Like many of you, I went to see the new Blade Runner recently and I absolutely loved it. This is the reason you go to see movies on the big screen. It was a feast for eyes, ears and mind. After that I’ve decided to watch the first Blade Runner from 1982 again. I always loved this movie. It made me love cyberpunk genre. After just seeing the new movie on the big screen, I was surprised how well the first film was made and how high the quality was. Some visuals and environments could stand up to the ones in the new film.
As we know, the CGI (computer-generated imagery) or any form of digital effects didn’t exist in those days. Blade Runner is a movie known for its visuals created with old-school techniques taken to the next level. All created in-camera. No computers used whatsoever! They made use of multiple film exposures, miniatures, matte paintings imposed onto the live action footage and props like cars, guns and environments like the Hades landscape were all physical sets and props, built by the art department. And the results were outstanding. So outstanding, in fact, that I decided to look for documentaries on making of the first Blade Runner to get a glimpse of how it was produced.
I’ve found and watched “Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007)” ( IMDB ). Quite a long but very comprehensive documentary (around three and a half hours). It takes you through the process of making Blade Runner, from early scripts and pre- to post-production. At some point they discuss scenes that were dropped from the script in the early stages. One of them, complete with storyboards, was the introduction of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) as a character much like a hard-boiled detective from noir films.
A pot of boiling soup
The scene opens with a view of a kitchen. On the hob, a soup is boiling in a pot. A figure (Deckard) sits in the kitchen chair. Another figure walks in, notices Deckard in the chair but doesn’t say anything, seemingly ignoring him. He walks up to the pot, stirs the soup and asks Deckard if he would like some but Deckard gets on his feet and shoots him. He then leans over the body and reaches into the mouth. He pulls the lower jaw out, which seems to be made out of some alloy, and then he records the serial number located at the back of the teeth.
Sounds familiar? Of course it does! That’s the scene where we’re introduced to Sapper Morton (the big replicant, played by Dave Bautista) and K, instead of Deckard, waiting for him in Blade Runner 2049. The scene was shot exactly as described 35 years ago. The only change was the addition of dialogue and the fight scene, where the replicant at least gets a chance to defend himself.
The author of the first script to 1982 Blade Runner – Hampton Fancher – loved that idea of introducing Deckard this way, however, the scene was scrapped. Also, David Peoples replaced Fancher as the screenwriter and the script has undergone many changes and improvements. Fancher was devastated seeing his baby being handed over to someone else. Later, however, he admitted that the movie benefited from that. Now Fancher, together with Michael Green, was once more in charge of the screenplay for Blade Runner 2049 and brings the scene, conceived in 1982, to the screens in 2017 – thirty-five years later!
It’s great to see that, not only the new film’s visuals, music score, aesthetics and themes tie it in with the original, but some actual ideas from the first Blade Runner make it through to this year’s depiction.