Here's How 'Blade Runner 2049' Created That Crazy Hologram Threesome Scene

If this is a spoiler for you, then you've only got yourself to blame really

Most Popular

Ryan Gosling's confusing tryst with a flesh-and-blood (well, basically) replicant and his artificially intelligent hologram girlfriend, Joi (played by Ana de Armas) in Blade Runner 2049 was one of the most memorable scenes from a movie overflowing with them. At once touching, strange, uncomfortable and really quite sad.

A scene that took over a year to perfect, the final result was a delicate and semi-transparent dance as Joi, a hologram, superimposes herself, at times ungracefully, onto the physical form of Mackenzie Davis' character, Mariette. But while the scene itself was impressive, the techniques used to create it were even more so.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Speaking to Syfy, the film's visual effects supervisor John Nelson revealed that to create as immersive a scene as possible, they recorded Ana de Armas as she acted through each of her other scenes with Gosling, capturing her from as many angles as possible to create a 3-D model, rather than relying purely on CGI or special effects.

She looked so real," Nelson said, "because she was made from a photograph."

On top of that, the film's director Denis Villeneuve had the two actresses alternate between mimicking each other's movements on camera, before the effects team spliced the shots together, resulting in the choreographed but slightly imperfect nature of the scene — a considered choice from Villeneuve.

Speaking to Vulture, the Canadian director commented on the execution of the dystopian threesome, saying: "You have several things happening for the first time in the scene. You have a man who's being touched by a woman for the first time. You have a hologram that feels she can be real for the first time. And you have a prostitute who's being kissed by a man with love for the first time, and she's not sure how to deal with that."

"I didn't want Joi to just envelop Mariette", he added. "I didn't want it to feel magical."

"I wanted to feel the limit of the technology."

Job done, Denis.