Fan Expo 2019: Sean Young And Edward James Olmos Tell Very Different Stories About Blade Runner


Sean Young and Edward James Olmos can agree on one thing: Rutger Hauer was a gem. The Blade Runner scene-stealer died earlier this summer and, while attending Fan Expo this weekend in Toronto, both Young and Olmos remembered his ad-libbing iconic performance fondly. But that’s where the agreement about their on-set experiences ends. Young has spoken out about her less-than-idyllic time on Ridley Scott’s production before, and she had similar things to say this weekend—what was interesting was hearing her story and Olmos’ side by side and seeing the stark difference between the two. Olmos describes director a 1980’s-era Scott as “calm, centred, and secure.” Young calls him “calculating.”

Olmos says his experience was collaborative—for example, he was the one who came up with the origami animals (though a professional artist folded the ones used on screen). He also came up with the language his character Gaff spoke—the language that’s come to be known as “Cityspeak” was an Olmos original, a blend of Japanese, Spanish, and German with elements of Hungarian, Chinese, and French. To hear him talk about it, it sounds like Blade Runner was a dream job. He told his Fan Expo audience that he knew from the second he walked on the sound stage that he and the rest of the cast were “about to be in an iconic movie.”

And while Young’s Joan Crawford-esque icon Rachel made one of the most memorable on-screen entries in film history, she left the project feeling deeply unsatisfied. “Never make a director feel bad for hitting on you,” was the lesson she took away. Scott, says Young, was “very manipulative with the ladies” on set. “He told me every single thing to do. He made me smoke cigarettes because he wanted to lower my voice because I sounded too young. He kept me in my dressing room—remember the old dressing rooms? They were just a box. You had to go all the way across the sound stage to use the bathrooms. He ordered that I stay in this dressing room all the time. I had to bribe the second AD to give me a radio so that I could move around and be free. When I’d hear ‘go get Sean Young,’ I’d run back to my dressing room so that they wouldn’t know that I’d been running around and seeing people. He was very controlling with me. He didn’t do that with the guys.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two actors have very different takes on the Blade Runner 2049 sequel. Young found it “extremely depressing” and overly long. As for Olmos, he loved it and wished it went on for even longer than its nearly three-hour runtime.