Back to the future

PARTNERS: Ryan Gosling as K and Harrison Ford, above and inset, as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049. Picture: PA Photo/Alcon Entertainment, LLC/Frank Ockenfels.

As Harrison Ford returns, 35 years on, for the Blade Runner sequel, he and co-star Ryan Gosling speak to Laura Harding.

If you were ever to accidentally end up on the receiving end of a punch from Harrison Ford, you might get a glass of Scotch in compensation. Not a bottle, just a glass.

It was probably your own fault anyway.

That is a lesson Ryan Gosling learned the hard way on the set of the long-anticipated and top-secret sequel to Blade Runner, which is being released in cinemas 35 years after the original hit screened.

The film sees Ford reprise his role of Rick Deckard, while Gosling joins him as new character Agent K, alongside a slew of other stars including Robin Wright, Jared Leto and Dave Bautista, while Arrival film-maker Denis Villeneuve takes over the directing reins from Ridley Scott, who serves as executive producer.

The unlikely double act of Ford and Gosling have been taking their show on the road of late as they promote the movie, and seem happy and comfortable in each other’s presence – all just acting, Gosling jokes.

Ford, who often does not hide his lack of enthusiasm for hitting the publicity trail, adds: “This could be torture, but it’s been fun working with him.”

Blade Runner 2049 features an older Deckard and also an older Ford – still sprightly but now the ripe old age of 75 – but that has 
not stopped him getting stuck into the action component of the sequel.

“Maybe my eyesight is not as sharp,” he muses, as he sits next to his younger co-star in a London hotel room.

“I did clip him one time in a scene where we had a little unplanned physical contact, let’s just put it that way, and walk on by. I apologise.”

Gosling, 36, isn’t buying any of it. “Trust me, he’s just as agile, it’s all up to snuff,” he stresses.

“I took a bottle of Scotch over to his trailer,” Ford continues, “and I said ‘Now listen, I really am sorry’. He said ‘Am I going to get any of that?’ and I said yes and poured him a glass and took the bottle. I think he’s still looking for the rest of the bottle.

“It was good Scotch. The thought was there, it was a sincere apology.”

Clearly with Ford, you get what you’re given. “I never heard of getting a glass as a present. Is that a thing?” Gosling asks.

“What do you get at Christmas? I send glasses. I can make a bottle last a long time,” the older actor chuckles.

To add insult to injury, he adds: “It was an accident, it was his accident, not mine.”

Inadvertent punches aside, the pair make a merry double act off screen, riffing off each other’s dry sense of humour and cracking jokes only the other seems to be in on.

When Gosling receives a compliment for the cosy jumper he’s wearing to block out the autumnal chill of the capital, Ford says drily: “What about me?”

It was Ford himself who thought Gosling would be perfect for the role as the mysterious agent.

“So did everybody else,” he stresses.

“When I read the little novella that Ridley and Hampton Fancher (the co-screenwriter of both the original movie and the sequel) had developed to serve as an exercise before the script was written, which is all I knew about the project, 
I saw and read about this character Agent K and I thought that would be a great part for Ryan Gosling.

“So with great enthusiasm I proposed this idea to the producers and they said ‘We know, we’ve been talking to him for months. We hope we can get him’, and we got him.”

Was he a bit miffed his thunder was stolen?

“I was really pleased we were all on the same page because that’s a really important part of the recipe for this movie.”

It’s clear Gosling is thrilled by this compliment from the veteran star but jokes: “Little did he know I was sneaking head shots of myself into his day-to-day subconscious, in the newspapers.

“I rented a billboard by his house for a few months.”

But while Ford had pegged Gosling for the role of Agent K in the new film, Gosling had no idea what it would be like to work with the star of the Indiana Jones movies, Star Wars and, of course, Blade Runner.

“He exceeded my expectations,” he enthuses.

“Show me someone who is not a fan and I will show you a liar, but we had high expectations obviously, but then when he got to set it wasa relief because he just turned out to be the best collaborator.”

Looking over at Ford, he asks: “Are you comfortable with that?”

Without missing a beat, Ford replies: “It’s a start.”

“I’ll work on it,” is the reply.

Ford might be an old hand at blade running, but he insists he didn’t try to offer any advice to his co-star, or even discuss the matter with him.

“No, no. First of all there is a director doing any of the talking that needs to be done and it’s better.

“I prefer just to throw myself into the water and find out the temperature rather than say ‘Oh, it’s too cold, I’m not going in there’, or ‘It’s too hot, somebody help me out here’. He’s really fun to work with on a visceral level.”

Gosling adds: “It’s the same job but there are a lot of differences in the new film so it was fun to explore those differences in the scenes.”

Blade Runner 2049 (15) is out in cinemas around the region now.

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