Hampton Fancher

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The Battle for Blade Runner
Released to mixed reviews in 1982, director Ridley Scott’s neo-noir vision of a not-so-distant future where the line between man and machine has all but disappeared went on to cult status and influenced a generation of filmmakers. On the eve of a sequel no one could have predicted, its creative core—Scott, star Harrison Ford, screenwriter Hampton Fancher, and others—tell the story of the original film’s contentious journey to the screen.
By Michael Schulman
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Trailer: ‘Blade Runner 2049′ - Oct 6

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, MacKenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, Carla Juri, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto.

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The official trailer for Blade Runner 2049 is here. It looks pretty interesting, although Harrison Ford seems to take a backseat for much of the footage. The long-awaited sequel to Blade Runner opens on October 6 via Warner Bros.

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) directs from a script by Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original Blade Runner) and Michael Green (Alien: Covenant). Blade Runner director Ridley Scott serves as an executive producer.

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto star.

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

With a body of work that encompasses narrative features, documentaries, essay films, and shorts, writer-director Michael Almereyda has spent the past three decades mining the endless possibilities of cinematic form to explore an eclectic range of themes, from psychology and photography to the enduring relevance of Shakespeare in the contemporary world. This summer, his talents as both a documentary and a narrative director are on display in his two latest films, which made their New York premieres at BAMcinemaFest in June. Escapes is a candid portrait of Hampton Fancher, whose extraordinary career has taken him from flamenco dancing and acting to writing Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Almereyda’s adaptation of Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prize–nominated play Marjorie Prime is a quietly moving chamber drama about the power of memory, starring Lois Smith as an elderly woman who finds comfort in a hologram of her deceased husband (Jon Hamm). With Escapes now playing at the IFC Center and Marjorie Prime opening at the Quad Cinema later this month, I sat down with the director to talk about the passions that continue to fuel his creative life.

The Music of Memory: A Conversation with Michael Almereyda

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WARNER BROS. PICTURES Gets Ready to Run the Gamut at COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL: San Diego

BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Warner Bros. Pictures brings some of its biggest films and brightest stars to this year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego…

On Saturday, July 22, beginning at 11:30 a.m., Warner Bros. will light up Hall H with a presentation showcasing some of its eagerly awaited upcoming releases, with exclusive footage and revealing conversations, helmed by master of ceremonies Chris Hardwick. The lineup includes:

-Director Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” based on the hugely popular Ernest Cline novel, with stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and T.J. Miller, author/co-screenwriter Cline, co-screenwriter Zak Penn, and Spielberg on the panel;

-The long-awaited “Blade Runner 2049,” Alcon Entertainment’s sequel to the cult classic takes us 30 more years into the future, with stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, as well as Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Lennie James and Mackenzie Davis, writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, and the film’s director, Denis Villeneuve;

-And the greatest Super Heroes of the DC universe, united for the first time on the big screen, with stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher talking all things “Justice League,” as well as an early look at director James Wan’s “Aquaman.”

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

And here’s my list of the most anticipated films of 2017! There are loads of really exciting films coming out this year, and while my most anticipated film is a no-brainer I hope you find the rest of the list interesting. 

Honourable mentions: The Handmaiden, Okja, Mute, Beauty and the Beast, Manchester by the Sea, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Moonlight, Wonder Woman, Kong: Skull Island, Baby Driver, Split, The Book of Henry and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

n.b. I’m in the UK, so several of the films I include here have already has a release in the US. We’re always playing catch-up!

1. Star Wars Episode VIII

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher

Plot: Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

Why be excited? I could just write ‘because it’s Star Wars’, but since I believe in putting effort into these things I’ll try to be somewhat more articulate. I really adored The Force Awakens, and it filled me with a sense of wonder and joy I hadn’t experienced in the cinema for a long, long time. I loved the new characters it introduced (particularly Rey, Kylo and Finn) even more than the stalwarts of old, so the promise of seeing their stories continued in the next episode is thrilling in the extreme. I also happen to be a huge admirer of Rian Johnson’s work (I particularly love The Brothers Bloom), so I’m incredibly excited to see Rian’s “weird thing” (imo, the weirder the better!)

2. Silence

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Issey Ogata, Tadanobu Asano

Plot: The young Portuguese Jesuit Sebastião Rodrigues is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, a Jesuit priest in Japan named Ferreira, based on Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy.

Why be excited? I’ve long admired Scorsese and shamelessly stan his editor Thelma Schoonmaker, so am thrilled to see them collaborating on a film that tackles such an obscure and fascinating period of history. The cast is top flight, and the magnificent trailer does a fantastic job of evoking the tension of the scenario. Silence is also Scorsese’s passion project (he’s been trying to get it made since the 1980s), and suffice to say I happen to find passion positively infectious. 

3. La La Land

Director: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons

Plot: The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts.

Why be excited? Whiplash hit me like a ton of bricks when I caught it on blu-ray last year, and it easily has one of the best endings of any film I’ve ever scene. The quality of Chazelle’s previous offering alone would have been enough to get me hyped for this, but it’s also a musical that honours the golden age of Hollywood. That, combined with the stellar reviews, makes this unmissable for me.

4. Mother

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson

Plot: Mother concerns a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence

Why be excited? This will be Aronofsky’s first film since the batshit crazy biblical film that is Noah, and I’m fascinated to find out what the hell Mother even is (seriously - we know much more about Episode VIII than we know about this). All I know is that I will follow Aronofsky’s career for as long as he continues to make movies.

5. The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones

Plot:  A Cold War-era fairytale about a mute woman who falls for an amphibious man.

Why be excited? Much like Mother, we know very little about The Shape of Water. I’m very excited for this film for the same reason that I’m excited for Mother - I love del Toro’s work, from The Devil’s Backbone right through to Crimson Peak. Del Toro is fantastic at melding fantasy with real-world struggles (see: The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth), so I’m extremely intrigued to see him returning to a theme that he’s handled with aplomb before. The delightfully surreal synopsis only compounds my excitement.

The list is continued below the cut!

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Poster: Blade Runner
Director: Ridley Scott
Produced by: Michael Deeley
Screenplay by: Hampton Fancher & David Peoples 
Based On:  “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick
Production Company: The Ladd Company, Shaw Brothers & Blade Runner Partnership
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young & Edward James Olmos
Music by:  Vangelis
Budget: $28 million
Box Office: $33 million

i reject your reality and substitute my own

blade runner may be a seminal text of filmed science fiction, but its visual genius is only matched by the conceptual muddle that director ridley scott made of its central dramatic question.

philip k. dick’s novel “do androids dream of electric sheep” is reasonably clear about what it is about - a depressed man whose wife hates him for not making enough money to buy the family a status symbol (which, in this bombed-out post-nuclear dystopia, is a real animal to keep as a pet: the family must make do with fooling the neighbors with a lifelike robotic sheep) is forced to murder runaway androids masquerading as people to make more money to buy a real sheep, only to learn from the androids’ relentless efforts to survive his hunt that they are not all that much different than he is…

all they want is to live and experience happiness, or a reasonable simulacrum thereof.

the answer to the titular question is “does it matter?”

in turning dick’s novel into a film (if paul sammon’s book “future noir” is to be believed) hampton fancher wrote a line in a draft either very late in pre-production or during production in which deckard - pondering his state-sanctioned serial murder of replicants - wonders who it was that made him.

finding the poetics of that single line of dialogue utterly beguiling, ridley scott made the executive decision that it would be a cool mindfuck if rick deckard was also a replicant… 

and thus, thirty years of directorial retconning of the established theme of PKD’s work was born.

for the next thirty years, ridley scott has tinkered endlessly with his film, resulting in multiple cuts - down to an official “final” cut (don’t you believe it) released to coincide with the film’s thirtieth anniversary. 

and the verdict on the “final” cut is that rick deckard is, in fact, a replicant. 

but here’s the thing, when you buy the “final” cut, you also have the option of buying it with up to five other versions of the movie - in which deckard is less of a replicant depending on where in his belief that deckard was a replicant ridley scott was at the time the cut was made!

the “final” result is that our poor, put upon rick deckard - who still has to do the shit work of killing sentient beings for a living, and already lost a wife and an electric sheep in the translation to cinema - is the sad victim of what can only be referred to as a thoroughly phlidickian identity crisis: a capricious god has brought into existence numerous versions of himself, all of them slightly different, and all of them at variable levels of proximity to the undeniable - if nonsensical within the narrative frame of the film and source material - possibility that he may, or may not, be a human being.

now those of us in the “geek community” have had these drunken argument pretty much ever week for the past thirty years… 

if rachael - the replicant deckard falls in love with in the film - is, as doctor tyrell, the head of the corporation that manufactures the replicants, a unique experiment for having been implanted with the memories of tyrell’s own niece in order to give her a false sense of her own humanity… 

why and when would/could the tyrell corporation go so far as to create another unique replicant with a lifetime of unique memories and place him in the police force unit responsible for hunting replicants? 

how is rachael an “experiment” if tyrell already has at least one, if not more, fully functional replicants on the police beat each with their own bizarre unicorn memories?

fanwank: because killing for a job is too psychologically taxing for regular people, so the tyrell corporation partnered secretly with the police to put replicants in the job in order to keep ordinary people from having to face that horror. 

me calling bullshit: that’s bullshit. 

also, that was the theme of the source material anyway - why add the layer that deckard is a replicant?

truth: ridley scott made a rash decision based on a single line that put him at odds with the theme of the film he was making.

and let’s face it, anyone who has seen prometheus knows how much ridley scott cares for the internal consistency of canon in narrative.

and now, there’s been the announcement that ridley scott will be producing a sequel to blade runner - and that harrison ford has been confirmed to star in the sequel.

OK - how does that even work? 

harrison ford is over seventy years old, but in blade runner, it’s established that replicants have a four year lifespan. now, people who believe that deckard is a replicant might answer that only SOME replicants have a four year lifespan, and that part of rachael’s experimental programming is that she had an unlimited lifespan. so it’s totally possible - right?

wrong: the other side argues that makes no sense because that’s only true of SOME versions of the movie, and that the versions of the movie in which rachael has an unlimited lifespan are also the ones in which deckard is LESS likely to be a replicant…

also, again, if rachael is so unique as a replicant that all the unicorn imagery in the film represents either her unique gift of memories or her unique gift of an unlimited lifespan, then if deckard is a replicant, and also has an unlimited lifespan and also has memories, why the fuck is the central symbol of the film a unicorn? 

maybe it should have been a bi-corn… or a multi-corn depending on how many rick deckards are running around.

or maybe ridley scott made a rash decision based on a single line that put him at odds with the theme of the film he was making.

…and once again, i give you exhibit a. prometheus.

oh, and by the way - on some levels of soft canonicity (if you believe that transmedia ad campaigns are in fact part of the mythology of narrative films) takes place in the SAME universe as blade runner - even though the androids in both alien, aliens, alien 3, and alien resurrection (the latter two of which are about to be struck out of the alien canon - or at least shunted aside - in neill blomkamp’s upcoming, ridley scott-produced soft-non-reboot-sequel of the franchise) are not that hard to tell from people because they bleed milk and their innards resemble a cum-stained sack of bits that old “capsela” construction toy.

of course, none of this invalidates the possibility that harrison ford may appear in a blade runner sequel (does that also make it an alien prequel or an alien vs. predator sequel?) as:

a. a later replicant manufactured with deckard’s memories and an unlimited lifespan, or:

b. the actual dude that rick deckard was based on, much as charles bishop weyland was the template for the “bishop” android/synthetics in the alien franchise… 

of course, that’s if you believe that alien vs. predator is canon, or if you believe that the character played by lance henriksen in alien 3 was in fact the real person on whom the bishop androids were based.

so - aside from the truth that ridley scott is a fucking menace and - at least where canonical integrity is concerned - makes leiji matsumoto look like j.r.r. tolkien - i can only come to the following conclusion.

for the last thirty years, the idea that ridley scott was making an adaptation of philip k. dick’s novel “do androids dream of electric sheep” has been a false flag operation to cover up a much greater cultural experiment. 

poor rick deckard, which his hectoring wife - or the lack thereof - with his electric sheep - or the lack thereof - with his humanity - or the lack thereof - was never rick deckard…

he is, in fact, joe chip…

in a vast, active, living, intelligent, systems-wide, transmedia-adaptation of the philip k. dick novel UBIK… 

and ridley scott is glenn runciter - he never was in control and may in fact be dead, unless he is alive, in which case he still may not be glenn runciter, but may in fact be god, or a false god set up by our own memories of god, who may or may not exist at all…

and blade runner?

blade runner was never blade runner... blade runner is UBIK.

and this is merely the beginning.

for other writings that resemble - but are not - this, check out my book “shoot this one” by clicking HERE

38 Movies That Are Better Than The Book

Most of the time film adaptations never live up to our imagination or expectations. Once the director puts a visual to your interpretation of what you have read, it’s difficult to remove it from your mind and disappointment settles.

But there have been a few and rare cases when the films have surpassed the book. Among this epic list is Fight Club, A Clockwork Orange and The Notebook, we recommend you have a look at the entire list.

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Teaser Trailer: ‘Blade Runner 2049′ - Oct 6

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, with Dave Bautista and Jared Leto

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Watch the Blade Runner 2049 trailer tease above, then check back on Monday to see the full trailer. Picking up 30 years after the 1982 science fiction classic, the long-awaited Blade Runner sequel opens on October 6 via Warner Bros.

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) directs from a script by Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original Blade Runner) and Michael Green (Alien: Covenant). Blade Runner director Ridley Scott serves as an executive producer.

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto star.

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The first teaser for Blade Runner 2049 is here. The long-awaited Blade Runner follow-up picks up 30 years after the 1982 science fiction classic. It will be released in IMAX on October 6, 2017 via Warner Bros. Pictures.

Ryan Gosling stars as a new blade runner on a quest to find Rick Deckard, with Harrison Ford reprising the iconic role. Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto round out the cast.

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) directs from a script by Hampton Fancher (co-wroter of the original Blade Runner) and Michael Green (Alien: Covenant, Green Lantern). Blade Runner director Ridley Scott serves as an executive producer.

The official synopsis is as follows:

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.