BBtv: Syd Mead with Joel Johnson pt. 3: BLADE RUNNER (Yesssss.)


The 1982 cyberpunk cinema classic Blade Runner remains one of the most influential science fiction movies of all time, and tops many a nerd’s favorite films list.

Today on Boing Boing tv, Boing Boing Gadgets editor Joel Johnson visits the studio of artist and futurist Syd Mead, who designed the film’s dystopian look and feel. We learn about the “erotic machine” he dreamed for the replicant Zhora (this breast-shaped dreampod was cut from the script when director Ridley Scott ran out of dough), the 1 2 3 *4* alternate opening scenes designed by Syd (one of them, which involved shoveling dead bodies, was deemed “too Holocaust”), what really lights up those building facades, and many more secrets.

Syd explains he envisioned the world of Blade Runner as a place “you wouldn’t want to be for too long,” and describes the challenges of designing for “a love story with moralistic underpinnings… if we could actually make people, would we treat them like dishwashers? Just use them up and throw them away?”


Link to Boing Boing tv post with discussion, downloadable video, and how to subscribe to the BBtv video podcast.


If you like this BBtv episode, you might want to pick up:

  • BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT [Amazon]
  • VISUAL FUTURIST: The Art & Life of Syd Mead DVD [sydmead.com]
  • And more Syd Mead books on Amazon.
  • Previous episodes in BBtv’s Syd Mead trilogy:

  • Joel Johnson interviews Syd Mead: part 1.
  • Joel Johnson interviews Syd Mead: part 2.
  • (Footage from the movie Blade Runner courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment / Warner Home Video; Artwork courtesy of Syd Mead Inc.)

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