A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die …
As originally scripted, Roy Batty’s final monologue in Blade Runner was a page long and replete with high-tech references. Rutger Hauer, who played Batty – cut thirty of the lines, keeping just two that he felt to be poetic, and added the final, elegiac ‘All those moments …’
The ‘star’ of Blade Runner was technically Harrison Ford but Ford never really seemed to get grips with either the film or his character, Deckard, and his performance was lacklustre and completely overshadowed by Hauer’s ‘more human than the humans’ replicant Roy Batty.
In the documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner, made in 2000, Hauer said, “but if he would have been stronger, I wouldn’t have been so … shiny”, which pretty much sums it up with typical Hauerian bluntness.
I’m not a fan of ‘celebrity’ autobiographies, especially those that are ghost written, but Rutger Hauer is no run-of-the-mill ‘celebrity’ and Patrick Quinlan’s contribution to the All Those Moments would appear to have been limited to tidying up the Dutch actor’s English and helping the narrative flow a little, because the voice is authentically – even idiosyncratically – Hauer’s.
As autobiographies go, it’s very light on personal detail: we are given just the barest thumbnail sketch of his unorthodox upbringing and extraordinary early life. Born into poverty in the Nazi occupied Netherlands during what became known as ‘the Hunger Winter’ of 1944 he was the son of actors-turned-drama teachers and only entered acting after dropping out of school, failing to turn up for lessons at drama school, sailing around the world as a deckhand with the Dutch merchant navy and extricating himself from National Service in the military by claiming mental health issues. (They were genuine, in their way – the idea of killing people understandably disturbed him.) Making it through drama school at the second attempt, he got his big break when he was working with a small travelling theatre company and was spotted by the writer and producer Gerard Soeteman who was writing a series for television about a mediaeval Robin Hood-type character called Floris. Floris – directed by a young Paul Verhoeven – became a runaway hit in the Netherlands, and made Hauer a household name there. Floris led to Turkish Delight, Soldier of Orange and, eventually Nighthawks, his first US film where he played a terrorist opposite a micro-managing Sylvester Stallone who learned fairly quickly that the big blond Dutchman was not to be trifled with …
Hauer goes into some fascinating detail about his major films – Nighthawks, Blade Runner, Ladyhawke, et al – as well as some of his less well known ones like the highly regarded Legend of the Holy Drinker … but a famously private man, he is plainly not at ease talking about the inner man. He speaks occasionallyof Ineke, his partner (later wife) of over 40 years, howbeit in the very warmest and most affectionate terms – but his first wife, daughter and grandson receive only the most perfunctory of mentions.
Still, however light on genuine autobiographical detail it may be, All Those Moments is vastly superior to most ‘celebrity’ offerings. Although revealing little about the man himself, it does – tantalizingly – suggest that behind the carefully constructed defences there is someone of depth, intelligence and considerable originality. I can only hope that one day he feels inclined to open the door just a little wider.
HarperCollins. 2007. IS BN: 978-0-06-113389-3. 254pp.