VENICE (Reuters) - Twenty-five years after “Blade Runner” was panned by critics and pulled from theaters, British director Ridley Scott savors revenge with the final cut of the science-fiction film now considered a cult classic.
Presenting the new version of what he considers his most accomplished movie, Scott recalled the difficulties he had when he first pitched the work to Hollywood.
“I was a new kid on the block in Hollywood, so driving to those studios every day was a magical mystery tour. But it was hard, the whole process of making the movie became quite difficult,” he told reporters at the Venice film festival after a press screening.
“I wasn’t used at that point in my career to having too many cooks in the kitchen, and I think there were many people who started to get involved.
“So out of it came a hybrid version of what I’d originally intended. Consequently ... we had a bad opening, bad previews, confused previews. I was killed by some critics ... then I thought it would be gone away for ever,” Scott said.
The futuristic thriller is set in the year 2019 and follows policeman Deckard (Harrison Ford), a “blade runner” trying to catch and kill four human replicants who have escaped from a space-based colony.
The response at early sample screenings before the official release in June 1982 was so weak that the producers forced Scott to add voice-overs to the film and change the final scene to make it a more “happy ending”.
“I thought I’d really nailed it, I really thought I’d nailed it. And the person I used to show it to was my brother (director Tony Scott). And my brother, he loved it so much. Then we preview, and the previews are really, really bad, and my confidence is really dented,” said Scott.
The reworking of the film led to “voice overs which started to explain what was about to happen, who the characters were and who was going to do what to who, which is the antithesis of a good movie making process,” he said.
Despite the changes and two Oscar nominations, bad reviews and the almost simultaneous release of Steven Spielberg’s hugely popular “E.T.” ended the theater run of “Blade Runner” prematurely.
Yet the film eventually achieved cult status through re-issue on television and home video.
Scott, 69, said he had almost forgotten about it until he saw clips on music television channel MTV and realized that his film “was having a strong influence on younger generations.”
Over the years, five versions of the film have been released, including a director’s cut in 1992. But Scott said the “Final Cut” — which will be issued as a collector’s DVD edition later in the winter — was “really as it was intended to be.”
“A good film is like a good book, you might go to the shelf and take it off and revisit it. There are not a lot of films I can do that with from my collection of material,” said Scott, whose other titles include international hits such as the first “Alien,” “Thelma & Louise” and “Gladiator.”
At present, Scott is working on “Body Of Lies,” one of several Hollywood movies on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months. But he said he would like to make another science fiction film.
“I am continuously looking for that so if anyone has got a science fiction script in their briefcase, give it to me.”
For blogs about the Venice film festival, please see: here