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 VerhoevenTurkish 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.

When Jen Yamato seemed to indicate that her brief interview with him was starting to wind down, Hauer appeared to take mild offense — “What, is the fuckin’ interview over now?” I loved him for that. Actors put it right out there. They’re a particular breed. You need to keep the ball in the air and keep feeding the fire.

Falco Ink’s Steve Beeman got out a shotgun — a real one — for Hauer to pose with in photos. I snapped a couple in the hallway. And then Hauer and the shotgun charged into the room in which everyone has hanging out, playing the raging bad-ass and shouting, “You’ve seen your last movie!” Love any kind of playtime stuff. I’ll bet Hauer is great with kids.

We all drove up to the Egyptian for the 11:30 am showing in a Magnolia-rented SUV. On the way there I said to Hauer and Eisner with a grin, “I thought we were all going to walk up to the theatre with Rutger carrying the shotgun, and that maybe we might attract the attention of the Park City police.” Hauer, smoking again, was vaguely amused but said he was in the wrong mood for that kind of crap.

We pulled up to the theatre. I went in and sat down in the front, and Eisner and Hauer came on stage to rev the crowd. Hauer’s money quote: “We shoot fucking movies — we don’t shoot fucking people.”

Hobo With A Shotgun star Rutger Hauer — Wednesday, 1.26, 11:15 am.

Hauer’s Converse sneakers