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Making a movie that even attempts to live up to a classic on the scale of Ridley Scott's original Blade Runner is intimidating enough. With a movie that's so ingrained in the fabric of sci-fi history as that, Blade Runner 2049 was a gamble right from the start, and director Denis Villeneuve knew it. Of course, it certainly didn't help any when Scott was on the set during a particular day of shooting, something that Villeneuve put a creative, but polite end to, as he explained below:
He came on set one day and after a few minutes standing behind me it was unbearable. I made a joke, I said to him, 'Hey Ridley, who is your favorite director?' And he said, 'I love Ingmar Bergman and Kubrick.' I said 'I love Bergman too. So Ridley, how would you feel if you were on set and you had Bergman just behind you?' And he burst out laughing and he walked off the set. Because I was trying to direct Harrison Ford and I was like, 'Nope, it doesn't work.'
Having any person standing behind you is enough of a pet peeve for most, but to have someone like Sir Ridley Scott doing it as you're making the sequel to his 1982 cult classic is something else. But leave it to Denis Villeneuve, the man who's brought us such amazingly crafted films as Arrival and Prisoners to run his set like he does his actors. Getting Scott off of his set wasn't something that took a brusque response, or even much effort. Rather, he spoke to his mentor film geek to film geek, put the situation in the right context and gave Sir Ridley a laugh before he left the set. To be able to do that on a set where you have to give direction to Harrison Ford, and to get back to work almost as quickly, is something quite skillful.
Of course, this latest story from Deadline is only one of a handful of the most human and most interesting stories to come from Blade Runner 2049's production. For a film that really puts its protagonists, as well as its audience, through a perilous journey that is mostly a beautifully bleak experience, stories like these tend to be even more entertaining in contrast. To have two directing professionals share a uniquely carbon-based moment of understanding, while making a film that takes a little decoding and some philosophical musings to truly understand, makes us laugh just thinking about it.
Between the story of Denis Villeneuve nicely shooing Ridley Scott off of the Blade Runner 2049 set, and that moment where Ryan Gosling accidentally landed in front of Harrison Ford's fist, there's no shortage of excitement that was had while producing this film. While Blade Runner 2049 may not have performed as well as some folks would have liked, the sequel certainly has cemented itself among its fans as well worth the wait. So as it turns out, Sir Ridley's universe was placed in the right hands after all; something that'll surely please whomever is tempted to look over Villeneuve's shoulder as he makes Dune in the coming years.
Blade Runner 2049 might still be in your local theater, if you're lucky. But if you're looking for something else to watch between now and the end of the year, you can feel free to do your research by checking out our 2017 release schedule.