by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-Chief
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has always been sacred ground to me. I own the film in nearly every iteration and can run you through the differences and merits of the Workprint, US Theatrical, International, Director’s and Scott’s Final Cut of the film if you have some time. I’ve read Paul M. Sammon’s meticulous researched history of the fillm’s production, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner cover to cover many times. (It really is one of the greatest making of film books out there) So I’m a little passionate and more than a little precious when it comes to Blade Runner. After that preamble I’m sure that you wouldn’t be too shocked to find out that the film easily cracks my favorite five films of all time.
I started off anti BR2 from the get go. The film’s original ending (the one from the Workprint/Director’s Cut/Final Cut not the weird theatrical one using shots from The Shining) left the story where I wanted. The ending was ambiguous and left viewers to ponder the questions and come up with their own answers. Inherently, a sequel will have to undo that, right? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But with Ridley Scott coming back with Harrison Ford, I was willing to give it a chance.
Then Ridley Scott dropped out and they cast Ryan Gosling as the lead. I’m not at all a Ryan Gosling guy in the least. Sometimes he’s really good, but mostly I feel like I can see the mechanics of his acting. “My character would roll his pack of smokes up in the sleeve of his white t-shirt because he’s really blue collar.” Something about him as an actor just doesn’t rub me the right way. More power to you if you’re a fan, but his presence in a film generally doesn’t put my ass in a seat. Director Denis Villeneuve is another story completely. He’s easily one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and seems to be improving with every new film. The rest of the cast he’s assembled is amazing with Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis (she’s got to be a riff on Pris, Right??), Dave Bautista (who blocked me then unblocked me on Twitter for saying I was on the fence about BR2), Barkhad Abdi (The dude who jacked Tom Hanks’ ship in Captain Philips) And Ana De Armas (who was wonderful in Knock Knock) filling out the rest of the cast.
Today Variety announced that Villeneuve has added Jared Leto to his cast for his as yet Untitled Blade Runner Sequel. I can’t stand Jared Leto. Is he talented? Of course. He’s a great actor and deserving of his Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, but man is he a pretentious douchebag. I have zero doubt that a filmmaker like Villeneuve knows precisely what he’s doing, but it does not sell me on this film in the least. After Leto’s recent antics on the set of Suicide Squad, and the reception of his “performance,” Leto is luckier to have this film than this film is to have him. It’s an impressive feat to follow up an Academy Award winning performance with a film a performance so terrible that they nearly cut him out of the film completely. Thankfully, BR2 has been filming for a bit so Leto’s role is likely not very big. You have to wonder if WB pushed him on Villeneuve as a way to rehab his damaged (see what I did there) image with a good role as a way to wave the stink lines away from one of their biggest characters in the DCEU.