Blade Runner 2049's Denis Villeneuve on box office, director's cuts, replicants, and more

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Mar 26, 2021, 10:00 PM EDT (Updated)

This past year's Blade Runner 2049 was certainly a cinematic highlight of the year for many film fans, but much like the original Blade Runner, it didn't live up to box-office expectations. In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, director Denis Villeneuve discusses the film's performance, and many other replicant-based topics. 

It's clear from the interview that Villeneuve is very happy with his finished film, and he says as much. Among his proudest moments were two specific phone calls he received, one from Ridley Scott (original Blade Runner director and producer on the sequel) and the other from Harrison Ford (Harrison Ford). Scott and Ford had both seen the film, both had loved it, and having the "blessing of both fathers" meant everything to Villeneuve.

When it comes to the topic of the film's box-office underperformance (despite glowing reviews), Villeneuve is somewhat at a loss. He mentions that the film performed very well abroad and in big cities, and then goes on to say: 

"Honestly I don't know. I'm still digesting it. I had the best critics of my life. I never had a movie welcomed like that. At the same time, the box office in the United States was a disappointment. That's the truth, because these movies are expensive, and it will still make tons of money but not enough. And the thing is I think that maybe people were not familiar enough with the universe, and the fact the movie's long, I don't know. It's still a mystery to me. I make movies, I don't sell them."

When asked if he thought that the film might catch on gradually as the original Blade Runner (a box-office failure) did, he shares that his son told him that he "honored the first movie until the very end." Villeneuve's deadpan response was, "I was not looking for that." Still, he generally seems content with how things went down, saying that "the hardcore fans that loved the first movie really welcomed this one." 

Should those same fans who loved the film expect a "director's cut" or a "final cut" or several different versions, as the original has received over the years? It's highly unlikely. Villeneuve makes clear that the film is "the perfect length" for the story he wanted to tell, and that he is vicious in the editing room. According to him, "what is out of the movie is dead." This time around there won't be a director's cut, because this is the director's cut. 

The interview eventually makes its way around to discussing the film's actual content, and of course the age-old debate about whether Rick Deckard is a replicant came up. Villeneuve said that he was very happy that there was doubt in the screenplay, and that he loves that his film contains a character "who knows the answer, but doesn't tell us." The uncertainty of Deckard being a replicant is more in line with the novel the book is based on, with Villeneuve citing the rampant inner paranoia of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 

He seems to have had fun on the job as well, and says that coming from the world of independent films he had never had access to all of the "tools and toys" that this film gave him access to. He marveled at the incredible sets, and according to him, Harrison Ford did too. 

The film may have underperformed financially, but Denis Villeneuve remains one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. He is ready to tackle the notorious science fiction world of Dune as his next project, and if anybody can bring that world to life with the necessary scope, it is the director of Blade Runner 2049

Watch the full interview for yourself right here, courtesy of Yahoo Entertainment.