It’s not every day you can say that you survived a run-in with a murderous android, yet here I am, alive and well. Yesterday, at Park Lane cinema here in Halifax, I ducked out of work early to attend a special screening of the 1986 thriller The Hitcher, followed up by a Q and A session with star Rutger Hauer. The actor was here in town filming the feature-length adaptation of local director Jason Eisener’s award-winning Grindhouse movie trailer, Hobo With A Shotgun. The screening, part of Jason’s superfun Thrillema series, which screens cult movies with a pre-show reel of crazy genre trailers, raised money for David Brunt, the star of the original Hobo trailer; if you haven’t watched this energetically gory mini-revenge flick yet, check it out here, but be warned—it’s most definitely not safe for work!
Hauer, who takes over the role from Brunt for the big-screen adaptation (Brunt has a cameo in the feature version, and was reportedly on set for the bulk of shooting), is probably best known as lead replicant Roy Batty in the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, but has done about 180 films, including Batman Begins, Sin City, Ladyhawke, Blind Fury, and Wanted Dead or Alive. His role as the enigmatic, homicidal John Ryder in The Hitcher might be his second most famous role behind Roy Batty—the character, a seemingly unstoppable, strangely tormented, almost supernaturally destructive figure really comes alive thanks to Hauer's darkly humourous interpretation, not to mention those piercing blue eyes. Hauer ‘s Q and A afterwards was a real treat; the 66-year old actor clearly loves talking about cinema, slyly dropping F-bombs among praise for his collaborators and insights into his process. He even hung around to sign stuff for the fans afterwards—I got my Blade Runner Limited Edition Gift Set signed by Roy Batty himself! How cool is that?
Incidentally, the first thing I saw Hauer in—when I was far too young to be watching it, probably—was a 1981 cop thriller called Nighthawks, which pitted the actor, playing a terrorist named Wulfgar, against a New York cop played by a fully-bearded Sylvester Stallone. Hauer is absolutely ruthless and terrifying in this movie, but it’s also worth watching for the geek-friendly supporting cast of Billy Dee Williams, Lindsay Wagner, and Persis Khambatta. In other words, it not only has Rocky/Rambo fighting Roy Batty, but it also stars Lando Calrissian, the Bionic Woman, and Ilia from Star Trek: The Motion Picture! A bit obscure, but worth keeping your eyes peeled for (check out the trailer here).