Rutger Hauer has died. Sad news to wake up to – he was one of my heroes. Everyone talks about Blade Runner and fair enough – but the role that really blew me away was The Hitcher. I could watch that movie every day I think. The coldness, the surface-calm of a true maniac. I reckon that’s Hauer’s masterpiece.
All of Hauer’s 80s/90s Hollywood roles – whether blurring into the background as bit-part or in full focus as, usually, a brilliant villain – arrived on the back of his ‘first’ career as a Dutch TV and film star.
Rutger Hauer spoke several languages, worked as an environmentalist, started an AIDS awareness organisation (Rutger Hauer Starfish Association) and appeared in a staggering array of film roles – no part too big or small, any genre considered.
Crucial parts in Ladyhawke, Wanted: Dead or Alive and Wedlock followed his early-80s breakthrough. Whether appearing in a big-budget bit-parts (the most recent Batman franchise) or alternating between bringing ham and integrity to obvious shlock (Hobo With A Shotgun) he turned up. He did the work.
If he only did that speech in Blade Runner, or wise-cracked through Blind Fury or gave voice to a calm evil in The Hitcher he would have been, at the very least, a cult star. But he did all of those things. And so much more.
There’s a huge universe of Hauer performances to devour – across the decades, across languages, over TV and film. Good guys. Bad guys. Weird guys.
He was one of my first favourite film stars. When it was all about the obvious action stars his turn in Blind Fury was the one I remembered most, remembered best. He got me watching films I might otherwise have not gone for (Ladyhawke) and I scroll through his filmography and smile. A thin, curious ‘Nick Parker’ smile; a creepy, detached ‘John Ryder’ smile; a crazy-af Roy Batty Smile….
R.I.P. Rutger Hauer
“…All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain….”
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