In 1978, Hampton Fancher and Brian Kelly approached producer Michael Deeley with the idea of turning Philip K. Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” into a film. Although he was skeptical at first, he got Fancher to write a screenplay. The various drafts of the script, (under various titles), floated around for a while until it got to Ridley Scott. Scott was finishing off “Alien”, so wasn’t sure about doing more Science Fiction, (he has stated in interview that the genre isn’t important as long as he can make something interesting of the story.) Evidently he saw a good story and in 1980 signed up to make the film.
Scott and Fancher spent a lot of time working on the script and although their work was inspired, they also had some fundamental disagreements. Eventually Fancher said he couldn’t do anything more with it. Despite being close to filming, Scott brought in David Peoples. His initial reaction was that it was already a great script, but somehow he managed to move it forward to give Scott more of what he wanted. The “final” script was created by Scott by putting together parts of various of the previous versions without either scriptwriter being present! However, we can say the script is a combined effort from Fancher and Peoples, influenced by Scott. Some further tweaks were needed during filming itself and Peoples was no longer available so Fancher came back to do that. Note that two of the earlier scripts (July 24, 1980 and February 23, 1981) are available at http://www.BRmovie.com/Scripts
Michael Deeley put together the financing for the movie. Early interest from Filmways Pictures disappeared as estimated costs rose, (although peanuts compared to today’s budgets), but this was partly because Filmways were having financial troubles anyway. The final backers were The Ladd Corporation, Sir Run Run Shaw and Tandem Productions. Total raised was $21.5 million, split almost evenly between the three. Except Tandem were the bond guarantors and owned more rights. What this means is that when the cost on the film rose to $30 million, Tandem paid the extra, but this allowed them to exercise the right to take over the picture. It seems Tandem were also influential in getting the film made at Burbank in L.A. instead of being made in England.
There were numerous problems during filming. Budget constraints certainly didn’t help. There were tensions on set, particularly the well-known disagreements between Scott and Ford about the Deckard character. Scott even ended up finishing the film after having been fired! Producer intervention also had a significant effect on the film content beyond the initial cuts during filming. The voiceover, the deletion of the unicorn scene and the tacked on happy ending being the most obvious producer influences.
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