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Nicolas Winding Refn Says 'Dying Of The Light' Fell Apart Because Harrison Ford Didn't Want To Die

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage September 17, 2011 at 4:16AM

We realize that you may be suffering from a little Nicolas Winding Refn fatigue from all the coverage we've been doing on the director and his fantastic new film, "Drive," but the filmmaker and star Ryan Gosling have been on a major press tour for the film pretty much since its Cannes debut. One of the hopefully final stops for the Danish director was at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) a few nights ago for a sneak preview of his latest, and we were on hand for the Q&A. Refn kept the Brooklyn audience rapt in attention as he told a few now-familiar tales about how the film came together and his first prescription drug-fueled meeting with Gosling. He also shared a little more info on a now-dead project called "The Dying of the Light" by "Taxi Driver" scribe Paul Schrader. The film centered on a C.I.A. agent who starts to become afflicted with blindness and Harrison Ford was attached to the lead.
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We realize that you may be suffering from a little Nicolas Winding Refn fatigue from all the coverage we've been doing on the director and his fantastic new film, "Drive," but the filmmaker and star Ryan Gosling have been on a major press tour for the film pretty much since its Cannes debut. One of the hopefully final stops for the Danish director was at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) a few nights ago for a sneak preview of his latest, and we were on hand for the Q&A. Refn kept the Brooklyn audience rapt in attention as he told a few now-familiar tales about how the film came together and his first prescription drug-fueled meeting with Gosling. He also shared a little more info on a now-dead project called "The Dying of the Light" by "Taxi Driver" scribe Paul Schrader. The film centered on a C.I.A. agent who starts to become afflicted with blindness and Harrison Ford was attached to the lead.

Unfortunately, the project fell apart around February of last year and Refn had this to say at the time, "Unfortunately, it just didn't work out. It's a shame. The script was fantastic but things fall apart. It's one of those things that's difficult -- I really like Harrison and I think we got along great." That certainly is the case in Hollywood that things don't always work out but now we have a few more details on exactly why the collaboration never moved forward. Here's what Refn had say:

"It was a wonderful, wonderful script about a C.I.A. agent who goes on an existentialistic journey and dies at the end. And I thought, 'If I could do a movie where Harrison Ford dies, I would contribute to society.' So I was really into making this film. And I had gone to Los Angeles for short periods at a time to work with him. And you know, because it's Harrison Ford and you sit around in his big hangar with all his private planes and you hang out with Harrison Ford. Then he realizes that he doesn't want to die. Then it's like, 'Fucking hell. Okay, then there's no movie, Harrison.' Well he'd been thinking about it and 'Wasn't there another way?' and back and forth. And I thought, 'Oh God dammit.' So I was so angry at myself for buying into the illusion of Hollywood and of course, nothing ever happens."

Luckily for moviegoers, shortly afterwards Refn received a call from Gosling and the rest is history. "Drive" is in theaters this weekend. Ford's latest, "Cowboys & Aliens," will probably be on DVD in the next few months. You can watch the rest of the Q&A below.

This article is related to: Actors, Foreign Directors, Harrison Ford, Nicolas Winding Refn


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