Stepping into the shoes of one of the world's most iconic directors for the sequel to one of the most celebrated of cult classics – and some 35 years after the original – must be a daunting task for any filmmaker, and it's one Denis Villeneuve hasn't taken lightly.
But speaking to The Hollywood Reporter on the sidelines of the CineEurope trade show in Barcelona, the director revealed that he and his star had come to terms with the enormity of taking on the long-awaited Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
"Ryan Gosling and I made peace with the idea that the chances of success were very narrow," he said. "I came on board because the script was very strong. But no matter what you do, no matter how good what you’re doing is, the film will always be compared to the first, which is a masterpiece. So I made peace with that. And when you make peace with that, you are free."
Although Villenueve said he "had a lot of fun" making Blade Runner 2049 – which also stars a returning Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, plus Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Dave Bautista and Robin Wright – the director of Arrival and Sicario admitted that it was the "biggest artistic challenge" of his career to date.
"To take Ridley Scott's universe and try to make it my own was a really big task for me," he said. As for Scott, the cinema legend gave Villeneuve what he described as the "biggest gift of all, which is freedom."
"He said, it's your movie. I'll be there if you need me, otherwise I'll be away," the director said. "And I must say he was not there physically, but I felt his presence all the time, because I was dealing with his universe all the time. So in a way he wasn't there, but he was there a lot at the same time."
Blade Runner 2049 is due for release by Warner Bros. domestically and Sony Pictures internationally on Oct. 7.