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Denis Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049 and his new muse, Ryan Gosling

The Québécois filmmaker discusses his new film, out this month.

Denis Villeneuve

Hometown Gentilly, Quebec

Home Base Montreal

Claim to Fame Directing Oscar-nominated films Arrival, Sicario, Prisoners and Incendies

Current Project Promoting his film Blade Runner 2049, which hits theatres October 6, and developing Dune, based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel

Travel Essential “A toothbrush. You can go to the moon if you have clean teeth.”


Is remaking a cult film like Blade Runner stressful?
I’m used to working under a lot of pressure, but this movie was more ambitious and stressful than usual. Before production began I gave a lot of thought to how I’d make this a film that would have its own personality. Adapting someone else’s universe – in this case, one created by a master of contemporary cinema – requires a great deal of introspection, but it’s also very stimulating.

Did you enjoy working with fellow Canadian Ryan Gosling?
I loved it. Ryan is extremely mature, and he had interesting and inspiring ideas throughout filming. He even became my muse. The shoot was long and arduous and Ryan provided a lot of energy. Working with someone as positive as he is did me a lot of good.

Why have you chosen to focus on science fiction?
The genre gives me lots of freedom – I can broach gritty, tough and brainy themes in a dynamic and fun way. With Dune, for example, I’m able to explore the theme of religion with complete liberty.

Tell us about a memorable shoot.
It was a great joy for me to shoot Enemy in Toronto, in 2013. The screenplay had been written with São Paulo in mind – a huge city with an oppressive urban skyline. When I visited Toronto, I realized that the city had everything I needed, including smog, which created a natural special effect. Because few films portray Toronto, it was exciting to make it my own.

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