Ridley Scott discussing Harrison Ford as Deckard in Blade Runner

The American Film Institute has posted a short interview with Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, reflecting on the casting of Harrison Ford in the role of Deckard in the 1982 sci-fi classic. As regular readers of Boing Boing may know, I am totally obsessed with this film, now and forever, and find even the tiniest glimpses into its creation and history fascinating. Scott goofs at one point and refers to Ford's role in Star Wars incorrectly, as dozens of YouTube commenters have pointed out in the comments. But it's a great clip.


  1. If you haven’t read it, Rutger Hauer’s autobiography “All Those Moments” has lots of nice details about the making of Blade Runner. He played the leader of the replicants, Roy Batty. Most interesting for me was that he saw his role as heroic, his character embodying more heroic traits while Harrison Ford’s character was alcoholic, mopey, etc.
    Also, apparently Hauer is responsible for writing some of the classic lines at the end of the movie, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

    1. Only partially correct. The “i’ve seen things you people…” parts were in the original script (and alot more to it.) Hauer convinced Scott to snip it up a bit and then wrote the “tears in the rain” line.

  2. Harrison Ford’s take on Blade Runner usually sounds more like:

    I had a bad haircut. Did I mention that they made me have a bad haircut? What was up with that haircut? I don’t really understand why I had to have that bad haircut.

  3. As a Blade Runner obsessive I take it you’ve read the book about the making of the movie, but the short critique of Blade Runner by the BFI (http://filmstore.bfi.org.uk/acatalog/info_209.html) is well worth reading if you haven’t already done so, as well as what Salman Rushdie has to say about it in various places (and his talks with Terry Gilliam about Brazil etc).

    And if you haven’t read PKD’s ‘non-science’-fiction, I thought “Puttering about in a Small Land” was excellent and says more about DADoES and BR than PKD’s other sci-fi (which I rate highly) and the ‘not-by-PKD’ follow-ups (that I don’t rate at all).


  4. Xeni, I share your obsession with this film.

    To me it is one of the greatest expressions of American cinema – made even as “blockbusters” like Jaws and Star Wars had begun to spiral Hollywood into the vapid hell of low-risk sequels and re-hashed story-lines we suffer through today.

    No Blue People in this movie, and none needed…

    Scott never made a better movie, and you can still see him standing in it’s shadow. (I should be so lucky in my career)

    Here is another great book on the making of:
    “Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner”

  5. Had the pleasure of seeing Syd Mead at RMIT in Melbourne on Tuesday night. Amazing that on Blade Runner he was brought in to design the flying cars but ended up creating an entire world. It was obvious to see how he and Ridley Scott connected on a creative level that is really quite rare. They had to give Syd a title other than Art Director, due to guild issues. They gave him his own card in the credits and created the term Visual Futurist to describe his work.

    The film remains the most compelling vision of the future I’ve ever seen. And Syd Mead’s work is how I now see the future… blew my mind as a kid and has stayed with me ever since. T’was a crazy inspiring night. He’s a cool guy too… and pretty damn funny.

  6. Time to die, indeed. Stupendous line, glad Hauer wrote it, since it blurbed the entire movie (except for the acting). That line, and Priss’ awesome-atic death scene defined the dying of the light for me. But her eyeroll as the toy soldiers did their Good Evening, J.R. and bounced off the doorframe — a perfect Zen strawberry of a moment for a woman designed to be a soldier’s plaything and waiting for her assassin to appear– was equally memorable. Yes, I dream of electric sheep, too.

  7. Blade Runner is how I learned the definition of “codpiece”, because after seeing the movie as a kid I borrowed DADOES from the library, and…codpiece.

  8. I loved the movie when it first came out, except for the voice over bit. It didn’t feel right, nor the happy-ish ending.

  9. Deckard had a bad haircut, not Ford.

    And regarding the Ridley screwup of Ford and Luke Skywalker, Gene Siskel makes a reverse mixup in a review of Return of the Jedi where he says that “Han Solo chases a stormtrooper in a Star Wars version of a bike chase through a moon forest.” I’d link the video, but the audio sucks.

  10. Xeni:

    I, too, am obsessed. Saw it on the big screen at its original release, and I was speechless afterward.

    If you haven’t, be sure to watch the BBC docu ‘On The Edge of Bladerunner’, which I haven’t been able to find archived in any BBC catalogue or “officially” for sale anywhere. But it can usually be found, usually in six segments, on YouTube. It gets taken down, but always seems to resurface. It’s utterly fascinating.

    I’m hoping someone can answer the following:

    It’s well known that Harrison Ford refuses to discuss Blade Runner in most if not all interviews. He has basically disavowed his connection to the film. Can anyone tell me why this is? Bad blood between him and Scott, is what you’d obviously guess. But given its cachet, you’d think that anyone who had anything to do with it would be more than ecstatic to trumpet their association with it. Comments, anyone?

    1. I’d place my bet on career management. H.F. succeeded to avoid getting his famous characters sticking to him. Type casted he was, into heroic, but not into heroic SF. Not bad for someone with of a very shallow register, albeit interesting, as an actor.

    2. ‘On The Edge of Bladerunner’ is not a BBC documentary. It was commissioned and aired by Channel 4.

  11. I remember thinking, in the late ’70s when I was around 10 or 11, “Someone should make a movie where Syd Mead does the production design and Vangelis does the music.” Three years later “Blade Runner” opened.

  12. Nice, Xeni – any mention of BR gets me going. It is possibly my favorite movie of all time. I was 10 when it was released and the neighborhood moviehouse would let me in to see if even though it was r rated. And “Future Noir” is an awesome trip through the making of the movie; I highly recommend it. Someone above recommended the short critique of Blade Runner by the BFI – am getting it now. Ford didn’t like Scott, who was a relentless perfectionist and was demanding of his actors. Ford felt Scott did not pay enough attention to Ford and was neglected while Scott was focused more on other matters like the vizfx. All in “Future Noir.”

  13. I think there are a lot of us obsessed with this movie. I always get crapped on by PKD fans for my opinion that the movie is far better than the book (the movie deals with far deeper ideas than the book, and has a lot more interesting plot line.) I like the happy ending and the voice-overs (unlike, it seems, everybody else)– the future presented is so depressing I need the romantic denouement.

  14. ill lich ,
    I understand what you’re saying – the plot line is -I think- better. But I have to disagree that the movie had far deeper ideas. The biggest concept in the book deals with religion and reality itself (typical PKD)- in the sense of the blurred lines between the Mercerist VR church experiences and the everyday reality crossing over to the point where Deckard had physical bruises and was seeing visions. I would say that was some heady-ass deep philosophic and theological ideas; far more than the Frankenstein-ish rehash of the film. Not to put down the film at ALL- it’s phenomenal and one of my favorites next to 2001 A Space Odyssey.

  15. I’m kind of jealous that Ridley Scott is capable of mistaking Luke Skywalker for Han Solo. It suggests he has a life outside of someone elses’ art.

    I kind of wish I had that. Do feral humans dream of woolen sheep?

  16. “Its Too Bad She Won’t Live – But Then Again Who Does?”
    + The ‘Tears in the rain’ speech are all anyone needs to know about human existence as far as I’m concerned.

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