shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


running with blades

The ever alert and always entertaining David Moles alerted me from the road about Combustible Celluloid's wonderful, wide-ranging interview with screenwriter (now also a director) Hampton Fancher, in which he talks extensively about Blade Runner.

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.

He dishes about how he found out that David Peoples' had been brought in to do some rewrites by Ridley Scott.

I didn't know about it. That was a secret, because I wasn't cooperating with Ridley. I think if Ridley had said, 'listen asshole, 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, 'fuck 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.'

And, of course, he changed his mind when the WGA actually decided not to credit him -- and David Peoples' stepped in and showed his class and made sure Fancher got credited and they became good friends. (A happy rewrite story; one exists!)

Anyway, the whole thing is fascinating.

(DM found via John Holbo.)

worm "The Sound of Settling," Death Cab for Cutie

namecheck RD "Belated Birthday" Hall


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