Preserving the Blade Runner legacy not taken lightly

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford have brought the legend of Blade Runner back to the big screen, 35 years after rain-soaked replicant Roy broke our hearts on that rooftop.

The original was far from a box office smash or even a critical hit, but it became an enormously influential cult sci-fi, inspiring and informing filmmakers and storytellers for decades to come.

"It was one of the first films I'd seen where it wasn't clear how I was supposed to feel when it was over," says Gosling.

"It was beautiful and scary. It was a romantic nightmare of haunting questions. 

"It was also something that influenced the culture that I had grown up in so much and I had no idea."

The Drive star is the new 'Blade Runner', and he was the first and only choice for the role of an LAPD officer named K.

"When I read the screenplay, I thought it was a brilliant idea," says director Denis Villeneuve. "It was written for him, honestly.

"So we basically did one phone call for this part. I asked Ryan to meet me, he read the screenplay - we had a beautiful meeting of several hours in New York a few years ago and he said 'yes' right away after that conversation. 

"And honestly, he was my strongest ally for the movie."

Taking the reins from Ridley Scott was a decision gifted French-Canadian Villeneuve didn't take lightly.

"It's a feeling of being doomed, you know," he recalls. "I felt the potential of making a great movie, but I didn't say yes spontaneously. 

"In fact, I was afraid when I read it, because I fell in love with it, so it took a while before I said yes. Ridley Scott's shoes are very big to fill."

The Alien filmmaker's legacy is indeed a daunting one to honour, but there was one man who knew Villeneuve would do it with aplomb.  

Rick Deckard himself, played by Harrison Ford.

"He brought his own sensibility, he really brought his history and an affection for respect for the original film," says Ford.

"He also brought a blessed intention to make it his own, which he did."

Blade Runner 2049 opens in New Zealand cinemas on Thursday.