There's a pretty lengthy interview with Ridley Scott about Blade Runner over at Wired.com. Maybe it's me, but he seems like he might be just a tad egocentric. I was worried we were going to have to read a lot of stupid articles about how extensively PKD's novels and short stories have been adapted in connection with this final cut of Blade Runner - but not if Ridley can help it:
Wired: Is it true that you didn't read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the book on which Blade Runner was based, before making the movie?
Scott: I honestly couldn't get into it. It's so dense, by page 32 there's about 17 story lines. So one of the problems is distilling it down into a three-act play that can be filmed. Fancher did that with a script he called Dangerous Days. Deeley came to see me when I was mixing Alien and said, "Do you want to do another science fiction?" I said, "I don't really want to go down that route if I can avoid it." But, to cut a long story short, eight months later, the script stayed with me. So I went back to Deeley saying, "You know, we can expand this into something more spectacular if we push it outside onto the street and create a futuristic urban universe." I could never shake loose the fact that I was a designer — which I'm constantly criticized for, and I really don't give a shit.
OK, I can see not reading the book a movie was based on. Blade Runner really is a long riff on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? rather than a faithful adaptation, but then Scott takes credit for the noir feel of the movie:
Wired: How did you decide to tell a 21st-century story in a 1940s style?
Scott: Well, people want a comfortable preconception about what they're seeing. It's a bit like 20 years of Westerns and, now, 45 years of cop movies. People are comfortable with the roles. Even though every nook and cranny has been explored, they'll still sit through endless variations on cops and bad guys, right? In this instance, I was doing a cop and a different bad guy. And to justify the creation of the bad guy, i.e., replication, it had to be in the future.
Actually he puts it in the passive, always a bit of a rhetorical dodge - he doesn't take credit for the noir feel but he doesn't give PKD credit for it either. And that's a problem. Arguably, the noir feel of Blade Runner gave birth to the cyberpunk movement, and in my mind, that credit should go to PKD. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? read like The Maltese Falcon long before Scott put Harrison Ford in a trench coat. The dialog in DADOES? is pure noir. Whatever, Ridley seems a bit out of touch. Sometimes when I look at his picture quickly, out of the corner of my eye, I can see his metal teeth. Take us home Ridley,
"But at the end of the day, there's a lot of me in this script. That's what happens, because that's the kind of director I am. The single hardest thing is getting the bloody thing on paper. Once you've got it on paper, the doing is relatively straightforward."
Sounds like a line from Blade Runner, "If only you could write the script that I wrote based on that novel."