Toronto: Amy Adams Lauds Strong Female Character of 'Arrival'

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Amy Adams

"I don’t worry about campaigning," said the actress, who also is getting awards buzz for 'Nocturnal Animals.' "The only campaign I’m worried about right now is the presidency."

In Arrival, Amy Adams plays a genius linguist recruited by the U.S. military to understand the language of alien visitors who mysteriously land all over the globe.

Critics are lauding her performance in the Denis Villeneuve-helmed sci-fi drama — as well as in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, which also is playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. When asked about promoting two strong titles throughout the awards season, she laughed, “I don’t worry about campaigning. The only campaign I’m worried about right now is the presidency.”

After playing a linguist — and watching her own young child learn how to speak — she has admittedly reflected on the topic of communication. “Intent is just as important as content, and sometimes, in today’s media, intent gets lost inside the content,” she told reporters on Monday. “That’s why I think it’s so important to have face-to-face communication, and that’s what this film reminds me [of.] You do have to look at someone to communicate with them. I hope we don’t lose that.”

“We all feel that we’re living in a moment where communication is unbelievably important, and terrible things happen when people don’t honestly communicate with each other and bring perspective to each other’s lives,” added producer David Linde. “To make a movie that is so entertaining and emotional, but also has the underpinning of something that’s relevant to people’s lives right now, is quite rewarding.”

Villeneuve, who was absent from the press conference due to his Blade Runner sequel’s shoot, often reminded Adams that the film is “a woman’s story” — a rarity in the sci-fi genre. “Anytime you get a character that is as well-developed and emotionally vulnerable and yet intellectual with a strength of character, that’s a real gift,” she explained. “It’s a reflection of what women are to me. They’re not one thing; they’re not purely intellectual, they’re not purely vulnerable. They’re fully fleshed-out human beings, and to see that reflected so beautifully was a pleasure.”

Of the story’s sci-fi elements, Adams joked, “When I started really thinking about it, my brain just went straight into musical theater, to be quite honest. … There’s a reason I’m an actress, because my brain just doesn’t accept it. But I really loved getting to explore those themes, and we did all that work [before] we got to set.”

Jeremy Renner, who also worked with Adams on American Hustle — which had “very different hair,” he joked — said they reunited onscreen upon learning “what [effect] a friendship has in a working environment, and trust and love and respect. … It allows us to be free, and the freedom in artistry is not only important but essential.”

Adams echoed of their characters’ onscreen bond: “Very often, friendship between a man and a woman isn’t brought to screen without a heavy sexual energy. ... I love the friendship these two characters developed because I think any great relationship is based on respect and friendship, and I’m always happen when that gets to be developed onscreen.”

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