When Warner Bros announced plans for a sequel to the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, fans of that film were understandably concerned that the legacy of their beloved sci-fi classic might be sullied by a toothless follow-up, geared toward a new, younger generation of audiences. The intervening three decades have seen the stratospheric rise of the studio tent-pole, and the increased emphasis on the breaking of box-office records. Historically, this has been made possible by making films that appeal to as wide a demographic as possible, with necessarily less restrictive film ratings – but we can now rest easy that this will not be the case for Blade Runner 2049.
Speaking to Screen Daily, director Denis Villeneuve has confirmed that the rating of Blade Runner 2049 will indeed be ‘R’, in keeping with its predecessor.
“My producers are finding it fun to remind me that it will be one of the most expensive R-rated independent feature films ever made.”
The intentionally restrictive rating is not the only way in which Villeneuve’s Blade Runner sequel is differing from modern filmmaking trends, however. He has apparently also kept the use of CGI to a minimum.
“I can count on my fingers the amount of times we put a green screen on set. Most of the movie was done on camera, me and [cinematographer] Roger Deakins worked very hard to do it that way.
“My actors were not walking on green screens all day long. CGI is a strong tool for backgrounds and extensions but what is around the actors needs to be as real as possible. When I watch a movie that’s mostly CGI, I’m disengaged.”
Again, this will be music to the ears – not only of Blade Runner fans, but also of fans of the science fiction genre as a whole. Blade Runner 2049 is the second consecutive science fiction movie from Denis Villeneuve, after the recent success of the film Arrival, and he continues to demonstrate his talent for seamlessly blending effects with reality, to deliver a movie project with a deeply grounded texture to it – even when setting out the most complex themes and ideas. Moreover, the filmmaker is not yet done with the sci-fi genre – explaining that he has more projects in mind.
“I’m doomed, I love sci-fi. I have two more ideas now that I would love to do. [And] Blade Runner could go on… we’ll see how this one goes.”
This final comment in particular is tantalising, as the director himself suggests that the narrative of Blade Runner 2049 will not conclude in a neat and tidy fashion. It seems there will be room for another sequel, and that Denis Villeneuve might be willing to tell more of that story. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait until October 6th 2017, to find out.