The Scrapped Original Opening to 'Blade Runner' Was Brilliant
It all starts with a boiling pot of soup.
The original introduction to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in the early version of the Blade Runner script, then titled Dangerous Days, was brilliant and would have submersed audiences into the android world in an instant.
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It was all born out of an image director Ridley Scott saw in his mind: a boiling pot of soup on a stove in a farm house.
This is discussed in the special features of Blade Runner: The Final Cut, the 35th anniversary Blu-ray, due out Sept. 5.
Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, says Scott wanted to introduce the Ford character in a way that made audiences know immediately they were in a world of man and machine.
Hampton Fancher, executive producer and initial screenwriter, constructed the scene from that single image offered by Scott, Sammon explains: "The original idea was to have Deckard be sitting in the kitchen and through the windows, you see the day is getting darker and darker ... a strange vehicle pulls up. A guy in farmer's overalls comes out, goes into the house, sees Deckard sitting there, ignores him, walks into the kitchen and starts stirring a big pot of soup."
Sammon goes on, "He says, 'Do you want any soup?' Deckard doesn't say anything. 'Who are you with, anyway?' this guys says while stirring. Deckard gets up and says 'I'm Deckard, Blade Runner.' Boom! He kills this guy for no reason. Just shoots him. And then as this guy slumps against this wall, falls to the floor, Deckard reaches into his head and pulls his lower jaw out. And you see that it is an aluminum construct with an ID number stamped on it, and you realize it is not a person, it is a robot. Deckard takes this, puts in into his trench coat and walks out of the farm house, across the field. A little dog shows up and is barking as Deckard [flies] off."
In the finished film, the audience is introduced to Deckard while he's sitting outside while it is raining, reading a newspaper before ordering some food. The first introduction to an android acting bizarrely happens when Leon Kowalski starts glitching when asked about the tortoise in the sun by Holden [Morgan Paull] during an interrogation.
It is not explained why that original introduction was scrapped.
Another super interesting tidbit talked about in the special features involves the iconic "Tears in the rain" speech given by Roy Batty right before he expires.
David Peoples, the second screenwriter, who was brought on by Scott to help move the lagging project along quicker, explains he wrote most of the speech, but the best part of it was all the invention of actor Rutger Hauer.
"If I remember right, Deckard just killed Batty off the top of the thing in the fight," Peoples said. "That speech, that over the shoulder of Orion, was me except for the fact in the first read around when I sat there, Rutger read that speech and then went on with a couple of lines about memories in the rain. And the he looked at me like a naughty little boy, like he was checking to see if the writer was going to be upset. I didn't let on that I was upset, but at the time, I was a little upset and threatened by it. Later, seeing the movie, that was a brilliant contribution of Rutger's, that line about tears in the rain. It is absolutely beautiful."
Blade Runner: The Final Cut includes all four cuts on the film and more than seven hours of special features. It is due out Sept, 5. Its sequel, Blade Runner 2049, will be in theaters Oct. 6.
by Graeme McMillan
by Graeme McMillan
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