See the Cast of ‘Blade Runner’ Then and Now
Released 31 years ago, Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi masterpiece ‘Blade Runner’ follows an agent played by Harrison Ford who must track down and eliminate four bioengineered “replicants” who are seeking answers about their existence. Now that there’s all this talk of a sequel, let’s take a look back at the cast of this highly influential film and see what they’re up to these days.
Harrison Ford, Rick Deckard
Then: Harrison Ford wasn’t the first choice to play Rick Deckard in ‘Blade Runner’ — that honor goes to Dustin Hoffman, who turned down the role because it was too “macho.” Other actors considered for the part before the ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Star Wars’ star nabbed it include Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger and pretty much every name in town except Ford.
Now: Ford credits ‘Blade Runner’ with being his most difficult film experience, but it helped solidify his status as a blockbuster leading man. He recently starred in the Jackie Robinson biopic ’42,’ and he returns to sci-fi in the upcoming film ‘Ender’s Game.’
Rutger Hauer, Roy Batty
Then: Rutger Hauer was cast immediately in the role of Roy Batty after director Ridley Scott watched his performances in previous films like ‘Turkish Delight’ and ‘Soldier of Orange.’ Hauer threw Scott a curveball in the audition by dressing in hot pink satin pants and huge green sunglasses, but got the part anyway.
Now: You may know Hauer from his roles in classic cult films like ‘Ladyhawke,’ ‘Blind Fury’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ The veteran actor continues to work, showing up in recent films like the grindhouse homage flick ‘Hobo with a Shotgun.’ He still considers ‘Blade Runner’ to be his favorite film he’s ever acted in.
Sean Young, Rachael
Then: Sean Young had only previously appeared in two films, one of which was the 1981 comedy ‘Stripes.’ Almost 100 actresses auditioned for the role of Rachael, but only three were considered seriously for the part: Nina Axelrod, Barbara Hershey and Sean Young.
Now: Young went on to act in another sci-fi film, ‘Dune,’ and starred in several other movies, including ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.’ In the early ’90s, she notoriously campaigned to play Catwoman in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman Returns,’ earning her a bit of a wacky reputation that persists to this day.
Edward James Olmos, Gaff
Then: ‘Blade Runner’ was one of Edward James Olmos’ earliest roles, and the unique way his character Gaff has of speaking in the film was entirely the actor’s invention.
Now: Olmos went on to garner much acclaim for roles in ‘Stand and Deliver,’ ‘American Me’ and ‘My Family.’ He also starred in the ‘Selena’ biopic, but you probably recognize him best as Admiral William Adama from SyFy’s ‘Battlestar Galactica’ reboot. He also had a big role in the 2011 season of ‘Dexter.’
M. Emmet Walsh, Bryant
Then: Legendary actor M. Emmet Walsh, who had starred in ‘Serpico’ and ‘The Jerk,’ played the role of Bryant in the film.
Now: Walsh has a resume to match his legendary status, and in recent years has shown up in everything from ‘Wild Wild West’ to ‘Youth in Revolt.’ He also lent his voice talents to the Cosmic Owl on an episode of ‘Adventure Time.’
Daryl Hannah, Pris
Then: Ridley Scott initially wanted ’80s music icon Deborah Harry from the band Blondie to play the role of Pris, but it eventually went to relative newcomer Daryl Hannah, known for her work in ‘The Fury’ and ‘Hard Country.’
Now: Hannah went on to star in ‘Splash’ and ‘Roxanne,’ and reunited with her ‘Blade Runner’ co-star Sean Young in ‘Wall Street.’ In recent years, Hannah has been known best for her role of Elle Driver in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ films and for frequently running afoul of the law thanks to her political activism. She still has the blonde wig she wore as Pris in ‘Blade Runner.’
Joe Turkel, Dr. Eldon Tyrell
Then: ‘Blade Runner’ used some outtakes from ‘The Shining’ in the end credits for the original cut, but that’s not all it shared with Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic — the film also stars Joe Turkel, the creepy bartender from ‘The Shining,’ as Dr. Eldon Tyrell of the notorious Tyrell corporation.
Now: The veteran actor, now 85, stopped working in 1998. His last two roles were as a janitor in an episode of ‘Boy Meets World’ and reprising his role of Dr. Tyrell for the ‘Blade Runner’ video game in 1997.
Joanna Cassidy, Zhora
Then: Joanna Cassidy wasn’t a well-known actress at the time, and though she worried about walking around mostly naked for her role as Zhora, the reason she seems so comfortable with that snake is that the filmmakers used her own pet Burmese python.
Now: Cassidy went on to star in the TV series ‘Buffalo Bill,’ and earned a Saturn Award nomination for her supporting role as Dolores in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit.’ You also might recognize her as Margaret from the HBO series ‘Six Feet Under.’ These days, Cassidy stars on the series ‘Body of Proof.’
James Hong, Hannibal Chew
Then: James Hong began his career doing voice over dubbing for Asian films, and had small parts in several film and TV shows before landing the role of Hannibal Chew in ‘Blade Runner.’
Now: Around the time of ‘Blade Runner,’ Hong’s career really took off. He’s known best for his part as ghost sorcerer Lo Pan in ‘Big Trouble in Little China,’ and he had a part in the classic Roman Polanski film ‘Chinatown.’ Hong has over 500 acting credits under his belt, including a part in the upcoming horror comedy ‘R.I.P.D.’