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N: This seems a good point to drop in that most annoying and intriguing of questions - is Deckard a Replicant? [audible groan]. Right at the beginning of FN, you make the comment, "Maybe now people will stop asking us if Deckard is a replicant!" Guess again! Even though Scott has been saying it for years, it was still reported in mainstream news when he stated it again in the Channel 4 documentary. But the debate continues unabated. There is no doubt that BR is Ridley Scott's film and that he did a stunning job. But the associated debate is whether a director can dictate how people view his creation - or does the creation become an entity unto itself, separated from those who made it?
Another factor is that, back in 1982, Scott said in interviews that he wanted to suggest that Deckard might be a Replicant - something that seems to be reflected in your own description of events. In the end, is it not more interesting to have the question than to "know" the answer?

PS: That's a good point. I agree that the ambiguity of Deckard's true nature is far more interesting than simply inserting a scene where a character blurts out, "C'mere, you fuckin' android!"

What I do find amusing and more than a little exasperating about this issue, though, is how some BR fans simply won't accept the facts of this matter. I mean, Ridley first told me in 1980 - 1980! - that he thought it would be interesting to suggest Deckard was a replicant. Of course, 18 years later, Ridley began telling interviewers that he'd always meant Deckard to be a replicant. Well, maybe Ridley was being a little disingenuous. Or maybe he'd just forgotten the reality of the situation. Because I never heard Scott ever come right out and say, at least while the film was being made, "Yeah, this cop is a replicant." The words I recall were, "He might be a replicant."

The foil unicornI do know that Ridley argued with Harrison over this point, because Ford never wanted Deckard to be anything but a flawed human being who was redeemed through love and an understanding of the replicants plight. However, having said that, I also think Ridley himself probably inwardly felt that Deckard was an artificial human. Why else include the daydream/tinfoil unicorn tie-in? Of course, the galloping unicorn footage was one of the last things filmed for the picture, so perhaps Ridley had come down more squarely on the side of the "Deck as Rep" issue by then.

Anyway, I don't remember him ever explicitly stating that, yeah, Deckard is a replicant. Not while the film was being made. Ridley always said, at least to me, that he thought it would be far more provocative to imply Deckard was an artificial being. That way audiences would have something to mull over and talk about after the lights came up.

To respond to your other query, I agree with you - some films definitely take on lives of their own. Sure, the director and writer and actors and cinematographer stamp their own personalities on a project. But there's something almost mystical about the way a film can then exhibit a separate identity of its own. It's almost like alchemy, you know? Transforming lifeless light and celluloid into a uniquely individual, subtly living thing.

But to get back to the Ford as replicant debate - as I wrote in Future Noir, it depends on which version of Blade Runner you see. I think that that experience will influence your decision more than anything. The original theatrical release, for instance, certainly makes a strong case for Deckard being human. But the inclusion of the unicorn shot in the Director's Cut more or less suggests that he is a Replicant. My advice is - keep arguing. Then make your own decision.

N: I was surprised no one referenced Future Noir when Ridley brought this issue up again a few years ago.

PS: Me too. That was really a wake-up call for me. I mean, the manner in which the mainstream media approached this issue, as if it was something brand-new, made me realize that the mainstream probably wasn't aware of Future Noir. Yet if you're a responsible, informed journalist, how could you not know that an entire book had already been written about this film? A book that had a separate, stand-alone section that addressed the Replicant debate at great length? And Future Noir certainly wasn't the first written reference to address this issue, either. I mean, come on! The first time I mentioned it in print was back in 1981, for Christ's sake. Later on, I repeated that hypothesis for my Video Watchdog piece. Yet not a single mainstream news channel or magazine mentioned these facts, or even seemed aware of them.

That's sort of depressing, you know, on any number of levels. Especially as it indicates how shabbily corporate networks and major news outlets must conduct their "research" before they do a story. If they do any research at all.

Anyway, want to know my personal take on this "Deckard as Replicant" controversy? I still think it's more fun, and challenging, to realize that Harrison might be an android… even if the Director's Cut clearly indicates that he is one.

N: I quite agree that the "nature of Deckard" question is more interesting than the answer, but the debate will no doubt continue regardless of anyone's answers! (laughs maniacally)


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