“I like those references to a world that has disappeared,” Roger Deakins says of the sequence where Gosling’s character finds himself in a dead city filled with relics from another era, including a hologram jukebox that plays Frank Sinatra. “There’s just something sort of odd and a throwback to the past.” Adds Denis Villeneuve: “The word dream is so important. It’s a movie about dreams and broken dreams. It’s important to have that kind of presence in the film.” – EW
“I wanted to approach the movie keeping elements of film noir and darkness that were in Los Angeles,” Villeneuve says, but he decided the scenes outside the city, like this one, would have a cooler palette. “The sunlight would peek through the smog and dust and have a wintery kind of silvery light. It was an important way to bring this universe close to me. As a Canadian I cannot brag about a lot of things. But winter?” he laughs. “That I can do.” – Denis Villeneuve
“Roger is a master. If there’s a Mount Rushmore of DPs, he’d be right there in the middle. He goes about his work very modestly and quietly, but you learn so much from just looking. You realize that once you are in one of his shots, half your job is already done.”
“I remember one day, it was a third of a page, it was like my character walks up to a desk. And I assumed I’d just go to work and walk up to a desk, but they had turned the entire soundstage into one desk, it was so massive. And after Roger had lit it, it was just so beautiful. But I was confused. I said to Denis: “Isn’t this scene just three quarters of a page?” and he said: “That’s in the movie, isn’t it?” I said: “Yeah… Yes.” Then he said: ‘Well, then it has to operate under the same rules as everything else.“” – Ryan Gosling
The first thing he [Denis Villeneuve] said was, “In my Blade Runner, it snows. I’m Canadian I need to work in an environment that I understand, and I know it’s real and truthful to me, and for me that’s snow.” I was immediately relieved and I thought “Ok, this guy’s got it.” – Ryan Gosling
In the original Blade Runner, the Voight-Kampff method was used to distinguish Replicants from humans. In this film, a more advanced technology analyses a Replicant’s operational stability. “The Baseline is designed to test the effects of a Blade Runner’s job on his brain and psyche.”
Explains Ryan Gosling. “Because they have to kill their own kind, they constantly need to be assessed as to whether their work is having some kind of impact on them.”
Two versions of the Baseline scene were filmed for the movie: the original scripted version, and a much longer take written by Ryan Gosling himself.
It was a lengthy eight-minute staccato dialogue, and Gosling delivered each take without hesitation for every camera angle.
The moment it was filmed, everyone on set felt that they had witnessed something unique and powerful. “When you are shooting a movie, there’s always a scene that makes you feel you’ve made contact with the soul of the story,” recalls Villeneuve. “That was it, and it became our own Baseline for the rest of principal photography.”
This feeling was shared by Joe Walker in editorial, “it was one of those great times as an editor, where you lift off from the page and it’s no longer about the scripted material, but there is blood running through the veins of an idea.” The long scene was later fine tuned to serve its percussive purpose in the final cut. “It’s an attack on K’s psyche, so it has to wrong foot him and be hellishly aggressive. That gave me a lot of material to work with rhythmically in the cut”
From the Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049
Here is a beautiful science fiction moment for me, where my character will see a living creature, a bee. Something he’d never seen before in his life, that he’s not aware exactly of what it is. – Denis Villeneuve
Ryan Gosling and Denis Villeneuve photographed by Christina House for LA Times