30 Things You Should Know About “Blade Runner”

Jun 21, 12 30 Things You Should Know About “Blade Runner”

It seems it’s all about Blade Runner around here lately… I just can’t help it, I’m too excited about the sequel, even if it has not been written yet. Anyway, the following is a list of 30 cool facts about Blade Runner you might not know:

  1. The film didn’t set any box office fires upon its June 25, 1982 release, but it had a lot of competition from other sci-fi and fantasy films at the time: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing and Conan the Barbarian.
  2. Blade Runner was based on the Philip K. Dick short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick died shortly before the film’s release and never saw the finished film.
  3. In October 1981, after seeing advance clips of Blade Runner on TV, an enthusiastic Dick predicted in a letter to publicist/producer Jeff Walker that the film “is going to revolutionize our conceptions of what science fiction is and, more, can be.”
  4. Lead star Harrison Ford, who plays replicant-killing cop (“blade runner”) Rick Deckard, hated making the film and working with director Scott. He found Scott too dictatorial, as did some members of the crew.
  5. Immediately following their infamous pan of the film on their Siskel & Ebert TV review show, then called Sneak Previews, an on-camera pooch named Spot the Wonder Dog howled in agreement.
  6. Siskel and Ebert would later moderate their views on the film, if not recanting them entirely. Siskel approved of the 1992 director’s cut that removed the controversial narration by Ford; Ebert said “the narration doesn’t hurt the film at all” and the Director’s Cut is “just another version of more or less the same material.”
  7. The narration was originally inserted at the behest of Warner Bros. studio executives, who said audiences wouldn’t be able to follow the plot otherwise.
  8. Director Scott had problems with the plot, too. Blade Runner editor Terry Rawlings recalls that when he and Scott first watched a rough cut of the film together, Scott turned to him afterwards and said, “God, it’s marvelous. What the f— does it all mean?’”
  9. Blade Runner is set in 2019, which is now just seven years away.
  10. Deckard is seen reading a newspaper in the year 2019, which is good news for anyone worrying about the future of print journalism.
  11. The special effects were overseen by Douglas Trumbull, who also did visuals for 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Tree of Life.
  12. Deckard’s L.A. pad is a real building called Ennis House, a concrete abode designed by visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
  13. Ennis House escaped a forest fire, but it was in danger of sliding down a nearby hill until millions of dollars were raised for renovations. One of the benefactors was actress Diane Keaton.
  14. Blade Runner was originally to have been titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Other suggestions were Android, Mechanismo and Dangerous Days. The final choice was made because Blade Runner sounded cool.
  15. The killer blond replicant Pris, played by Daryl Hannah, is a Valentine’s baby. Her incept (birth) date is Feb. 14, 2016.
  16. It has always been assumed that the Harrison Ford narration sounds dull because Ford resented having to do one. But he told Playboy in 2002 that it sounds that way because “it was simply bad narration.”
  17. The eye scientist murdered in the film apparently didn’t like Americans. Japanese/Chinese graffiti outside his lab door reads: “Chinese good, Americans bad.”
  18. The linguistic mashup called Cityspeak that is a feature of the film was the idea of actor Edward James Olmos. He now considers it prophecy for the way L.A. has evolved as a multicultural city.
  19. Dustin Hoffman was the early favourite to play Deckard before Ford. He turned it down, wondering why he was being asked to play such a “macho character.” Other considered included Jack Nicholson and Sean Connery.
  20. The pills being swallowed by the Japanese woman in the video ad on the side of a blimp floating over L.A. are birth control pills.
  21. The Oscar-winning set design for Blade Runner was so detailed, it even had the rates for parking meters for drivers of 2019: 1 minute for $3, which doesn’t sound as shocking in 2012 as it did in 1982.
  22. The scene in the replicant’s bathroom where Deckard finds a snake scale was filmed in England using Ford screen double Vince Armstrong, because Ford wasn’t available at the time.
  23. The surreal “Tears in the Rain” soliloquy by Rutger Hauer’s dying replicant leader Roy Batty was entirely improvised.
  24. A rumoured 70mm cut of Blade Runner is said to exist in the Warner Bros. vaults, containing scenes rarely viewed by the public.
  25. In a 2006 Toronto Star interview, Scott admitted he didn’t know whether he could make a sequel to Blade Runner, because the film ends with Deckard escaping with the replicant Rachel (Sean Young), who wasn’t built to last: “Four years later she dies, and then what?”
  26. In the same interview Scott confirmed long-held suspicions that Deckard is actually an advanced replicant with no termination date: “He’s going to live forever, being a Nexus 7. That one is best left on its own.”
  27. Ford’s Blade Runner blaster gun sold for between $100,000 and $150,000 at a Hollywood props auction in 2009.
  28. The ending of Blade Runner, where Deckard and Rachel escape to the woods in a spinner craft, uses leftover forest footage from The Shining, the Stanley Kubrick horror movie released two years earlier by the same studio.
  29. Persistent talk of a sequel or prequel finally seems to be bearing fruit. Scott recently told Britain’s The Guardian newspaper that he’s now keen to make a follow-up, including a small part with the now 69-year-old Ford: “I’ve got to have him in it somewhere. That’d be amusing.”
  30. Scott’s new sci-fi film Prometheus suffered similar critical brickbats to Blade Runner upon its release earlier this month. Will it similarly be viewed as a late-blooming masterpiece, 30 years from now?

Compilation made by toronto.com out of IMDb.com; Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner; The Guardian; Toronto Star interviews.

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