Arrival: Amy Adams on Emotional Sci-Fi

If aliens were really to arrive on Earth, Amy Adams would “like to imagine that they would be as patient as the heptapods” in Denis Villeneuve’s emotional sci-fi film Arrival, which world premiered at the Venice Film Fest.

In Arrival, Adams plays expert linguist Louise Banks, who must find a way to communicate with the mysterious multi-limbed creatures that arrive on giant oval spacecraft, causing the world to verge on global war.

Actually, the heptapods in the film aren’t just patient. They are also “willing to let us experiment with our foibles,” Adams added, answering a “what if aliens were to really arrive?” question at the pic’s packed presser.

“There is something really fascinating that the film touches on: when humanity is at its worst it allows itself to find itself at its best with compassion,” noted Jeremy Renner, who, as scientist Ian Donnelly, helps Adams’ character decode the aliens’ symbols into a language comprehensible to humans.

Villeneuve was not on the Lido, as he is shooting the Blade Runner sequel, but the talented Canadian director still figured prominently in the discussion.

“One of the questions I ask a director when they offer me something is: ‘Why do you want me to play this?,’ ” Adams said. “Denis told me: ‘I need to see what she’s thinking! And I can see what you are thinking when you act.’ So it helped me know what Denis wanted from me,” she recalled.

Adams also noted that Villeneuve “trusted the audience, which is so beautiful,” she said. “I love that about what he did. He trusted the audience to go on this emotional journey.”

As for what humans would do if aliens were to arrive, Adams said she thought — just like what occurs at first in the film — “they would presume that they had a thought pattern similar to ours, and that’a a very big presumption.”

Communication and emotion surfaced in almost every comment during the presser as key aspects in this non-conventional sci-fier.

“The characters humans and aliens need to communicate with each other despite the boundaries that are created by not actually understanding each other,” said David Linde, who is one of the pic’s producers. “And then one of the great things about the movie is the way they come together in a very key way that involves anxiety, anger, and fear.”

“It was important for us to have this combination of realism and yet to give an emotional sensitivity and an emotional core to it,” noted producer Dan Levine.  “I don’t think that is something that people have really seen before.”