Tributing Rutger Hauer, as a man with a “Pure Genius” in replicating reel roles…
Remembering Rutger Hauer’s roles as a replicant, a romantic lead, an action star and an ad man.
Sadly just recently, Rutger Hauer, the enigmatic and distinctive blond haired and blue eyed Dutch actor passed away. For many of us kids brought up in the 1980s and 1990s, he was remembered as Roy Batty, a character in Blade Runner (1982) and the quirky character from those retro adverts for a certain well known Irish stout beer.
Ironically, this news of his passing spreading through the internet, just as my husband and I were due to watch (and remember) Roger Moore and David Hedison in Live and Let Die (1973). This film was in the yearly James Bond Season on Finnish telly. As Hedison’s passing was also announced the same week, the loss of both those actors we’d enjoyed watching on our movie nights was a double blow.
Just as bizarrely, my Darlin Husband had just recently stressed that it was about time I watched Hauer in Ladyhawke. This film was 1980s swords and sorcery movie, where he starred with
Bueller, Bueller, Bueller Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer. I only vaguely remember this film, and it being a romantic and swashbuckling movie. Like most films of this ilk, this film was shown on British telly on either a Bank Holiday or Christmas Day.
Here in no particular order are two of those Hauer films I remember, along with one on my current to find and review list and a wee remembrance of those adverts.
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner – Final scene, “Tears in Rain” Monologue (HD), Guillermo St
I’ve only seen the final cut of this sci-fi film, with my full post on it HERE. The film is in theory a Harrison Ford vehicle, telling of
A Blade Runner comes back for one last job, to eliminate some rogue robots.
The film was based on the interestingly titled, Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968). The film – with an eerie soundtrack from Vangelis – has Harrison Ford as Rick Decker – and this a role he’d reprise (yay) in the recent sequel Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – a kind of policeman crossed with a bounty hunter.
Deckard is given the (one last) job of hunting down the ringleader and gang of replicant slaves who have escaped from space. These replicants – after killing a space shuttle crew – are now on earth and want to meet their creator. Replicants are only identified after using the Voight-Kampff test. The plot of Blade Runner has many querying Rick Deckard’s origin story… was he a human or a replicant?
Hauer was immediately cast as an empathy free, replicant bad guy, Roy Batty by the director Ridley Scott. This after Scott had seen Hauer in many Paul Verhoeven movies. Wikipedia adds that Philip K Dick was reportedly also happy about this casting saying Hauer was “the perfect Batty – cold, Aryan, flawless.”
This is one of his more lauded roles due to Hauer’s performance with his at times chilling, other times a quite human character. Hauer wrote his characters iconic monologue (not quoted in full here as there’s a wee spoiler line),
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Ladyhawke (1985) Trailer, Danios12345
For this 1985 film it’s back to ye olde Medieval days. Not that you’d guess on this trailer’s incredibly 80s sounding musical score. Captain Etienne Navarre, Captain of the Guard (Hauer) and Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer) are in love but with a wee problem. The dastardly Bishop of Aquila (John Wood) has put a curse on the lovers, as he had hoped to be Isabeau’s man.
Navarre is a wolf by night until dawn and his girl, Isabeau, a hawk by day until sunset. They return to being human the rest of the time. So the pair have to depend upon a young pickpocket, Gaston (Matthew Broderick) as their go-between. Navarre hoping Gaston will help him lift the curse.
On reading more on this film on IMDb it appears three hawks were used in this film. Only two hawks were used in the movie with one a flying role and one spending its screen time perched on Hauer’s arm. Apparently, the third hawk developed a rapport with Hauer off set.
Originally Kurt Russell was due to play Navarre. Sean Connery also considered for this role. But Hauer asked for this good guy part over a more villainous character. Hauer was praised for his swordplay in this film, and Hauer’s website HERE quotes him saying;
I adore sword fighting. I had been practicing with swords and horseback riding since I was 15. I had even gotten my best review on my fencing skills as I passed my final exam in acting school.
Guinness Ad – Rutger Hauer, Gordon Hudson
Making the most of his enigmatic persona, Hauer also appeared in a series of 24 adverts for a certain Irish stout in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of these adverts were as quirky and odd as his (Roy) Batty character. It now was a surprise to learn that Ridley Scott was one of the list of directors for these ads.
This “Genius” role was written about HERE by Carl Mesner Lyons, who wrote a fabulous tribute to these adverts. Hauer joining this advertising campaign named appropriately The Man with the Guinness. Mesner states;
Rutger Hauer was chosen because he looked like a pint of Guinness: black clothing and shocking white hair. He’d appeared in cool, cult films such as Blade Runner and the Hitcher and was an inspired choice.
Mesner adds that in the advert set at the barber’s Rutger saying practically nothing was later edited. With this particular advert;
only shown late at night to freak out people just back from the pub. We had loads of calls from people claiming to have had a telepathic experience.
Blind Fury (1989)
Blind Fury (Theatrical Trailer), The Baltimore Movie Trailer Park
On hearing the plot for this film, I thought this was either a wind up from Darlin Husband or a Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse trailer. The film is actually a bona fide comedy movie about a blind Vietnam vet, Nick Parker (Hauer) who is trained with swords.
Parker visits Miami to see an old friend from Vietnam, Frank. Nick discovers that Frank has an ex-wife Lynne (Meg Foster) and a young son, Billy. Frank is now working as a chemist. But he’s been kidnapped by the bad guys demanding he makes “designer drugs” for them.
Some bad guys who work for Frank’s evil boss hope to kidnap Billy, they show up and mortally wound Lynne. Parker fights them off. Before she dies, Lynne asks Nick to take her son to his father in Reno (Nevada). But it’s not as easy as it sounds, with bad guys after them. Hauer on his website wrote;
Blind Fury was one of the most difficult jobs for me because of the combination with the swordplay. I’m glad it does not show. I mean that is was so difficult. Trained a month with a blind man who taught me his handicap.
So it’s with much sadness we’ll remember this actor in our own unique ways. As for, I’ve seen Hauer’s Roy Batty attack Ford’s Decker in Blade Runner, I’ve seen Hauer’s sword glisten in the sun in Ladyhawke, all those many memorable moments remembered from his retro reign in films and TV. Or just the enigmatic man from those ads.