One of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2017 is the long-awaited sequel to a cult classic sci-fi film, Blade Runner 2049. The movie was praised for its incredible visuals, wonderful worldbuilding, excellent performances, story, and much more, the movie is even in the running to nab some Oscars. Despite its success with critics, the film flopped at the box office compared to its massive budget, similarly to the original. While some blame it on the incredibly secretive marketing or the already niche fanbase, others have chalked it up to its nearly three-hour long runtime.
One of those folks is the director of the original Blade Runner Ridley Scott. The incredibly passionate mind behind Alien and the Blade Runner film shared his pretty intense thoughts on the film in an interview with Vulture where he talks about the length and the development process of Blade Runner 2049.
“I have to be careful what I say. It was fucking way too long. Fuck me! And most of that script’s mine.” The interviewer was slightly surprised by the fact that Ridley claimed that he did most of the script on Blade Runner 20449 given that he only has an executive producer credit and no writing/story credits on the film.
“I sit with writers for an inordinate amount of time and I will not take credit, because it means I’ve got to sit there with a tape recorder while we talk. I can’t do that to a good writer. But I have to, because to prove I’m part of the actual process, I have to then have an endless amount [of proof], and I can’t be bothered.
“But the big idea comes from Blade Runner. Tyrell is a trillionaire, maybe 5 to 10 percent of his business is AI. Like God, he has created perfect beings that, for all intents and purposes, there is no telling the difference from humans. Then he says, “You know what? I’m going to create an AI. I’ll have a male and female, they will not know that they’re both AIs, I’ll have them meet each other, they will fall in love, they will consummate, and they will have a child.” That’s the first film. The second film is, what happens to the baby? You’ve got to have the baby, you can’t have the mother, so the mother has to inexplicably die four months after she breastfeeds. The bones are found in the box at the foot of the tree — that’s all me. And the digital girlfriend is me. I wanted an evolution from Pris, who is inordinately sexy in the original, right?”
Blade Runner 2049 was directed by acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve who came in wanting to respect the Blade Runner lore and feel but he didn’t want to just do a copy of Scott. Despite people feeling an issue with the length of the film already, Villeneuve stated that rumors of the film originally running for four hours is true and he briefly considered splitting the film into two parts.
“The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, ‘Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?’ But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs] No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong.”
Despite this, there’s pretty much no chance of seeing that lengthy four-hour cut of Blade Runner 2049 because Villeneuve believes the best cut was the one that was released in theaters.
“I will say that there’s no great things that are being lost. When I cut something, it’s dead. It means it was not good enough. Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. I don’t like extended cuts. I must say, apart from Touch of Evil and Blade Runner, I have never seen a director’s cut that was better than the original. I mean, I’m not a fan at all of Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought it was a massive mistake to do Apocalypse Now Redux. It’s true that maybe sometimes the director lost control and had to do what producers – but, most of the time the movie stands by itself. It’s stronger than one individual.”
Blade Runner 2049 is out now digitally and will release on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 16th, 2018.