Right about now, Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve could use the future-predicting abilities of the heptapods, the squidlike space aliens in his acclaimed sci-fi movie Arrival.
As anyone would be in his position, he’s eager to know what will happen on Feb. 26, when the film is up for eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. “Unfortunately, (the aliens) didn’t give me any tips about what will happen in the future, so I don’t know yet!” the affable Montrealer says from Los Angeles.
There, besides doing the Oscar rounds for Arrival, he’s deep in post-production on Blade Runner 2049, the blockbuster sci-fi sequel starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford he’s preparing for an October release.
Villeneuve, Hollywood’s most in-demand Canadian director of recent times, has also signed on to direct a big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, hoping to succeed where David Lynch’s 1984 film failed. But Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker as E.T.-probing Earthlings, is very much on his mind at the moment.
“The buzz for the movie is quite strong here,” says the usually self-effacing Villeneuve, 49, who hopes to win in at least the technical categories. (His only disappointment is the lack of a nomination for Adams, whom he calls “the soul of the movie.”)