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Video Interview: Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)

While some filmmakers only find out the night before, Cannes Film Festival’s Thierry Frémaux informed Denis Villeneuve that he’d be part of the Main Comp mix almost three weeks back. Having been on the Croisette before with his debut film Un 32 août sur Terrre (Un Certain Regard), and the Directors’ Fortnight was home for his epic short Next Floor and sobering Polytechnique, the Quebecois helmer saw his critically lauded Incendies and Enemy receive a pass from the fest, but it was this work that ultimately convinced backers with deep pockets to have the auteur filmmaker move onto large-scale productions (Prisoners, Story of Us, the Blade Runner sequel), and in turn Sicario is now among the hopefuls for the Palme d’Or.

Denis Villeneuve Sicario

The film’s Canadian distributor Entertainment One hosted a press conference the morning of the Cannes announcement and we learned that the filmmaker (who is one degree of separation from head jury members the Coen brothers. as they both share the same dp in Roger Deakins and have employed actor Josh Brolin) had circled Benicio Del Toro as his lead before casting him, strived for visual minimalism and that this is his best work to date. I had the chance to speak with Villeneuve about the impressions he had on his first read of the screenplay (Sons of Anarchy actor and first-time scribe Taylor Sheridan is also seeing his second screenplay Comancheria being directed by another noteworthy auteur in David MacKenzie with Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster on the scorecard) and I got a little insight on what he was looking for in Sicario’s score (here he reteams with his Jóhann Jóhannsson who scored Prisoners). Here is a press conference snip-it and my pair of questions.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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