Doc On Blade Runner Writer Opens At MOMI

Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image is presenting a documentary of the life of Hampton Fancher, a professional Flamenco dancer who became a producer and screenwriter of the iconic science fiction film Blade Runner as well as its sequel, which opens this weekend.

Michael Almereyda directed the documentary Escapes, which focuses on the life of Fancher as an actor, dancer, screenwriter, husband and raconteur. The documentary will screen from Oct. 6 through 8 at the museum, located at 36-01 35th Ave., with a live event at 7:30 on Oct. 6 featuring Fancher and Almereyda.

Including footage from Fancher’s work in TV and film, the documentary shows, “how one man’s personal journey can unexpectedly shape a medium’s future.”

As an actor, Fancher had recurring roles on popular 1960s shows such as Rawhide, Gunsmoke and Adam 12. His screenwriting credits also include the Denzel Washington mystery The Mighty Quinn, and he directed The Minus Man starring Owen Wilson.

Photo courtesy Museum of the Moving Image
Fancher as a young man and at present

In recent interviews anticipating the release of Blade Runner 2049, Fancher stated that he wasn’t even interested in science fiction and wasn’t a fan of the Philip K. Dick story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, upon which Blade Runner was based. He said in several interviews that he had to change the story to a detective chasing synthetic humans in order to make it more adaptable.

In a recent interview with scienceandfilm.org, Fancher said that his reading habits do not include science fiction, but he felt that while penning Blade Runner 2049 he took the everyday life of New York City, made it crazier and put it in the “brick and mortar of the future.”

Producers of the documentary call Fancher “a consummate raconteur,” and Almereyda’s documentary tells of his “romantic misadventures with silver-screen stars, wayward acts of chivalry, jealousy and friendship—matched with a parallel world of film and TV footage in which Fancher plays cowboys, killers, fops, cads and the occasional hero.”

The New York Times reviewed the 89-minute film, calling it “a thoroughly charming, thoroughly engaging portrait of this great adventurer. Part of the pleasure of Escapes is how Mr. Almereyda, drawing deeply from the American pop archives…connects the original Blade Runner to Mr. Fancher’s life, with its movie love, romanticism, beautiful women and mad, circuitous rides.”

Tickets for MOMI’s screening are $15—but $7 for museum members and free for Silver Screen members. Tickets can be ordered online at the museum’s website. Members can contact members@movingimage.us with questions regarding online reservations.

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