Almost every film you’ve ever seen was longer in an earlier version. That’s why they go through editing. But when a film is already long, it’s interesting to hear how filmmakers tried to deal with it. And director Denis Villeneuve reportedly considered something bold for Blade Runner 2049.
In an interview with Provideo Coalition, Blade Runner 2049 editor Joe Walker revealed that an earlier cut of the film was four hours and Villeneuve considered releasing it in two parts.
That break revealed something about the story – it’s in two halves. There’s K discovering his true past as he sees it and at the halfway mark he kind of loses his virginity (Laughs). The next morning, it’s a different story, about meeting your maker and ultimately sacrifice – “dying is the most human thing we do.” Oddly enough both halves start with eyes opening. There’s the giant eye opening at the beginning of the film and the second when Mariette wakes up and sneaks around K’s apartment. We toyed with giving titles to each half but quickly dropped that. But what does remain is that there’s something of a waking dream about the film. That’s a very deliberate choice in terms of visuals but also the kind of pace they were striving for on set and the hallucinatory feel in the cut – it’s the kind of dream where you tread inexorably closer to the truth.
Of course, this notion was scrapped, as was over an hour of the film. Walker said that extra footage is mostly connective scenes and extraneous dialogue, and the version we saw in theaters is superior to the longer cut.
And while Villeneuve said the theatrical version of the film is his definitive cut of the movie, this is Blade Runner after all. Ridley Scott didn’t love his first cut of the film but he probably didn’t think more than one alternate cut would get released in the years ahead. Different versions of Blade Runner just feel kind of Blade Runner.