I was there the day when two giants from differing realms of the entertainment world met.
There were a lot of people around the day Philip K. Dick met Ridley Scott. Lots of folks from the Blade Runner crew were there who could tell you about it.
But I was the only one there who knew Phil.
Philip K. Dick only met Ridley Scott one time – the day Phil was invited to view the special effects months prior to the Blade Runner premiere. Sadly that would be the only one of a few clips of the film he would see. He also saw something on some TV show. Phil passed on in March of 1982.
Having known Phil for almost ten years, our friendship had grown to the comfort level you usually only get with the passing of years. I was with him or talked on the phone almost every day the last year of his life. The year that included the visit to the studio where we saw the models for the sets and some of the props and other cool stuff. That day is burned into my mind . . . even these 35 plus years later.
Phil was not a happy camper when he first heard about Scott directing. He even said so in a now infamous interview with Paul M. Sammon for TV Guide Select. Paul is also the author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner.
Phil hated the script (it deviated too much from his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) and was unimpressed with Harrison Ford’s casting. I did what I could to nudge him, explaining why this film had tremendous potential. He went from utter disdain to a grudging acceptance that he could do nothing about the things he didn’t like – so he might as well accept the situation. It took months to get him to that point.
But the day of the meeting? He was somewhat excited. He tried to hide it, but I saw it. I look back now and give myself a tiny pat on the back with a mental “My work was done.”
However, the special effects that Phil saw that day were what really won him over. (Insert the “I loosened it for you” thought here.) We sat next to each other with Ridley behind us. About eight people were in the studio standing around while a woman photographed us.
It was explained that the music we would hear was not the one to be used in the film. The opening scene from the film played, followed by scenes with the blimp, the city, and the flying cars. As scene after scene progressed, I felt Phil’s entire mood change.
When the clip ended, Phil turned to Scott in amazement. “You captured the exact mood I was going for in my book! I can’t wait to see the entire film because this was very impressive. It’s like you could see into my mind.”
Today we would say he had a fanboy moment with Scott. Yes, he was that enthusiastic. From that moment on Phil was hooked with the Blade Runner project and quite proud to have his name on the film.
Having seen the film numerous times. I think Phil would be happy with the end result. And as for Blade Runner 2049? I can’t wait!
Want to know more about Phil? Check out my memoir, The Other Side of Philip K. Dick.
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