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BLADE RUNNER 2049 Originally Wanted David Bowie to Play the Villain

BLADE RUNNER 2049 Originally Wanted David Bowie to Play the Villain

A void has lived in the hearts of many David Bowie fans the world over since the singer/songwriter/rock star/actor/legend passed away in January 2016. Blackstar was a great farewell album, but what of all the music he might have made? And what about all the movies he nearly got to act in? We can add another entry to the latter list, as Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve has revealed in an interview with Metro (via IndieWire) that Bowie was the first choice to play Jared Leto’s sinister replicant-making magnate Niander Wallace.

This proposal obviously came well before the world knew of Bowie’s cancer diagnosis, but the notion of Wallace being the rock star of bio-engineering carried through into Leto’s portrayal. Villeneuve said, “Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways. When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that.” At the time, Leto had just wrapped up playing his iconoclastic version of the Joker for Suicide Squad, so it made a lot of sense.

The character of Wallace in the movie is described as a “manipulative replicant manufacturer” who is also blind. Leto wears heavy contact lenses in the movie to convey this, and it’s said that Leto–ever the method actor–blinded himself (?) to get into the mindset of a blind person. That’s a little rash, of course, but clearly the eyes were a big part of Villeneuve’s vision (ha) for Wallace. (Of course, Bowie famously had heterochromea, a condition giving people two different colored eyes.)

It’s a shame Bowie never got to play this role, but in a way it makes Blade Runner 2049 easier on us. Leto is very good at playing bad guys, and we’d probably end up siding with Wallace if he were played by Bowie.

Images: Warner Bros.

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He writes the weekly look at weird or obscure films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!

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