Yesterday we learned that the rights Blade Runner was getting a sequel or a prequel. We spoke with the producers behind this project, and asked them your burning questions. So, will it be Blade Runner 2 or Blade Runner Origins?
We spoke with the producers of the new Blade Runner film: Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson and Bud Yorkin. And here's what they told us.
Will this movie be a prequel or a sequel?
Kosove: We don't know, we just don't know yet. When we know, we'll let you know. We don't know yet it's too early. The only way to answer that is to say that we will have a process where we will hear hear different ideas from writers or from potential directors who we will bring in, in combination with the writers, before determining. We could be open to either a prequel or a sequel.
Why did you want the rights to Blade Runner?
Johnson: It's one of our favorite films, and we thought that the universe that has been created here is one that's full of ideas and possibilities. We're intellectually fascinated and ready to explore the themes that the movie invokes and the underlying material. At the end of the day those are the things that make great movies. Those and characters, it's an opportunity of a life time to try and explore this further.
What sort of stories do you think Blade Runner opened up that it didn't get to address?
Kosove: That's an interesting question. I think for us, one of the things that made this so timely is the fact that we're all living, and we're kind of blessed to live in, what is essentially the industrial revolution age for technology. And it's changing at such a rapid pace. Because of that, and because of the fact that Philip K. Dick is quite brilliant at imagining a world that maybe doesn't exist but is very quickly getting here. There are opportunities to think about either what our world will be like in our almost immediate near future. Or to think about what the world is after Blade Runner, because we have things that have come into our being, things that are a part of our consciousness now that we couldn't have imaged many years ago.
I was in the Dallas airport a couple weeks ago, and there was a robot who was going through the airport cleaning. But it was also having conversations with people that were fluid conversations. It was quite extraordinary, and at that point I knew that we were on the verge of getting involved with this [Blade Runner film], and I thought about how fast the world is advancing and how possible Philip K. Dick's ideas were, and how much material was there to mine for the project, either the prequel or sequel.
It's interesting that you would mention the world before or after Blade Runner. The film was set in 2019, that's not very far away. Have you thought about how you're going to handle the date?
Kosove: That's part of a prequel and a sequel, right? If you do a prequel it's going to be in the very near future. So I think my point to you is that the very near future could seem profoundly different than the world we're living in today. Just like the world we're living in today is profoundly different from the world eight years ago. I don't think a prequel is out of the question, and at the same time we're open to a sequel. Alcon's process for the last number of years has always been about the quality of filmmakers that we've had the privilege of working with, and being open to ideas and creating an open environment. We're open to hearing ideas and then we'll make a determination as to what direction we're going to go.
Well we'd rather have a hypothetical conversation and just get the juices flowing. Can we at least discuss whether or not you'd be excited to film the bloody Replicant mutiny that Blade Runner teased in the intro? That kind of back story, whatever happened that made them illegal.
Kosove: That could be a phenomenal and fascinating way to go. Let me say this to you: the Pentagon is exploring all kinds of ways to engage in combat, without having to use actual human beings. You see it with the use of drones. The logical extension of that is exactly the world that Philip K. Dick imagined, which is coming to a point where something that was not human is being charged to do tasks that we don't want human beings to do. And what if there was a degree of humanity in these "people," and how would they respond? So the idea that you just suggested, would be a fantastic way to lead into the movie. And that's why we need to approach that with an open mind.
There's a wealth of material just mentioned casually when they introduce the Replicants — "Oh, she's a pleasure model, he's a combat droid." It's wide open.
Bud Yorkin: We are going to have Replicants, obviously. That's part of what we started with originally. We're certainly going to have Replicants involved. By the way, Replicants can be any number of ways, and involved in the way humans work and live. Replicants will be different in the end somewhere. And you're right, that's part of the area that we will be involved with.
Kosove: I think that there's a unique aspect of Blade Runner, and it is absolutely right to be re-address now at this time in human history. That is the concept of what it means to be a human being. What does it mean to be human, to have empathy, to have feelings? That fundamental concept, given the Blade Runner lore and what an iconic property it is, for us, an irresistible intellectual exercise to see if we can figure out what would be an immediate pre-chapter or a following chapter to Blade Runner. And that's why we've thrown our hat into the ring and we're blessed to be in business with them and Bud.
Have you reached out to Ridley Scott?
Kosove: The answer to that question is as follows. I'm going to answer it very briefly — we won't say if we've reached out to Ridley Scott or not, but what we will say is that Ridley Scott's blessing to what we're doing is very important to Alcon. It's important to Bud [Yorkin], and certainly we have the greatest degree of respect to him as a filmmaker. He's one of the greatest living directors and one of the greatest directors of all time. So of course he's very important.
When we posted the news, reactions were split right down the middle. Some fans felt this could be good, because we have to we have the technology to make this really fascinating. And then there were a lot of people worried that Hollywood was going to ruin the legacy of Blade Runner. Can you address those fans' concerns?
Kosove: I would really appreciate it if you guys could clarify something: Alcon is not owned by Warner Bros. None of this is being paid by WB. We are a wholly independent financial and production company. Our relationship with Warner, which is very strong, runs back to the earliest years of our company. They're the distributor on all of our movies. First of all, we're paying for everything, but second of all — and this a way of answering maybe partially the concerns of your fans — this may work, or it may not work. We may make this movie, but in truth it may never get made.
But what I can tell you for certain today is that we will not go about this process in some form of large group think where 15 executives are going to sit around a table micromanaging the creative talent. Broderick and I will meet with writers and directors and we will figure out what direction we want to go and what story we believe in.
And then they will have the artistic autonomy to go out and make a great movie. I think whatever success we've had at Alcon, whether it was helping Chris Nolan's career with Insomnia, or working with the Hughes Brothers on Book of Eli or Jonathan Hancock with Blind Side — that philosophy of believing in filmmakers, giving them some parameters and then letting them do their jobs, has served us very very well. And it's how we'll approach this process. I don't know how better to answer the question than that.
Do you have any pie in the sky writers or directors that in a perfect world would sign on tomorrow?
Kosove: Pie in the sky? Yeah our friend Chris Nolan who we did Insomnia [with] would be in the pie in the sky for us.
That's good to hear. That means you're going for the gritty realism that was in the original.
Kosove: To be clear I think what Chris Nolan did — and to be clear, we cannot remake Blade Runner. As a legal matter, we have not bought the remake rights we have no interest in remaking it we can only do prequels or sequels. But I think the methodology that Chris Nolan brought to Batman is precisely what we aspire to whomever the filmmaker is, whether Ridley comes back and joins us or it's someone else. It's precisely what we aspire to with Blade Runner, that's the template for us.