Published Nov 29, 2017Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 was far better than anyone expected it to be, expanding on the original film and standing as one of the best films of 2017. For Villeneuve, however, it was still a struggle to honour the original while making the film his own.
It didn't help that original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott was an executive producer, and spent lots of time on set.
"The thing is, he was there a lot and not a lot, for the best," Villeneuve told Deadline. "He was there a lot because I was dealing with his screenplay, I was dealing with his ideas, I was dealing with his universe, with his characters. I was thinking about Ridley all the time. I had a responsibility to respect, to honour the legacy of the original movie."
Villeneuve went on to recall a time where he was trying to direct Harrison Ford and Scott was hanging around set. He said it was "unbearable" to have the original Blade Runner director hovering around, so much so that he nicely asked him to leave.
"I made a joke, I said to him, 'Hey Ridley, who is your favorite director?' And he said, 'I love Ingmar Bergman and Kubrick,'" Villeneuve said. "I said, 'I love Bergman too. So Ridley, how would you feel if you were on set directing 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.'"
Villeneuve said those boundaries were actually in place from the beginning, as Scott promised to be as hands off as possible.
"He told me right at the start he would give me all the space, all the freedom, he would step away and that would be my responsibility, and if I needed him, he would be at the other end of the line," Villeneuve said. "Otherwise, I would be alone. That was the best gift to receive, because I would have never been able to work with Ridley behind me."
Watch the full interview with Villeneuve here.