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Denis Villeneuve on Choosing the Right Scripts, CGI vs Practical Effects

HaydnSpurrell HaydnSpurrell Denis Villeneuve's library is an impressive one. From Sicario to Arrival, Prisoners and Enemy, he's establishing himself as one of the premier modern filmmakers. With projects Blade Runner 2049 and now Dune in the near future, things only look up for the foreign director.

“I choose screenplays that have strong potential to create strong cinematic moments,” Villeneuve said in an interview with Variety. "I like when it’s a bit raw and I have space to evolve as a filmmaker. I always say to the screenwriter that I will be his best friend, that I will do everything to protect his poetry, and at the same time I will be his worst enemy because I will be a traitor. I will deform scenes and cut dialogue — I will be a bit of a barbaric asshole, because I need to invade the screenplay.”

On playing with CGI, Villeneuve admits that he's "very old school," preferring, but sadly rarely able, to delve into practical effects. That was my dream at the beginning [of ‘Arrival’] with Bradford. We were dreaming to put them in a gigantic aquarium with gigantic beasts that would be moved by puppeteers, but sadly it would have been too expensive. For ‘Blade Runner,’ we tried our best to do as much as possible in-camera, building everything.

"And Roger was insanely impressive in how he was able to create landscape with tricks. For me it was beautiful. I think I can count on one hand how many times I saw a green screen in all of those months of shooting. There will be CG enhancements of course, but as much as possible it was in-camera.”


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