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Paul M. Sammon Interview

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N: As much as we love Blade Runner, there is of course a great deal more to life than talking about this one film. What can you tell us about Paul M. Sammon's busy life in 2002?

PS: You've already described it - busy! I spent most of 2001, for example, working on a TV series for the Public Broadcasting System. It's called "Madison Heights." I was primarily a still photographer on that one, although I also snagged a part and got to play actor for a day. I've acted in a lot of the films I've worked on, strangely enough.

Paul M. Sammon in RoboCop
Paul M. Sammon in RoboCop

Although "acting's" probably too grandiose a term to describe what I've done - the parts I get are usually walk-ons or bits. In Starship Troopers, as I've said, I play the guy who pushes this cow into a Warrior Bug's holding pen. You can also spot me in movies like RoboCop 2, Xtro: Watch the Skies, Mockingbird Don't Sing, and a bunch of other things… if you know where to look.

N: What have you been up to more recently?

PS: Well, in the last half-year or so, I spent a month by myself in Colorado, near the city of Telluride, writing an original screenplay a producer is interested in. I'm also suddenly in demand as a talking head for TV shows and DVD supplements - you can see me in the new RoboCop and Starship Troopers special edition DVD's, for example. Additionally, the American Movie Classics cable channel here in the States has begun using me as a consultant, and Channel 4 in Great Britain just interviewed me as part of a TV special they're doing on SF films. That should air sometime in the U.K. later this year. Then I've been doing the usual lectures, like the one I mentioned in Bremen. I also took my wife to Amsterdam for the first time, after which we spent a week in Sloane Square, my favorite place to stay in London. I've also been to Brussels, Las Vegas, San Diego, Berlin, San Francisco… I'm like that old Beach Boys song - I get around!

Ridley Scott Cover Up US coverOn the literary front, beside the script I mentioned, it looks like my long-delayed book on the making of the Alien films may finally be coming out. Then there's a book I'm collaborating on with a very good photographer, as well as another book I'm writing about a very special breed of Hollywood celebrity. I'd also like to edit a collection of the first and last versions of the Blade Runner script in book form, but I'm still tied up with untangling the usual licensing and legal knots on that one. Finally, I'm expanding Ridley Scott: Close-Up. I was originally under a mandate to deliver a 45,000 word manuscript for that project, but since Ridley's done three movies since then and is now prepping two more, I think it deserves a complete overhaul.

Peter Straub's Ghosts coverThat's about it, I think - wait, it isn't! Once I finish my script, if it doesn't fly, I intend on turning it into a novel. My fictional output has been pretty sparse over the years, although I have had a number of short stories and novellas published. One of my favorite efforts along those lines was something I did back in 1995. That was titled "The Wedding Party"; it appeared in a paperback anthology edited by Peter Straub, called Peter Straub's Ghosts. But I've been itching to do a novel for awhile now - a non-porno novel (laughs) - so I'm really looking forward to getting around to that. Then there's a slew of other upcoming DVD projects I'm involved with, as well as a multi-part documentary I'm starting up. But it's too soon to say anything more about those projects. They're still vaporware.

N: Finally, what is the single best thing that Blade Runner has brought into your life?

PS: My book! (laughs) I also was amazingly fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe the making of a classic. Secondly, Blade Runner gave me the opportunity to craft a "making of" book that I passionately cared about, and poured a lot of man-hours into. I've also been touched by those Future Noir readers who've told me that they not only enjoyed the information the book contains, but the manner in which I presented that information. Because, you see, I very much wanted to humanize the making of Blade Runner. Just as I wanted to give people not involved in the film industry the chance to understand how difficult, and complex, the process of making any movie is.

N: Thank you so much for answering our questions. It has been a joy and a privilege to chat with you.

PS: Thank you! Have a better one.


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