Who among us didn’t watch lonely, trusting J.F. Sebastian take renegade replicant Pris into his digs at the Bradbury building and think, Oh, this shall not end well? It was William Sanderson who gave BLADE RUNNER’s afflicted replicant designer an awkward vulnerability, but the actor also gave life to TRUE BLOOD’s conflicted Sheriff Bud Dearborne and, outside of the genre, DEADWOOD’s canny innkeeper E.B. Farnum and NEWHART’s deadpan townie Larry (of Larry, Darryl and Darryl).
I got talk with Sanderson about the span of his career, during which we get some inside tales of life on-set, and a certain, geeky podcast host and producer gets hoist on his own bio. Click the player to hear the show.
Joanna Cassidy’s acting career has been long and diverse, encompassing a bit part in BULLITT, trading barbs with Dabney Coleman on BUFFALO BILL, and presently playing the overbearing mother of Dana Delany on BODY OF PROOF. But for most genre fans, she will always be Zhora, the snake-loving assassin/exotic dancer/replicant of BLADE RUNNER, as well as Delores, the sarcastic, rabbit-befriending barkeep of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT.
I got to talk with Joanna for this career-spanning interview that includes a look at the complication on the set of BLADE and RABBIT, as well her role as T’Pol’s mother on STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, and so much more. Click on the player to hear the show.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Snake Dance by Joanna Cassidy
PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION debuts on SCIENCE this Wednesday, with Ridley Scott (ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER) serving as host and Executive Producer.
Via Press Release:
“For years I have been fascinated with the connection between creative inspiration and scientific progress,” said Scott. “Often there is an attempt to separate the worlds of art and science, when in reality the two are inseparably linked. I am thrilled to work with SCIENCE on PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION, which will be the definitive exploration of science fiction’s ability to spark real-world genius.”
Each episode of PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION focuses on a visionary sci-fi figure whose spark of imagination changed our reality. The premiere episode explores the celebrated author, Mary Shelley. Widely credited with creating the science fiction genre, Shelley’s seminal work, Frankenstein, provided a springboard for the future study and development of organ transplantation, cardiac defibrillation, electric batteries, and many other modern advances.
Using iconic movie clips and cutting-edge animation, each episode of PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION features a bold future-forward on-air look that is consistent with Scott’s big-screen legacy. Scott and his group of cinematic and scientific experts, including famed director, Paul Verhoeven, and renowned theoretical physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku, dissect the genius of Shelley and other science fiction titans; such as George Lucas, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, Phillip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, and Robert Heinlein.
“Sometimes it takes a true genius to clearly articulate the genius of others. This is what makes PROPHETS of SCIENCE FICTION such a singular project,” said Debbie Myers, General Manager and Executive Vice President of SCIENCE. “Having the brilliant Ridley Scott as the on-air guide for this journey enables the series to illuminate the one-of-a-kind inspiration that transforms science fiction to science fact.”
Premieres Wednesday, November 9th , at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) with MARY SHELLEY.
“Mary Shelley set out to create a monster–along the way she created a masterpiece.
In 1816, teenager Mary begins stitching together a patchwork of ancient legend, modern technology, and personal tragedy- giving life to her novel, Frankenstein – and the genre of science fiction.”
There goes the neighborhood. Charismatically feral vampire Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves into a struggling Las Vegas suburb, and it’s up to teen lovers Charley (Anton Yelchin) and Amy (Imogen Poots) to keep property values from seriously bottoming out by curtailing his ongoing recruitment campaign. Enter indifferent magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant) and screenwriter Marti Noxon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) and you’ve got FRIGHT NIGHT, a retelling of the 1985 tongue-in-cheek mini-classic, modernized with CG effects and goosed with 3D gimmicks. Special guest Judith Furnari joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons (yes, the band is back together!) as they explore whether the outer reaches of Las Vegas carry more than a little whiff of Sunnydale, and if this remake is worth the literal and figurative blood that was spilled in its making.
Also: A discussion of Ridley Scott’s announced return to the BLADE RUNNER universe, and what’s coming in theaters and on home video.
On his blog, science fiction author Joe Haldeman revealed that Ridley Scott’s film version of his classic novel The Forever War has a screen writer, and that several drafts have been completed.
Who’s is the writer? From Haldeman’s clue, it’s got to be David Webb Peoples, who wrote the screenplay for Scott’s BLADE RUNNER, adapted from Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Peoples also wrote the sci-fi films LEVIATHAN, TWELVE MONKEYS, and SOLDIER.
From Joe Holdeman’s Blog:
“…I heard, it was the fourth rewrite. I’ve talked to the writer — he has good credits, like “Unforgiven.”
I’m not among the people who assume that the novel will be desecrated by the movie. It will be interesting to see somebody else’s take on it.
Incidentally, I wasn’t asked to submit a screenplay, though I’ve been a member of the Writers Guild for almost thirty years and have solid production credits. No surprise. They don’t want the book’s author saying “Hold it! I wrote the book, and that’s not the way it goes.”
While it’s disappointing to know that Haldeman wasn’t asked to submit even a draft of the film as a jumping off point, at least David Peoples has some solid science fiction film experience. (As opposed to other screen writers.)
For those not familiar with the 1974 Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novel, The Forever War tells the story of college student William Mandella, who after an attack on Earth ships by the alien Taurans, finds himself drafted into an outer space war. Due to the effects of time dilation, he ages only a few years, while much time passes on this world. Alienated by massive social changes and with no family links, he and many of his fellow soldiers keeps re-uping for additional tours, as centuries pass back home.
Two sequels, Forever Free and Forever Peace followed in the 1990’s.
Over at AMCTV.com’s SciFi Scanner, John Scalzi explains “Why Hollywood Always, Always Gets the Future Wrong.” In reponse to a friend noting that the time setting of BLADE RUNNER is just around the corner but we still have no replicants, flying cop cars, or off-world colonies, Scalzi notes that cinematic science fiction has been notably inaccurate at predicting the future – no surprise there – but more interestingly, he points out that Hollywood is not even trying to predict accurately.
As Scalzi points out, science fiction films are really about the present. In his formula, the typical sci-fi scenario takes a present-day concern, extraploates it to an extreme, and combines it with some high-tech gadgetry so advanced that it might as well be magic. In the case of BLADE RUNNER, the concern is over-crowding and environmental disaster; the high-tech “magic” is the androids, flying cars, and space colonies.
Scalzi wraps up by pointing out that serious scientists, who presumably should have a better grasp of what’s coming tomorrow, have shown themselves no more proficient at predicting the future:
Everybody gets the future wrong. It’s not just Hollywood or science fiction writers. When it comes to the future, no one knows anything. At the close of the 19th century, British physicist Lord Kelvin declared heavier-than-air flight an impossibility (despite the existence of, you know, birds) and that radio was just a fad. In the ’70s, the president of Digital Equipment Corp. voiced doubts that anyone would ever need a personal computer. In 1995, scientist Cliff Stoll wrote in his book Silicon Snake Oil that the Internet wouldn’t really take off, in part because it could never replace newspapers or shopping malls.
It’s a fun piece, worth reading in its entirety.
You can say what you like about Los Angeles, but we have Hollywood, which means we have the movies – and lots of movie-lovers to go with it; consequently, there are actually a handful of theatres, even in this era of home video, that continue to offer repertory and revival programming. This results in wonderful opportunities to re-experience movies on the big screen, where they were meant to be seen. A recent example of this is the “Final Cut” of BLADE RUNNER, which I recently saw at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. Of course it was interesting to note how this (presumably last) version of the film stacked up against its predecessors, but I could have done that on DVD (or even, heaven forbid, on Netflix Instant Viewing). The real joy of the experience was once again seeing the sights of 2019 Los Angeles splayed out larger than life before my eyes, filling not only the screen but also my brain with an overwhelming rush of visual input that few films ever match. Read More
Great news for fans of Ridley Scott: Starting Sunday, July 6, the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles will be screening a double bill of BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT and ALIEN: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT. Although both are out on DVD, these are films that really deserve to be seen on the big screen; this is an especially important chance to see the final cut of BLADE RUNNER in a theatre, since this version received only a token theatrical release last year before arriving on home video.
As an extra, added inducement, former Cinefantastique writer Paul M. Sammon will be in attendance at the 7:00pm Sunday screening of BLADE RUNNER. The author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner (Harper) will discuss the film and answer questions from the audience. He will also bring along some behind-the-scene photos of the making of the film.
- BLADE RUNNER: Sun: 2:20 & 7:00; Mon-Thu: 7:30 only
ALIEN: Sun: 4:40 only; Mon-Thu: 9:50
I didn’t make it out to the San Diego Comic Con last week, but I heard it was great. Among many other things there was a panel for the long-awaited release of the Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of BLADE RUNNER (which will be available on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray). Harrison Ford and Daryll Hannah were no-shows (boo!), but director Ridley Scott and cast members Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, and James Hong (“Seinfeld, party of four!”) were there. The enthusiastic response of the audience full of fans dwarfed that given to the other big panel put on by Warner Brothers, dedicated to the home video release of this year’s blockbuster, 300.
Word is that the “Final Cut” on this DVD will correct problems seen in previous versions (mismatched redubbing of lines, etc). One of the most glaring was the visible face of the stunt double for the death of Zhora when she plows through several panes of glass while being shot in the back. Scott apparently reshot the footage with actress Joanna Cassidy strapping on her old costume again. Read More