Denis Villeneuve Talks “Biggest Ever” Blade Runner 2049 Pressure and Dune Reboot

Following the 1982 cult classic Blade Runner is a task many directors would shy away from. Citing scheduling conflicts or lack of creative control to tackle such a challenge. But Denis Villeneuve is fearless in his pursuit of making movies that are on the cutting edge.

Blade Runner 2049 will pit Ryan Gosling with the original star Harrison Ford, as it builds on the story delivered so well by Ridley Scott. As he attends red carpet events for his science fiction thriller Arrival, Villeneuve explains that his pictures must steer away from CGI effects. All as he strives to make titles that are as authentic as humanly possible.

BR2049 Tops The Pops For High Stakes

Blade Runner

Speaking ahead of the BAFTA awards, the filmmaker outlined that the sequel was as strenuous a mission as he could embark upon.

“I feel (the pressure) every day,” Villeneuve admitted. “At the same time, I’ve never been that inspired and excited. I love risk. All of my projects have come with a certain amount of artistic risk, or sometimes a risk of how you portray reality. I did a movie once about a school massacre and I had a huge responsibility to the victims of those events. I did a movie about a conflict in Lebanon, so there again, you have a strong responsibility to reality. When I did Sicario, I felt responsible to how I would portray the Mexican society there. So I’m used to pressure. For Blade Runner (2049), it’s artistic pressure, and by far the biggest ever.”

With the first installment inspiring the likes of Christopher Nolan to avoid the use of special effects, the director agreed that the follow up had to keep a level of reality to proceedings. Causing him to decide that he wanted only essential CGI and nothing more.

“I’m very old school,” Villeneuve states. “I wish I had the chance to do my Aliens as animatronics. That was my dream at the beginning (of Arrival). We were dreaming to put them in a gigantic aquarium with gigantic beasts that would be moved by puppeteers. But sadly, it would have been too expensive. I hate green screens. It sucks out all my energy. I get depressed. I have an admiration for directors who can work with that on a daily basis. For Blade Runner (2049) we tried our best to do as much as possible in-camera, building everything.”

Dune Project A Life Long Ambition For Denis


While the science fiction sequel took a lot out of the director mentally and creatively, he explained that the reboot of Dune was something that got the juices flowing again. Following on from the 1984 original with Sting and Patrick Stewart, Villeneuve feared that fatigue would get the better of him and impact the project.

“I was able to do Blade Runner (2049) thinking I would do nothing after, because there was a rhythm in the past few years that was very exciting and I learned a lot as a filmmaker,” he said. “But I got slowly a bit more and more tired physically. And as I was doing Blade Runner (2049), which was a very long shoot, I remember thinking, 'That might be my last movie. I’m going to bed for like three years.’"

Having been presented the opportunity from the studio, the Canadian had no hesitation to grab the opportunity with both hands.

"Now that I’m editing, I’m finding back my energy. And since I was 12 years old there was a book I read, which is Dune, which is my favorite book, with 1984. After Prisoners, the producer of Alcon asked me what I would like to do next. I said, Dune, spontaneously, that if anyone could get me the rights for Dune — and I knew it was very difficult to get those rights. For me it was just a dream, and I guess I’m lucky that Mary Parent from Legendary got the rights and offered it to me. I can’t say no to that. I have images that I am haunted by for 35 years. I will not say no to that. That’s going to be the project of my life.”

Source: Variety