Los Angeles 2019 – Blade Runner
Blade Runner 2 is happening. And I mean it is happening right now as I type this. Rumors have flown across the science fiction fandom community for five years claiming Ridley Scott was working on a sequel to his seminal 1982 cult classic about a detective tracking down renegade androids in dystopian 21st century Los Angeles. Based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, penned by legendary Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner is arguably one of the most important science fiction films ever made and certainly the finest of Dick’s works adapted for the big screen.
Blade Runner 2 is in pre-production right now over at Warner Brothers and most of the cast is locked down and ready to begin filming. Principle lensing begins in July of 2016 with an expected release date of October 2017. A couple short months before Episode VIII drops. I had several requests for an updated “what’s happening now” on this highly anticipated movie so here you go in some detail. What I’ve found out looks really good.
The movie is set to star Harrison Ford reprising his role of Rick Deckard, the android hunting detective from the first film and as of this moment, he is the only returning character from the first chapter. Joining him is a stellar cast. What I know is, Robin Wright, Ryan Gosling and Dave Bauttista of Guardians of The Galaxy fame are rounding out the cast as of this printing. I have learned something that is extraordinarily interesting to the film just recently. Warners has cast relatively unknown Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks in a major leading role.
As you can see she is stunning but what intrigues me is that she is Dutch, just like another legendary actor who appeared in the first film. Is this a happy coincidence or something more?
What became a shock to many expectant fans is that back in 2015, Ridley Scott was forced to drop out as the director of this film as he had too many project commitments and could not manage it. The good news is that director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) has stepped in to direct with Scott assuming Executive Producing credits. The best part of it all? The screenplay was written by Hampton Fancher, the guy who with David Peoples, co-wrote the original script. Again, filming is set to start in July of this year. As the summer rolls along I hope to have more information including glimmers of a possible story. All I can tell you about this story is that Harrison Ford was doing the rounds promoting the release of Star Wars The Force Awakens and told several interviewers who asked him that Fancher’s script for Blade Runner 2 was one of the best screenplays he had ever read. Lets keep our fingers crossed. By the time this film releases, 35 years will have passed since the original. Interest is still off the charts high for a new Blade Runner film. The indications are, fans will find it worth the wait.
This second trailer for Star Trek Beyond looks very cool. I’m not sure how great the movie will be or even how much like Star Trek it will be, but i am hopeful because for all intent and purpose, when Paramount et al went in for this “reboot” of the franchise, they approached it from a point of view I could respect. Adding Leonard Nimoy as “Spock Prime” was a pretty clever way of tying the original series into the new adventures without pretending the old show never happened, but rather celebrating what came before. The first teaser for Star Trek Beyond let me feeling a bit meh….this second trailer does not do much to explore what the story is about but it certainly does a better job of alluding to a big story driven film, heavy on the sci-fi action. I’m in. Here is the second trailer for Star Trek Beyond that just became available. You saw it here first! Maybe. Possibly you did. You might have seen it somewhere else by now but probably here.
It was six years ago today that one of my music heroes passed away. While his musical legacy was perhaps not as widely known as that of Bowie or Prince, Ronnie James Dio was to me, a legend, a talent and a gentleman of unparalleled kindness in a music world populated by self-centered egotists. Outside of metal circles he was most often associated with the “devil horns” hand gesture pictured above and now aped by every rock musician in the hard rock world. As he once explained in an interview, this was a gesture he learned from his grandmother, an old world Italian who when angered often threatened to put a hex on someone while making this hand gesture. To those of us on the inside, he was the master of the art form. Standing barely five foot four, the man’s voice was an unequaled ten feet tall.
Born Ronald James Padavona in 1942 this diminutive giant held sway over multiple generations of hard rock fans from the early 1970s until his passing six years ago today. His legacy of music from Elf, Rainbow (one of my personal favorite bands EVER) to Black Sabbath, The Dio solo years and to a final Sabbath reunion project called Heaven & Hell, is one kick in the pants of awesome. What is not awesome, not one bit, is that his tragic death in 2010 from metastasized stomach cancer was most probably treatable. Following his passing doctors who knew the truth stated that had he had the proper colonoscopy and regular medical check-ups, this early death at 67 might have been delayed and the genteel avatar of metal might still be with us. I urge everyone to keep tabs on their health as both men and women who reach a certain age become more susceptible to certain conditions that we may not be able to cure but early detection and treatment can certainly retard their development and perhaps stave them off. I miss Ronnie and feel it very keenly today. His music has been a part of my life longer than the life I knew before him. People. See your doctors. Before I go I would say one thing. People celebrate the lives of Michael Jackson, or Bowie or Prince or other pop stars when they pass…and in the popular press very little was said about Dio except a short blurb on the news. Here is something most of you might not know about this kind hearted man. Back in 1985 when Stevie Wonder and other pop stars were taking steps to fight hunger in Africa and staging events like Live Aid and the great “We Are The World” single that sold millions of copies and generated a tremendous amount of money for hunger relief, Dio and dozens of other hard rock artists were excluded from participating in those events. They did not snub “We Are The World”. They were not invited to participate. This hurt Dio’s feelings tremendously. Together with his friends and band mates Jimmy Bain (who also passed away earlier this year almost unnoticed by the media) and Guitarist Vivian Campbell (who now plays with Def Leppard), Dio wrote a song and invited legions of heavy metal artists popular in those days to perform with him, contribute their talents and film the subsequent music video. They called themselves “Hear n Aid” and the song is fantastic.
I won’t list everyone who appeared on this amazing project but some of the notables include: Neal Schon of Journey, Tommy Aldridge, Adrian Smith & Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, Don Dokken of Dokken, The Metal God, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, Mick Mars of Motley Crue, Ted Nugent and Geoff Tate of Queensryche. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Today, on this sad anniversary, I salute with fond memories Ronnie James Dio and all that he did for the music I love so much. Enjoy the single from Hear n Aid.
With the chaos from our cross country move diminishing and the dust from our wagon train west settling, I can find a moment to sit back and throw up the V for victory sign like the late, great Carol O’Connor from this legendary 1970 film. Kudos to anyone who can guess the movie. “Viva Les Americannes!!!” And of course Mr. OConnor’s great quote, “Degaulle??….Hell, he ain’t even in this war!”
More content coming next week. …