Rutger Hauer: An Intimate Portrait

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I was tired. It was a long flight. The woman next to me was watching a romantic comedy starring Minnie Driver and David Duchovny. Plus I’d already ready the Tolkien book, and it was all I had left in my bag. This is how I came to read All Those Moments, the memoir of Rutger Hauer.

I don’t recommend that you read this book. There are a lot of paragraphs that begin something like, “In Escape from Sobibor, a television movie I did in 1987, I played Sacha Pechersky…” Hey, he’s a working actor. But Hauer has also done his part for the cause of nerd cinema: Blade Runner, Ladyhawke, Batman Begins, Sin City, etc.

So here you go, the fruit of a wasted transcontinental flight: the top, let’s say, 8 things you never knew you didn’t know about Rutger Hauer.

1. He’s not German. How could you be named Rutger Hauer and not be German? Turns out he’s Dutch. And for some reason I also thought he was gay, but apparently not so much.

2. At 15, not being much for the book-learning, young Rutger ran away to work on a freighter in the Dutch Merchant Navy.

3. His big break came when he was working in a Dutch regional theater company, and somebody noticed that he was really tall and incredibly good-looking and could ride a horse and cast him as a knight in a Dutch TV series directed by Paul Verhoeven

4. He did Jane Fonda workouts to get in shape to play Roy Batty in Blade Runner

5. It was supposed to turn out that Eldon Tyrell – the tycoon who owns the company that made the replicants in Blade Runner, whom Hauer/Batty kills – was himself a replicant. But that plot twist ended up getting cut, even though they’d already built an animatronic Tyrell replicant-head. Isn’t that always the way.

6. Hauer barely met Harrison Ford on Blade Runner, because they have hardly any scenes together. Also, Hauer improvised the famous business at the end where he releases a dove as he dies. Except when they shot it the dove liked being in Hauer’s hands so much that it didn’t want to fly away. They had to fudge it in post-production.

7. Hauer doesn’t buy that Deckard was a replicant: “I didn’t really like it because if Deckard himself is a machine, then the whole story of a battle of wits and wills between man and machine dies for me.” He does have a point.

8. In Ladyhawke – a job Hauer got at the last minute because Kurt Russell walked off the set – Matthew Broderick plays the go-between between Hauer’s character and Michelle Pfeiffer’s. Hauer thought maybe there should be some sexy sparks between his character and Broderick’s, that Broderick should almost become a surrogate lover for him: “I was hoping for Shakespearean feel to his character, a sort of androgynous, Annie Lennox thing happening.” So European! But Broderick went another way with it.

That’s it. Thank you for flying American Airlines.

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