David Bowie was Denis Villeneuve’s first choice for Blade Runner 2049 villain

Denis Villeneuve’s early vision for Blade Runner 2049 didn’t include a sightless Jared Leto—as the director recently revealed to Metro U.K., he wanted the late David Bowie to play the film’s villain, Neander Wallace. So instead of a Clown Prince, we would have had a Thin White Duke. “Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways,” Villeneuve said, noting the otherworldly looks and sounds Bowie created throughout his career. The role of android creator would have also suited Bowie, who we saw regularly reinvent himself, and even played famed inventor Nikola Tesla in The Prestige.

But after the iconic artist died in January 2016, the production had to go about finding someone with a similar rock-star vibe, which is how they landed on Leto, who is definitely in a band. And now the film, which is set to hit theaters October 6, features the Suicide Squad actor as the unsettling inventor. As for whether Ryan Gosling was always cut out for the role of Officer K., Villeneuve said “The part was written for Ryan right from the start. He was perfect.” Harrison Ford, meanwhile, is just glad Gosling can take a punch.

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