For the most part, Blade Runner 2049 was celebrated as a worthy sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original, but Scott himself has finally offered an honest opinion on what he thinks of Villeneuve’s sequel. The director isn’t exactly shy about voicing his opinion, to the point that it’s gotten him in hot water before. And while his comments on Blade Runner 2049 probably couldn’t be characterized as “harsh,” he’s not exactly singing the film’s praises either, first taking aim at the film’s hefty 164 minute runtime.
“I have to be careful what I say. I have to be careful what I say. It was fucking way too long. Fuck me! And most of that script’s mine.
“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.”
The most interesting thing about this isn’t necessarily that he didn’t love the movie, but rather that he takes credit for most of it. Scott isn’t credited as a writer or director on the film, although he did executive produce, and it can be assumed he worked closely with Villeneuve to bring the project to fruition, at least during one stage or another of development. He goes on to describe which scenes and story ideas were his, but be forewarned: there are a lot of spoilers for Blade Runner 2049 in this thing.
“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?”
So, a couple things off the bat. Firstly, Scott outright says that Deckard is a replicant, after years and years of speculation. Secondly, when he describes the story progression in those terms, it almost seems silly to think that a sequel could’ve been anything other than what it was, but a lot of what made 2049 so great is how surprising it ended up being. Taking credit for Joi is a big deal, too. Ana de Armas’ character and performance were among the most memorable in the entire film.
Scott goes on to be a bit more self-deprecating, saying, “I shouldn’t talk. I’m being a bitch.” He definitely has a sense of humor about himself, and he knows that he’s got a reputation for being abrasive and, at the very least, dangerously opinionated. In the same interview, he goes on to talk about how he couldn’t direct a Star Wars movie because he’s “too dangerous for that.” Additionally, he talks about his experience in the business, and how it’d actually be a disadvantage on a big studio project. “I think they like to be in control, and I like to be in control myself. When you get a guy who’s done a low-budget movie and you suddenly give him $180 million, it makes no sense whatsoever.”
It’s hard to disagree with that, especially after all the chaos we’ve seen as a result of reckless, inexperienced, and (to quote Scott) “dangerous” directors this year. As far as Blade Runner 2049, a lot of fans may disagree with Scott’s assessment, but there’s no question that the film’s lengthy runtime and deliberate pacing contributed to its disappointing box office performance. Hopefully, like the original, it finds a bigger audience on home video and on TV.
Images: Warner Bros.