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Joe Walker talks about editing Blade Runner 2049

Gordon sits down with Joe Walker to discuss editing Blade Runner 2049. Gordon and Joe have talked twice previously, first about the editing of Sicario and the second time about editing Arrival. In the end, Joe and I discuss his favourite sci-fi films, and after we finished talking, he emailed me a more thorough list. These can be found at the end of the transcript as well.

(Note: The photo of Joe was taken by Nell Walker who owns the copyright to that image.)

Transcript

Gordon Burkell: How did you guys deal with the pressure of, you know, this sort of... As Denis referred in one of his interviews, in the church of film, Blade Runner is one of the holy scriptures. So like how did you guys deal with the pressure, but maintain focus on story and film?

Joe Walker: Well, it's either with extreme modesty or incredible arrogance, I don't know what the answer is, you know? (laughs) I mean, or maybe just, you know, being completely stupid, or something-

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: -and not realizing just in- in what kind of pressure we were. No, I think, you know, in truth it ... Yeah, that was a lot of pressure, and the pressure is a difficult one because of the scale of the filmmaking, the huge spend on a big cast and all of those sets. They were built for real, you know. Origo Studios in Hungary had many sets, standing sets, and they were built. Anna's lab, for example. None of that is set extension at all, it's completely built, with the tiny little VFX fixes to something. One little thing here or there.

When you looked out of K's window in his apartment, you saw the skyline, and with a few little enhancements, that extended the skyline sometimes further into the background, or added moving vehicles. But the light effects for the vehicles were on set. It was a hugely ambitious and, let's be honest, expensive endeavor.

But at the heart of it, you know that if you're going to be respectful to the original film, you're being respectful to something that's a masterpiece, but was actually a commercial flop. The pressure was two-fold, in a way, to make something that's, kind of... I don't know, it's trying- trying to be true to the original, but innovative and new and fresh and reach a new audience. And hopefully get their investment back. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: You know, it's kind of... That, I suppose, in a nutshell, is pressure. But I don't know, I always felt very confident because Denis was at the helm, that's the truth. I always felt he was going do something really fresh and original with all this, and the pressure is always high. It doesn't really matter, actually, whether the budget's big or not. That's kind of unfair for me to say. The pressure is always the same. How can I do this justice, and tell the story the best way I can? And just with this one, with many, many moving parts, you know?

Gordon Burkell: Coming out of the theater, there's a couple people who aren't huge into sci-fi or aren't huge into, you know, film noir or what have you, and I- I was just telling them, "Go see it, because it's just visually stunning, but also like- like the atmosphere or the feeling, everything about it is unlike anything I could think of." When I came out...

Joe Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gordon Burkell: And the closest thing I could say to people was, "If you've seen Tarkovsky's Mirror..." that's the closest I could think of in terms of a feeling, because it's ... I remember watching that film and just being like, "Oh, it's- it's like I'm watching a a piece of art (laughs) at a theater... you know, like at ... in an art gallery." It was so well-structured, and visually, something I've never seen.

Joe Walker: Well, I think we always talked about maybe this has an element, you know, to do with the pacing, and the kind of cutting of the film, which is that there was... We always talked about it as being, you know, an electric dream, a dream of some kind. Maybe, you know, a hallucination. That sort of cinematic experience. I mean, to me, the thing I think is the most impressive about the film is it's like a real cinematic event, that after a while... (pauses)

I think the best reviews I've had from friends, who were kind of hotly awaiting it, they said that after about half an hour, when they realized that the family jewels are not being sold, and they just buckled up, you know, for a cinematic experience. And part of that was... I mean, there are many little signs in the film that we're in a waking dream. You know, it starts with an opening of an eye, and you know, halfway through the film. The film very much in my mind was always in two halves, and the halfway point was always Mariette waking up after the threesome. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: So... And that, again, it starts with a woman's eye opening and somebody waking. And I don't know, I always felt there was a sort of complex poetry to all that. And a lot of it was kind of keeping a certain tension, always feeling the kind of thread pulling at you and pulling you along in the story. So hopefully, never feeling like things are dragging you, or slow, but just always sort of tense.

The lighting effects, are kind of quite measurely in their way. For example, [there] is just one shot of Luv walking down a corridor before we meet Wallace for the first time. There's this incredible, caustic effect on the wall where this artificial sunlight moving across the space.

And it was deliberately shot with that kind of slightly suppressed, slightly, hallucinatory quality. And I always wanted to kind of preserve that. And I felt it was true to the original film and also true to the sort of spirit of the endeavor. That it wasn't going to be a wham-bam-crash-cut kind of blockbuster, you know, rattle through the story. And, you know, I really wanted to give time for people to kind of soak it up.

Gordon Burkell: One of the things that I found really interesting was, I have a friend who hated the first Blade Runner and loves this one.

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: And li- like he- the reason he went is 'cause we dragged him.

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) He was like, "No, I don't..." (laughs) And now, he's like, "Oh my God, it was amazing."

Joe Walker: Oh, cool. I love it. A convert. But you know there are some elements... We watched the first film so many times. I watched it with my team a number of times before we started, and we always used to call it our baseline test. That was our little in joke, you know, we wanted to screen it. And there was a lot that we picked up and learned from those screenings, of just the bombast, sometimes, of the music, and the kind of... There's definitely, in soundtrack terms, elements like they're the kind of, "Is it sound effects or is it music?" kind of stuff that's going on when just... You're in somebody's interior, to have these kind of musical chimes of some kind, and you couldn't really tell who's responsible for it in the whole mix of things. It's just all blended in as part of the world. And we were dissecting it and pulling it apart, and appreciating it many, many times.

Gordon Burkell: You mentioned, I guess, just a little bit ago about trying to make it like a dream. And when I was reading some of the interviews with, Denis, he talked about it being hypnotic immersion, and he said he had to work closely with you to get that feeling. So how did you and Denis work together to create this sort of hypnotic, dream-like immersion?

Joe Walker: I think it's a balancing act between tension and time, isn't it? And it always is, but it was particularly so in this one. Just finding the rhythm of it was a process, and sometimes you can stretch the rubber band really tight. You know that Deckard is going to appear. You know that Deckard is going to be in this film. And sort of sensing him in that Las Vegas walk, which was always one of my favorite scenes. I mean, it's one of the most fabulous sets, with all those erotic sculptures they've built, and this sort of slow tread as he works his way through.

So, you know, it's the easiest stuff for people under pressure to suggest cutting. but I just ... the possibility of that kind of inexorable tread towards something we know, we have a very strong hint of what he's going towards.

Then you can hint at Deckard's presence. You know, the trip wire, the bottles on the side of the bar, and this piano... sort of two fingers playing the Brahms Lullaby, luring him in. It just felt like what we always wanted to preserve, the quality of that, which is a quality that is achieved at that pace. It's not achieved if you [rush it]. Believe me, I tried every type of pace on everything.

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: And, (laughs) there's a certain level where when you kind of accelerate the action, and accelerate the pace of performance and stuff, it gets to the point where actually you lose some intensity. I mean, one of the biggest treats for me, I saw the 240 version, 2D version was the main version that I worked on for a year, and then right at the end I went to see Roger's IMAX version. So you get a little bit more screen, but the main thing is that it struck me how you got this phenomenal vertigo from these big aerial shots, but also, in some way in the dialogue scenes between K and Joy and Love and Joshi, you know, Robin Wright's character, the intensity... You sort of narrow in on the eyes more. And I realized that that's just a very strong thread in the cutting, is following the eyes and trying to kind of capture this dance between the characters, and allowing those little beats where you see something that may not be... Just after somebody said something or in the moment of reaction or something, these were... I don't know. That's all the stuff I held... I hold very dear anyway, but on this film, there seemed to be a great opportunity to kind of make it sing and dance.

Gordon Burkell: It's funny that you say that, like holding that beat after something happens, because (laughs) in the first screening I went to, you know where Robin... and this is a spoiler alert for when people are listening ... but when Robin Wright's character gets stabbed-

Joe Walker: Yeah.

Gordon Burkell: You do a cut outside, so we're seeing from outside looking in, and it ... Snow's falling, and the way the sound was done is there's sort of like a lot of tension and noise inside, or scuffling, and then as soon as we cut outside, it's that sort of dead quiet sound when you see snow fall. And (laughs) a guy ... everyone was sort of tense in the theater at that moment ... and some guy way in the back went, "OH, MY GOD!" (laughs)

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: He just... He was so built up in the tension-

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: -that he just screamed out loud.

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: And then he was like, "Oh, my God. Sorry." (laughs)

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) He went back to trying to watch. And the whole theater was just dead quiet for the next scene or two. (laughs)

Joe Walker: (laughs) I always love that.

Gordon Burkell: That he was so caught up?

Joe Walker: I always love that feeling that people, you know, want to shoot at the screen when there's a baddy, you know? (laughs) I always love that. I remember a moment back in Leicester Square when Total Recall came out. I remember being like, in the opening night crowd for Total Recall, and there's just a moment in the film where a bead of sweat is a big clue that things aren't all they seem. It's just you see this little bead of sweat on somebody's brow and you kind of realize that their fake, it’s not real, or it's a lie. And I just remember it was a really quiet moment in the cinema and this girl at the back... I can't remember the words she said. It was something like, "Sweat," or something. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs).

Joe Walker: Something like that, you know? Or, "Oh, my God," or something like that. And it was that thing of she was articulating something that 2,000 people were thinking at exactly that same microsecond. It was just that. (laughs) That's why I love going to the cinema and having that communal experience. That's so fantastic. That's a great thing to hear. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: And it's ... I love the feeling of watching snow falling.

Joe Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gordon Burkell: You know, all the scenes. So it was perfect, because it had that nice quiet sound of, um...

Joe Walker: It's a very dynamic soundtrack. In fact, that's the thing we were aiming for-

Gordon Burkell: Yeah.

Joe Walker: And right up to the end, we were always trying to kind of enhance that. The idea being, you can go from those hard slashes of Love's blade as she stabs, into this kind of just sound where actually all you're hearing is the sound of snow falling on the surface. Really nothing else, I don't think there was any other sound. Hugely dynamic and, you know, the whole point being we have a massive seawall sequence, but you can also have the sound of the wings on a bee fluttering on the guy's hand. And he's never seen a bee before, and there's no other sound. It's a really remarkable soundtrack in that regard. The most dynamic soundtrack I think I've ever worked on. I loved that.

Gordon Burkell: I think it's the ... I don't know ... Like I don't know your travel history, but I've gone to very remote places in Canada where, you know, you'll have a couple feet of snow and you'll exit and there's this sort of emptiness in the sound-

Joe Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gordon Burkell: -but there's sound there. It's kind of a weird feeling when you're in ... alone in the middle of nowhere. And that's what it felt like in a lot of the snow scenes-

Joe Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gordon Burkell: -where ... Like when we cut outside for Robin Wright, it was like this weird ... like it's there's sound there, but it feels as if there's no sound there.-

Joe Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gordon Burkell: It's one of my favorite things whenever I've experienced it in life, and it was just amazing to see that it was captured in a film.

Joe Walker: Well, I mean, the film gave me loads of opportunity to have these sharp rhythms. that's a very good example of them. There's all manner of transitions and juxtapositions in the film, you know. Some of them are very elegant and poetic. Like for example, we had this idea in the cutting room of going from the embers spiraling into the sky in a sequence where K has been rescued by a kind of... the gang of replicants and they're out in the desert. And then you cut to the kind of little embers spitting up into the- into the dark sky, and then they slowly turn and evolve into the city lights as you re-enter Los Angeles.

So there's a variety and hopefully, it's not just one thing over and over but it ... There's plenty of opportunity for sort of very sharp rhythms. The death of Coco, for example, is a super rhythmic piece, you know, where there's the crunch on the back of his neck and a drop to the floor and then the sound of him choking and at the same time the sound of her ... You know, she looks almost like Audrey Hepburn in a Beverley Hills supermarket. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: Taking a few items and putting them in her tray, you know? (laughs) It's ... it was that sort of sinister rhythm to find all the time. And I think that's largely... I hope that's... Well, that's what we were striving for, is this, tension broken occasionally by sort of jolts and not in a kind of schlocky way but just in a sort of very muscular way.

Gordon Burkell: This is sort of a selfish question for me, but the film is sort of... it is so packed with references to things and sort of homages to things from like the Brutalist architecture to, you know ... there's ... San Diego is basically Ed Burtynsky's photos.

Joe Walker: (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: To, (laughs) uh, you know, K changes his name to Joe, like in The Trial.

Joe Walker: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gordon Burkell: So was there anything you as an editor got to sort of pay homage to through your editing or was it something you weren't able to do in the editing process? I did notice the Moviola...

Joe Walker: Oh, that's a big one. I mean, that's interesting. That- that originally, you know, this came from ... There was an amazing company did the onscreen graphics on set, and they did a phenomenal job. But with the Denabase, the challenge of this thing is that we're in a post digital world so everything has kind of gone back to, strips of celluloid or something fundamentally mechanical. You know, it's explained in the story that there's been a blackout, and they've lost their digital [content]. And on set, I remember that Denis had briefed Ryan that turning this machine on should be like a Canadian snowmobile. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: I've forgotten what they're called. There's a name, isn't there, that they've got?

Gordon Burkell: Oh, Bombardier snow- ... Well it’s a snowmobile?

Joe Walker: Yeah, so the thing should grind up to gear and have loads of little extra sort of weird cranks as it sort of flutters into life. And so we had the sound effects, we had some amazing temp work by this wonderful guy I work with called Theo Green. And even when we were assembling it, it was part of the design, and even while we were shooting, we had the idea, then he had an idea that the computer should have a voice. And a friend of mine, in fact, Bernie Leinfelder, who's Japanese-American, she recorded some voice for us and sent it over to us in Hungary.

So we started putting in this slightly depressed, (laughs) computer voice. And it... just the scene started to take shape, that ... I mean, I suppose, born of a fear that it is a scene of somebody in front of a screen, after all, and those are often the most boring things in a film. People on a mobile phone or, you know, looking at the internet are always the scenes that are the first to go. So we put a lot of effort into making this thing as exciting as we could.

Then way down the line, I had a fantastic temp VFX team who worked very close to us in editorial, Javier (Marcheselli), who's been my long time sort of VFX partner, and Russell (Sadeghpour), and I briefed... In fact, I scribbled something on a piece of a paper for them, because I'd talked to Denis and said, "Look, I've got some ideas about how this thing could, you know, be on bobbins and be a little bit like, the old compeditors that I used back in the '80s." And there were all these weird mechanical editing instruments that I used to (laughs) dig out of the warehouse when I was at the BBC, and one for example, a twin headed pic sync. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: Yeah.

Joe Walker: Something that allows you to cut with two video tracks and two audio tracks, and then the standard competitor was one which had one video track and three audio tracks that were locked together, and a fourth track that you could spin separate. So you could run down a roll of sound and just run it down to the point where you've got a sound effect, find it, make a little mark with a chinagraph (pencil) and then cut it into your track. So, you had one floating track audio head, always. And that was the idea behind it.

And I remember sending Russell a sketch from Chicago... in fact I was there for a test screening... and I sent him a couple of sketches on a piece of paper. And he went about with it on that side of the team, they're developing this idea of these interlocking celluloids and that there would be a kind of repetitive pattern, and it would have a little bit of jitter and that there would be ground glass feel, a bit like the little Moviola screens used to be.

I mean, that's a definite homage to editing equipment, so (laughs) I'm glad you pointed me in that direction. That's an absolutely golden one. I mean, one of my favorite scenes in any film in the last 10 years is the scene with Frances McDormand getting caught up in her (laughs) editing gear in Hail, Caesar! (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) Yeah.

Joe Walker: It was like every-

Gordon Burkell: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joe Walker: There isn't an editor alive seeing that scene that wouldn’t just howl with laughter. It's a very, very funny, uh, homage.

Gordon Burkell: Oh, I loved how much, in Hail, Caesar!, how much she was smoking-

Joe Walker: Yeah, I ... (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: -'cause it reminds me (laughs) of the first few, you know, years in the cutting room where I was like, "Wow, everyone really smokes in here." (laughs)

Joe Walker: Oh, Gordon, those were the days. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) Now, I've- I've read a few places where you talk about the Vegas hologram show-

Joe Walker: Yeah.

Gordon Burkell: ...and how intense that was to cut. But there's another scene that when I left the theater, everyone sort of wants to know how that would be approached, where the VFX end and where the editing would be involved, and that's the sex scene between Joi, the prostitute (Mariette), and K.

Joe Walker: Yeah.

Gordon Burkell: Where Joy takes over the body and it's sort of like a weird interlocked, I guess you could say, (laughs) movement. So like how did you approach cutting that scene with something that could be so technical and make it look so sexual?

Joe Walker: Well, actually, you know, they shot it really in a totally uncompromising way. (laughs) They shot it without green screen, so there was no separation. They rehearsed very carefully with their actors and they broke the scene down very carefully into a... just a series of movements. And the choreography was well worked out. Then they replicated each other's movements. But they literally would just have the camera and point it against the same light and against the same backdrop in his apartment.

It gave us a little headache, because sometimes you could merge the two ladies and you couldn't merge Ryan because he had two shoulders in shot. So it's a little fiddly, but the things you get... I can remember even on set, Denis showed me an image of the two women combined and there was this, it was just a grab where they'd lined up two things just to check they're in the right place. And he had a slightly kind of sinister spider thing, where there was one eye aligned but the other two eyes aren't, because they have quite different facial shapes.

In terms of editing, I cut that with a series of 50/50 superimpositions. So I'd have two video tracks running and I'd superimpose one, and I would block off little bits of the screen to make it better and sometimes I'd have to speed one actor up a little bit, there's a little bit of motion effects sometimes just to get them in the same place. Nobody wanted it to be exact, 'cause Denis absolutely wanted the accident of, a character moves forward, but an inch too far, and you see more of them than the person that's clinging onto them. So he wanted to feel that kind of buzzing between the two, very effective. But it was old school. It was shot old school. I mean, if you talk about Tarkovsky, that is how Tarkovsky would have shot it. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: So, soon as I had the kind of draft that worked, the temp team sort of did a huge amount of rotoing one actor into place just to sort of see if we could align them a little bit better. And a long time in the cut I had this thing, one eye, you know, the camera eye tie was absolutely zeroed in and on target, and the other one was two eyes. So you ended up with this... It felt like... It's a frightening moment. It's a sort of loss of virginity scene, so there's kind of... you want to feel a warmth and a sap rising but you also ... there's something mysterious and like a kind of strange age old inculcation going on.

I think that was there in the first cut, you know? You actually had it in the first cut. It wasn't something that you had to wait seven months to see from the VFX team. I mean, this is to say that there was then also a huge amount of work (laughs) by the VFX team to just finesse this to such a degree so that you could align the shoulders sometimes or you could play with how much transparency there is. And- and I was always intrigued by a little accident that I thought was fantastic, which is that when the two women go behind him and he can no longer see Joy, the match was never brilliant on set. They kind of knew that it wasn't right, but I couldn't fix it in the edit. I couldn't speed Joy up to match Mariette and they ended up in slightly different phases. So that was the one kind of, "I'm gonna some help from VFX big time on this one." And they ended up, I think, partly using a CGI Joy, and it's just ... it's brilliant that it's at that moment, because I think you could even feel it when you see it, which is that when he's not looking at her, she conserves energy and she becomes more a dummy.

So it was like embracing the accident of all that was I think the intention. It was sort of the built in, you know ... In musical terms, we used to talk about aleatoric music that you'd sort of convey a gesture but you wouldn't spell out the exact how to play it. You'd give people the notes but you wouldn't tell them in what rhythm to play it. And I always see that as a kind of aleatoric sequence. So yeah, posh word (laughs) for the day.

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) Speaking of music, I've read a few things that Hans Zimmer talked about, and working on this with Benjamin, and they said that they had a four second rule for your cuts. What did they mean by that?

Joe Walker: Oh, God. (laughs) Yeah, I remember they'd say that a lot. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) What is that exactly?

Joe Walker: I think... Well, look, you know, part of the way that we work, me and Denis have worked, and in fact, this is also something I've done with Steve McQueen, is that you try to resist pinning music on the cut too early. And it means that you find a very precise rhythm for the cut and you're very... it's a... Rhythm is a really, really big part of it. And you're trying to find the inner rhythm of the performance and there's a way that things are cut. They have their own kind of pacing that you try and find over a period of time in the director's cut.

If you start too early being influenced by a piece of music in the wrong place then it doesn't help you really appreciate where the pace is coming from. Is it coming from the story and the characters or is coming from John Williams, you know, (laughs) as a temp track or something? So trying to kinda keep all that stuff out. And for the longest part, you know... Initially with Johann Johannsson, we were working with kind of quite ambient tracks that weren't overly driving and so there wasn't anything to kind of interfere with that kind of editing.

So you end up by the time that we got to Hans and played them the film, it's got a rhythm, and they're looking at something that's kind of quite well advanced. It's waiting for music to do the things that the edit can't do. To put blood in the veins, if you like. Especially with a performance like this one with Ryan. I often thought, you know, he's very buttoned down. He's very controlled, apart from a couple of fantastic moments in the middle of the film where he finds out that all is not as it seems and his memory is revealed to him as potentially real, when he goes to Anna's lab. There's kind of an explosion of rage, but for the most part, it's a very measured performance and a largely non verbal one.

So you're looking for music to sort of bring out the soul inside. And we always thought that if we could kind of crack that soul music, or horse theme, we used to call it, that that would actually give us the backbone of the film. So Hans and Ben always said ... We'd often put the music they were writing into the film and it always felt like on the moment, and somehow they worked out (laughs) that, against my cuts, if you just left it four seconds and then you emphasized the point, then it was like a reinforcement of what had just been felt.

So you kind of ... you ... The audience twigs something and then you reinforce it. It's confluent that way. It's not Mickey Mousing any emotion in any way. It's always like behind. And often, we were putting the cues back. Always pushing the cues back. Very rarely shuffling them up. (laughs) So it's ... I don't know, uh, i- it just seemed to kind of find a ... It's just a way of marrying two types of rhythm.

Gordon Burkell: Now I have, uh, two more questions. One is kind of a weird one, but there's now sort of this weird fan theory online that at the end, when K passes away on the stairs, when we go inside and see Harrison Ford's daughter, she's manipulating snow. And there's now (laughs) a fan theory that it was all a dream and that (laughs) she was creating this dream to bring Harrison Ford in and guide him in.

Joe Walker: That's an interesting one, isn't it?

Gordon Burkell: Yeah.

Joe Walker: I mean, I ... Look, I mean, I- I don't subscribe to that particular view.

Gordon Burkell: Yeah.

Joe Walker: And there are some crazy theories out there. There was one I read the other day where they were convinced that the replicants had eaten Deckard's dog. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: Which I thought was brilliant. I mean, I wish, you know, it's funny. We took a shot out with the dog sitting warm and cozy by the fire and it was just... We dropped that out of the cut. So if I'd left that in, there wouldn't have been that fan theory. So I guess we're into what can we do with several other cuts of the film. What I do subscribe to is the idea that is kinda confluent with that, which is that in some unconscious way, Anna has planted a memory in order to be discovered.

Gordon Burkell: Yeah.

Joe Walker: And I always felt there's a kind of unconscious desire for her, you know, the story that she may herself not even know. It's never even explicit that she knows who she is. She tells a story about her parents having passes in pocket to Off-world and you know, [she said] "They had a choice between Off-world and me, and they chose me." It's a line like that. And it fits together with the orphanage story, but she remembers the orphanage and she talks about how, "I was used to crowds," and I always think that's kind of like a bitter, a slightly bitter taste to that kind of comment she makes. That, you know, on reflection, you can go back and say, "Yeah, she was horribly bullied by a load of bald-headed kids in an orphanage." I don't know. I always felt there was kind of she had ... she was the kind of instigator of the story and I think the film opens... I mean, I think I've ... You'd have to ask Denis and the writers and everybody else, but my personal theory is the eye at the beginning of the film is Anna's eye. So, in a way, it's, um ... (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: I don't agree with that particular theory you quoted, but it's confluent with another of mine.

Gordon Burkell: Now, my last question, and I've asked you this before, so I'm gonna change it up a bit. But I usually ask, you know, what your favorite guilty pleasure film is, but I guess because we've- we've talked before, what is the sci-fi film, other than the ones you've worked on, that you go to for enjoyment? Or what's your favorite sci-fi film?

Joe Walker: Oh, my Lord. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: Oh, Gordon, you sprung ... I- I think I really inadequately answered the last time. It's ... I've- I've seen so many films. It's like- it's like, (laughs) uh, what was your favorite meal in a restaurant, you know? (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: It's like such a hard one. I'm ... you know, the thing is, I- I think I grew up just as the last golden time for sci-fi. I mean, I was just ... you know, I'm 54, so it meant that, you know, I was a teenager when Star Wars came out. But there were also those other interesting films like, um, uh, you know, I've forgotten the name of it. Um, it was a John Carpenter film set in outer space. It was- it was phenomenal. Forgive me, I've forgotten. I'm gonna answer this one very badly. Um, I've tried to see Solaris by Tarkovsky three times and I have never made it all the way through.

Gordon Burkell: (laughs)

Joe Walker: That film does something to me. And I love what ... I love the film, but I've never got past 45 minutes. It's just insane. I've been to the cinema three times and each time it just does something to my brainwaves and I shut down. (laughs) So I'd love to say that that's my favorite sci-fi film, but unfortunately I haven't seen it all the way through. (laughs)

Gordon Burkell: (laughs) Uh, well, thank you so much for- for letting me interview you again.

Joe Walker: Yeah. Great, uh, great to talk to you, Gordon, always. Always a pleasure. Really, always a pleasure.

Post Interview Favourite Sci-Fi Films:

TV - Quatermass, The Tomorrow People, Space 1999

Feature Films - Gattaca, They Live, Brazil, Wall-E, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

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