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First cut of Blade Runner 2049 was so long it was almost split into 2 parts

10.30.2017

Blade Runner 2049

Beware of possible spoilers for BLADE RUNNER 2049. I haven't had time to check out the film for myself, so I can't be sure whether the following spoils anything major, but consider yourself warned nonetheless.

Clocking in at 163 minutes, BLADE RUNNER 2049 was certainly one of the longest major releases of the year, but, it could have been even longer. According to editor Joe Walker, who took part in a lengthy and enlightening interview with Provideo Coaliton, the first assembly cut of BLADE RUNNER 2049 was pushing four hours, and, for a brief moment, director Denis Villeneuve and Walker toyed with splitting the film into two-parts separated by an intermission.

The first assembly of the film was nearly four hours and for convenience sake and – to be honest – my bladder’s sake, we broke it into two for viewings.  That break revealed something about the story – it’s in two halves. There’s K discovering his true past as he sees it and at the halfway mark he kind of loses his virginity. (laughs) The next morning, it’s a different story, about meeting your maker and ultimately sacrifice – “dying is the most human thing we do”.  Oddly enough both halves start with eyes opening. There’s the giant eye opening at the beginning of the film and the second when Mariette wakes up and sneaks around K’s apartment, the beginning of the 1st assembly part 2. We toyed with giving titles to each half but quickly dropped that.  But what does remain is that there’s something of a waking dream about the film.  That’s a very deliberate choice in terms of visuals but also the kind of pace they were striving for on set and the hallucinatory feel in the cut – it’s the kind of dream where you tread inexorably closer to the truth.

As this obviously would have made BLADE RUNNER 2049 a little too long for theatrical release, Joe Walker began the long process of whittling the film down. Walker said that the first to go was "a lot of connective tissue and bridges. For example, there was a really magnificent aerial sequence when K and Joi fly to Las Vegas. It was one of those rare occasions when it was raining on the hills outside Las Vegas, God’s contribution to Blade Runner 2049. But it just felt more impactful to go straight to the pilot fish’s view of this strange landscape and hear K’s distorted commands, to skip ahead of the audience for a while. For the vast bulk of the tightenings, we pared the dialogue down to the minimum amount you could get away with, allowing us to play the beats that remained very intensely."

At the end of the day, there weren't too many "whole" scenes on the cutting room floor, as Walker said that the film is "a story that develops piece by piece – remove any substantial piece and the edifice collapses." For those of you hoping some of these sequences will wind up on the upcoming Blu-ray release, it's probably best not to get over excited. "Denis doesn’t like deleted scenes on BluRays and I tend to agree," Walker said. "There’s a reason why you chop scenes out and although I respect the fact that there’s some fan interest out there, we wanted to make one definitive cut of Blade Runner 2049. "

BLADE RUNNER 2049 is now playing in theaters, so be sure to check out reviews from our own Chris Bumbray and Eric Walkuski.

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