Born in South Shields in 1937, Blade Runner director Ridley Scott’s family moved around the North-East of England before finally settling down in Greens Beck Road, Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees where he attended the local Grangefield Grammar School (now The Grangefield Academy). On graduation from Grangefield, Scott attended the West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design before moving to the Royal College of Art in London and developing his reputation as one of the leading film directors of the 20/21 centuries.
Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner - often cited as the most important science fiction/cyberpunk film ever made - is based upon the 1968 novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ by Philip K Dick, a leading new-wave cyberpunk writer. Although ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ is set in San Francisco, Scott’s epic re-sets the story in Los Angeles but in reality much of the film's aesthetic and film-noir atmosphere is based on Scott’s experience of Teesside, in particular the industrial flame stacks of ICI Wilton that became one of cinema’s most iconic images as Scott recreated their eerie glow for his dystopian vision of Blade Runner.
As Scott described himself:
“There’s a walk from Redcar into Hartlepool. I’d cross a bridge at night, and walk above the steel works. So that’s probably where the opening of Blade Runner comes from.”
Although Scott’s references to Blade Runner are often only externally referred to as relating to the opening sequences, the entire films atmosphere was influenced directly by the industrial architecture and Northern English weather of Teesside.
“It always seemed to be rather gloomy and raining, and I’d just think ‘God, this is beautiful’.
“You can find beauty in everything, and so I think I found the beauty in that darkness.”
From Tony Scott:
“I’ll tell you what my five favourite films are,…and the top of that list is Blade Runner, not just because my brother did it but because Blade Runner is such a brilliant film and it touches on so much of my past and I saw so much of Ridley and where we grew up, bringing in so much of his imagination and so much of his dreams come to the screen with that movie and most of all, you know the big stamp in terms of our background where we grew up was the rain. We grew up in the north of England and it was always raining,…..and the comics that Ridley used to read, so when I saw the movie I saw so much of him being brought to the screen”
Tony Scott (Film Director, Ridley’s brother) discussing Blade Runner in Dangerous Days: The Making of Blade Runner by Charles de Lauzirika.
Why November 2019?
Blade Runner is set in November 2019, and Cyberpunk’s other seminal anime film AKIRA is also set in 2019. Due to the significance of these dates and the fact that there will be so much attention placed on the films during this month in 2019, it seems fitting that the place that influenced so much of the genre’s success should itself host a major international convention to mark the occasion.