a) Suggesting that Deckard is a replicant
- Terry Rawlings: Besides, Ridley and I had many concrete conversations during the editing of BR as to how to best suggest him being an android. One nice way was the scene of Deckard's eyes glowing, when Harrison's at the doorway of his kitchen behind Sean Young. Ridley had blocked that out very carefully; he purposely put Harrison in the background of that shot, and slightly out of focus, so that you'd only notice his eyes were glowing if you were paying attention. I love that - it's subtle. It was meant to be subtle. I don't think Ridley ever wanted to bring out a troupe of dancing bears holding up neon signs reading, "Deckard is a replicant!" Instead, he was going for something more ambiguous. Ridley himself may have definitely felt that Deckard was a replicant, but still, by the end, he intended to leave it up to the viewer to decide whether Deckard was one.(Future Noir (3rd version) p413)
- Paul Sammon: In the scene in his bathroom, when Rachael asks Deckard if he would follow her if she left, he says he wouldn't and then leaves the room, but he stops, puts his hand on her shoulder and says "But someone would." When he says this, Deckard's eyes have a red glow, the same effect seen in the other replicants' eyes and in Tyrell's owl. In relation to this scene, Ridley Scott maintains that that effect was purposely set up and executed on the set, but Harrison Ford denies this, saying it was unintended. In an interview with Paul Sammon in 2007, Ford comments simply "I might have strayed into her light" (Future Noir, p565 - 2nd Edition)."
- Paul Sammon: but
I must say I better appreciate the more subtle suggestions that Deckard
might be a replicant. Such as the fact that he collects photographs,
which you see scaytered over his piano. And of course the most
significant visual clue is that over-the. glowing. Was that setup
Ridley Scott: Totally intentional, sir. I was hoping there'd be those who'd pick up on that. Since Blade Runner is a paranoid film, throughout there is this suggestion that Deckard may be a replicant himself. His glowing eyes were an. other allusion to that notion, another of the subtle little bits and pieces which were all leading up to that scene in the end where Deckard retrieves Gaff's tinfoil unicorn and realizes the man knows his secret thoughts.
Actually, though, my chief purpose in having Deckard's eyes glow was to prepare the audience for the moment when Ford nods after he picks up the unicorn. I had assumed that if I'd clued them in earlier, by showing Harrison's eyes glowing, some viewers might be thinking "Hey, maybe he's a replicant, too." Then when Deckard picked up the tinfoil unicorn and nodded-a signal that Ford is thinking, "Yes, I know why Gaff left this behind"-the same viewers would realize their suspicions had been confirmed.
Paul Sammon: The only problem I have with Deckard being a replicant is that if he's a replicant to begin with, it rather undercuts his moral evolution as a human being, Because when the film starts, Deckard's clearly on the cusp of a change- he's trying to get out of his profession. But he's still the macho jerk. Then, as the story progresses, he just as clearly gains insight into the wretchedness of his profession, not to mention the growing empathy he displays toward the replicants. Which, to me, are demonstrably human characteristics. But if Deckard's a replicant- -well, it almost wipes out his spiritual rebirth. ?
Ridley Scott.: Unless he's a more sophisticated replicant and has had a spiritual implant. And is a Nexus-7?
Paul Samon: Expand on this idea of Deckard being a "Nexus 7." ?
Ridley Scott: If Deckard was the "piece de resistance" of the replicant business-"more human than human," as Tyrell would say-with all the complexities suggested by that accomplishment, then a Nexus-7 would, by definition, have to be replication's perfection. Physically, this would mean that the Tyrell Corporation would be prudent in having Deckard be of normal human strength but extended lifespan-resistance to disease, etc. Then, to round off their creation, the perfect Nexus-7 would have to be endowed with a conscience. Which would in turn suggest some kind of need for a faith. Spiritual need. Or a spiritual implant, in other words. (Future Noir, revised and updated edition p516, interview with Ridley Scott by Paul Sammon "A 700 layer cake")
He also thought that the glowing eyes effect seemed too much like a vampire from a horror movie, near enough like a B-movie trick.
- Hampton Fancher: In my script, it was much more ambiguous whether Ford was a replicant or not. I wanted people to only think as an afterthought that maybe Deckard was an android. I fought very hard for that. But when I finally caught the film and saw how Ford's eyes glow, I thought, 'Aw shit.' That device made explicit what I'd wanted to be ambivalent. I didn't like the glowing eyes effects, either it was too obvious, I found it vampiric, almost like a B-movie trick. (Future Noir (3rd version) p412)