Respect and affection for the late Rutger Hauer, who passed a few days ago at age 75.
A grand, gentle fellow with a flirting-with-extremes personality, Hauer will always be remembered for two iconic ’80s roles — Roy Batty in Blade Runner (’82) and the creepy John Ryder in The Hitcher (’86) — along with his last hoo-hah performance in Hobo With A Shotgun (’11). I’m not forgetting or dismissing his ’70s work with Paul Verhoeven — Turkish Delight (’73), Soldier of Orange (’77) and Spetters (’80) — but the above three are the keepers.
Hauer was taking cigarette breaks when I interviewed him in Park City eight and a half years ago for Hobo. He was 66 then, and we all know that you can’t smoke at that age. If you need to go there smoking is for your teens, 20s and 30s. You have to quit by age 40 — no negotiations.
From “Shotgun Superstar,” posted on 1.26.11:
My Rutger Hauer encounter this morning was smooth and mellow. Hobo With A Shotgun, which I saw directly after, is a relentlessly low-rent Troma splatter film — another ’70s grindhouse flick in “quotes.” (You don’t mind the awful dialogue spoken by the bad guys, right? Of course you don’t!)
But the title and the whatever-you-want-to-make-it metaphor are brilliant, and Hauer, 66, is reaping the benefits. His scumbag-blasting bum is the most iconic role he’s played since The Hitcher (’86), and before that Roy Batty in Blade Runner (’82).
If I was a director-writer, I’d write something for Hauer in which he plays the absolute opposite of an enraged, socially-avenging hobo. I would cast him as a rich, hip sculptor who lives in lower Manhattan — a guy who meditates and writes poetry, knows how to prepare Northern Italian cuisine and has his grandkids over on weekends. I would leave the hobo behind and never look back.
Hauer is gentle, polite, considerate. Being a famous actor he’s used to a certain amount of attention. And (I mean this in the most admiring way possible) he’s a bit of an eccentric. He talks about whatever mood he might be in. He goes outside to smoke. He politely declined to drink Bloody Marys with everyone else. (Discipline!) He wore black Converse lace-up sneakers — very cool.