Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Web Series Tied to ‘Blade Runner’ Is In the Works

The Blade Runner Partnership A scene from the original version of “Blade Runner.”

Web Series Tied to ‘Blade Runner’ Is In the Works

JUNE 4, 2009 2:17 PM

Here is some news that will make fans of the 1982 science-fiction cult film “Blade Runner” shudder with either anticipation or trepidation.
On Thursday the film’s director, Ridley Scott, announced that a new division of his commercials company, RSA Films, was working on a video series called “Purefold.” The series of linked 5- to 10-minute shorts, aimed first at the Web and then perhaps television, will be set at a point in time before 2019, when the Harrison Ford movie takes place in a dystopian Los Angeles.
Mr. Scott, his brother Tony and his son Luke are developing the project in conjunction with the independent studio Ag8, which is run by one of the creators of “Where are the Joneses?” a British Web sitcom that solicited storyline suggestions from the audience. Similarly, “Purefold” will harvest story input from its viewers, in conjunction with the social media site FriendFeed.
But the series won’t be hewing too closely to the specific characters or situations in “Blade Runner.” Some of that material stemmed from the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” which the “Purefold” creators do not have rights to.
“We don’t take any of the canon or copyrighted assets from the movie,” said David Bausola, founding partner of Ag8, who said he hoped the series would debut later this summer and that the first episodes would depict events about two years into the future. “It’s actually based on the same themes as ‘Blade Runner.’ It’s the search for what it means to be human and understanding the notion of empathy. We are inspired by ‘Blade Runner.’”
Other partners in the project include the ad and marketing agencies WPP, Publicis, Aegis Media and Naked Communications. They will bring in advertisers whose products and brands — or hypothetical future versions of them — could be featured in the series.
In an indication that the filmmakers are interested in exploring a new kind of collective, social creativity, the episodes in the series will be released under a Creative Commons license, marking the first time a major Hollywood director has embraced that alternative licensing scheme. The license means fans of the series can take the episodes and remix or otherwise repurpose them, and even make their versions available commercially under the same license.

Sean Young / Blade Runner

Sean Young

Posters / Blade Runner


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Chat With William Sanderson / Blade Runner's JF Sebastian

William Sanderson

A Chat With William Sanderson 
Blade Runner`s JF Sebastian

Interview Conducted & Transcribed by Aaron Brinkley
Edited by Gerry Kissell 

Aaron Brinkley: Mr. Sanderson, I'd like to express how much of a pleasure it is that you agreed to this interview with BladeZone.

William Sanderson: Thank you for that. It's a pleasure.

Aaron: I want to go back a few years. You grew up in and around Memphis in the 1950's. What was that like?

William: Well it was very exciting because that's where (Elvis) Presley was. Where he started. And the music was a fabulous inspiration, being able to see Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and it just went on and on. And I also saw the African-American entertainers from Stax Records like Sam & Dave. I don't think I saw Otis Redding, but I heard him all the time. So we had that great music and acting was the closest I could get to it.

‘Blade Runner’ Follow-Up Officially A Sequel, Original Writer Hampton Fancher Developing Story With Ridley Scott


‘Blade Runner’ Follow-Up Officially A Sequel, Original Writer Hampton Fancher Developing Story With Ridley Scott

Oliver Lyttelton
May 17, 2012

We pretty much covered this in the last couple of days, but it's possible we buried the lead a little, plus a press release is out, so it's now official: with "Prometheus" nearly upon us, Ridley Scott has started to seriously work towards his other sci-fi follow up, the continuation of "Blade Runner" that was originally announced last summer. A couple of details have been confirmed via a press release from Alcon Entertainment, among them that Scott is going right back to the well when it comes to nailing down the story for his new replicant-themed picture.
Namely, Hampton Fancher, who wrote the original draft of "Blade Runner," has been hired to develop the story for the project. This has been in the works for a while; yesterday we reported that Scott had met with the screenwriter (who was also behind underrated Owen Wilson film "The Minus Man"), and said he still "talked the talk," and now his expertise has officially been enlisted on the film, although the release is careful to say that he's not writing the screenplay: it seems like he'll knock out ideas with Scott, before another writer does the nuts and bolts of the project.
Also re-confirmed: the film will be a sequel, rather than a prequel, or a "Prometheus"-style side story, to the original film, taking place 'some years' after the sneaking-up-ever-closer 2019 setting of the original. That doesn't mean that you should count on an appearance from Deckard (Harrison Ford) — as we reported earlier, Scott says that the new film will have a female protagonist. Anyway, we're excited to see the film moving forward, and dearly hope that Fancher and the director come up with some ideas that honor the original, while doing something new with the material.

Wake Up, Time To Die / 5 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Blade Runner’

Wake Up, Time To Die: 5 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Blade Runner’

Oliver Lyttelton 

June 25, 2012 12:02 pm

One of the many reasons “Prometheus” was eagerly anticipated by so many was the director’s track record in the sci-fi genre. Ridley Scott had only made two science fiction pictures before this year’s blockbuster, and both are considered classics (and arguably his best two films). The first was 1979’s “Alien,” the direct inspiration for “Prometheus.” And the second? 1982’s “Blade Runner,” the noirish mystery adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s novel “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep,” which has been one of the most talked about and influential science fiction films of all time, particularly in terms of its grim look at Los Angeles in 2019.
The film, which follows Harrison Ford‘s “blade runner” Deckard as he’s tasked with tracking down four murderous “replicants” (life-like robots) who’ve escaped from an off-world colony and are hiding out on Earth, wasn’t a success when it first arrived, partly thanks to the tumultuous, compromised release, but the cult behind the picture has grown and grown over the years. And coincidentally, just as he gears up to work on the script with original scribe Hampton Fancher, we’ve hit the 30th anniversary of the film, which was released on June 25, 1982. To mark the occasion, we’ve pulled together five nuggets of information that you may not be aware of about Scott’s sci-fi classic — check them out below.
null1. “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain”

We could have seen versions of the film directed by Martin Scorsese or “To Kill A Mockingbird” helmer Robert Mulligan

In another, parallel world, it’s possible that we might not know Martin Scorsese as a man who made his name with the gangster movie, but as a science fiction pioneer who reinvented the genre before “Alien” or “Star Wars” came along. According to Paul Sammon‘s seminal making-of book “Future Noir,” Scorsese and screenwriter friend Jay Cocks (who would go on to co-write “Gangs Of New York” and the “Blade Runner“-like “Strange Days“) met with Philip K. Dick in 1969, two years after Marty’s feature debut “Who’s That Knocking At My Door?” and a year after the publication of Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?,” to talk turning the novel into a film. Discussions proved fruitful, but the book went into development elsewhere: producer Herb Jaffe (“Fright Night“) optioned it in the 1970s, and got his son Robert (“Demon Seed“) to write a script, one that Dick hated so much that he joked about beating up the screenwriter. But it was writer Hampton Fancher and producer Michael Deeley who were the ones to get over most of the hurdles, although the first director attached wasn’t Ridley Scott, but was in fact Robert Mulligan (“To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Same Time Next Year“). The veteran helmer worked with Fancher on a script for three months, before becoming frustrated and quitting. Michael Apted, Bruce Beresford and Adrian Lyne were all considered to replace him before Scott, who’d been approached early on, became free, frustrated with slow progress on his version of “Dune,” and unable to get a green light on the historical epic “Tristan & Isolde.”

null2. “More human than human is our motto”

A version of the film starring Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Hershey, Debbie Harry, Sterling Hayden and Joe Pantoliano? It might have happened.

When Fancher was writing his script, he envisioned it as a noirish tale with Robert Mitchum playing Deckard, and Sterling Hayden (who, as it turned out, made his last film with 1981’s “Venom“), but their age ultimately made this an unrealistic proposition. For Deckard, Scott spent months negotiating with Dustin Hoffman, but he the two couldn’t come to agreement on their approach for the character, so Hoffman left for new pastures (“Tootsie“). Beyond that, an extensive list of leading men were considered — “Future Noir” reveals that Tommy Lee Jones, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, William Devane, Raul Julia, Scott Glenn, Frederic Forrest, Robert Duvall, Judd Hirsch, Cliff Gorman, Peter Falk and Nick Nolte were all possibilities, but it was early word on “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” that persuaded Scott that Harrison Ford was the best choice (actor Morgan Paull, who read the role of Deckard in screen tests, impressed Scott enough that he was cast as ill-fated blade runner Holden in the opening scenes).

Still, Scott might have come to regret the choice, as the two clashed on set. Scott was still nervous with actors, and left Ford out to dry a little, the actor later saying, in Tom Shone‘s “Blockbuster,” “There was nothing for me to do but stand around and give some vain attempt to give some focus to Ridley’s sets.” In producer Alan Ladd Jr’s words, “Harrison wouldn’t speak to Ridley and Ridley wouldn’t speak to Harrison and I was stuck in the middle, ‘Could you tell him to do this, or tell him to do that?’ It was difficult.” Scott acknowledged later, “Harrison and I are very similar. It can be perceived that we’re bad tempered and crotchety and actually we’re not. We’re actually relatively good fun, [but] if you have a discerning actor, who is smarter than most, he’s gonna ask questions, and you’d better have your answers. If you haven’t got your answers there’s likely to be a row. You have a row and your adrenaline flushes out all the other stuff you’ve got going through your mind and you suddenly come up with a very distilled answer…rage flushes it out. I get very articulate.” But the two have subsequently made up, with Ford contributing to interviews for the 2007 release of the Final Cut.
nullMeanwhile, Dick had suggested “Dallas” star Victoria Principal to play Rachael, and was thankfully ignored, and testing came down to three contenders — Nina Axelrod (who can be seen on the “Dangerous Days” documentary on the Final Cut release, and went on to become a casting director), Barbara Hershey, and Sean Young. The latter got the part, but Hershey made her mark: the story of a spider being devoured by its young that Rachael tells was her suggestion. Rutger Hauer was always Scott’s first choice, thanks to his work with Paul Verhoeven, and the director was clearly a particular fan of the Dutch helmer’s 1973 picture “Turkish Delight,” as he wanted to cast Hauer’s co-star in that film, Monique van de Ven, as fellow replicant Pris, but she had a scheduling conflict. Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry was discussed at one point, while Stacey Nelkin also tested for the part, before getting another role in the film (see below); her screen test is also in “Dangerous Days.” Finally, former NFLer Frank McRae (“1941,” “48 Hrs“) was cast as Leon, until Brion James freaked out Scott’s secretary to the degree that he thought he had to cast him, while future “The Matrix” star Joe Pantoliano was in the running for Sylvester.


3. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”

The missing replicant that caused debate among fans for so long was actually a mistake, leftover from earlier drafts.

Given the substantial changes from the source material, and the many writers involved, it’s no surprise that things got a little confusing, and that’s particularly true when it comes to the fifth and sixth replicants — in all versions before the Final Cut, Bryant tells Deckard there were four on the loose, but seconds later, says that six escaped, with one killed by an “electronic gate.” The fifth was actually a character called Mary, who’d been present in many earlier drafts. Fancher’s original take was very different; the replicants are simply called “androids,” and the Voight-Kampff test can detect them after only six questions (although Rachael makes it to thirteen, rather than a hundred). At the end, Batty kills Tyrell’s entire family, as well as Sebastian, while Rachael kills herself, so Deckard doesn’t have to do it. Mary, the sixth replicant, a maternal, housewife-like character analogous to Irmgard Baty in the novel, is included in this take, and survived to Fancher’s next draft, completed on July 24th, 1980. It’s mostly closer to the finished version, although concludes with Deckard killing Rachael. The first draft by David Webb Peoples (dated December 15th, 1980), broke away a little; it opens with Batty pulling Mary and Leon from an Off-world Termination Dump, and includes at least two extra Replicants; a character called Roger, who attacks Deckard in Leon’s hotel room, and Tyrell himself — Roy kills his creator, only to discover that the real Tyrell was placed in hibernation after getting a terminal disease, but passed away during a power outage a year earlier. It was also darker in the conclusion; Deckard makes Gaff take the Voight-Kampff test, and kills him, and again shoots Rachael in the finale. Mary survived until very late on; Scott cast actress Stacey Nelkin, who’d also tested for Pris, in the part, but it was excised before filming. However, the script inconsistency involving six escaped replicants went unnoticed, and was only fixed in the 2006 Final Cut version. A note on the title; Fancher’s first draft used the novel’s, before it was changed to “Dangerous Days.” The name “Blade Runner” actually came from a William S. Burroughs screenplay, an adaptation of the Alan E. Nourse novel “The Bladerunner,” which Scott got producer Michael Deeley to buy the rights to, but at the last minute, tried to change it to “Gotham City.” Understandably, “Batman” creator Bob Kane and DC Comics were reluctant to sell the rights…  

Harrinson Ford and Sean Young
4. “Too bad she won’t live. But then again, who does?”

There have been three sequel novels, as well as David Webb People’s ‘sidequel’ “Soldier,” and a video game with a narrative that runs alongside the original, with a new protagonist.

Scott is finally getting moving on a sequel for “Blade Runner,” it would seem, but he’s far from the first to try. Soon after the release of the “Director’s Cut” helped to restore the reputation of the film, sci-fi author K.W. Jeter penned a novelistic sequel, “Blade Runner 2: The Edge Of Human,” published in 1995. Sticking mostly to the continuity of the film, it involves Sarah Tyrell, the human template for Rachael, hiring Deckard to hunt down the missing sixth replicant, even as the template for Roy Batty hires Holden (the blade runner in the opening scene, shot in the chest by Leon), to track down Deckard, who he thinks is the sixth replicant. Two further sequels follow: 1996’s “Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night,” which sees Deckard on Mars working as a consultant to a movie crew making a film based on his life (seriously…), and 2000’s “Blade Runner 4: Eye And Talon,” which follows Iris, another blade runner, on a quest to find Tyrell’s owl (again, we’re not making these plots up). The 1997 video game “Blade Runner” (there was an earlier 1985 game, based, confusingly, on Vangelis‘ score, rather than the film, which involves you hunting down “replidroids”) also builds out the universe, following blade runner Ray McCoy as he tries to hunt down more escaped replicants, taking place across the same timeline as the film. Deckard doesn’t appear, but Sean Young, Brion James, James Hong, Joe Turkel and William Sanderson all reprised their roles and lent their voices to the game (although Edward James Olmos refused to return as Gaff). Writer David Webb Peoples also penned a script called “Soldier,” which he considers to be a “sidequel” to “Blade Runner,” inspired by the deleted opening scene in an Off-world Termination Dump. The script included several references to “Blade Runner,” including a mention of the Tanhauser Gate and a glimpse of a spinner, but sadly, Paul W.S. Anderson was hired to direct, and turned it into a critically-reviled picture, and a box-office disaster. Other attempts were made at a sequel, however: Stuart Hazeldine (writer of Spielberg’s upcoming Moses movie and the aborted “Paradise Lost“) penned one on spec, entitled “Blade Runner Down,” in the late 1990s, and “Eagle Eye” writer Travis Wright and former partner John Glenn, worked on a potential sequel for producer Bud Yorkin in the 00s, which was said to explore questions like, in the writer’s own words “Is or isn’t Deckard a replicant? What happens to Rachel? What are the off world colonies like? What happens to replicants once Tyrell is killed by one of his creations?” More recently, Scott, his brother Tony and son Luke were said to be developing a web series called “Purefold,” inspired by the same themes as the film, but it never seemed to come to pass. Let’s hope the sequel is more successful.

null5. “Death. Ah, well that’s a little out of my jurisdiction”

The director’s cut was discovered entirely by accident.

Budget overruns and poor test-screenings meant that Scott was overruled on several key decisions on the film as it came close to completion, most famously the ending (partially achieved with unused footage from “The Shining“) and the narration. For many years, it was thought that Scott’s original version hadn’t survived, but in 1989, Warner Bros sound preservationist Michael Arick stumbled across a rare 70mm print in the archives while looking for footage from “Gypsy.” Arick didn’t watch it, but it was sent to the Fairfax on Beverly Boulevard in L.A. the following year when they were holding a special festival of 70mm films. They were as surprised as anyone to find that they were screening a never-before-seen version of the film, and word of mouth soon led to sell-outs at additional screenings, which led Warners to plan a release. It was labelled as the “Director’s Cut,” but against the objections of Ridley Scott, who wanted to make further changes, but wasn’t given the time or budget to do so. It was only with the 2006 Final Cut that he was able to do those last alterations. It wasn’t just the film that took some time to see the light properly; Vangelis‘ score only got a proper release after the Director’s Cut in 1992, although bootlegs circulated throughout the 1980s. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Philip K. Dick / A Visionary Among the Charlatans

by Cristóbal Fortúnez


Philip Dick does not lead his critics an easy life, since he does not so much play the part of a guide through his phantasmagoric worlds as give the impression of one lost in their labyrinth. He has stood all the more in need of critical assistance, but he has not received it. A characteristic of Dick ’s work, after its ambiguity as to genre, is its tawdriness, which is reminiscent of the goods offered at country fairs by primitive craftsmen who are at once clever and naive, possessed of more talent than self-knowledge. Dick has as a rule taken over a rubble of building materials from the run-of-the-mill American professionals of SF, frequently adding a true gleam of originality to worn-out concepts, and erecting with such materials constructions truly his own. The world gone mad, with a spasmodic flow of time and a network of causes and effects which wriggles as if nauseated, the world of frenzied physics, is unquestionably his invention. If Dick’s writings are neither of uniform quality nor fully realized, still it is only by brute force that they can be jammed into that pulp of materials, destitute of intellectual value and original structure, which makes up SF. Its fans are attracted by the worst in Dick—the typical dash of American SF, reaching to the stars, and the headlong pace of action moving from one surprise to the next—but they hold it against him that, instead of unraveling puzzles, he leaves the reader at the end on the battlefield, enveloped in an aura of mystery as grotesque as it is strange. Yet his bizarre blending of hallucinogenic and palingenetic techniques have not won him many admirers outside the ghetto walls, since outsiders are repelled by the shoddiness of the props he has adopted from the inventory of SF.
* * *
by Stanisław Lem
Translated from the Polish by Robert Abernathy
No one in his right mind seeks the psychological truth about crime in detective stories. Whoever seeks such truth will turn rather to Crime and Punishment. In relation to Agatha Christie, Dostoevsky constitutes a higher court of appeal, yet no one in his right mind will condemn the English author’s stories on this account. They have a right to be treated as the entertaining thrillers they are, and the tasks Dostoevsky set himself are foreign to them.

Philip K.Dick on Blade Runner

  • Philip K. Dick


    With unflinching honesty, the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? discusses its cinematic adaptation and the shock of reading the original screenplay, which made him think that he had died and been condemned to eternal torture.
    by James Van Hise
    Philip K. Dick is one of the unique writers working in the science-fiction genre. Over the past thirty years he has produced an impressive and varied body of work. No other author’s books quite match his distinctive style.
    One source of altered reality met another when Dick and Hollywood formed an uneasy alliance in order to bring the author’s startling visions to the screen. His 1966 short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” is being produced at the Walt Disney Studios from a Dan O’Bannon screenplay, under the title Total Recall. His 1953 short story, “Second Variety,” has also been adapted by O’Bannon for Virginia Palance and Capital Pictures and will be film­ed under the title Claw. The first Dick adapta­tion to make it to the screen will be director Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, based on Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and starring Harrison Ford.

    Sunday, July 28, 2019

    Blade Runner / Reviewed by Norman Spinrad

    • Blade Runner (1982) - Deckard (Harrison Ford)

      BLADE RUNNER (1982) 

      Reviewed by Norman Spinrad 


      Admission number one: my admiration for Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the stupid name-change inflicted upon the film version, the despicable fact that Phil Dick’s name does not appear in ads and posters for Blade Runner which manage to plug the sound track album, foolish and inane public statements by Ridley Scott and Hampton Fancher, and bad word of mouth in the science-fiction writing community all conspired to send me into the theater expecting a bummer.

      Harrinson Ford / Blade Runner

      Harrinson Ford


      Saturday, July 27, 2019

      Rutger Hauer / Blade Runner

      Rutger Hauer

      Five Things You Didn’t Know about Gretchen Mol

      Five Things You Didn’t Know 

      about Gretchen Mol

      Nat Berman
      July 20, 2017

      Gretchen Mol is an American actress. At one time, she was a model, but her short stature meant that she had limited prospects in a traditional modeling career. Fortunately, Mol was able to secure a number of acting jobs, which has resulted in her becoming an actress of some note in modern times with roles in projects that include but are not limited to Rounders, 3:10 to Yuma, and Manchester by the Sea.

      Here are five things that you may or may not have known about Gretchen Mol:
      Was a Hat-Check Girl When She Was Discovered
      Like a lot of actors and actresses, Mol worked odd jobs while waiting for her chance to come. In her case, she was a hat-check girl at a restaurant when an agent discovered her, which soon resulted in a TV commercial for Coca-Cola as well as other acting jobs. Unsurprisingly, Mol has worked other odd jobs as well, with an excellent example being her modelling for a number of magazines.Debuted in a Spike Lee Movie

      In 1996, Mol had her movie debut on Girl 6, which was a Spike Lee comedic drama centered around a phone sex operator. Although Mol had no more than a minor part in the movie, it was nonetheless something of note on her resume. As a result, she was able to use it as something of a door opener, which resulted in a series of small roles that nonetheless raised her profile part by part over time.

      Broke Through As Bettie Page
      At one point in time, some publications touted Mol as the next big actress in Hollywood, though that turned out to be untrue when said role went to Angelina Jolie. Still, Mol had her breakthrough role in The Notorious Bettie Page, which was a 2005 biopic about a famous pinup model. Initially, the lead role was intended for someone else, but in the end, Mol managed to secure it through a combination of the director’s struggle to secure sufficient funding as well as her ability to depict her character’s inner thoughts in addition to her outwards appearance.

      Has Interesting Thoughts About Confidence
      In an interview, Mol stated that for her, maintaining her self-confidence is a constant struggle. Sometimes, she is confident. Other times, not so much. However, even when someone wasn’t confident, there are ways for them to fake that confidence, which should be more familiar to those who were old enough to have lived enough and done enough.

      Serves As Spokesperson for PMD Foundation
      Since one of her cousins died from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Mol has served as the spokesperson for the PMD Foundation. Like its name suggests, the PMD Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease as well as funding research into it. In brief, said disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that delays motor abilities as well as mental faculties in children, which has no cure at the moment. For that matter, there is not even a standard treatment for the disease, not least because it can be so variable in nature.

      Gretchen Mol / Green


      Gretchen Mol

      Arriving to Michael Kors Fashion Show in New York September 12, 2018

      Friday, July 26, 2019

      Rutger Hauer / An icily elegant presence with a touch of self-aware drollery

      Rutger Hauer
      Poster by T.A.

      Rutger Hauer: an icily elegant presence with a touch of self-aware drollery

      Hauer became a hall-of-famer with his ‘tears in rain’ monologue in Blade Runner, but there was much more to this talented, stylish actor

      Peter Bradshaw
      Wed 24 July 2014

      uite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.” So begins the icily elegant final speech in Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic Blade Runner. It is famously delivered by the Dutch star Rutger Hauer, playing Roy, the charismatic replicant rebel with the mysterious moral sense who rescues Harrison Ford’s cop Deckard from falling at the very last. And as the rain streams down his face, Roy pronounces: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

      C-beams evidently means the “caesium beams” used in space combat and the Tannhäuser Gate apparently an interstellar portal. The speech was semi-improvised, the “tears in rain” line being Hauer’s own idea. Did he, at some unconscious level, access a memory of the Everly Brothers’ Crying in the Rain? Either way, he gave this devastatingly bleak and opaque aria a touch of what later generations might call relatability; he sold it to movie audiences around the world who might otherwise at that late stage be too punch-drunk with postmodern sci-fi action to pay attention to a tricky closing speech. It conferred on Hauer himself real hall-of-famer status. His enigmatic combination of despair, forgiveness, and passionate connoisseurship of what it is to be alive – which as a replicant, he can hardly know as much as real humans – supplies a satisfying ending to the film, an ending that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

      Hauer had a fierce blond handsomeness as a young man which was to crag up in early middle age into something meaner and starker: perhaps a little like Max Von Sydow, but without the gravitas. In the 1980s, when he became famous internationally, it was Hauer’s destiny to be cast as the the bad guy when Reagan-era action movies in Hollywood needed a mannered stylish villain or Nordic nasty to play opposite the all-American hero: people such as Dolph Lundgren or indeed our own Alan Rickman as the German terrorist in Die Hard.

      In Nighthawks (1981), Hauer played a fanatic terrorist, opposite the more wholesomely conceived cop, played by Sylvester Stallone. He was slightly more demandingly cast by Nicolas Roeg in Eureka (1983) as the ambitious and grasping social climber who is to become the highly unreliable son-in-law of Gene Hackman’s retired plutocrat. But again it was his foreignness, his Europeanness, which was brought into play as the symbol of something sinister and cynical – and Hauer brought to this, as so many other roles, a theatrical touch of self-aware drollery.
      Then in 1986, he achieved the second pillar of his celebrity status with the gruesome horror thriller The Hitcher, playing the hitch-hiker who terrorises and butchers those rash enough to pick him up. This movie hardly had the challenge of dark poetry or subtlety that Roeg and Scott had given him, and The Hitcher was little loved critically or indeed by theatre audiences who mostly stayed away. But it had a long afterlife on VHS leading to cult status, and one of Rutger Hauer’s less glorious achievements was said to be that he single-handedly ended hitch-hiking as a commonplace travel option for young people in the United States.

      Rutger Hauer (right) at a 2007 reunion of Blade Runner stars (left) Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah, and the film's director Sir Ridley Scott.

      Hauer so often played the amoral monster: very memorably portraying the corrupt and homicidal Cardinal Roark in Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City (2005). But in fact he won his single substantial award, a best supporting actor Golden Globe, for his much-admired performance in the TV drama Escape From Sobibor (1987), the story of the 1943 uprising at the Nazis’ death camp. He played Sacha Perchersky, the tough Russian Jewish inmate who enthusiastically takes up the mutiny plan and in fact lives to rejoin his Red Army unit. Perhaps Hauer got typecast as the quasi-Nazi bad guy a lot of the time, but his dynamic, charismatic Perchersky showed the different career he might have had, were he not imprisoned by a certain type of frosty or black comic look and sound – which incidentally gave him a lot of lucrative voiceover work.
      Hauer was a stylish, talented man who will have a place in the heart of all of us who saw Blade Runner and found ourselves watching it again and again, and found ourselves blindsided afresh by that speech of Hauer’s: a speech about tears in the rain delivered by someone who is tragically, mournfully dry-eyed.