I was saddened to hear of the passing of Rutger Hauer on the 19th July. He died at Home at the age of 75 leaving behind a legacy of iconic roles and performances. His most famous role was that of Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
I was lucky enough to see Blade Runner on release in 1982, as with many people this was my first exposure to Rutger Hauer and one of the most iconic scenes in Science Fiction Cinema. The advantage of seeing the film on release is I was not jaded or over exposed to the theories and opinions of others before I saw the film (that’s a conversation for another post). I saw Roy Batty’s (Rutger Hauer) final monologue totally raw, the impact of that one scene was huge. I remember at the time walking out of the cinema 14 years old totally overwhelmed by what I had watched.
My friend on the other hand hated it I think he was expecting a more Star Wars type film rather than the gritty noir that Ridley Scott Showed us. This however was how polarising the film was but no matter your opinion on the film it was impossible not to see the power and skill of Hauer’s performance. I know it’s hard to believe with the universal praise that Blade Runner now gets but it was panned by some critics and didn’t do well initially, so it was many years before some discovered the majesty of that scene.
p align=”justify”>There is many a myth about that monologue about how it was written, when you dig though you can find the truth. The scene was originally far longer, Rutger in conjunction with Ridley Scott trimmed and condensed it and he then added the final line. As good as the writing is of that scene what carries it is the performance and the intensity, as he shows Deckard (Harrison Ford) what it really is to be Human.
After Blade Runner roles opened up for him, my next exposure to Rutger Haeur was through Sam Peckinpah’s final film The Osterman Weekend in which he played John Tanner. If you’ve not seen this film I personally feel it’s well worth a look it has some of Peckinpah’s signature shooting style and imagery along with some great performances especially from Haeur.
Post Blade Runner Rutger Haeur went on to do a flurry of movies such as Ladyhawke (1985, highly underrated in my opinion) and then on to The Hitcher (1986) and Blind Fury(1989). He was also considered for the lead in Robocop (1987) but Paul Verhoeven (the Director) decided that Rutger had too big a physical frame to easily move around in the Robocop suit, so Peter Weller was cast. As much as I love Robocop I for one would have loved to have seen a version with Rutger Hauer as the lead. A lot of people’s first exposure to Rutger Haeur was through the Guinness commercials in the 1990s. He was perfectly suited to front these rather bizarre and surreal ads that remain in the social consciousness.
The majority of Haeur’s 1990s work (other than the Guinness adverts) consisted of more low budget films and supporting roles. In 1992 he appeared as Lothos in the film of Buffy the Vampire slayer which obviously went on to inspire the TV series of the same name. He starred in other films such as 1992’s Split Second and the TV adaptation of Robert Harris’s alternate history book Fatherland (1994). He continued working during the 90s in many low budget and supporting roles.
In 2005 he appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and in 2007 he released his autobiography. Hauer continued to appear in various projects in 2013 he was in True Blood and 2016 The Last Kingdom. Projects outside of acting included the Rutger Haeur Starfish Association which is a Charity set up in order to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS focussing especially on children and pregnant women. He was also a big supporter of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
After a short illness he died in his Dutch home surrounded by his family and with his Wife of 50 years.