Five Favorite Films with Rutger Hauer
Plus, the star on this week's Hobo With A Shotgun and why Blade Runner is his favorite performance.
In a busy career tracing back to the late 1960s, Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has carved out a unique niche as a performer, alternating between dramatic parts and iconic cult roles that have earned him the admiration of successive generations of audiences. His performance in 1977's World War II drama Soldier of Orange made the world aware of both Hauer and director Paul Verhoeven, while several of his roles in the '80s -- like the menacing villain in action classic The Hitcher and replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner -- continue to resonate with movie fans today. Filmmakers have drawn on Hauer's singular presence in later years for supporting roles in the likes of Sin City and Batman Begins, and this week he's back in all of his full, starring glory -- headlining the splattery B-movie throwback, Hobo With a Shotgun.
Based on the popular fake trailer submitted for Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse, Jason Eisener's deliberately trashy feature debut stars Hauer as... a hobo... with a shotgun: a homeless vigilante out to make the streets of a corrupt town run red with the blood of evil.
We spoke with the actor recently, where he shared his thoughts on the film, and what it's like looking back at Blade Runner today. Read on for the interview; but first, here are Rutger Hauer's five favorite films.
Let me start with the last one I saw that I was really taken by, which was Gasland by Josh Fox. It's an investigation into the pollution of the drinking water all over the States. It's a guy with a camera, somewhere in the middle of America: he got a letter from an oil company saying "We want to buy your land for a hundred grand, are you game?" and he started to investigate what they wanted; and just from one thing to the next he started finding out all these things about the pollution of the water. I just admire this guy and this documentary, and I've always been a major fan of good documentaries. It couldn't have been done with a sh***ier camera, and I love that about the sh***y cameras.
Then there's another documentary that I saw last time at Sundance, which is called Position Among the Stars. This is a Dutch-Indonesian director who has made a portrait of one family over the course of 12 years in Indonesia. His name is Leonard Retel Helmrich. I talked to him for a few hours on the last day, before he won the award in Sundance, about what he was doing and how he was doing it, because the way in which he conducts his camera is completely different. He said, "I wanted to make a very simple portrait about a very poor family in Indonesia and see if I could find a link to the bigger picture, so to speak, and the alignment of the stars above their head." And he succeeded. It's an awesome documentary. It's just a portrait of a small family, with a universal theme coming out of it at the end.
I'll go back to the one that hit me hard a long time ago, Hiroshima mon amour by Alain Resnais. I think the first cuts are so deep, you know, when your hard disc is still pretty empty, and these first films hit you so hard where you go, "Oh my god, I didn't know this existed, it's so beautiful." Hiroshima mon amour was a film by a filmmaker where I didn't know this language was even possible on film -- I was looking at wax museum films and Westerns and war movies and horror movies and everything, but not this one; it really woke up my eyes for something else. It was so poetic and so cool, and just really enjoyable.
Wings of Desire, by Wim Wenders. The guy who wrote the screenplay, Peter Handke, is a playwright in Germany, and I was very much a part of reading the avant garde writers, be it plays or novels. I loved his writing, it was so strong and so sharp, and when the film came out, I just loved it. Everything about it was marvelous. Bruno Ganz was so brilliant. He's brilliant most of the time. On our side of the ocean, let's say, he was one of our stars, like Redford and Paul Newman and Brando were on that side. I had a few European actors where I went, "They're so fantastic."
Next, Rutger Hauer talks about his new cult film, Hobo With A Shotgun, and why his performance in Blade Runner remains his personal favorite.
Okay, last one -- Apocalypse Now. That movie was so stunning and so ahead of its time. I don't know, it's probably a story like Blade Runner, because there are so many things that happened on it. And I didn't even see the longer version. I think there's a version that's like three or four hours long. It's such a mixed feeling of painful darkness -- it's not surprising with Heart of Darkness, to quote that -- and of course Brando, he was always my big love/hate hero in acting; his speech, "The horror, the horror," it's just killer, you know?