Wednesday 24 July 2019

Rutger Hauer (1944–2019)

Dutch actor Rutger Hauer will probably be best remembered - at least by Anglophone audiences - for his performances in 80s classics Blade Runner and The Hitcher.  But long before these Hollywood adventures, the Breukelen-born Hauer had featured in a slew of Dutch-language films, including four for Paul Verhoeven: Katie Tippel, Turkish Delight, Spetters and Soldier of Orange; prior to these features, Verhoeven had directed Hauer in 60s TV series Floris.  The pair would also collaborate in the mid-80s on the English-language historical drama Flesh+Blood, which failed to replicate the duo's earlier successes.  Despite this misstep, the 1980s proved to be Hauer's most successful period, and it was during this decade that he began to star in a series of hugely popular TV ads for Guinness.

From the 1990s on, Hauer's profile was significantly lower as he opted for a number of roles in low-budget films; that said, he still appeared in the occasional lavish production, such as Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins.  His final film (of those released in his lifetime) was Jacques Audiard's outstanding The Sisters Brothers, which we reviewed back in April.  In addition to guest starring in HBO's vampire show True Blood, he also played Van Helsing in legendary horror director Dario Argento's Dracula 3D, a role which sat in direct contrast to his turn as vampire king Lothos in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  He died on July 19 at his home in Friesland, after a short illness.

Darren Arnold

Image: DWDD [CC BY 3.0]