In recent memory, no director has risen to prominence like Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve, who recently spoke to Variety regarding his upcoming film Blade Runner 2049. Describing the last few months as “two parallel universes”, Villeneuve has been busy promoting his Academy-award nominated film Arrival as well as finishing up post-production on the upcoming Blade Runner sequel.
Ever since the release of the original Blade Runner back in 1982, fans have been clamoring for a sequel. Director Ridley Scott had plans to direct it, but nothing shaped up – especially when Scott decided to focus on developing a prequel to his 1979 film Alien, titled Prometheus. It’s been 35 years, but we’re finally getting a sequel to the film, with Ridley Scott set to executive produce. Villeneuve spoke about the risk regarding the project and how important it is to adhere to reality,
“I feel [the pressure] every day, at the same time, I’ve never been that inspired and excited. I love risk. All of my projects have come with a certain amount of artistic risk, or sometimes a risk of how you portray reality. I did a movie once about a school massacre and I had a huge responsibility to the victims of those events. I did a movie about a conflict in Lebanon, so there again, you have a strong responsibility to reality. When I did ‘Sicario,’ I felt responsible to how I would portray the Mexican society there. So I’m used to pressure. For ‘Blade Runner,’ it’s artistic pressure, and by far the biggest ever.”
We’ve seen a resurgence in old-school practical effects, with computer generated imagery taking the backburner. 2049 will be doing the same in accordance to the original Blade Runner which created a harsh, futuristic world that didn’t require a green screen, and Villeneuve is ready to step back to the roots the original film planted.
Blade Runner 2049 isn’t the only sci-fi film Villeneuve is working on. Just last week it was announced that he would be directing the upcoming Dune reboot.
“I was able to do ‘Blade Runner’ thinking I would do nothing after, because there was a rhythm in the past few years that was very exciting and I learned a lot as a filmmaker, but I got slowly a bit more and more tired physically. And as I was doing ‘Blade Runner,’ which was a very long shoot, I remember thinking, ‘That might be my last movie. I’m going to bed for like three years.’ Now that I’m editing, I’m finding back my energy. And since I was 12 years old there was a book I read, which is ‘Dune,’ which is my favorite book, with ‘1984.’ After ‘Prisoners,’ the producer of Alcon asked me what I would like to do next. I said, ‘Dune,’ spontaneously, that if anyone could get me the rights for ‘Dune’ — and I knew it was very difficult to get those rights. For me it was just a dream, and I guess I’m lucky that Mary Parent from Legendary got the rights and offered it to me. I can’t say no to that. I have images that I am haunted by for 35 years. I will not say no to that. That’s going to be the project of my life.”
Project of his life, huh? Well, let’s hope he can deliver a film that serves Frank Herbert’s novel well.
Blade Runner 2049 stars Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Barkhad Abdi, Jared Leto, and David Bautista. It hits cinemas on October 6th, 2017.