Alcon Entertainment producer Andrew Kosove knew how badly he wanted Ridley Scott to return for a new "Blade Runner." He just had no idea if he could land him.
"We had a few Plan Bs. But we were really focusing on Plan A, which was Ridley," Kosove said Thursday morning, shortly after his company announced that Scott had agreed to take the reins on a follow-up to his 1982 cult classic.
Here's how it went down. As Kosove and his partners were locking down rights to the movie about replicants in 2019 Los Angeles along with the Philip K. Dick novel on which it was based, they called an executive at Scott Free, Ridley and Tony Scott's production company. The Alcon people simply wanted to see if Ridley would sit down with them.
The filmmaker agreed, and shortly after the rights deal closed in March, Kosove and his partner Broderick Johnson flew to London to meet with the director.
Over the course of one meeting, they hashed out how a new film would look, how it could avoid seeming too similar to the many movies that have since paid homage to the original, and how different the new film should be from the original itself. They eventually decided it should stand as separately as possible.
"Everything Ridley does as a filmmaker is fresh," Kosove said. "I believe he sees an opportunity to create something that’s wholly original from the first 'Blade Runner.' "
Scott, Kosove and Johnson left that meeting with a handshake deal, and then the lawyers and agents jumped in to work out the details.
The next step now is for Scott to meet with writers, and for he and the producers to agree on which scribe they should hire. Kosove intimated that hire could happen in a matter of months if not weeks.
And how quickly can we expect a film?
The new movie will sit on a timetable that's fast by big-budget Hollywood standards but perhaps slow for a hungry film fan. The soonest Kosove could see the movie beginning shooting is early 2013 -- it would take at least 18 months to hire a writer, get a script in working order under Scott's guidance, cast the film and move into production.
Scott, who recently finished editing his new movie "Prometheus," could, in that 18-month period, direct one of several other movies he has in development and then return to shoot the new "Blade Runner," or he could make "Blade Runner" his next movie.
Either way, that means a new "Blade Runner" wouldn't be in theaters until 2014 at the earliest.
What shape that film will take remains a question: It could be either a sequel, a prequel, or even an inspired-by type of picture a la "Prometheus," which is related to but not closely affiliated with Scott's 1979 science-fiction hit "Alien."
One element that likely won't be in the new "Blade Runner" is Harrison Ford, who in the original played the lead, retired LAPD officer Rick Deckard.
"In no way do I speak for Ridley Scott," Kosove said. "But if you're asking me will this movie have anything to do with Harrison Ford, the answer is no. This is a total reinvention, and in my mind that means doing everything fresh, including casting."
Kosove said that he realizes that working on a title that's so beloved is a double-edged sword; it means he's fighting to win over fans loyal to the original. That's one reason, he says, he's happy to have landed Scott.
"When we made the first announcement there was a lot of skepticism, understandably. And now with Ridley coming back there's a greater level of comfort," Kosove said. "And once we have the writer, I think fans will feel even more comfortable."
He added, "We want people to know that we're very serious about doing this in an artistic way. This isn't just commercial fodder."
Photo. "Blade Runner." Credit: Warner Bros.