Fun and science-fiction with Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling of ‘Blade Runner 2049’

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Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling laugh themselves silly talking about ‘Blade Runner 2049′ and Ford’s serious acting faces. Just don’t call them deadpan.
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“Blade Runner 2049” is full of spoilers, which can make it difficult to talk about — even when you’re talking with its stars, Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Ford reprises his role as Deckard in the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic. He’s a blade runner, someone who finds and dispatches replicants, the synthetic humans of the future. In the new film, set 30 years later, Gosling plays K, also a blade runner.

RELATED: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ lives up to lofty expectations

I had talked to both of them a couple of times before, but this was different. A lot different. They spoke together, with Ford fidgeting with the phone speaker, from the sound of it. Again, it’s hard to talk about it without giving too much away. Instead, they decided to … well, see for yourself.

Gosling: Hey, Bill.

Ford: I don’t presume to call you Bill. I’ll call you Mr. Goodykoontz. Just because it’s so much fun.

Question: Ha. Yeah, your name is much easier to say.

Gosling: But not as much fun.

Q: For Harrison, was there any hesitation to come back and do this again?

Ford: No, Mr. Goodykoontz (Gosling laughs), I was presented with an opportunity that I could not deny. The assembled artists, a script that had everything you might ask for, the opportunity to take advantage of the tracks we laid in the first one, to bring a character to an emotional expression as this provided, a chance to work with …

Gosling: Ryan.

Ford: Mr. …

Gosling: Ryan. Goodykoontz? Ryan Goodykoontz. Mr. Ryan Goodykoontz.

Ford: (Laughs) I’m going to change my name, too.

Q: I’ll send you a check for five bucks if you say my name on “Saturday Night Live” (both laugh). (Gosling hosted the show a few days after our conversation. He did not earn the money.)

Ford: I’d like to create a character around it.

Gosling: Yeah, Goodykoontz.

Ford: Anyway, I thought it was a splendid opportunity. It was a process. I first asked whether theoretically I wanted to play the character again. I said yes. Step two, you want to read the novella that Ridley and Hampton Fancher, one of the original writers, put together as kind of a baseline exercise for the script. I read that and thought wow, this is ambitious and terrific, and I want in. Mr. Goodykoontz. Thank you for asking, Mr. Goodykoontz.

Q: Ryan, what was it like for you?

Gosling: I thought, by Goodykoontz, I’m in.

Q: You guys are killing me.

Gosling: (Laughs) It’s too much fun to say, man. OK, I thought, look … Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford have … after 35 years, signed off on this, all feel like this is the way the narrative should continue, and that these are the people that should be involved. Who am I to argue? And on top of that I read the script, and it did such a wonderful job of honoring the original and incorporating the original, but also telling its own story. It was operating on such a massive scale, but it was still at heart a very intimate and emotional story.

Ford: I feel responsible for also saying that it stands alone. You don’t need to have seen the first film in order to know what’s going on. It is a sequel, but it’s a stand-alone film at the same time. It’s part of the genius of the construction.

Q: We’re all sworn not to give anything away. But it’s fair to say the new movie incorporates the original in a way you don’t see in most sequels.

Ford: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what I was ambitious for — new textures to the character, an unimaginable destiny, emotional connections with other characters. It wasn’t tacked on, refried — I know you’re from Arizona — not the same old beans. It was a really ambitious effort, Mr. Goodykoontz. I don’t know you well enough to call you Goody (laughs). Not yet.

Q:  For Harrison, sometimes we read that you didn’t like the original, sometimes that you did like the original. But clearly it’s got pretty iconic status. Was there any fear of messing up a good thing? 

Ford: Let me just ask you … did you say that I didn’t necessarily like the first one?

Q: No, I said sometimes I’ve read that you didn’t. I have no idea whether you liked it.

Ford: Oh. Yeah. And that’s important. Because it’s really not about me. It’s about the audience. It was just way ahead of its time. People didn’t quite expect such a complex experience. I guess the shorthand for it is it was ahead of its time. But it sure did gain a base, as they like to call it now. It influenced so many filmmakers. It encouraged the bravery on the part of so many filmmakers since then. I was real proud to be involved with it.

Q: For Ryan, do you remember the first time you saw the original?

Gosling: Yeah, I think I was 12 to 14. I’m not sure exactly. I remember thinking I was just going to watch a regular movie (laughs), and that’s not what I got. I was used to being told how I was supposed to feel by the end of a film by that film, and this was not doing that. I didn’t understand what existential questions were at the time, but it had planted the seeds of those, and those sort of grew over time. What’s just as interesting as the film is the experience you have after the film, and the life that is has afterwards in your imagination.

Q: You guys are doing this press tour, and you seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Does that make the grind more interesting?

Gosling: Our appreciation of the name Goodykoontz really brought us together. It really builds bridges.

Ford: It’s a part of the job that sometimes is difficult. We’re just trying to make it more fun for ourselves. We can’t talk very much about the movie. But they tell me it’s time to say “goodybye” to Mr. Goodykoontz. We’ve run out of good times. … Goodybye, Mr. Goodykoontz.

Gosling: Goodbye, Mr. Goodykoontz.

Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk.

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