Rutger Hauer has seen things you people wouldn't believe.
The Dutch actor, who issued some of the best-known lines in sci-fi history in his role as a murderous artificial life form in Ridley Scott's 1982 film "Blade Runner," has a vision of the future that's laden with technology. He's different than many in Hollywood in that he doesn't think digital technology will destroy filmmaking.
On the contrary; at a time when the major film studios are wringing their hands over online piracy and the growing ease with which pirated movies can be shared online, the 65-year-old actor is putting his money behind those who would make it easier to speed digital film files into people's homes.
On November 26, Hauer will give the keynote address at a seminar held in Rotterdam hosted by iUHBA Networks, a company that owns and operates "next generation wireless networks (4G) and wired systems," according to Neal Lachman, iUHBA's chairman and CEO. Hauer is one of iUHBA's investors, Lachman said.
Hauer, who costarred in "Batman Begins" with Christian Bale and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" with George Clooney, says he's a big believer in improving connectivity. Also in his interview with CNET, Hauer predicted that online piracy will strengthen the movie industry and that digital technology will help make filmmaking more accessible to budding amateurs (he has created the Rutger Hauer Filmfactory to enable experienced actors and filmmakers to mentor new talent).
Not surprisingly, the actor, who earned fame playing the role of a bloodthirsty but life-loving synthetic being, supports the development of artificial intelligence.
Q: Have you sensed that Hollywood is in a state of panic over what to do about digital technology?
Hauer: I'm not sure, but I mean, it's still so early yet. We're only in the first stage of the Internet. It's been 10 years in development of the Internet. These things are here. What you can't do is be afraid. What I've been basically saying to my colleagues and filmmaker friends is to at least do your homework and check this out. I really feel strongly that media is changing but it will resurface in other ways.
The whole idea of going to the movies will not disappear. Nobody is going to spend hours going out with friends and family to watch the Internet. Movies are events. They are something that people like doing together. What we're missing from the movie experience at home is better (bandwidth). But it's just a matter of time. That's what iUHBA is trying to do.
As for (online sales), Apple's iTunes has shown us how to do it in music. We now need an answer for video.
When you were shooting "Blade Runner" you played Roy Batty, a synthetic who was trying to find a way to extend his life. Back then, did you have any idea of what the future might look like? Does today's reality measure up?
Hauer: No, I didn't have any understanding of the future (laughs). I could hardly believe my luck. I was acting and having so much fun doing it. I was doing my job as well as I could and it was one of the most important films of my career.
Do you think illegal file sharing will harm Hollywood?
Hauer: I believe in following the rules but I also believe in sharing. The whole Internet to me is people driven. It's not business driven. Maybe people sharing stuff is a phase, but the struggle to find answers here is of high interest to me.
Technology has provided us many benefits but it's a two-edge sword. I don't know how it will work out, but there must be ways that we can share these films without getting into a s***load of trouble. In my own profession, I have found so many diamonds of my colleagues--there are so many gems.
Can you name a few?
Hauer: Well, the gems from YouTube. There are so many actors sharing their knowledge about the craft on YouTube. It's all out there already. There is so much knowledge you can find on the Internet. That is also what I'm trying to do with the Filmfactory. I want to create a coalition or group of filmmakers to share their knowledge in a visual medium rather than in school.
You're optimistic about how digital technology can help moviemaking.
Hauer: Yes, because if nothing else it gives you the simple opportunity to make films for very little money and practice. The whole practice of moviemaking has gone south on us because, for a long time you had to be Steven Spielberg to get a chance to make films. Art doesn't start with genius. You must exercise talent...I love to do anything I can to see that talent develop in front of my eyes.
In the last 20 years, we've seen the same people get roles and they are very good and worth the money, but many people haven't been given a chance and technology is opening up a whole new window into the world and into an audience that is waiting to see new talent and to comment on what they want to see. That's very exciting and we should take notice.
That last scene in "Blade Runner" is a metaphor right? It's a life-affirming scene when Batty looks back and notes what will be lost when he dies. You had something to do with the writing of the scene?
Hauer: It was a distillation of a page-long monologue by a dying robot, which I thought was too late and wrong at the end of the movie. You try to surprise people as much as you can. I told (the film's director) Ridley Scott that I better go quick. Part of that was in my head. I thought wouldn't it be great if Roy could spend just a few breaths about what life is.
I have to believe you support the quest to develop artificial intelligence.
That's fine. I'm all for finding intelligence wherever we can get it.