In the last few years, director Denis Villeneuve has been a very active and prolific filmmaker. He has made an impressive five features in the last four years (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049), and each of them have been seriously impressive pieces of cinema. Of the titles, however, 2016's Arrival and 2017's Blade Runner 2049 have a special relationship, as the filmmaker wasn't finished making the former when he started carving out his vision for the latter. As you can imagine, this wound up having an important effect on his process in the making of the new movie, and it involved opening himself up to collaboration significantly earlier than normal. He recently told me,
I had a fantastic chat with Denis Villeneuve at the Los Angeles press day for Blade Runner 2049 last month, and in addition to talking about the major change the film went through during development, and what happened when Harrison Ford punched Ryan Gosling in the face, I also asked about the influence of his last film. When I spoke with the director earlier this year, I learned about the serious overlap the existed between Arrival's post-production and Blade Runner 2049's pre-production, and I brought up the subject to learn how it ultimately affected the sci-fi sequel.
Given the quality of the finished product, it's clear that this extra bit of collaboration certainly didn't hurt the film and probably only helped -- but it is worth pointing out that Denis Villenueve wasn't exactly working with a couple of slouches. Roger Deakins, with whom Villenueve worked on Prisoners and Sicario, is arguably the greatest cinematographer of all time, with 13 Academy Award nominations to his name (Note: he needs to finally win for Blade Runner 2049); and Dennis Gassner's impressive resume includes four Oscar nominations (Barton Fink, Road To Perdition, The Golden Compass, and Into The Woods) and a win for 1991's Bugsy. Clearly Villeneuve understood that when you're working with filmmaking geniuses, it's good to get as much of their input as possible.
As for the other side of things, Denis Villeneuve credited another collaboration for their significant help completing the breathtaking Arrival. At the start of his answer to my question, the filmmaker praised the work of editor Joe Walker, who apparently took the reins of post-production on the 2016 movie when Villeneuve was taken away by his next project:
It's worth pointing out that Joe Walker also returned to do the cutting on Blade Runner 2049, so it seems like we're seeing the bloom of a wonderful cinematic relationship that will hopefully lead to many more fantastic collaborations in the future.
You can watch Denis Villeneuve talk about how his work on Arrival wound up influencing his work on Blade Runner 2049 by clicking play on the video below!
Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks and Jared Leto, hits theaters everywhere tonight. If you go see it this weekend, be sure to check back here on CinemaBlend for a whole lot more coverage set to post in the next few days!