The above compilation of two scenes from the two movies offers a fascinating comparison that illustrates the striking likeness of Sean Young’s character ‘Rachel’ in 1982 and 2017.
Blade Runner 2049
The original 1982 Blade Runner isn’t just one of the best science fiction movies ever made – it is also one of the most influential – its dark, overcrowded, rainy, beautiful, bleak, neon-lit dystopian future was the birth of a new genre.
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
From executive producer Ridley Scott and director Denis Villeneuve, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, MacKenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, Carla Juri, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto.
Sean Young is Young Again
One of the most striking callback to the original movie has to be the return of one of the original movie’s major characters looking exactly the same despite the passage of 35 years, thanks to cutting-edge visual effects.
The stunning CG recreation of the Rachael replicant played by Sean Young in the original film was one of the great surprises of “Blade Runner 2049”. Rachael was Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard’s love interest and the two-minute sequence brings an emotionally stirring reunion with Deckard that required technical virtuosity and subtle performance.
Body double Loren Peta played the young Rachael and performed on set with Ford and Jared Leto (as replicant manufacturer Wallace). She was directed by Denis Villeneuve, with Young on set as well. The goal was to merge the two into a perfect replica.
Working on this scene was the London-based effects company MPC, that de-aged Arnold Schwarzenegger for “Terminator: Genisys” and won a visual effects Oscar for its work on “The Jungle Book.” MPC’s process began by collecting photographs, film scans and other images of Young from both the original movie and others from the era.
They then scanned Young’s head and that reference was used to model an anatomically correct 3D skull. The skull was then lined up with production stills and scenes from the original “Blade Runner” for reference to create an identical match.
Sean Young got to be on set while actress Loren Peta acted out the performance, then both Peta and Young spent a day in Budapest in facial motion-capture rigs, with both women performing Rachael’s scene in the film.
As spectacular the results are, the process and the effort involved in making this one scene is remarkable; it will probably be a while until real-life actors are totally replaced by computer replicants.