At One Point, Blade Runner 2049 Was Almost a Four-Hour, Two-Part Film

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.

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.

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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.

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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.

[Provideo Coalition via Screencrush]

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

56metalking
Still Cat from MA

I can’t imagine the initial theater version being a two-part, 4 hour production. But I can easily see this extended-extended cut as a special item sold to fans of the movie. And I can also see how a passionate artiste in love with his creation and given enough power and resources would think a 4 hour run time was a fine idea.

Re the movie, I’m glad to have seen it as it was an incredible and indelible visual experience in designs, color palette, and photography. Thought-provoking, too, but I can’t say I liked it or would ever want to see it again. It seemed like artistic self-indulgence to me, with a stunning one-of-a-kind artwork as the result. It will doubtless win Oscars. I didn’t care for the story, though, nor for the vision of a world where most people eat processed maggots for food, San Diego is a vast automated waste dump, and not only are there no living trees but even a small article made of wood is almost priceless. Pulleeze. More than a bit over the top, with the story and characters secondary to the artistic vision.

I also very much did not like the treatment of women, human or replicant, in this movie. The insane level of female objectification was not only offensive, it was not believable. There is a theory that this bad treatment of women hurt the box office numbers; women are just tired of this sort of thing: https://www.themarysue.com/blade-runner-2049/