According to Lennie James (The Walking Dead), who plays an as-yet undisclosed role in Blade Runner 2049, the Ryan Gosling-starring sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic is partly a road movie.
Speaking about Blade Runner 2049 at a press junket for FOX TV this week James revealed, “I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say that up to a certain point with Ryan Gosling’s character, it’s a road movie, and he meets people along the way that lead him to the quest he’s on. And myself, Robin Wright and a few other people are people along that road. For the first part of the film, it’s very self-contained. Someone was flying out as I was flying in and they had done their two-and-a-half weeks as I was about to do my two-and-a-half weeks. And working with Denis [Villeneuve]… he was the dog’s bollocks, as they say where I’m from! He’s the real McCoy. It was an utter and complete pleasure.”
He says he was so keen on appearing in the film that the producers of both The Walking Dead and the Blade Runner sequel did some schedule-juggling to make it happen.
“Blade Runner was just a stroke of beautiful luck, really. They decided they wanted me for it, and when it first came in I said, ‘That’s lovely, but it’s typical that it’s a job I really want to do and I can’t do it because I’m doing something else.’ But they made it work in the schedules. We have a hiatus of two weeks in the middle of our shoot on The Walking Dead and they needed three weeks with me on Blade Runner. Both producers spoke to each other and they gave me a bit of time at the beginning and a bit of time at the end so I didn’t miss anything.
“We filmed in Budapest. I left the set in Atlanta, got on the plane, flew to Budapest, went into costume and make-up, came out the other side and shot until I got on a plane to fly back to Atlanta, to get off the plane, to go to sleep, to wake up, to go to set to shoot!”
James was so keen on the part because he’s a fan of the original, but initially had the same concerns as other fans.
“The thing is that when it first came by, part of me was reluctant to have anything to do with it because I’m such a huge fan of the first one, it’s so seminal. I was like, ‘Leave it alone, don’t touch it!’ But then they allowed me to read the script and I was like, ‘Oooh, it would be quite nice, that, wouldn’t it? Being that fella for a minute? And they can’t take that away from me, can they?’ I don’t know about the rest of the film, but my two and a half weeks? Really good.”