Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 was almost named 'Time to Live' and more insights from the film's production diary

Contributed by
Oct 10, 2018

We're a year removed from the initial release of Blade Runner 2049, and the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic is still not receiving the credit it so rightly deserves.

Sure, it was a box-office bomb, but that had at least something to do with the lengthy running time as much as anything else. Beyond that, Denis Villeneuve's movie is pretty much a dystopian masterpiece with profound themes on what it means to be human, stunning production design, and a haunting performance from Ryan Gosling. What's not to love?

Thanks to the newly released journal of producer Cynthia York (courtesy of Collider), the film has gained an added dimension, not to mention wealth, of behind-the-scenes information.

For example, did you know that the title was almost Blade Runner: Time to Live, an opposite ode to Rutger Hauer's "tears in rain" soliloquy from the first movie. According to the journal, York woke up in the middle of the night with the idea.

"It felt right," she wrote. "A play on words that refers to Roy Batty’s line from the first film 'Time to die' – one of the most important and beloved scenes in the original. 'Time to Live' foreshadows what our film is about – the replicants in the first film were never given the chance to live. It’s an homage with many layers, and it’s poetic."

Blade Runner 2051 was also thrown around for a time. 

When it came to K's "threesome" with Joi (Ana de Armas) and Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), or "shee-some," as York puts it, every cut of the scene had to be replicated a second time in order for the digital effects team to properly assemble the sequence.

"This has never been done before, this intricate dance wherein Ana and Makenzie have to duplicate their exact moves to be blended together," wrote the producer. "Each cut has to be done twice to match. Ana once, then Mackenzie. John Nelson is brilliant with special effects. Ana and Ryan have great chemistry. She’s so beautiful and darling. Their love story will be so exciting to watch and it such a ray of sunshine for the film. Ryan and I were talking and he said the blending of the two women feels as though they are creating a third person."

With a massive budget of almost $300 million, the studio and backers surely wanted to pinch pennies wherever possible, so long as it didn't hinder the look of the final product. One instance involved building a massive tank of water ("100 feet across with a floating platform") in Budapest rather than in Malta, which saved $1 million. This tank served as the location for the final standoff between K and Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), where the former saves Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Lastly, the production was blessed to have Ridley Scott visit the set during the filming, where he offered some input on what he liked and disliked, and how he achieved some of the most groundbreaking effects on the original film.

"Ridley wanted to know more about the plates, models, and prices, and told us about the challenges he and Douglas Trumbull faced with the smoke level consistency in the first film...Ridley didn’t like the ceiling mechanism for Joi and said he preferred an internet type remote," York wrote. "Saw dailies with Ridley, of the rewritten penthouse bar scene with Harrison and Ryan. We agreed that the best takes need to have real anger and fire so they don’t come across too sad. It’s going to be a wonderful scene. I’d argue that this is some of Harrison’s best work, but then again, he’s always so great!"


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