A Tribute to Rutger Hauer
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
It was with a heavy sadness that I learned of Rutger Hauer’s passing this morning. An incredibly talented actor, he was the star of many of my favourite movies, and he never failed to deliver real, raw talent in everything he did.
Born in 1944 in Utrecht, Netherlands, to parents who were both established actors, Hauer initially rejected acting as a career. He finally made his debut at the age of 25 on Dutch television show Floris.
While Hauer is probably best known for his iconic performance as the leader of renegade Nexus-6 replicants Roy Batty in seminal 1982 science-fiction classic Blade Runner, he was an exceptionally versatile and dedicated genre actor. His haunting ‘Tears in Rain’ soliloquy (also known as ‘The C-Beams Speech’) will likely always be remembered as one of the most moving death scenes in any movie.
Nicknamed ‘the Dutch Paul Newman’ his piercing blue eyes and rugged features made him a perfect fit for the role of the psychotic hitchhiker, John Ryder in the 1986 cult horror, The Hitcher. The homicidal Ryder systematically terrorises a young couple when one of them innocently offers him a ride out of the pouring rain one night.
Hauer delivers his chilling lines with a terrifying intensity, controlling every scene he is a part of, and despite the lack of any actual onscreen violence or gore, the emotional turmoil suffered by his victims makes this an effective and truly unsettling horror.
Hauer was a fantastic genre actor and frequently played outstanding villains. Even if the movie itself was less than perfect, Hauer’s skills more than made up for any weak script or strange directorial decisions — I’m looking at you Dracula 3D — he could keep the audience utterly enthralled for every minute he graced the screen.
Fans of the vampire genre in particular will recall his glorious turn as master vampire Kurt Barlow in Salem’s Lot; the vampire king Lothos in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Dracula himself in Dracula III; and how he ruled a supernatural tribe as fairy prince Niall Brigant in True Blood. Not to mention how he switched sides to embrace the role of vampire hunter Van Helsing in Dario Argento’s aforementioned Dracula 3D.
In 2011 Hauer played the eponymous Hobo in the ultra-violent black comedy Hobo with a Shotgun, taking great delight at blowing away dirty cops and a deranged Santa with the help of his trusty pump-action shotgun. Taking the trash out of Scum Town. It proved that absolutely any movie — no matter how batshit crazy — could be made a thousand times better simply by adding Hauer’s presence.
Outside of acting, Hauer was a staunch environmentalist and long-time supporter of organisations such as Greenpeace, keen to do all he could to help protect our world. He established the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association to provide help and care to children and pregnant women suffering from HIV and AIDS, as well as educating communities about the disease. All proceeds of his 2007 autobiography went to the Starfish association.
Hauer is survived by his wife of fifty years, Ineke, and his daughter Heidi. He was 75 years old.
Rutger Hauer 1944 – 2019
Tabatha Wood lives in Wellington, New Zealand. A former English teacher and school library manager, her first published books are non-fiction guides aimed at teachers and others who work in education. She now teaches from home, while writing in her spare time.
Born in Whitby, North Yorkshire, Tabatha has always had a passion for weaving strange, unusual, and often gothic tales, entwined with her deep love for the land and sea. She strongly encourages the use of writing and creativity for positive mental health, and runs a group which supports women who write for wellness. She also hosts writing workshops, often gets involved in cosplay charity events, and enjoys knitting and making jewellery.
Her short story collection, ‘Dark Winds Over Wellington: Chilling Tales of the Weird & the Strange’ was a passion project, and is the first time she has published her fiction.