- 03 March 2011
- By John Howell
The iconic science fiction film Blade Runner, based on a book by Philip K. Dick and directed by Ridley Scott, will be followed up with sequels and prequels soon. Variety reports that Alcon Entertainment is in final discussions to secure film, TV and franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels based on Scott's 1982 science fiction masterpiece. Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, the film producers from Alcon negotiating for the rights, told Variety they're in the early stages of sorting out how to proceed and were not sure if Ridley Scott would be involved.
"We're at a very preliminary stage where we're still formulating strategy as to whether we'll hire a filmmaker or a writer first and whether we'll do a prequel or a sequel," Kosove said. "The one thing for sure is that neither Broderick or I will direct."
The rights are presently with producer-director Bud Yorkin, who may also work as producer on new films with Alcon. While the rights would not allow them to release a direct remake of the original film, they can produce projects based on situations and themes introduced in Scott's Blade Runner.
"We are honoured and excited to be in business with Bud Yorkin," Kosove and Johnson said. "This is a major acquisition for our company, and a personal favourite film for both of us. We recognise the responsibility we have to do justice to the memory of the original with any prequel or sequel we produce."
Scott's story of a bounty hunter in a dark and not too distant future, hunting rogue androids (replicants), is a spectacular work with multiple layers and beautfully shot. Blade Runner has rightly gained a massive cult following over the years, even though it originally achieved poor returns at the box office. Re-releases have improved the film markedly, updating special effects, re-editing certain sequences, and even inserting original film footage left out the first time round. You can read more about the final, ultimate version of Blade Runner, Blade Runner: The Final Cut here.
The original Blade Runner screenplay was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? While the film adopted many of the themes, ideas and characters from Dick's original novel, there were also some significant deviations, making it a very loose adaptation at the best of times.
Alcon Entertainment has previously produced 19 other films, including The Blind Side, Insomnia, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pant, P.S. I Love You and the post apocalyptic science fiction film The Book of Eli, which starred Denzel Washington.
Alcon's purchase of the Blade Runner film rights has the potential to create excellent new Blade Runner follow ups, expanding upon the story ideas and potent themes from the original. On the flip side of course, we could end up with sequels and prequels that are poor imitations of the first film, and make us long once more for some original ideas out of Hollywood. We'll have to wait and see if this is very good news or very bad, or perhaps somewhere in between?
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