During a press event for Blade Runner 2049 at San Diego Comic-Con, I took part in a roundtable interview with director Denis Villeneuve. The sequel is an ambitious one; there's always an inherent risk of failure when building the next chapter following a beloved film, particularly if that film last saw theater screens more than three decades ago.
But the enthusiastic Villeneuve is confident, particularly in the team he has assembled. Pointing out that while he is a different director than Ridley Scott, the director of the original Blade Runner, one thing they have in common is that they both demand the best in their casting process:
I’m a very different director than Ridley Scott but there is one thing we have in common which is that we always aim for excellence in our casting. There’s no compromise. One thing I’m sure of is that the performances are very strong, very strong, because I had the chance to do a massive casting all around the world. It was a long casting process. I chose among the best working young actors.
The payoff is that #BladeRunner2049 has stellar actors in the roles, and while Villeneuve cast heavy hitters like Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Robin Wright, he's most excited about its four young, up and coming actresses. He feels they will do justice to the strong parts demanded of the script:
One thing I love in the screenplay is that there are a lot of strong female parts. Femininity is very important in this movie…which is why I had the pleasure to meet actors who are well-known in their own countries but sometimes less known in North America, like Sylvia Hoeks and Ana de Armas and Carla Juri and there’s Mackenzie Davis, also. Those are young actresses who are strong artists and they brought a lot to the movie.
In fact, #DenisVilleneuve has such confidence in their collective abilities that, when asked which actor he feels is the film's secret weapon, he didn't even hesitate before giving them the nod:
I would say that those four young actresses are the secret weapon. Honestly, that’s the way I feel. With great excitement, I would say that the four of them are, for different reasons, the movie’s secret weapon.
I have to say, a the sole female entertainment journalist at the roundtable event, it was refreshing to hear the director leapfrog right over the two male heavyweights of the cast to gush about his admiration for Blade Runner's young female actresses. We can only hope the future continues to be female (and that it will come in other shades than white).
The question remains, however...which one of them is a Replicant? We'll find out on October 6 when Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters.