All posts by Sam Thomas

Who do we want directing Blade Runner 2?

With Ridley Scott taking the Producer’s chair in the upcoming sequel to the classic 80’s sci-fi noir, the director has yet be announced. It might be too early to start culminating a Christmas list right now ( a lot can happen in a year) there are definitely some sci-fi heavy hitters that we’d love to see running the Tyrell Corporation. Which would be your best guess?

Jonathan Glazer made a terrifying impression with this year's Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson.
Jonathan Glazer made a terrifying impression with this year’s Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson.
  1. Jonathon Glazer – I don’t know if you noticed, but Under the Skin was pretty damn creepy! Scarlett Johansson’s man-eater from the beyond the stars could very well have been a replicant herself…except, you know, for the big pools of bedroom water and the empty skin bags.
  2. Garth Edwards – It’s hard to hear the name Garth Edwards without having flashes of soldiers levelling pistols at giant reptilian monsters of all sorts, and for good reason. But remember that Edwards already had a crack at an ’80s sci-fi franchise with Dredd (2012). Despite the reviews not being fantastic and hopes for a sequel all but diminished, there was a lot of Blade Runner in the grim, endless city-scapes of Mega City One.
  3. Jake Paltrow – Having not directed a movie since 2007’s The Good Night, Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby brother has come out swinging with Young Ones, a post-apocalyptic drama where people get pretty antsy when you try and take their water rations away from them. While the film didn’t quite make the impact it was hoping for, it shows that Paltrow might have promise if he’s given the right material.
  4. William Eubank – Following in a fairly new tradition of shoestring-budget indie sci-fi at Sundance, William Eubank’s The Signal did well, just not really well. If nothing else, the road-trip-turned-thriller proved that Eubank’s got big ideas. Another sci-fi try-hard that could benefit from a little mentoring, from an old master perhaps.
  5. Dan Gilroy – Since I saw Gilroy’s Nightcrawler at the end of last month, I’ve had some trouble sleeping. Maybe it’s Gilroy’s unmistakable talent for working with darkness and night scenes, or it could be the realisation that Jake Gyllenhaal actually appears in my dreams now, with his cutthroat razor grin. I don’t know, but what I do know is that is the kind of dark matter energy that would be really exciting to see in a Blade Runner sequel.
  6. Michael Bay – No, I’m just kidding. Seriously, can you imagine?

So that’s what I’ll be asking for this Christmas. What do you think? Did I leave out your ideal Blade Runner frontrunner? Why not yell at me about it?

Red band trailer for Vince Vaughn’s “Unfinished Business” redefines the wheelbarrow.

Say what you will about Vince Vaughn, because the odds are you’re not a celebrity so he probably won’t hear about it. He’s had a few hit and misses on the big screen lately, so it was really exciting to see him added to the roster of True Detective, the cast of which is getting more and more titillating as the weeks go by. But Vaughn isn’t saying goodbye to good ol’ comedy romps just yet, and will be back in theatres with Unfinished Business, which sees Vaughn as a struggling businessman trying to close a deal that will keep him from bankruptcy. The things standing in his way are his “crack” team, played by Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson, and former-workmates-turned-business rivals James Marsden and Sienna Miller. Throw Nick frost in there for a sprinkle of English wit – or at the very least a few accent gags – and this looks to be a pretty well rounded feature. I’m a fan of Vaughn’s so I’m glad to see him in something a little more fast paced that can better match his dialogue. Here’s the red band trailer, straight from Yahoo.

As far as comedies go, the red band trailer is pretty damn red, so keep an eye out for some top-notch nudity if that’s your sort of thing. ¬†Or you can watch the green band, if you just like jokes and stuff.

Should we be worried that Ridley Scott isn’t directing Blade Runner 2?

Over the last two days we’ve gotten some intriguing if a little empty updates on two defining sci-fi properties. Behind curtain number one we have Independence day, prom king of mid-’90s action sci-fi, slated to return for a long-debated sequel in June 2016 as reported by Deadline. And then we have Blade Runner, the moody ’80s goth who turns out to be coolest guy in school after all, with its own sequel scheduled for who-knows-when. Roland Emmerich is locking down his directorial return for Independence Day, so the soon-to-be franchise is being treated as business-as-usual by movie fans. But Ridley Scott has stated in an interview that he’s going to be sat firmly in his producer’s chair instead of directing Blade Runner 2.

If the whole idea of a Blade Runner sequel wasn’t a big enough gamble, the absence of Scott as director has gotten people into a tizzy, more so than the apparent absence of Harrison Ford in anything but a smaller “third act” role, as described by Scott himself. This revelation, despite being a drop in a bucket of apparent scoops in the lead up to Thanksgiving Weekend, has people split down party lines. The pro-Scott camp has strong doubts that a sequel without Scott directly at the helm could be anything but a lukewarm disaster. On the other hand you have the anti-Scott’s, who are citing Scott’s track record of underperforming projects including Robin Hood, The Counsellor and the controversy over the unseasonably pale Exodus: Gods and Kings as testament that he is going the way of all ageing directors and walking out into the snow storm…at least until The Martian comes out.

Either way, the absence of Scott even by a title bump is making waves, if not moderate ones. The question is, why do we care so much?

har ford
Harrison Ford is hanging around for the Blade Runner sequel, if only for a “Third Act” entrance.

For a regular sequel to a successful first film, it makes sense to want the original director to come back and weave some more of his or her magic. But Blade Runner was 32 years ago. This is the first time in cinematic history that properties have hibernated for decades instead of years and still awoken to relative excitement form the fans. But is the director vital to that revitalisation? Let’s not forget Dumb and Dumber To: a 20 year gap, the writers and directors come back, the key comic performer (Carrey) comes back, and the what should be the greatest high school reunion of all time is a half empty gymnasium with deflated balloons on the walls.

And then you’ve got Star Wars: prequels notwithstanding, it’s been 31 years since Harrison Ford was in a Star Wars Movie, but once again he’s playing doctor and resuscitating his other trigger-happy ’80s icon. But no one is trembling in their boots because George Lucas isn’t directing; if anything people are more excited to have someone new taking the helm – although you could argue that Lucas had his chance at a Star Wars revamp and failed. The fact is, there are no rules for how to make a good sequel with twenty or thirty years of air in between, and there’s an argument that the original director is not required to make a great great grand-sequel.

Over the last 24 months we’ve seen the dams break on the new sci-fi directorial talent in Hollywood. With people like Garth Edwards and Alex Garland establishing themselves as dependable monster hunters and computer hackers, not to mention the wave of indie sci-fi that has kept a steady pace this year, room has to be made to let these guys do what they do best. And what better way to get them to flex their muscles than with properties that audiences are already psyched about? Maybe this is what Scott has in mind by taking a back seat.

How do you feel about the plans for Blade Runner 2?