Rutger Hauer cuts to the quick about 'Blade Runner'

by Louis R. Carlozo

Chicago Tribune (MCT)

25 June 2007


Internet chat rooms and DVD Web sites have buzzed with speculation about when the next edition of Blade Runner will come out, what it will look like, and how it will enrich the mystique surrounding Ridley Scott’s Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller starring Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer.

It seems odd, considering that just this last September, Warner Home Video’s director’s cut seemed to offer the last word on this 1982 cult classic, inspired by Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

In Scott’s vision, Ford’s narration and the uplifting finale of the original theater version vanish—subtle changes yielding a vastly different movie.

What else is left to tweak?

The suspense is tantalizing Blade Runner fans everywhere, a fact not lost on Hauer, who played the menacing, spiky blond android Roy Batty. We spoke with Hauer, 63, who has just released his memoir, All Those Moments (HarperCollins).

The Netherlands native talked about Blade Runner‘s storied history, his successful run in Hollywood and future prospects that might just be stranger than science fiction.

First the big question: There has been much rumor and speculation about a definitive new DVD version of Blade Runner. What can you tell us?
It will be theatrically released in the fall, in September, and the DVD box will come after that runs out.

Any hint as to what’s new about this version?
I don’t know. They couldn’t show me. They were still working on it when I did an interview for the film half a year ago. They had to cut through the red tape (to show me what was going on) and I have only so much time for red tape.

When you made Blade Runner, did you have a feeling you were involved in one of those pivotal films that can change a career and a genre?
I had a sense that it was special, but you never know that until the audience tells you—and what a way to tell you. I think it’s pretty amazing that it holds up so long—and pretty wonderful. With DVDs and the digital technology these days, we have such means to prolong the life of these things. My whole career has been prolonged by this and television.

In your book, you talk about taking to the sea at age 15 on a Dutch freighter to see the world, and being a rebellious kid. Any regrets looking back?
I was just having fun and was on the streets a lot. I was discovering the world then. God, who knows? I wasn’t raised religiously and guilt doesn’t really live here. I’m really happy the way it went.

What dream projects remain on the horizon for you?
Most of them come from German remakes that I think would do great in the English language, if you just could readapt them, or Dutch literature, that are so beautiful. The rest of it pretty much depends on what people are planning to bring out and, “Is there any possibility for me here?”

Aside from Blade Runner, what films in your canon rank among your favorites?
Ladyhawke is definitely up there. Wanted Dead or Alive, The Blood of Heroes and my little fling with comedy, Wedlock ... The Hitcher was a landmark and Sin City and Batman Begins were extremely different, but both comic-book based stories. I’ve never been in two films in the same year—and they were both in the No. 1 spot for quite some time. And they’re films that made a lot of money—and I just happened to be in them, which is not bad. ... I think four of my movies are brilliant and the rest are very entertaining, or very good—and some of them are really (awful).

A lot has been made about changes in Hollywood since the 1970s. What’s your take?
It’s hard to make a good movie now. And films are real estate. Other people decide what’s going to go. The art of filmmaking is in trouble when some people think, “Why do you need art?” Well, some of us do.

Offscreen, you’ve gained notice for your environmental work and being dubbed one of People magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. How does the attention strike you?
I tend to shy away from the public eye pretty much, because why does everyone need to know everything? The environment, it’s not a PR job for me. But the sexiest man alive? That’ll go a long way! Don’t touch it. People say funny stuff, you know.

You’re fascinated by the Internet and the possibilities it holds for cinema’s future. If an offer came along to do a Web-only film, would you do it?
I’d be very interested. A couple of years ago, I connected with people making a show on the Internet and I said, “Why not let me in there to do a little work?” It never went anywhere—and the show became really big—but it’s still very exciting. Maybe there’s a new medium that is coming our way, not just Blu-Ray disc, but something you can (stream) at home. The system of releasing and making films is sort of walking on its last legs. It’s not going to last more than 50 years and we’ll have to find something else.


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