Fail Better: A Portrait of Hampton Fancher (by Daniel Whelan)3 RepliesAdd A Reply
I personally didn't care for the Marvel BR adaptation. I thought the artwork paled in comparison to what I was seeing within issues of HEAVY METAL. I was actually surprised, that the publication was not given the task to adapt BR.
And as they did with A L I E N, also OUTLAND. I was expecting them to run their cover of the film. Ridley did invite Moebius to work full-time on BR; however, he was unavailable. Also something Moebius regretted not participating on, in hindsight.
Ridley has stated that before, but more specifically sighting it as an Adult Comic Book Movie. And in reference to the HEAVY METAL influence (conceptually, now also metaphorically); on both BR, and A L I E N.
I think the interviewer should have specified that he really meant Super Hero Comic Book Movie. And of course, the question came-up because of Christian Bale previously starring in the BATMAN: The Dark Knight trilogy.
Although, Ridley has compared BR to Bob Kane's original vision of BATMAN in the past; however, more so one with it's gothic n' shadowy cityscape. And action taking place within the darkness of night.
And in getting back to Hampton/Mario, with his own question of who were the authors of the BR voice-over. One is allegedly Terry Jones, and according to film journalist Rob Salem (Toronto Star newspaper).
There were several people that had input on it (during the production). And then there is Harrison Ford's account of meeting a strange man; that he assumed had a bit to do with writing the version used (from his final audio recording sessions).
There are many more versions of the 2 Is Enough! (or for more intelligent translation: 2 pieces with this is more than enough [or: definitely enough]), featured on the artist's webpage.
Thanks + you're welcome, Dale.
Interview with Hampton Fancher (1999) by Jeffrey M. Anderson
Are you asked about "Blade Runner" all the time?
You'd think you could answer something a couple times and they'd be
disinterested. I find myself saying the same thing I said a thousand times. And I
think, 'I can't do that again.' But then when I'm asked something, I do it
again, with the same original enthusiasm. I kind of envy people who are sullen,
quiet. But I'm not.
I don't think about it very much, because how can you think about that? But
sometimes I try to think about it. And I manage to do it. I'm a lucky guy.
It helped my career a lot.
The "Blade Runner" experience from its origin was an attempt to try and get
above ground, and get in the club. I didn't know it, but I guess I was
approaching it on my own obscure level, thinking that I was making something
commercial. 'This is science fiction--people will flock to see this.' Of
course, I had themes I was working with that I loved and I was intrigued with.
But still I thought of it as a commercial venture. And it wasn't. It was a flop,
and it didn't work, and people didn't like it, and it made no money. But the
script, my original scripts for it were, at one point, we lost all our money and
the film was going to go down the tubes. They hustled my script, my fifth or
sixth draft, out to all the studios in Hollywood. And so everybody read it. I
mean, important people read it, in terms of studio honchos. So all of a sudden
Hampton Fancher was... 'Oh, this guy's a great writer--I thought he was just a
bad actor.' It worked. I was flavor of the month for about two years. It was
great for confidence building. You make a little money, and people like you,
and they want you to come meet them in rooms and offer you things.
Is Deckard a replicant?
No. It wasn't like I had a tricky idea about Deckard that way. Until the
last draft. It kept ending in different ways. We were already in pre-
production when I wrote the last draft. In the last draft, which wasn't
in the movie, I finally came to the last and best conclusion about the
ending of the movie which was that Rachel is going to die. And they're in
love, and he's become kind of human through this. He was less human than
the people he was after, because they were machines. He was more of a
machine. And he becomes less of a machine through the ordeal of falling in
love with her. She's smarter than he is and she's better than he is, and
at the end, he kills her. And it's not an outright execution. It's
elliptical. But you hear the shot, and you see where it took place, and
you saw her face, and she wanted it, and it was an act of love. And it
was really moving in an old 40's doomful way. It was hot and deep romance.
And BOOM he's in that car, and you hear him say in something voiceover...
he's sitting at the piano again, like she sat at the piano, surrounded by
his photographs, his memories. And he starts to say something about
'she understood', or something, that he didn't get. And he starts to play.
I thought of "Shoot the Piano Player" (1960), at the end, where the
voiceover says, 'music is all there is.' And he starts to come down on the
keys, and it freeze-frames on his hand. And his hand doesn't quite hit the
keys, but the music does begin, and we see his hand over the end credits,
and it looks like Batty's (Rutger Hauer) hand because it froze in that claw
like thing. So you say, 'Wait a minute, is he a Nexus Six?' And Ridley
doesn't take credit for it because he thinks it's bad, but they did some
things, some opticals, with the eyes on Deckard at one point. And I thought
it was hokey. Hokey looks good to me now. Even the old voiceover, that
first version, I sort of like better than all the rest of them. By the way,
those voiceovers that exist in the film weren't mine, nor were they David
Films can be different things on different days, even to the people who make
them. That Marlowe-esque 40's hokey thing, you acquire an affection for that.
It's almost satirical. But when I first heard it, I went nuts. 'She calls me
sushi?' That's gonna age badly. But actually it doesn't age badly. It's kind
of become an institution, that film.
One thing about filmmaking that's interesting and beautiful, and the best
thing about it for those who make them. "Blade Runner" was a horrible
experience for everyone who made it. It was hell. The actual shooting.
Especially when you look at "Blade Runner"--it's a great example--everybody
is responsible for that movie. Everybody made that movie. It's not just
one of us. I don't think the Teamsters were very interested in "Blade
Runner", waiting to drive people home.
How did you react to David Peoples' work on the script?
I didn't know about it. That was a secret, because I wasn't cooperating with
Ridley. I think if Ridley had said, 'listen *******, if you don't cooperate,
I'm going to bring somebody in who will,' I probably would have hit him in the
mouth and left. And he probably knew that, so he didn't tell me. And it was in
pre-production that it happened. When I did find out it was Christmas, and we
were having a dinner. Ridley wasn't there. It was a producer on the film. And
I sat down to eat, and all of a sudden the script's in front of me. I just
opened it, and I saw something I didn't understand. I turned a page and I saw
something I did understand because I wrote it, and then another page, and it's
like, 'what is this!' And he said, 'I told you.' I stood up, holding my face
because I didn't want to cry. I was so devastated. And I walked out. And I said,
'**** everybody!'. I came back at the end, because they called me. They needed
something for the rooftop scene.
They just had a couple days to shoot and they wanted me to look at rushes. I
came back and I wrote some stuff for them. I hated the dailies. They sold this
film down the tubes. It's not gonna work. It's not anything like I wanted. I'm
looking for a man who's trying to find his conscience, and all of a sudden we've
got shootouts. I was furious. I called my agent and I said, 'I want my name off
this film!' And he said, 'that's going to be hard.' I had a very small nose to
begin with, and I was cutting every inch of it I could--get it off my face. The
whole reason I was doing this film was to get on the map, and now I wanted to get
off the map. And I'm crying, I'm nauseated, and I'm screaming, I'm threatening.
Then the Writer's Guild calls and they say, 'we're thinking of taking your name
off the film.' And I said, 'good! why? Cause I got through?' And they say, 'we're
arbitrating this. We don't think you deserve a title.' 'WHAT?' Then I went
exactly the opposite, 'please don't do this to me! This is my one chance!' I was
fighting to get my name back on that film. And this goes on for three or four
days, which seemed like a year, and the Writer's Guild calls me. And they have
a letter from David Peoples, who is privy to all this. And the reason they were
going to arbitrate was because they saw me as a producer. David Peoples was
writing, and I had this executive producer credit, and they're very suspect of
that. You know, a producer trying to get writing credits. I said, 'I'm not a
producer--I just did that's to protect the writing! I'm a writer! I didn't do
any producing on the film!'
So David writes a letter to them. I won't say what he said, but he was so
gracious. He gave it to me. He was very humble about his contribution. And
they read it and they apologized to me. He wouldn't take credit if I wasn't
credited. I learned something there, too, because, I don't think I would have
done that. 'Let me have the extra money, let me have the glory,' but that's not
David Peoples. So I said, 'I've gotta meet this guy.' So I met him and we fell
in love. I just called him, in fact. He lives in Berkeley. He used to live in
a little house in Berkeley, now he lives in a big house in Berkeley. We're very
close friends since then.
I admire his work, except I couldn't imagine how he was stupid enough to write
those voiceovers. And he was imagining the same thing about me. And after a year,
one night we were drunk, and I said, 'what's wrong with you? Why did you write
that stupid ****?'" And he said, 'I thought you did!'
I still hadn't met David. The film still wasn't finished being shot, but somebody
sent me a script of David's. And I felt sorry for him, because it was good. It
was part mine, part his. But there was a lot of him in this script that I read
that wasn't shot. It was, I guess, his first take on the whole thing. It was
really interesting. It was more accessible than mine, but it was exciting, and
he had a certain exciting way of writing. Not the way I write--we write very
differently. But I liked it, and I thought, 'they're not going to do this
either! This guy's worse off than I am!'
What did you do on the rooftop scene?
The thing on the rooftop scene had to do with Rutger Hauer's dialogue. And that
was David, or it might have been a bit of Rutger Hauer, because I think he took
something from a play. My rooftop scene was a little bit more verbose, and I
think it was definitely improved by David. I think what they took of that night
that I wrote was all that Gaff stuff, 'nobody lives forever.' But it was quite
challenging. Because I hated everybody at that point. There was an editor, Terry
Rawlings, I never met him in my life. I come in, they've got this huge screening
room with two tiers at Warner Brothers. And I go up on top and I'm sitting there
looking at 4 or 5 hours of dailies, getting angrier and angrier. An insane kind.
They turn up the lights and they finish. And all the executives are there, and
Ridley Scott, and David Ladd. And they're looking at me because they need me now.
I remember, I was in a daze. I walked down a couple of steps, and I just slumped
into a chair. I couldn't talk, because I hated it. And Terry Rollins, this huge
Englishman, comes up behind me, and he holds my head to his stomach. And I start
crying on him. They all walk out because they're embarrassed. And now I'm furious.
And I see them down there and I walk over there--and I don't know what I'm
thinking--but it's about an eight-foot drop! And I step off like it's a foot. And
I land on my stomach, and, I'm like, 'YOU MOTHER****ERS!' And Ridley says, 'I
guess Hampton's not grown up enough to do what we need.' And we had a screaming
match. So in that mood, I went home, took some nefarious great white powder,
wrote all night, and delivered it in the morning.
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