Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner

This film, directed by Ridley Scott, is based on Philip K. Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ Harrison Ford’s character, Rick Deckard, is a private detective (blade runner) who is disillusioned and cynical. The interpretation in this film is intense and gives the picture a character of vulnerability and moral ambiguity.  This is one of the strengths of the film, and led many to ask whether Deckard is even human.

Even today, a question will be posed: “Is Rick Deckard a replication?”   Ridley Scott replies yes, while Harrison Ford says otherwise. Robert Mitchum was the first actor considered for the role of Deckard by screenwriter Hampton Fancher.  Other actors on the list of potential leads were Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman Peter Falk, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds and Nick Nolte.  Finally Hampton Fancher, who was also a producer of the film, suggested Harrison Ford.

The producers got in contact with Steven Spielberg, who was in the process of creating Raiders of the Lost Ark, to learn about the actor. The director’s answer was clear: “He is a big star.”  So Ridley Scott traveled to London to see pictures of the recording of Steven Spielberg’s film and determined Harrison Ford was perfect for the role.

Ford was interested in the movie, but his reading of the first script did not convince him to accept the role.  He did not like the presence of a voice during the investigations by Deckard.  The audience is never shown the details.  Ford wanted things to be seen rather than have them related.  This detail became a source of friction between the director and his principal performer, with Ridley Scott tending to concern himself more with the sets than with the actors.

Edward James Olmos embodies the mysterious Gaff.  The story is told that the character played by Edward James Olmos was created to correct a design error: the cockpit of the vehicle that Harrison Ford was to be flying proved to be too cramped for him.  A smaller player needed to be hired to pilot the machine.  Thus we have Edward James Olmos, as Gaff, driving while Harrison Ford is nestled on the passenger seat.

Despite the differences between Scott and Ford, Harrison Ford lives up to his recommendation.  In a scene where his character is fighting with Pris (a replication played by Daryl Hannah), Ford insists that the beating not be just simulated.  Hannah obeys him and put her fingers in his nose, making Ford bloodstained by the end of the shots. His discomfort during the shooting also helped Harrison Ford by giving a tragic dimension to his character.

During the test screenings of the film, viewers poorly received the interpretation of Harrison Ford. Indeed, his image was that of a fearless hero, brave and without reproach.  The role of Decker was so different from Ford’s roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones that his followers did not want to see him in the role of a somewhat cowardly and unscrupulous character.

For these reasons (and other purely commercial ones), the producers made a revision to the film in order to simplify the story and remove certain themes.  The ending is also changed, transforming the spirit of the original outcome.

Despite Ford’s opposition, he was bound by contract to record the voice that guided the viewer’s in their understanding of the film, which was a real ordeal for him. After the reading of six different versions of narration, the weariness of the repetitive work can be perceived in the monotoneous voice that is heard in the film.

When the film premiered in 1982 the critics did not exactly love it and Blade Runner is a commercial failure. The different role of Harrison Ford in relation to his proceeding ones and the blackness of the film are the main factors. Blade Runner was also overshadowed by the premiere, a few days earlier, of ET, The Extraterrestrial, from Steven Spielberg.

However, Blade Runner has become a cult movie over the years, especially through outlet versions that are closer to the vision of the filmmaker (Directo