Time works in mysterious ways! And in the forty years since Blade Runner hit theaters, it has established a benchmark for visually striking Cinema. While modern blockbusters such as Inception, Gravity, and Mad Max: Fury Road is undeniably beautiful and deserving of their awards, there was simply nothing quite like Blade Runner when it was released.
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And here are 10 interesting and fun facts that bring you the full lowdown on how Scott and his team made a classic.
1. The title comes from a different story
The film’s title comes from William S. Burroughs’ Blade Runner, a film based on Alan E. Nourse’s 1974 novel The Bladerunner (alternatively published as The Blade Runner).
Its plot revolves around a black market for medical services. Scott liked the term because it suited Deckard’s replicant-hunting cop. The original title of the film was Dangerous Days.
2. The term ‘replicants’ was not in Philip K. Dick’s novel
In ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, the androids are referred to as ‘Androids’ or ‘Andies’ for short. But the screenwriter felt that this might be too comical when spoken onscreen and was looking for a new name for them.
His daughter Risa, a microbiology and chemistry student, had been teaching her father about the replication process, which is how cells multiply and grow. And the rest is history.
3. Ridley Scott didn’t even read the novel the film was based on
Scott has admitted that he did not read the entire book on which his film is based because it was too difficult to get into. In a 2017 interview with Wired, he said:
“I met Philip K. Dick later, and he said, ‘I understand you couldn’t read the book.’ And I said, ‘You know you’re so dense, mate, by page 32, there’s about 17 storylines.’‘
4. Scorcese turned down Dick’s novel
A year after the publication of Dick’s novel, he met with Scorsese and writer Jay Cocks to discuss adapting it for the big screen. In the end, Scorcese and Cocks decided not to option the film. But it was the first time Dick was approached about making a film based on any of his work.
Since then, there have been numerous films and television shows based on Dick’s stories, including Total Recall, Minority Report, The Man in the High Castle, and A Scanner Darkly, to name a few.
5. There was no love lost between Scott and his film crew
During the film’s production, Scott stated in an interview that he preferred working with English crew members over American crew members because, as he put it when he asked English crew members to do something, “they would just say ‘Yes, Gov’nor,’ and get on with it.”
Unfortunately, the majority of the crew on Blade Runner were Americans who were so irritated by Scott’s comments that they all had t-shirts made with the words ‘Yes Gov’nor, My Ass’ and wore them on set every day. Scott responded by wearing a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Xenophobia Sucks.’
6. The scene in which Pris breaks a car window with her elbow was real and completely accidental
Pris runs away from Sebastian after meeting him for the first time, skidding in the rain and smashing his car window with her elbow. This was not planned, and the glass was real glass, not the breakaway glass that is commonly seen in movies.
Many of the scenes in the film were shot at night in New York during exceptionally rainy weather, and Daryl Hannah slipped in the middle of a take, sending her elbow crashing through the window. The actress chipped her elbow eight times and has a scar to prove it.
7. Debbie Harry was almost cast in the film
The role of Pris, played by Daryl Hannah, was originally offered to the Blondie singer. But Harry turned down the role. In a 2014 interview, she said
“My biggest regret of all is turning down the role of the blonde robot Pris in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner… my record company didn’t want me to take time out to do a movie. I shouldn’t have listened to them.
8. Scott cast Rutger Hauer without even meeting him
The director was so taken with Hauer’s performance in several of Paul Verhoeven’s films, particularly Turkish Delight and Soldier of Orange, that he offered the Dutch actor the role of Roy Batty without an audition. The director hadn’t met the actor until his first day on set.
As a joke, Hauer showed up wearing huge green sunglasses, pink satin trousers, and a sweater with a fox on the front. Katherine Haber, a production executive on the film, stated that when Scott saw Hauer, he “literally went white.”
9. They improvised one of the film’s most memorable lines
Hauer improvised a lot during filming, including most of the scene with him petting a dove, but perhaps his most successful piece of improvised acting was the lincoln scene: “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” It wasn’t in the script, but Scott loved it and the rest, as they say, is history
10. It’s a ‘curse’
It may not be as cursed as Poltergeist or The Omen. But Blade Runner has its curse… on the businesses whose logos appear in the film. Atari, Pan Am, RCA, Cuisinart, and Bell Phones, all experienced severe business problems in the years following the release of Blade Runner, as did Coca-Cola, whose 1985 “New Coke” experiment was a flop. The members of the Blade Runner production team reffered to it as the “product-placement Blade Runner curse.”