Artists take their inspirations where they can get it. It turns out that Blade Runner 2049 production designer, Dennis Gassner, and director, Denis Villeneuve, got some of their inspiration for the film’s vehicle design from street snow blowers, of all things. Late one blustery Montreal night, where the film crew was staying for pre-prodyction work, Villeneuve called Gassner.
“He said, ‘Dennis, there are snow sweepers outside. You got to go look at them,’” the Oscar winner (Bugsy) told Vanity Fair earlier this month with a laugh. “I said, ‘Uh, okay.’ I was ready to slip under the sheets, and I had to get up and go out in 30-degree-below-zero weather, which I did.”
What he saw were big, hulking, snow collectors crawling up the Canadian boulevard—the formidable, futuristic cousin of those dinky, seemingly battery-operated snow plows of yore. The image was not only inspirational aesthetically—its blunt angles are echoed in Blade Runner 2049’s vehicles—but it was also a reminder of the prescient technological and geographical changes Gassner had to intuit when creating a world for the sequel. His 2049 Las Vegas, for example, is a dusty panorama of destruction—decayed remnants of the original strip are left standing, with a few updates (a sculpture garden) and signs of life (bees) showing that this derelict city is not completely toxic.
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