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March 1, 2015

Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films bringing Harrison Ford back as Blade Runner


Scott Brown / Vancouver Sun

Canadian Denis Villeneuve will direct Harrison Ford in a sequel to Blade Runner that is being co-produced by a pair of Vancouverites.

Frank Giustra, the founder of Lionsgate Films and a current director with Vancouver’s Thunderbird Films, and Tim Gamble, CEO of Thunderbird, have been working for years with U.S. production company Alcon Entertainment to bring San Francisco Police Department bounty hunter Rick Deckard back out of retirement and onto the silver screen.

“We’ve been involved on this project for four or five years now and to see it finally being made is a dream come true,” Gamble said Friday from his Vancouver office.

Gamble says filming will begin in the summer of 2016. Pre-production work on the blockbuster includes scouting filming locations.

“We are scouting everywhere, and that includes in Vancouver,” said Gamble.

The 47-year-old Villeneuve, whose 2010 film Incendies was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film, takes over the helm from Ridley Scott, who directed 1982 classic and will serve as a producer on the sequel.

“I couldn’t think of someone more perfect for the project than Denis,” said Gamble. “Ridley had an influence on the decision. It’s obviously a daunting task to follow in the footsteps of Ridley Scott on such an iconic brand but Denis is up to the task.”

Villeneuve’s latest film is the yet-to-be-released crime drama Sicario starring Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. He also directed Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy (2013), and Hugh Jackman and Gyllenhaal in Prisoners (2013).

“I consider Blade Runner the iconic science fiction film … it’s a piece of art. It’s 30 years later, there is all sorts of new technology and expectations are going to be higher but at the same time, we have a great talent pool to attract from,” said Gamble.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hampton Fancher, who co-wrote the original, and Michael Green have written the screenplay, which is based on an idea from Fancher and Scott.

Gamble says we can expect the yet-to-be-titled Blade Runner sequel to be released in 2017.