“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.” — Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), Blade Runner (1982)
There are many actors remembers for their performances in sci-fi and fantasy films, but to me, there was no one better than Rutger Hauer. His performance in Blade Runner is, without a doubt, one of the greatest scenes in the history of science fiction films. Sadly, he passed away on July 19 at the age of 75.
Rutger Hauer was a Dutch actor, writer, and environmentalist. In 1999, he was named the Best Dutch Actor of the Century by the Dutch public. He has been in more than 104 film (three of which are currently in post-production and will be released posthumously) and 38 various television productions, as well as voice talent in two video games (he was the voice of Master Xehanort in the 2019 video game Kingdom Hearts III, replacing the late Leonard Nimoy). He has had many roles, but some, like Roy Batty in Blade Runner, are what he’s well known for.
He played the villain so very well, and yet, there were times that we felt sorry for or compassion for his character. He had a way of making you understand why his character was that way, whether it was good or bad. It was said he only took roles that interested him, so this makes his various roles a sight to see. Another interesting aspect of Hauer was that he was a pacifist, and yet he played very violent characters at times. He was born in the Netherlands during the German occupation in World War II. He stated in a 1981 interview, “I was born in the middle of the war, and I think for that reason I have deep roots in pacifism. Violence frightens me.”
Next to Blade Runner, my other favorite movie of his is LadyHawke. Whereas Roy Batty was the villain, although a sympathetic one, Etienne Navarre was the consummate hero. He fought for his love, his friends, and his people, everything you would expect of a knight. And yet, he had many flaws that Hauer brilliantly brought out. The scene where Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer (playing his love, Isabeau) see each other briefly at dawn before they transform is one of the best scenes in a fantasy movie.
He had roles in a variety of films just as memorable, such as The Osterman Weekend (1983), The Hitcher (1986), Escape from Sobibor (1987), The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988), and Blind Fury (1989). In the 1990’s on, Hauer moved into low-budget films, and supporting roles in major films, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Batman Begins (2005), and The Rite (2011). He also made a return to Dutch cinema, and won the 2012 Rembrandt Award for Best Actor for his lead role in The Heineken Kidnapping.
Outside of acting, he founded the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, an AIDS awareness organization. He also supported the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and was a member of its board of advisers. In 2013, he was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Hauer was one of those actors that fans love to watch, not for his physical prowess or amazing stunts, but rather for bringing his characters to life. I remember the roles he played because they were inspiration for me, as a writer. He gave life to characters just from the written word, and he did it better than anyone else (in my opinion). God bless you, Rutger Hauer, and rest in peace.
“Good guy or bad guy, hero or anti hero; doesn’t matter to me, what role I play, only the character have something magical.”–Rutger Hauer
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.