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The Directors, (2002)
The Films of Ridley Scott

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Ridley ScottThe excellent television series "The Directors", created by Media entertainment, Inc. for the American Film Institute turned its attention to Ridley Scott in 2002. Covering all of his films up to Black Hawk Down and mentioning forthcoming Matchstick Men and Tripoli, some of the great actors from his films and others who have worked with him commenting, the most noteworthy was Harrison Ford speaking about Blade Runner. I don't say that simply because this is a Blade Runner site - I have after all seen most of Ridley's films. No, this is notable for the past uncomfortable memories between Harrison and Ridley, and Harrison's general reluctance to say much about Blade Runner.Harrison Ford receives his star - 3rd June 2003 A couple of years ago, in the Edge of Blade Runner documentary, Ridley effectively extended the olive branch by fully acknowledging that back in the early '80s, he didn't treat actors as attentively as he later learned to do. It seems Harrison has now also mellowed with the passing of decades and acknowledges not just Ridley as a great director, but Blade Runner as a great film. So much so, that the makers of this Directors documentary used Harrison Ford's comments to open up the programme.

Harrison Ford (Introduction to programme): "He's a wonderful storyteller and a very bold director. He really does take chances. He picks material that is original and fresh and difficult. And, he's a real soldier in the trenches. He works mighty hard and he has wonderful focus and energy to bring to the process. And, when it comes down to it, Ridley is quite intellectual in a way, without losing any of his visceral capacity. The films that he does are based on interesting ideas."

Deckard looks for ZhoraThe Blade Runner section of the documentary starts with the Narrator speaking over [photo of Deckard standing on Metrokab]: "In 1982 came the chilling and mesmerising futuristic thriller, Blade Runner. The film was not particularly well received on its release, but over time, Blade Runner has achieved cult status with the viewing public all over the world ... and also the initially skeptical critical establishment. The stars were Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah.

[clip Deckard in Bryant's office, "They jumped a shuttle ... I need the old Blade Runner."]

Ridley Scott directing Black Hawk DownRidley Scott: "Blade Runner has taken its place in Science Fiction history as a pretty good view of urban scifi, y'know. When really, of course, its like a Philip Marlowe or Elmore Leonards story told in the future. [clip of Pris approaching The Bradbury as RS continues speaking] And all of us in that melting pot - we came up with the proscenium which ... I think the proscenium itself became ... was really just too rich. And I think because people hadn't seen that before, I think it overshadowed what was actually a very well written, but fairly straightforward story with some wonderfully inventive characters. And I think what happened is the proscenium just kind of ... was this major distraction."

Harrison FordHarrison Ford: "Although I had worked in Star Wars in a kind of futuristic context, it was a very different flavour [photo of Deckard being throttled by Zhora] that was on the menu with Blade Runner. It was a dark view of the future. It's no secret that Ridley and I had a degree of disagreement about the character that I play, Deckard. Ridley's ambition, and he held on to it, was that the audience come to understand at a point in time, [photo of Deckard and Rachael kissing against the Venetian blind]Deckard and Rachael come to terms with the way things are quite near the end of the film, that Deckard was as well, a replicant. But I felt that the audience should have one clear emotional representative on screen - someone that they could identify with and understand. And be able to develop an affinity for them [photo of Deckard about to uncover Pris in Sebastian's apartment] based on their common humanity, not just their representation of human feelings. But other than that, I think we were ... we easily came to agreement on most of the rest of what we did."

[clip of Pris beating up Deckard]

Harrison Ford: [photo of Deckard and Gaff in spinner] "What is interesting to me is that after Blade Runner, Ridley went on to make any number of really interesting films. Blade Runner could easily have been the height of a career, but he's continued to develop as a director and to really find very challenging and interesting work to do."

Outside the Bradbury Building in Blade Runner

Now then Ridley. I understand that some people in 1982 may have thought the proscenium, particularly the cityscape, was a bit too rich, but I'm pretty sure many of the fans of Blade Runner over the years absolutely love the rich detail in the sets. They not only define Blade Runner, but also stand as an enduring example for so many other films that have followed.

And Harrison. Wonderful things you said on this programme! Now, perhaps you could see your way to doing ten minutes on that ever-delayed BR:SE DVD ??? Would it help if I say, "Please"?

- Netrunner, 3rd June, 2003.

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