Just about everyone is happy that Denis Villeneuve directed “Blade Runner 2049,” including Rian Johnson. The two filmmakers spoke to each other after a recent screening of the film, which was recorded as an episode of the DGA’s podcast the Director’s Cut. A few minutes in, Villeneuve describes the cloak-and-dagger circumstances that led to him taking on the project — and why it took him two months to decide to do so.
“The project was written by and for Ridley Scott, and the thing is that Ridley had a lot of things cooking at the same time. Harrison Ford was anxious to start the project, and Ridley was working on finishing ‘The Martian’ going into ‘Alien: Covenant,’ and so they decided, the producer and Ridley decided to reach for someone else,” says Villeneuve. “I had made a movie previously with Alcon called ‘Prisoners’ and we had a great experience together, and to my great, great surprise, they approached me.”
From there, he received a mysterious message from producer Andrew A. Kosove: “I need to meet you in a place where nobody will see us.” Villeneuve agreed, and when the two met, Kosove “put an envelope in front of me, and it said, it was written ‘Queensborough’ on it, and he said, ‘Queensborough doesn’t exist.’ It was this ‘Blade Runner’ project.”
“I was honestly sincerely moved that they had that amount of trust in me,” he continues. “Honestly, it was by far one of the most beautiful compliments I’ve ever received. And then I didn’t sleep for two months thinking, ‘Do I do it or not?’”
Villeneuve was eventually won over by the film’s screenplay, but “first I had to make sure that I feel that I will be able to do it. And I had to make peace with the idea that I could be damned forever by the cinematic community — I could be crucified.” Listen to the full conversation below.