Director Wes Anderson is executive-producing a documentary about Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher. The documentary, Escapes, is directed by Michael Almereyda, but the trailer already has Anderson’s trademark imagery and sound splashed all over it . The film will look at the life of Hampton Fancher, who is the screenwriter behind both Blade Runner and the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, but his story exceeds even that cinematic beast.
Fancher ran away from his home in Los Angeles to become a flamenco dancer in Spain aged 15, renaming himself Mario Montejo. He then worked as an actor in films and TV for several years (“the most expensive day player in German film history”, he once said) before attempting to convince Philip K. Dick to option Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. He failed, but then sent film producer Brian Kelly, who Dick did agree to. Fancher wrote the screenplay for what would ultimately become Blade Runner in 1982.
The film will explore the fascinating story of Fancher’s life in great detail, but from the footage we’ve seen, it looks like he’s almost embarrassed to tell it. Told through interviews with Fancher, photographs, talking heads and other footage, the film is new territory for Anderson (it’ll be his first documentary). But then, a runaway flamenco dancer who forces his way into Hollywood doesn’t actually seem like that much of a departure.
Anderson is also currently working on his latest animation, Isle of Dogs. The all-star cast features Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono – among countless others. The film is set inJapan and traces one boy’s odyssey to find his lost dog. Edward Norton is said to play the dog, named Rex. It’s the Grand Budapest Hotel director’s second animated venture, following 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
As we wait patiently for Blade Runner 2049 to hit cinemas October 6, it seems just about the right time for a documentary to chronicle the life of a largely unknown – but very vital – figure in cinematic history, who helped set the tone for expansive sci-fi film.