Two surprising tidbits from Ridley Scott at this year's Hollywood Reporter director's roundtable (video embedded below):
1. Shooting “The Martian” was no trouble at all!
Asked by the moderator what his biggest challenge was in completing the Golden Globe-nominated sci-fi, the director answered: “None! It's pretty straightforward.” Sounds like a cushy gig.
2. Stanley Kubrick gave him footage he shot for “The Shining” to use in “Blade Runner.”
The footage in question was used for the ending seen in the original theatrical release, when Deckard and Rachael escape into the countryside.
“I had finished 'Blade Runner,' and it was a disaster,” Scott recalled. “My investors were giving me a really hard time, saying 'You can't end the film with picking up a piece of origami, looking at the girl, walk in the elevator, nod, and bingo that's it.' I said, 'It's called a film noir.' And they said, 'What's a film noir?' That was a big problem. And he said, 'We have to test this with an uplifting ending, where they will go off into the wilderness together.' I said, 'Well if they go off into a beautiful wilderness, why do they live in this dystopian environment?'”
Bowing to pressure from the studio, Scott turned to Kubrick, who had shot extensive helicopter footage for “The Shining” (used in the title sequence where Jack Torrance's yellow VW Bug drives up a winding mountain road), and asked if he could borrow some of it for his investor-mandated ending.
“By then I had talked to Stanley [Kubrick] a few times,” he continued. “I said, 'I know you shot the hell out of 'The Shining,' I know you've got four and a half months of helicopter stuff there…can I have some of the stuff? Cause it'll suit me fine.'…So at the end of the film in 'Blade Runner,' that's Stanley Kubrick's footage.”
Despite the fact that every second of Kubrick's 17 hours of helicopter footage had the VW in frame, Scott's use of the anamorphic format saved the day.
“He said, 'wait a minute, you got a vehicle [in the scene]?' I said, 'Yeah.' 'What is it?' 'Long.' 'Oh, shit. Every shot I've got has got a Volkswagen in it.' Then he went…'oh, what do you shoot [on]?' I said, 'Anamorphic.' 'Ah…when you project mine, it'll look oblong. You'll be fine.'”