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As part of Blade Runners 30th Anniversary actor Rutger Hauer explains to The Blank Sheet Project why creative passion is part of his DNA

2012/06/29

For its latest ‘Super-creative’, The Blank Sheet Project (www.theblanksheetproject.com) goes to Hollywood to interview acting giant Rutger Hauer. True to form, the Arjowiggins Creative Papers inspiration platform explores the creative passion that has driven a successful career spanning four decades and over 120 movies. The moment is timely, given that Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, one of the most visually exciting cinematic achievements of all time and the film that launched Hauer’s career, celebrates its 30th birthday.

Most creatives will recognise their own motivations in Hauer’s. He tells D&AD’s Tim O’Kennedy that there is an irresistible force in the creative process that has ultimately become a part of his DNA:

‘The bit that fascinates me is about energy. A script has an energy, you have an energy, there’s an energy in the room. If you feel your way where the energy wants to go and follow it, it takes you somewhere you wouldn’t even think of going. All these energies, when they come together, are very contagious and drive you forward.’

It compares with the design moment when the brief, the art direction and all the different design elements come together to create something more than their individual parts.

Hauer describes Blade Runner as his ‘first true dance’, and marks the ‘shock’ of a moment when the natural conservatism that his Dutch heritage taught became an irrelevance. For him, Blade Runner was:

‘the most extreme and ultimate experience, with everything falling into place, every moment, and me dancing through the movie and the mind of Ridley [Scott] without any effort and with a really strong connection.’

For Hauer the process of imagination and invention is evolutionary. The creative process of architect Frank Gehry inspired him. In Sydney Pollack’s TV documentary, ‘The Sketches of Frank Gehry’ [2005], the architect starts with a scrunched piece of paper, which he throws away, then revisits again and again. Like Ghery, Hauer relishes the process of taking a blank sheet, choosing to ‘crumple it’, ‘discard it’ and come back to it, day after day with a new perspective. In this way, he believes that there will be an outcome that transcends the individual elements in the creative process:

‘Everything in the frame tells something,’ he says, ‘and everything the actor does tells something, but the movie is what you can’t see. That’s the part that I like . . . You want to pull [the audience’s] brains out, help them complete the story, interact with them.’

Rutger Hauer is the fourth passionate ‘super-creative’ to generously give time to The Blank Sheet Project. He follows Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel, Sir John Hegarty, chairman of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and Neville Brody, graphic designer and Dean of Communications at the Royal College of Art. Together their interviews provide a record to inspire the next generation of creatives.

Jonathan Mitchell, Managing Director of Arjowiggins Creative Papers says: ‘Rutger Hauer elucidates how creative thinking transcends the boundaries of specific disciplines. His insights are as relevant to actors and film directors as they are to graphic designers, photographers and artists that populate The Blank Sheet Project. As we take this initiative into different realms, we begin to appreciate how important, how powerful the cross fertilisation of ideas really is.’

The goal of The Blank Sheet Project is to encourage individuals and businesses to be more innovative, thoughtful and sustainable. It asks creatives, if given a blank sheet of paper ‘how will you leave your mark?’ It was first conceived as an internal innovation programme in 2010. The management of Arjowiggins Creative Papers asked themselves and their staff, ‘if we started again; if we had a blank sheet of paper; if we put sustainability at the very top of the agenda; what would we do? How could we do things differently?’ From over two thousand responses generated within the company, Arjowiggins Creative Papers now has teams developing ambitious sustainability projects to reflect their absolute concern for people, prosperity and the planet. The company’s Digital range of papers, developed to provide the optimum medium for today’s digitally generated communications, is just one of the many outcomes.