Wired caught up with creature designer Neville Page, who discusses his work on several recent projects, including Prometheus, and, in the final seconds, the Blade Runner sequel.
It’s clear that Scott has a trusted circle of creative collaborators that he takes with him from film to film, including cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, production designer Arthur Max, editor Pietro Scalia, and costume designer Janty Yates. It seems Page can now be added to that exclusive club!
With Prometheus now on release around the world, Ridley Scott’s attention is now focused on future projects. With drama The Councillor filming soon, what will Scott be doing in 2013?
Of course there’s the potential of a fast-track for Prometheus 2, but there’s also the as-yet untitled Blade Runner sequel, which was announced – along with Scott’s involvement – last year.
Here’s what we know so far…
Here’s what we know so far about the still-in-development Blade Runner 2.
In June 2009 the New York Times reported that Ridley Scott was working on a web video series set in the universe established in Blade Runner.
Then, in March 2011 it was reported that Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment were working on securing the rights to make prequels and/or sequels to Scott’s seminal sci-fi film.
Then, in August 2011, Deadline http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/ridley-scott-ready-to-direct-new-version-of-seminal-sci-fi-film-blade-runner/” target=”_blank”>reported that not only were things beginning to move forward on the project, but that original director Ridley Scott was attached to direct.
More details quickly emerged, with the LA Times reporting on producer Andrew Kosove’s efforts to get Scott on board.
“Here’s how it went down. As Kosove and his partners were locking down rights to the movie about replicants in 2019 Los Angeles along with the Philip K. Dick novel on which it was based, they called an executive at Scott Free, Ridley and Tony Scott’s production company. The Alcon people simply wanted to see if Ridley would sit down with them.
The filmmaker agreed, and shortly after the rights deal closed in March, Kosove and his partner Broderick Johnson flew to London to meet with the director.
Over the course of one meeting, they hashed out how a new film would look, how it could avoid seeming too similar to the many movies that have since paid homage to the original, and how different the new film should be from the original itself. They eventually decided it should stand as separately as possible.”
It was soon confirmed that the film was more than likely to be a sequel,
Then in May 2012, Alcon issued a press release, announcing that original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher was once again working with Scott on the film:
LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 17, 2012—Hampton Fancher is in talks to reunite with his “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott to develop the idea for the original screenplay for the Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free, and Bud Yorkin produced follow up to the ground-breaking 1982 science fiction classic, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.
The filmmakers are also revealing for the first time that the much-anticipated project is intended to be a sequel to the renowned original. The filmmakers would reveal only that the new story will take place some years after the first film concluded.
The three-time Oscar-nominated Scott and his “Blade Runner” collaborator Fancher originally conceived of their 1982 classic as the first in a series of films incorporating the themes and characters featured in Philip K. Dick‘s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“, from which “Blade Runner” was adapted. Circumstances, however, took Scott into other directions and the project never advanced.
Fancher, although a writer of fiction, was known primarily as an actor at the time Scott enlisted him to adapt the Dick novel for the screen. Fancher followed his “Blade Runner” success with the screenplays, “The Mighty Quinn” (1989) and “The Minus Man” (1999). He has continued to write fiction throughout his career.
Scott also will produce with Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove as well as Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.
The original film, which has been singled out as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently taught in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.
State Kosove and Johnson: “It is a perfect opportunity to reunite Ridley with Hampton on this new project, one in fact inspired by their own personal collaboration, a classic of cinema if there ever was one.”
Released by Warner Bros. almost 30 years ago, “Blade Runner” was adapted by Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick‘s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and directed by Scott following his landmark “Alien.” The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction). Following the filming of “Blade Runner,” the first of Philip K. Dick’s works to be adapted into a film, many other of Dick’s works were likewise adapted, including “Total Recall,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Minority Report,” “Paycheck,” and the recent “The Adjustment Bureau,” among others.
ABOUT ALCON ENTERTAINMENT Alcon Entertainment co-founders and co-CEO’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson founded the Company in 1997 with financial backing from Frederick W. Smith, the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FedEx. Alcon, which is named after a mythological archer and ally of Hercules, has financed, and/or co-financed/produced over 19 films, including “My Dog Skip,” “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, “Insomnia,” “Racing Stripes,” the Academy Award nominated Best Picture “The Blind Side,” which earned Sandra Bullock a Best Actress Oscar; “The Book of Eli,” starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman; “Insomnia,” starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank and directed by Chris Nolan; “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” and “P.S. I Love You,” starring Hilary Swank, among many others.
Alcon is currently in production on “Beautiful Creatures,” based on the New York Times bestselling novel of the same name by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, starring Jack O’Connell, Alice Englert, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson. Richard LaGravenese will direct from his adaptation of the novel, which is the first of a hugely popular series.
The Company recently released the box-office success “Dolphin Tale,” a 3-D family film starring Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson, released via Alcon’s output deal with Warner Bros.
As for the big question of whether we’ll see Harrison Ford, the answer to that seems to change regularly.
When the project was first announced, Kosove had this to say:
“In no way do I speak for Ridley Scott, but if you’re asking me will this movie have anything to do with Harrison Ford, the answer is no. This is a total reinvention, and in my mind that means doing everything fresh, including casting”
In an interview soon after with the Wall Street Journal, Scott himself gave his view:
“No, Not really”
However, when Scott was on the Prometheus publicity trail, it was clear that he’d been giving the prospect much more thought. In an interview with The Independant, he stated:
“I don’t think it’ll be Harry [starring]. But I’ve got to have him in it somewhere. That’d be amusing.”
Of course Ford’s involvement depends on a lot of things, not least a script and paycheck he is happy with.
Finally, there’s the question of a release date. Alcon’s initial plans were for a production start in 2013 for a 2014 release. With Prometheus’ impressive international box office, and ideas for a sequel already brewing, Fox and Scott may to push forward on a sequel to that first.
For now it’s a waiting game, but we’ll bring you more news as it appears!
Do you have any insider info on this project? Get in touch in complete confidence and tell us what you know!
The latest issue of Newseek has an article by Sir Ridley Scott where he talks his famously strong leading ladies. The end of the article also sees mention of his first meetings on his new Blade Runner project.
The lead in my new film Prometheus was always going to be female, like Sigourney Weaver in the original Alien. Then I came across Noomi Rapace when I was watching The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo about two years ago, and was taken with this little punk in the lead who seemed to own the street.
As a protagonist, she’s a very physical woman who’s almost as agile as an acrobat. She’s also got a real brain in her head. No one’s going to be disappointed. It’s odd because Sigourney is about six feet and Noomi is about 5 feet 5, but you don’t notice the difference onscreen. And she sure does kick some ass in this movie. Her character evolves in a very clever way.
Prometheus originated from a very simple question that haunted me after the first Alien, and no one answered in subsequent Alien films: who was the “Space Jockey”—the big guy in the seat? We didn’t know if it was going to be a sequel or a prequel. I think you might not even argue it’s a prequel because it moves so far away from the original.
The evolution of taking the side of the woman, as far as my career’s concerned, is epitomized by Thelma & Louise. The budget was very slender because nobody wanted to make it. I first came on as producer, and I was selling the notion to four or five male directors that the movie should be an epic about two women on their journey for freedom. One director who turned me down said, “I’ve got a problem with the women,” and I said, “Well you’re meant to, you dope!” So I thought that I should direct it myself.
All the relationships in my life have been with strong women, and I think I get on better with them. My mother was a big part of bringing up three boys, so I accepted that as the status quo. Oddly enough, I find it quite engaging to be working with a female when I’m directing. There are a lot of men who feel they’re being emasculated by having the woman in charge; I’ve never had that problem. The stronger the woman, the better for me.
Now I’m working on a project with Angelina Jolie called Gertrude Bell, which is a period piece about a woman who was partly instrumental in seeing King Faisal to the throne of Iraq. And funnily enough, I started my first meetings on the Blade Runner sequel last week. We’ll definitely be featuring a female protagonist.
Prometheus is directed by Ridley Scott, from a screenplay by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts. The film stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Logan Marshall-Green, Patrick Wilson and Kate Dickie, and is due for release on June 8th 2012 in the USA, and June 1st 2012 in the UK.
So, over the weekend reports surfaced – first on Twitchfilm – that Harrison Ford was in early negotiations to appear in Ridley Scott’s new Blade Runner project.
Being Scott fans, we’ve naturally been following news of the project with great interest, and to try and find some context for this latest bit of info, I’ve had a look back through what’s been reported so far. First of all, until there’s any official news, I’ll assume that the reports are correct.
When news of the project was first coming out, producer Andrew Kosove said:
“In no way do I speak for Ridley Scott, but if you’re asking me will this movie have anything to do with Harrison Ford, the answer is no. This is a total reinvention, and in my mind that means doing everything fresh, including casting.”
Later, when asked directly whether we would see Deckard, Scott’s answer was “No, not really.”
So what are we to make of these latest reports?
Well, Kosove was clearly stating his own opinion on how the film would pan out, but in the months since, as Scott has been able to dedicate more time to the project, clearly ideas will get thrown into the mix, and directions may change. You have to look no further than Prometheus’s evolution from a direct Alien prequel from proof of this.
As for Scott’s earlier answer, Harrison Ford does not necessarily = Deckard. Indeed, Scott has said several times that Deckard was a replicant, which suggests a limited life span for the character. Depending on the on-screen time span between films, Deckard may be long-dead. Could Ford’s role be a human upon which Deckard was based? Perhaps his appearance will be no more than a cameo. Then again, if VFX geniuses can make Brad Pitt look 16 in Benjamin Button, or knock 30 years off Jeff Bridges for Tron Legacy, I’m sure they could give Ford an effective digital nip & tuck.
Finally, there’s Ford himself, who I think is in need of a hit. Indiana Jones 4, while a money-spinner, was critically mauled, while last year’s Cowboys and Aliens was a box-office dud. If Ford wants a hit, he could do a lot worse than return to one of his most iconic roles.
Following the somewhat surprising news that Ridley Scott himself was helming a new Blade Runner project, the director has spoken with the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog.
Until now the film’s place in the original’s universe was unknown, but in the interview Scott does confirm that the film is “liable to be a sequel”.
As for how development is coming along:
“I think I’m close to finding a writer that might be able to help me deliver… we’re quite a long way in, actually.”
Finally, he confirms that none of the original cast will appear. When asked if this means there will be no Deckard, he answers “No, not really.” I suppose that sufficiently vague enough to not rule out some references to events in the original movie.
Now that Prometheus is deep in post-production, it may be a while before Scott can give his full attention to Blade Runner, but it sounds like he is making good progress nonetheless.
Do you have any connection to the new Blade Runner project? If there’s anything you’d like to share anonymously, please get in touch!
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