Cast/Recast: Blade Runner

In 1982, Ridley Scott presented us with a cinematic masterpiece view of the future. We’re now just four years away from catching up to the year in which it is set – 2019 – so I thought it might be ripe for a recast. Much as I would hate to see this classic remade or rebooted (some films should just be left alone!), if I were to make this movie today, here’s who I would choose for my cast…

Blade Runner (1982)

Character: Rick Deckard (human?)
Originally played by: Harrison Ford
Recast: Michael Fassbender

DECKARDSlightly rough around the edges, careworn, but with a gentleness to him, Deckard is a man of complicated character, and we’re never sure if he’s human or if he’s replicant too. Ford leaves big shoes to fill for this role, and Fassbender is one of only very few actors today who could fill them. I think he’d be perfect as our leading man in a remake.

Character: Roy Batty (replicant)
Originally played by: Rutger Hauer
Recast: Ryan Gosling

BATTYSwitching from violence to romantic poet in the blink of an eye, Hauer gave the leader of the escaped replicants a soul. His deadpan delivery of his final lines remain one of the most heartbreaking moments ever committed to film, and I think Gosling has exactly the right kind of look to be able to carry off the almost total lack of expression as he gives his heartrending monologue.

Character: Rachael (replicant)
Originally played by: Sean Young
Recast: Carey Mulligan

RACHAELWith her perfect, doll-like features and soulful eyes, Mulligan could portray the calm, yet confused Rachel with aplomb, infusing her with both softness and intelligence, making her a very tempting prospect for Deckard.

Character: Pris (replicant)
Originally played by: Daryl Hannah
Recast: Milla Jovovich

PRISEqual parts innocent and seductive, this acrobatic replicant needs to be able to kick ass, but also inspire sympathy. The role has echoes of Leeloo in The Fifth Element, and I can see Jovovich shining as this character.

Character: Zhora (replicant)
Originally played by: Joanna Cassidy
Recast: Christina Hendricks

ZORAHThis sexy-as-sin exotic dancer must have a body to die for, so who better than the modern day equivalent of Marilyn Monroe? Hendricks exudes confidence, and would be absolutely irresistible to pretty much anyone. Don’t you think she’d look awesome with a replicant snack draped around her shoulders?

Character: Leon (replicant)
Originally played by: Brion James
Recast: Jonah Hill

LEONThis may come as a surprise, but this was actually the first part I cast in my head. We had just sat down to watch Blade Runner for the first time in years, and from the first scene with Leon, I thought to myself, “Jonah Hill would be perfect in that role!”, and my recasting began! I wanted all my replicants to look soulful, to blur the lines between human and replicant, so that their fight for their right for continued existence would be all the more poignant. Just look at Hill’s face. Look at his eyes. Wouldn’t he be compelling? I’d love to see him in this kind of role.

Character: J F Sebastian (human)
Originally played by: William Sanderson
Recast: Peter Dinklage

JF SEBASTIANDinklage has gone supernova off the back of Game of Thrones, and his stellar talent would mean he could play the role of the shy, retiring genius with a condition which means he ages prematurely, without making him remotely creepy (which I think would be a pitfall some other actors might fail to avoid). Strange as the pairing may seem, I think the scenes between JF and Pris would work wonderfully between Dinklage and Jovovich.

Character: Dr Eldon Tyrell (human)
Originally played by: Joe Turkel
Recast: Colin Firth

tyrellTyrell, the genius who has built up the large Tyrell Corporation, is the man who built the four-year lifespan into the Nexus 6 models, but also the “guardian” of Rachael. I want him to be capable of being ruthless and business-like, yet sympathetic. He also needs to be someone credible as a distinguished man of means and high intelligence. I can think of no better candidate than Colin Firth – a man of many talents.

Character: Captain Harry Bryant (human)
Originally played by: M. Emmet Walsh
Recast: Giancarlo Esposito

BRYANTAs captain of the Rep-Detect department of the Los Angeles Police Department, Harry Bryant is charged with the recovery of the escaped Nexus 6 replicants. He always seemed a little weathered and jaded to me, and I can picture Esposito fitting the role perfectly.

Character: Gaff (human)
Originally played by: Edward James Olmos
Recast: Takeshi Kaneshiro

GAFFI toyed with the idea of several actors in the role of the mysterious origami-folding Gaff, including Benicio del Toro and Chen Chang. In the end, I went with Takeshi Kaneshiro, as I think he would bring a sleek, slick air to Gaff, and he would certainly stand out as being completely different to Deckard.

So, there we go – my own personal wish list for a reboot of this seminal sci-fi classic.

Do you agree with my choices? Either way, I’d love to know. And if you’d cast someone else, leave a comment below with your choice and reason for casting them.

Edited to add:
In a story published on Yahoo on 17th November 2015, Ryan Gosling confirmed he would be in Blade Runner 2. OK, so Batty died in the first film (or did he?) so he’ll not be playing that role (or will he?), but it’s interesting to read, three months after I published my post, that he’s a definite cast member in the sequel!

One thought on “Cast/Recast: Blade Runner

  1. Deckard – Ryan Gosling (it’s obvious now, after 2049 is out)
    Roy – Michael Fassbender
    Rachael – Rooney Mara (see her at the 2012 Oscars and you’ll know what I mean)
    Pris – Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour)
    Gaff – Benicio del Toro
    Leon – Javier Bardem
    Zhora – Jessica Chastain
    Bryant – ?
    Sebastian – Peter Dinklage
    Tyrell – Daniel Day Lewis

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