It looks like whichever studio got luckily-associated with the original is going back to the well for another dip.
Who was it? Viacom? Carolco?
No, I think they went bust. Someone else must have the rights now.
Anyway, here are the basics of it:
Cast: Michael Fassbender as a cop who definitely won’t be connected, related to or cloned from the original’s Deckard. Rachel Weisz as a replicant who doesn’t know she’s really human. Michael Shannon as an ordinary replicant gone mad. And, in a nice piece of counter-intuitive casting, Logan Lerman as the 22 year old CEO of the big corporation that makes the replicants. Fucking rich kids.
Director: The Riddler, who else?
Story: Not a huge amount is known apart from the most basic concept: It’s twenty years or so after the original, and Lerman’s father has just been murdered, leaving the company to the precocious little shit. Did Lerman kill his father? Probably. But that doesn’t really matter. The main plot: the huge corporation has found a way to extend the replicants’ life cycles to almost human levels, which means a sea change in human evolution. Parents are choosing to ‘give birth’ to replicants instead of natural kids, mainly due to the increased durability and intelligence of the replicants.
What does this mean for the theme?
It means it’s completely different. No more ‘what does it mean to be human?’ Now it’s ‘what does it mean to be replicant?’ And more than that, it means people no longer wish to be known as human, and everyone under the age of 25 claims to be a replicant.
Is this dumb?
Actually, not really. It’s better than going step by step through the original again, with a cop hunting replicants, only this time eight of them, not four. That was what came out of the first few passes at the script.
John Sayles got a hold of it. Previous history has him fiddling with Jurassic Park 3, which wasn’t great, and despite his own films being pretty decent, he was starting to get a reputation as a guy who comes in, does five minutes work, gets the fuck out and doesn’t apologise for it. There’s only so many times you can use the line ‘it wasn’t even my film, I just made it slightly less shit’ before people start to wonder why you couldn’t actually make it un-shit to begin with.
But anyway, here are the changes he’s made, changes that have caused Scott to claim ‘if I do this thing right, it could be bigger than 2001.’ Of course, Scott always says shit like that, and judging by ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Exodus: white man’s Egypt’, Blade Runner 2 could be closer to ‘2010’ than Kubrick’s ‘cavemen in space’ flick. Besides, the guy is nearly 80, perhaps he’s just run out of ideas?
Original script: Set two minutes after the original, Rachel breaks down in some random gas station toilet. Deckard feels her up a bit [it’s okay, she’s a replicant] then puts her in the truck and takes her back to his place. There she stays for the rest of the movie, Deckard’s private sex doll.
Sayles’ script: Deckard is jettisoned completely. The movie begins 20 years later, with the murder of Lerman’s father by Lerman. The scene is caught on CCTV and Lerman claims it wasn’t him, it was another replicant. It’s clear that the police know Lerman is a replicant – in fact, one of the police officers, the higher-ranking one, is a replicant too.
Original script: Eight replicants escape from an asteroid. They brutally despatch the guards, and look deeply upset when one of their own gets killed. Oh, what does it mean to be human?
Sayles’ script: There aren’t eight bad guys, there is only one. And he’s not really bad, he’s just tired of life. His first scene is him sitting in a cafe, staring out a window, half-reading about some replicants doing something cool in Space in the newspaper. Then he’s in his apartment, getting ready for bed. Then he’s in an office, working alongside other replicants, doing unexceptional work. Then he’s at home again. Then at work. Then at home. Then work. This continues for fifteen minutes, giving us an acute sense of what it means to be a replicant when a] you can live a long time, and b] when there are many of you.
Original script: Three of the replicants have sex for thirteen minutes. They alternate between passionate, excited, jealous, confused. When it’s done, they go into a different room and have sex there too. Not only can they fuck like humans, they can do it faster and with more elasticity.
Sayles’ script: The bad replicant gets sick of his tedious routine and tries to chat up a human woman in the bar. He uses his replicant brain to impress her, speaking in four different languages, but then another replicant, with better programming comes along and outclasses him. The bad replicant follows the couple out of the bar and kills them as they’re about to have sex in the alley.
Original script: Deckard sits in his apartment with no lights, and watches the playback of the three replicants having sex. After he’s done, he goes to Rachel and has sex with her, making an origami gecko at the end of it.
Sayles’ script: Fassbender is called in to hunt the bad replicant, who has sent a note to one of the newspapers saying it’s all Logan Lerman’s fault. Fassbender is treated like shit by the high-ranking police officers because they are replicants and he is human. Or is he??
Original script: Deckard gets as far as his car before getting depressed again. He returns to his apartment and has more sex with Rachel. After he’s done, one of the eight replicants breaks into his apartment for unexplained reasons and Deckard fights him naked. You see, the replicant is clothed, Deckard is naked. It means something, it has to. The replicant wins the fight, but allows Deckard to go for his gun and shoot him dead. As he dies, he smiles. Deckard walks over to him and sees he’s not quite dead. His last words: ‘I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe…things…in Space…on fire and…’ Deckard puts his gun away and strokes his cock. Then stops and looks down at it, confused [Not sure where the gun goes].
Sayles’ script: Rachel Weisz appears at the police station and says hi to Fassbender. She says she’s a replicant, but is actually quite nice to him. Then the other police officers treat him like shit again, and she does the same. Fassbender asks her why she’s helping him. She says she ‘hates replicants who don’t appreciate what they’ve been given.’
Original script: Deckard puts on a robot costume and goes to look for the replicants. He finds one of them at a strip bar and shoots her in the back. He leans down, takes her top off, feels her up a bit then throws her through seven different sheets of glass.
Sayles’ script: Fassbender finds the bad replicant pretty fast because they have his scans on record. Fassbender wonders why the police needed him for such an easy task, and the bad replicant tells him it’s because they don’t want to be contaminated with his ‘ideas’. They talk for a long time about what it means to be ordinary, the bad replicant confessing that all he ever wanted was to go into Space. Fassbender pulls his gun out and asks if he’s got any last words. The bad replicant thinks for a second then shakes his head. ‘I’ve seen nothing. Zilch.’
Original script: Deckard fucks Rachel a few more times, then goes to find the six remaining replicants. Each one of them is killed by him, one by one, with each of them showing a different human emotion before their death. Finally, the last replicant runs up to the roof and stands near the edge, trying to get Deckard to come over to him. Deckard doesn’t fall for it and shoots him. The final replicant falls over the edge, clinging onto a pipe thing sticking out the side of the wall. Deckard walks over and spends the last ten minutes of the movie trying to loosen the replicant’s grip, before giving up and shooting him in the eye instead.
Sayles’s script: Not sure what happens in the second half of the movie. It’s being kept under very tight wraps. But Lerman must come back into it at some point, and there’s a chance Fassbender won’t shoot the bad replicant halfway into the film. Some kind of resistance struggle maybe?
So, that’s it. Two different visions of Blade Runner. Not sure which is best, but at least the John Sayles’ version is trying something new. The only problem is, do the fans want something different? They always say they do, but…do they?
We’ll find out in a summer or two.