January 18, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C

A determined man

By Dianne Bennett
Published: 2017-12-10

Your personal story is the stuff of movies, literally. A new documentary about you came out this year, "Escapes." It says you quit school at 11. I never did well in school. I couldn't do school. I was truant. Formally I got to seventh or eighth grade. Then I was in a school for theatrical kids. I never had to go, because I was a dancer. So I was in school in name only. I finished all my schooling by the time I was 14. I didn't learn anything, couldn't do math, couldn't spell, had no interest in subjects. I heard the word "incorrigible"; now it would be" learning disabilities." I was kicked out.


Fancher with then-wife, American actress Sue Lyon. Their marriage lasted for two years in the early 1960s.

And you are noted in the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB)as a principal actor in "Rome Adventure," a 1962 film with Troy Donahue, where you play an Etruscologist. Tell me about your time in Rome. It was "La Dolce Vita" time, a great Rome. I met de Chirico [painter Giorgio de Chirico]. He lived near the Spanish Steps. Some Danish beauty took me up. And there's an incident that actually happened. It's in one of the short stories … which one? Here, "The Climacteric of Zachary Ray": [Fancher reading] "He had been out with a group of Swedes and wound up at Giorgio de Chirico's apartment at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. He and the old painter sat on a couch discussing Mussolini, bananas, and trains."

Did you go to Rome again? I didn't go back to Rome for a long time. I was there in the late 1960s filming two German movies. I was with [German actor] Helmut Berger and [Italian director] Franco Zeffirelli and my manager Rudy Altobelli when Sally Kellerman called our hotel lobby to tell us about the Sharon Tate murder [Aug. 9, 1969]. Sharon was renting Rudy's house in Beverly Hills.

Let's go back to the ending of "Blade Runner 2049." I think it's ambiguous as to who is the child, and in fact, there are two children, twins. Was this concept of the child being twins in your original script? Is there a personal angle here? The character [in Fancher's script] didn't have twins, but who is the child is ambiguous. Maybe a lot of us have had this happen. I was told I was my parents' child, but then I was basically orphaned [his parents let him go where and do what he wanted] and then I wasn't and then I was. And I know I'm not orphaned. Kids are into this. It's beautiful and terrible. You want to be free — "but don't let me be too free."

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