Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ridley Scott explains Blade Runner's debt to Stanley Kubrick

It’s a little crazy to believe that the sequel to Blade Runner is coming out in less than three weeks, on October 6, a scant 35 years after the original. That film has been picked over and teased apart, watched and rewatched, and assimilated into sci-fi and pop culture to such a degree that at times it can almost seem hard to remember what was so shocking about it when it first appeared.

But hearing director Ridley Scott break down a scene into its nitty-gritty components helps. In one of a series of videos accompanying Wired’s cover story, Scott details the Voight-Kampff test between Deckard and Rachel that takes place in the golden penthouse of the Tyrell Corporation’s headquarters. Among other interesting tidbits, he explains how the glittering eyes of the leopard in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 were a model for Rachel’s softly glowing replicant eyes, an effect created by placing an angled mirror on the camera itself. And in order to summon the “comic book” evil he wanted for Eldon Tyrell, he looked to The Shining, whose supernatural bartender had just the right type of malevolence.

Whether Blade Runner 2049 ends up being a worthy follow-up to the original remains to be seen, but at least it’s given us a reason to revisit the 1982 film with some fresh eyes. In another of the videos, the new film’s director, Denis Villeneuve, talks about the first time he saw Blade Runner as a kid growing up in remote Quebec, and how he actually liked the notoriously mood-killing voice-over. Different strokes for different folks, perhaps, but here’s hoping it didn’t influence any decisions in the sequel.

Clayton Purdom is a writer and editor based in Columbus, Ohio.

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