Denis Villeneuve: Taking science fiction seriously

In anticipation of the long-awaited release, on October 6 Blade Runner 2049Director Denis Villeneuve, who is honored to sign the cult movie sequel Ridley Scott, met the press Thursday at a hotel in Old Montreal.

Like Agent K, the main character in Blade Runner 2049Denis Villeneuve has a rather vague memory. He doesn’t remember exactly when he saw it in 1982 Blade Runner By Ridley Scott. The Trois-Riviere? In Montreal? All Dennis Villeneuve remembers is that he was 14 years old and that he was a fan of science fiction: real science fiction of course.

“At the time,” says Denis Villeneuve in a suite in an old Montreal hotel where he was giving the interviews, there were a few filmmakers who took science fiction seriously, except for Stanley Kubrick with 2001, Space Flight, Spielberg with ET Loridley Scott with Blade Runner. But when you turn 14, you want to watch a sci-fi movie for adults, not for kids. Ridley Scott was an adult movie with a true vision of the future. “

Denis Villeneuve does not remember the city or the cinema, but the shock of the semi-revolutionary aesthetic of cinema. Blade Runner 1982. An almost emotional shock made him say, before filming began, to an American journalist: “If I’m making this movie, it’s first because I don’t want to leave someone else. idiot. »

In the sequel, he continues to think by listing the countless qualities of his teenage cult movie.

“There was this unprecedented hybridization between science fiction and black movie, and then an atmosphere of sadness prevailed. I am not talking about emotion, but about blues that touched the gloom that I am. It was also the first time that the future was presented in relation to its past. It was 2019 and yet we saw cars from the 1980s passing by. Ridley Scott thought of aesthetics, architecture, sociology, geopolitics and climate. He set out a global vision of what our future could be. ”

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A more feminine movie

This worldview, we can say that Denis Villeneuve, the little man from Becancour, a UQAM graduate and winner of the Europe and Asia race, impressively reproduces it in his own way through his gorgeous portraits of environmental devastation, suffocating pollution, and massive dumps like oceans strewn with post-era corpses. Industrial.

But Denis Villeneuve does not have the same age or sensitivity as Ridley Scott. So her movie is more feminine than Scott’s. “This is one of the things that attracted me when I read the script. I liked the fact that women had a prominent role in it. Just as I liked being able to show naked bodies. It made my producers laugh, who often tease me about my culture in Quebec, which is closer to European culture than American culture… At the same time, they knew very well that by showing these scenes, the movie would be for 18 years or more. It was one of my starting conditions and they not only accepted it, but defended it with the distributor. ”

As I sat with Villeneuve on the large sofa in the suite, I couldn’t help but think of our first meeting on the beach in Cannes in 1997. Villeneuve, who was 29 years old, came for Cosmos, A film directed by six young filmmakers who, with the exception of Andre Turpin and Manon Briand, have since disappeared into the fog. Of the six, Villeneuve was the most tense. “I’m a real bundle of nerves, he admits to me. It’s great to be in a city that was just a year ago, I was just thinking of making a good little movie with my friends. All I hope is not to be fooled.”

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Suffice it to say that Denis Villeneuve has come a long way since then and in the process has become one of Hollywood’s foremost filmmakers who is currently balancing his heart with a sequel DuneOr the next James Bond movie or a movie about Cleopatra.

The pressure he faced for the rest Blade RunnerWith a budget of about 200 million, it was enormous. He waives it on his own. You had to be strong.

“Honestly, I have to be tough to take on challenges like this. I think the reason for that is because I have the ability to be a little autistic, isolate myself from everything and focus on the job I’m doing.”

“Before you say yes, there are moments of pain, but once you say yes it’s too late, you have to respect that privilege.” I have never faced such tremendous technical pressure as with Blade Runner. At the same time, I felt familiar with the movie. It’s arrogance to say that we think we can do a sequel to Blade RunnerBut I felt capable. This movie was related to my previous films. If I didn’t have that feeling, I would never make a movie. On top of that, I was shown a bunch of movies that I hadn’t made. I found it very good, but I did not feel able to achieve it. “

Requirements

Before filming in Hungary began, Villeneuve had several requirements. He especially wanted the movie to have a rhythm of its own and to continue as long as he saw it necessary. He won his case because the movie ran a little over 2:40. “The shot that lasts longer gets stronger in my eyes. It all depends on the movie of course. Polytechnic It only lasted 76 minutes and that was fine. But Blade Runner, The length was necessary. We worked hard on editing and I can assure you that what you see on screen is an Cut the outlet. »

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I asked him which scene he was most proud of. He replied that there are several, some of which do not come down. But he has a special affection for a scene in the ocher desert where Agent K walks among the gigantic erotic sculptures reminiscent of Cork. “I never thought I could shoot a scene like this,” says with a big smile. Here’s a guy who never thought of going to Cannes 20 years ago. Dune, While discussing it with my producer James Bond.

“As for Cleopatra, a few years ago, I read a screenplay of Eric Roth that I loved and that has been rejected since. Me, this script is what interests me, not new,” concludes a screenwriter, with 50 years approaching Tuesday, he just knows what he wants But now he’s embarrassed to choose.

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