Denis Villeneuve talks waking up at night thinking about Blade Runner 2049 and why he’ll never make a sequel to another director’s work again

Connie Queline

Denis Villeneuve talks waking up at night thinking about Blade Runner 2049 and why he’ll never make a sequel to another director’s work again

While Denis Villeneuve gears up for the release of his Dune sequel, he talks taking on a sequel from another filmmaker and how that affected him.

Denis Villeneuve is currently the man of the hour. He’s got one of the most anticipated films of the year premiering this week with an overwhelmingly positive early response. Dune: Part Two is already getting praised for its immensely breathtaking visuals (which are heightened by the large screen theater formats) and the grand journey of Timothée Chalamet’s noble heir. Our own Chris Bumbray got to speak with the maestro at the Montreal premiere. Additionally, Dune: Part Two is already on track for a big opening weekend as its early preview totals from Thursday exceed the first film’s early preview numbers with double the sales.

Dune: Part Two is not Villeneuve’s first sequel. However, it is a sequel to a franchise in which he was placed in charge. Villeneuve spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his feelings on taking on a franchise established by another director when he made the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, titled Blade Runner 2049. When asked if he could ignore that shadow of the first acclaimed movie while making his sequel, he replied, “No, never. Blade Runner is one of my favorite films, and it’s absolutely a masterpiece. Ridley Scott is one of my favorite filmmakers, and even though he had given his blessing, it was very important for me to hear it and see it in his eyes that he was OK with me doing the movie at the time. But I was constantly thinking about the original film as I was making Blade Runner 2049. It was impossible not to.”

The French-Canadian director admits he is sometimes still haunted by the movie, “So 2049 was really a love letter to the first film, but it was by far one of the most difficult projects I’ve ever done, and I don’t think I will ever approach someone else’s universe again. I still wake up sometimes at night, saying, ‘Why did I do that?’ I’d declined a few other projects of that scale, but at the time, I said to myself, ‘It’s a crazy project, but it’s worth the risk of losing everything.’”

Villeneuve’s films are often praised, and he’s a director that people have never accused of phoning in his work. Filmmaking peers like Christopher Nolan have shown support for Villeneuve’s projects, especially with both being directors who engage in the IMAX format. Villeneuve and Nolan have moderated Q&As for each other, and having Nolan’s respect is something Villeneuve does not take for granted, “It means the world. I also have massive respect for Chris Nolan, and what he’s achieved through the years is very impressive. He’s one of my favorite filmmakers, so to have his respect means a lot.”

About the Author

E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.


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