because I hadn't got digital CGI or anything,
the decision to do it at night makes a lot of sense.
Because I was a designer, I'm up there often.
I'm all over Larry, God bless him.
I've never seen anything like it.
I quite honestly never had seen sets built like that.
It was just an amazing, an amazing amount of, er...
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.
They walked in and saw this entire hangar filled with people
and 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! What are you making?
"Buy a chair, Buy a table. What are you making?"
But it was all beautifully designed museum pieces that you can't buy.
The caveat when I was going to do the show was it was not going to be a big 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 going to be done live location.
And, you know, given what's going on in the film business and so forth
and so on, you say, "Uh-huh, yes." By the time I got on the film,
there was a location manager on the film already, that the production manager had hired,
and there were two locations that Ridley liked in LA.
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.
I think, funny enough, it took somebody not to come from LA to actually do it in LA,
because I'm new, I haven't seen this before, and I'm going,
"Wow, that's good and that's good. And the Bradbury's great
and we put a cheap canopy on. I even brought the columns from the studio,
cos they're only styrofoam. The Bradbury building,
"Oh, everyone in TV uses that," and I said, basically,
"Back off. I'll use it and shoot it in a way you haven't seen before."
I went out a couple of nights, and we certainly went out
when they weren't shooting and saw the sets and everything
and right on down the line, from the scenery, the costumes, the entire thing, I think it speaks for itself.
The people at the studio would walk by or walk through the set as it was being built.
They'd walk through the set and 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,
always to the irritation of critics, who'd tear me apart for many movies
before I realised, 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, "OK."
I went to the first AD, told them, this is at 7 in the morning,
"Come back at two o'clock and we'll be ready to shoot.
"The director wants a change." At two 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 them over, otherwise that stuff would've been at the top, out of the shot.
Ridley was very demanding.
I mean, from the point of view of the lighting
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 was constantly trying to add a kind of, er,
scintillating visual stimulation to scenes.
A good example would be in Tyrell's office.
We're in this big set struggling with our part, 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."
We said, "What's motivating that? Is it raining? Is the floor wet?"
He said, "No, it's just got to... You know, it's just got to happen."
So I go, "If that's what Ridley wants, that's what he should have." But Ridley has 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,"
which is not what I wanted to hear, but Ridley was dealing with the smoke
and the mirrors and the columns and so on and so forth. In the meantime,
Harrison's 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. 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 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.
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, er,
"the relationships in the scenes are and, er...
-it, it's just a movie. Let him worry about it."
Maybe Ridley gave 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 going to be close to wrap, you know? Then he was happy.
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.
Ridley's a perfectionist and Ridley came from the...
the world of doing commercials, from England, and he was very successful.
And he's very meticulous, that's what his genius is.
And I don'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, er, thought things could start to take off.
I presume, behind closed doors, he got twitchy like, after the first week, we were 2-3 days behind.
Then, after the first weeks shooting Tyrell's room,
we went back to reshoot them. I'd have 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.
l thought he printed way too many takes in those days
and shot too many takes. I didn't think he needed it.
Now, obviously, he was looking for something in every one
and he and I sat 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?"
Yeah, there'd be irritation. I'd do seven takes. "Why's he doing that?" 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,
looking at things in different lights and a different way, so they hadn't seen that before.
It's why you're hiring me. And I think that went on, definitely.
Ridley's 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, then Ridley,
and nothing ever gets made without having its difficulties.
A lot of people don't bother to understand what he's trying to do
and I think that's what happened. There was a lot of nervousness,
and a lot of competition within themselves
and I think people made a lot of it in the beginning.
Everyone anticipated before shooting, "He won't like us, 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.
Being new on the block here, I had to learn the process of,
I couldn't use this, couldn't use that. I'm used to being my own operator.
Jordan came with his team, which was fine, cos 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, um...
Jordan wasn't in the best of health, so it was frustrating for him,
because he couldn't 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, 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.
lntense. That's the best way to describe it.
We had our scenes together.
"You lived so very long, Roy." "I want more life" and all.
Looked him right in the eye, he looked me in the eye, we went at it and it was great.
I want more life.
The facts of life.
'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, he was another front and another form
of Nexus 6, I guess. And that would trigger me to go to the next floor.
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 the 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.
Any time 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.
You can't really let it fly, let go, because that's not what you're doing. It's not very professional.
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?
I think Ridley told him to push me.
And I was...I remember being really surprised about that.
I think I was crying afterwards, too.
And I remember Harry going to the side.
I was sitting on that ledge where the blinds were behind me and we did the scene
and he went over to the corner and he turned away from me and took his pants and he mooned me,
cos he was trying to make me laugh, cos I was going, and I looked up and he was mooning me.
I think I started laughing, and I think he was trying to say, "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.
Harrison was always, um, the great technician.
"No, kid, you have to sit here. Your face has to be here. Move that way. Back up. Come here."
He always knew exactly what to do and 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? 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 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.
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, 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, etc, etc.
So yes, it's my movie and I'm inviting people to do it and that's what a director is.
Downtown LA 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?
Also there was, of course, lots of rain.
And so one time, when I was running away from JF Sebastian,
I ran and hit the van and my arm went through the window and it wasn't breakaway glass.
I had eight chips or nine chips taken out and there's still some more
floating around, I think, which didn't help doing the back walkovers
and things on the chipped elbow. SHE LAUGHS
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, it was a total mess.
In the interior, we had a 65ft 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 6pm and, at 6am, 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 colour 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 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 what not.
I said to myself, "Wow, this is astronomical.
"It'll 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, er, frosty. HE LAUGHS
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're actually burning coal
and, after about an 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 producer was on to Ridley, "That's good enough! That's good enough!" or whatever.
Like I said, I wouldn't want to work in that atmosphere again.
It's just too much. Too much was at stake at too short a time.
The night scenes were all shot on what's called the New York Street set,
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 TV series shot on the studio street, it looks like a studio street.
So wetting it down and having things in heavy rain 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 bad and we'd have to spend more money.
So, by shooting at night, you save money and it looks better. When it's always raining, it looks better.
That's what it's about. Why's there always smoke? I haven't got enough money. It looks better.
So those three elements are always in my armoury - night, wet, smoke.
I thought the art direction was brilliant
and the world that was created was very dense and interesting.
But it was a bitch, working every night and all night long,
often in the rain.
So it wasn't the most pleasant shoot.
There was always dialogue that we were behind schedule.
I think it all culminated
when we were shooting on the back lot 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,
"cos 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.
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 back lot came alive.
What he was trying to do was just incredible.
And I remember, we would sit for eight hours trying to do one set-up.
And you would do it, like, right?
And what you're seeing in your eyes, what you're going to 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 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, 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.
Cos even though you're running through sugar,
that's not plate-glass,
it's got to have been large sheets of sugar glass.
So when you go through that stuff, you could still cut yourself.
That was a very famous stunt woman, by the way, named Lee Pulford.
But the problem with her particular scene and moment in the movie
was that, at that time,
that was shot towards 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 there. That's it.
Now that would probably be digitally done
or I'd shoot that for two nights,
minimum, where, once you make that mess and you tidy up,
you've got to move off and do something else.
That time I was invited down, I was on the set, man, and it's like,
I saw Yorkin and those guys
on Ridley and on Deeley, and it was not pretty.
In particular, I remember one night when we were shooting,
which was 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 and 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 as a director because the directors don't want to just produce.
I think Bud secretly wanted to direct it himself. And if he had,
it would be obviously, a very different movie.
There was conversations like that that lead nowhere
cos we stood by Ridley and said, "You've got to finish the movie".
"That's what we bought and that's what we're paying for".
I was warned a couple of times to speed up and that's about it.
I said, "I can, I will speed up if I can but, unfortunately, these are big set-ups".
And he wanted to do what he had to do. You know, reminded me of George C Scott and The Hustler.
"I'm talking about money", you know, or whatever. "You owe me money!"
I think we went through that 20 million, we went through the 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 cheques yourself, so to speak.
He was 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?
Why were we so far behind schedule?
You know, we were supposedly, you know, professional film-makers, etc.
I would never, ever deliberately ignore a budget and just say, you know, "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 I think one of the important things is, when you're shooting, particularly from my point of view,
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 promised I'm going to get.
And that's why it was good for any investor, as they probably will have discovered by now.
There was a sequence where they wanted to do hand to feet,
hand to feet, flip flop gymnastic things across there
and wind up straddled on Harrison Ford.
So I had this girl that, her and I'd be rehearsing at nights
for, I don't know, in the gymnasium, and she goes down pretty good.
Well, in about, I'll say 20 minutes, Ridley had her totally worn 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've got a problem here".
And I said, "Yeah, well, go shoot something else or go to lunch or what not"
"and I'll have a guy here after lunch".
And so I brought him in in the afternoon.
One of them was a guy, actually,
and kind of quite a stocky kind of wider guy than me,
not shaped the same at all.
A 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, 15 times or whatever it was, you know.
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,
that I actually do it.
You know, like, I was, like, trying to sort of gently, you know,
pretend, and he was like, "No, you've got to 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 is just to go for it.
And at one point, actually, we had to do sort of a reshoot
of some of my close-ups. And I was really stunned
because I had been... I mean, 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 grimacing and mugging and, you know...
And so we re-did the close-up of it so that I could be looking a little bit more horrific, I guess.
Any long picture is exhausting for everybody on it.
So once that patience goes, then people get very snappy.
The gulf between Ridley's way of working
and a lot of 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, make-up, hair,
everybody was fabulous.
And I've worked with these people subsequently,
on a variety of other shows.
But everybody worked exceedingly hard
and was right there on the dime.
One afternoon, we saw 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 they'd 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.
And so I did what was called "the T-shirt wars".
Katie Haber said, "They made T-shirts and they're wearing them tomorrow".
And I said, "What is it about?" She said, "That article you did". I said, "What article?"
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?
"Because, obviously, 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 they don't understand 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.
I put on the green 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.
As I put mine on and went to walk out of the trailer door, who's the first one to see me? Ridley.
I said, "Right, morning, Harrison, we're going to do this."
There was this, and there was all these people standing there in their shirts, which I completely ignored,
and didn't say a word about it.
And, they ignored me and we got on with the first scene, with all of us wearing this ridiculous gear,
and by mid-morning the t-shirts started to disappear and by lunchtime they were all gone.
These were guys, you know, who were one's friends.
I couldn't think of a crew member that wasn't doing his absolute best, but, suddenly,
you get all sorts of talking behind the scenes
and here's this foreign director, "Who the hell does he think he is?"
"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 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 at the end of the day and your name was still on it.
Cos people just all the time disappeared.
On the property room door, there was a list of people who 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.
I'm sorry, but sometimes work is gruelling
and I don't think PR is there to whine about,
"Ah, you know, it destroyed my life and it was so gruelling."
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 really... It was magic time.
There was tension from time to time
and there were times when there wasn't.
I think every big, ambitious movie has tension involved.
Eventually we shot that sequence on the back lot of Warner Brothers,
with the jump from one building to the other,
in the building that we could position the way we wanted.
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 a hold of the rope and hang onto it.
Then we go all ready to do it, again it was at night and it was smoking
and it was raining and there was a mess.
So it came time to do the jump and I made a long run and made the jump.
I was about half way and I could see I wasn't going to make it.
I 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, I can't remember.
So every time I had to hook my arm. I had a big bruise under my arm, but we made the jump.
I had a great rapport with stunt guys cos 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...
If I remember correctly, the guy that doubled Rutger, the first jump he made, he didn't make it.
He hit and bounced off and went to the airbag.
Another stunt guy comes in. He does the same thing.
Now we're at five o'clock in the morning and we've got an hour and I'm saying to Ridley, "Ridley,
"if you put the building, and the building were it's own wheels, "if you give me a foot closer,
"I swear it's not impossible for me, I can do this."
And he's desperate by now.
So, he goes, "OK, let's do it."
And then we did one take and I jumped.
Rutger did this one, big, bargey hop,
with a dove in his hand. Cos he came to me and said, "I thought, 'symbol of peace', is this OK?"
I'm going, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, go on, the light's getting blue."
What if I take a dove with me and then when I die, I just hold onto the dove for the last bit?
And then, when I die, just let it go and that's it.
Poof, end of story and then the dove can act for me.
That was the visual part of death.
Up to this moment in the film,
it's been in a metropolis that's constantly overcast,
and raining, 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's just some clouds of steam around and stuff like that.
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 flying off Rutger's lap into the sky and then following it up,
the dove just literally hopped out of Rutger's lap
and waddled across the roof, you know, out of the frame.
There was a real page of opera talk,
that is bad in any script, I don't care how you look at it.
This was hi-tech speak that had very little bearing
on anything that the movie had shown you before,
so I just put a knife in it and I did this at night
and I didn't know if Ridley was OK with it.
Like most actors aware that this is his death scene coming up,
this is his kind of moment and they suddenly start getting pretty tenacious
about what they want to shoot and what they want covered.
I think he was quite demanding at that time of Ridley.
I came out with two lines
that had some sort of off-worldly feel to it and some poetry in it.
And then I came up with the line, at four o'clock in the morning,
"All those moments will be lost in time like tears of rain."
'I brought it to the set and Ridley liked it.'
Rutger is big and bold and interesting, as an actor.
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.
'I think 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.'
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.
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 five in the afternoon or something like that
and we shot all night and, of course,
everybody thought we'd finish when the light comes up
cos you can't shoot any more.
We were really, really dying. We were absolutely in the water here,
swimming with the sharks around us.
I knew, by then, it would be April, May, June - I'd got dawn coming in,
5, 4.45, so it's going to go blue. It's going blue, in fact,
there's a beautiful light cos 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, it's great, we can pull the plug now."
Ridley said, "I'm not finished yet," cos the death scene was incomplete.
Michael Deeley came over to me
and said, "Listen, we got to keep going."
And so what we decided to do was literally take chain-saws
and saws and cut the set out of the street
and put it in vehicles and fork-lifts
and move that set piece, with the roof top, down to the stage.
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 the next day
which was a communication
from the lawyers representing Perenchio and Yorkin,
invoking their right, since we were 10% over budget, to discharge us from the picture.
I know they had the right to and I think it was done out of pique.
I think that Perenchio was so cross with us
because he'd had to pay up on his guarantee of completion that he wanted to punish us.
We ran over budget, needless to say, and it was one of those things.
It happens, I guess, in motion pictures
and particularly in one that was as difficult as this was to make.
When they wanted to remove Ridley from the film, I said,
"Wait a minute, there's no way.
"He's got to finish this film, because we bought a Ridley Scott film."
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."
I said, "That won't be too easy, because
"everything has been broken down,
"because I'm working with the sound crews" at the time, which it hadn't.
I was trying to tap dance around this situation because I knew that Ridley would come back.
You don't fire a director unless he's done some horrible thing.
It didn't have the slightest effect. I mean, the job continued to be done.
So Ridley was on the picture all the way through, nobody went anywhere.
There's a lot of forgiveness in it all.
And over a period of time, you just realise 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 realised 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.
Cos I don't really think Ridley does that.
He doesn't deal directly with ego.
He deals with, "What's going to 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, is on the screen.
No doubt, um...
It's not the usual thing of just misplanning.
It's just that it's up there.
I look at Blade Runner as the last analogue science-fiction movie made,
because we didn't have all the advantages that 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 here? How do we do more for less?"
I always remember them coming off, going, "Wow!"
They nearly got me involved in special effects in a big way.
It was, er, plain, old-fashioned filmmaking
with C-stands and gaffer's tape and running the big 65mm cameras.
In retrospect, this is probably
one of the last great in-camera special effects movies ever done!
In the late seventies, 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 that.
There were effects in some films,
but there wasn't enough infrastructure
to do a large 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, er,
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 50-56 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.
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.
Well, part of what really worked for Blade Runner was the fact
that we were all stupid and didn't know too much about miniatures,
and some of the choices we made I would never have dared make now,
although they're actually good choices.
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 going to be lots of aerial perspective and haze
and that was all part of the, the scene.
I like to get in there, cos I like to see what the lighting was.
And I pushed hard for smoke.
When you're shooting things that are only ten 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 greying off into the distance.
It was a very different time for visual effects.
It was all optical composites, and quality was a major concern.
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.
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.
We learned early on that, even though we planned to work at a certain scale on the miniatures,
that that really wasn't going to 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 composing miniature shots that way
and that's when it really started to happen.
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, spiralling down onto the roof of the precinct tower, we wanted to get the camera up
and the camera simply wouldn't boom up that high either.
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.
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.
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.
There are, like, really not paintings in this film.
There's portions of paintings and some shots 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.
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's a beautiful shot. It's my favourite 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.
Everything was really done.
cos you can feel that when you watch a film. I think when you see a film,
and it's an in-camera effect, it feels real.
For me, 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.
There 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,
that it seemed like there were more effects shots than there were.
Katy Haber gave me a call and said,
"Ridley wants you to meet Philip Dick and can he come down and see it?"
So we went into the screening room.
And Katy had said, "Just tie together ten 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?"
He was completely blown away, could not believe it,
that something so serious was happening with his book.
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 marvellous, but what the
-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.
I think it was four hours long. And there was a three-page scene I'd written
that was now 14 minutes long, right? I mean, it was quite startling,
but it was also magical and awesome and stunning.
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 from over two hours, they could take out if they wanted to.
What you reading?
Old favourite - 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.
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, er...
It was more sensuous at one time.
It becomes sort of violent now, because it's been cut down.
Towards the end,
I know on Blade Runner we were sort of thinking about the next movie
and there was this project that we were working on,
which was called Legend, affectionately known as Leg End.
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.
To this moment, when he comes flying through the, I had no idea what was it, nor did anybody in the film.
Now, when they run 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 going to 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.
Could he be a replicant? Could he be?
That was trimmed down.
I mean, all the subtleties were taken out. That's the thing about filmmaking anyway.
Most of the things that go first when they think a thing's too long are the subtleties.
Do you know, the terrible thing about Blade Runner
was it was being made for people who didn't understand what it was about.
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 this...
They didn't know what the people were saying. It was kind of a different language.
HE USES CITYSPEAK
Too much confusion at this point,
saying, "What's this? What's that? What's Cityspeak?
"I don't understand this. What's he saying?" And I'm going, "Oh, God!"
Bud and I insisted that we do... we put some voiceover, with, um,
with Harrison to clarify some of, you know, to move the thing forward.
And I know this, Ridley never agreed to that and never liked it.
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?"
"OK, yeah, let's do it."
HARRISON FORD: Now, is "farfetched" in or out?
This is reel three, section one.
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.
-RIDLEY ON INTERCOM:
Pretty weird. Pretty weird.
BEEPING The flake.
Maybe it was a scale. A fish scale.
Real or artificial?
-This is bizarre. Goddamn, this is bizarre.
-I don't know.
'I never believed it was going to be used.'
And, er, when I started talking to Ridley about it,
it turned out that they were, they were things
that he was not out of sympathy with.
And he's right. He said, "This 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 romanticised view of being, internalizing what's in his mind.
What would he be thinking?
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 all went to London to do the cutting, to do the postproduction,
and when we were away,
that's when they sneaked in and did the voiceover.
I was obliged by, um, by my contract to supply that voiceover narration.
And on the last one, I went in and I thought,
"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 ahead.
-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.
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.
Only after that had been dissected from the film
that I got any pleasure out of seeing that movie.
Once I knew that people were not getting with it, the fact is, if you are ahead of your time,
then that's...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's not really working." I think it was Jerry's team said,
"You know, it's that dark ending, we need a happy ending."
They decided to try to get
some widescreen shots of really nice-looking nature.
I was sent to shoot it with a cameraman. So it was just him and I.
And we were flying around in a helicopter for six days.
But 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.
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.
He was very receptive, he loved Alien, he liked, he really sort of admired Ridley,
and said, "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, etc, and if it's any good, fine."
Within about 17 hours, I had six weeks of helicopter footage.
It's a getting away shot, where I had to shoot them on the road, and I did it,
because I figured it might actually affect what I thought the outcome of the movie would be negative.
I'd better deal with it.
I didn't know how long we'd have together.
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 would arrive, he'd go, "Come, listen to this."
And he would actually say, "Watch."
And he would actually play, physically, what his 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.
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 and it was... It was very sweet to see that come together.
I knew somewhere in there 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.
You're talking about replicants, robots, if you will.
I mean, when you think what's happened between then and now.
It became so convoluted, what people thought of the picture.
There were people who thought
it was the greatest picture they've ever seen
and there were others that said, "What the hell was it about?"
This was a study of the future and I don't think, at the time,
people wanted to see the future,
especially like predicted in the film.
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,
"It's going to be a smash!"
It was a premiere out in Hollywood, at Sunset Boulevard or something.
And I could literally feel the crack that went through the audience.
It was either "Whoa!" or "Ugh!"
There was no middle, no in between.
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. It's a disappointment."
I went into the theatre,
and there were probably three other people in the theatre with me.
I had already, you know, read reviews,
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.
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...
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.
For me, it still emotionally falls short of total satisfaction,
because I just think there is, there is there's 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. And 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.
And you really saw a future that looked very different from the futures you had seen before.
About 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.
We were absolutely disappointed in the opening.
But it was Bob Dingilian who said to me afterwards,
"Can you only imagine how bad it would have been
"if we didn't do what we did?"
Everybody was expecting 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 a flying car going over a futuristic city,
doesn't prepare you for the traumatic, emotional side
that there is in the film,
that kind of leaves you sort of broken.
There were people in the trade papers 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.
People were over the seventies,
and there was a lot of depressing stuff coming out,
and what they wanted to see was a slice of, er... of utopia.
People wanted to see happy movies.
And Ridley came out with an amazing, brilliantly executed future of an absolute dystopia.
There's absolutely no question why that movie failed.
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, you know.
Chased around white corridors, because that's the future.
This wasn't what we were doing at all.
There really wasn't that much of a lag time
between its theatrical failure and its rediscovery on cable and cassette.
The early eighties were also the dawn of home video and this was a profoundly altering technology.
Audiences suddenly started to realise 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 realised what an accomplishment it was.
The fact that the film has been underground for so long...
has given it a very special status.
On Thursday nights, on the Lower East Side - this is about '83 now -
they're having midnight showings
on Thursday nights of Blade Runner.
And then, I knew it was going to become something
and history bears it out.
We're sitting here, what, 25 years after the release
and you go up, there are all kinds of websites,
there are people all over the world that are interested in, "Was Harrison Ford a replicant or not?"
and that self-generating kind of thing that's generated by fan appeal that you can't buy.
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,
you know, a Blade Runner feel of the future.
And that, boom, it just sort of defines a certain iconography.
I noticed that, more and more and more, there were dark nights with rainy,
steamy drains and actually lots of stuff.
I'm going, "That's from Blade Runner,"
And then I suddenly realised it was taking a huge impact.
It wasn't till 1990, when the work print leaked out, at that Fairfax 70mm film festival,
that people realised, "Oh, there's yet another version
"and what's up with all these versions of Blade Runner?"
And that's when the troubled history of the film started to get out
and people realised that Ridley's vision for the film had been diluted somewhat,
with the process of test screenings and getting the film more palatable for a mainstream audience.
It had been diminished.
All of this is kind of a process of people coming to realise what an exceptional film this is.
And a lot of different things have to happen before it really catches on.
The initial screenings, everything, it's like a snowball effect.
And people, either they saw it in the re-release in theatres 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.
This movie, to me, embodies the elegance, the power and the uniqueness
of a film experience.
And then, the film-making itself is, the images and the sound and the music,
it's eight of those ten layers of storytelling. That's the difference.
It's pure cinema.
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."
We're in a movie business where most movies are disposable commodities. They're the summer blockbuster.
I'm not going to 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 co-ordinating beauty.
It was shot by shot had to be great.
What I'm expecting from you will be very high.
You're not going to be wasted.
I've chosen you, cos I know you're really good at what you do
and I'm going to actually push you like crazy.
I'm going to get the best!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Documentary about the troubled creation and enduring legacy of the science fiction classic Blade Runner, culled from 80 interviews and hours of never-before-seen outtakes and lost footage.