‘Blade Runner 2049’ Originally Wanted David Bowie to Play the Film’s Antagonist
It wouldn’t be a Blade Runner movie without a nasty villain, and Blade Runner 2049 has a pretty creepy antagonist. Jared Leto plays blind replicant engineer Niander Wallace, a stand-in of sorts for Joe Turkel’s Eldon Tyrell, but he wasn’t originally the first choice for the role. That would have been David Bowie.
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.
Leto and Bowie do share some similarities: both are musicians who also dabble in acting from time to time in their careers. But man, can you imagine Bowie’s version of Wallace? He was wonderfully chilling in The Hunger, and fabulous in both Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige. If anyone could, David Bowie would have fit right in with the neon and shoulder pads of the Blade Runner universe.
Leto, for his part, went full method, remaining blind for the whole shoot with a work ethic that so impressed Villeneuve that he even compared Leto to Jesus. I guess we’ll all see when Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters October 6.