(Credits: Far Out / MUBI)
It was the mere gaze of Rutger Hauer that seemed to have audiences captivated by the presence of the legendary Dutch actor on screen. Throughout his excellent career in the movie industry, with classics like Blade Runner, The Hitcher and Sun City to his name, Hauer carved out a remarkable legacy for himself, one that still burns bright today.
The intensity that ran through Hauer’s efforts on screen was nothing short of mesmerising, and he delivered a nuanced take on every character he was asked to play, whether a rogue, renegade android, a mysterious killer on the run, or an angry hobo armed with a shotgun looking to deliver justice one shell at a time.
There are so many iconic moments that Hauer delivered throughout his career, and the actor himself was no stranger to quality on the screen as a viewer as well as a performer. In a feature with Rotten Tomatoes, he once named his favourite movies of all time, and in the process of doing so, he named one of his all-time cinema heroes.
“Okay, last one — Apocalypse Now,” Hauer said. “That movie was so stunning and so ahead of its time. I don’t know, it’s probably a story like Blade Runner because there are so many things that happened in it. And I didn’t even see the longer version. I think there’s a version that’s like three or four hours long.”
Apocalypse Now is Francis Ford Coppola’s magnificently intense journey into the psychotic dangers of the Vietnam War, starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen in two of their most acclaimed respective roles. Both their characters, Kurtz and Willard, are depicted in a state of near insanity, and it proves the sheer chaos and madness of the conflict itself.
“It’s such a mixed feeling of painful darkness,” Hauer added, going on to note the book on which the film was based, “it’s not surprising with Heart of Darkness, to quote that — and of course Brando, he was always my big love/hate hero in acting; his speech, ‘The horror, the horror,’ it’s just killer, you know?”
Like many actors, Hauer seems to perceive Brando as his hero, although his love/hate comment is intriguing. Brando was widely considered to be one of the greatest movie stars of all time, although he was equally notorious for how he used to have several run-ins with his co-stars, directors and members of the press.
Besides that, though, there’s clearly an admiration in Hauer for Brando that runs far beyond his prickly personal exterior. After all, Brando simply embodied the acting profession and, long after its death, remains one of its most significant proponents. Hauer surely channelled Brando’s intensity in his most prominent role as Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, emulating his hero on the screen.