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Sneak Peek: First photos of Alien "Arrival" with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner (USA Today)

Aliens come to Earth again in the new sci-fi film Arrival, this time with an intimate, thoughtful tale rather than a destructive invasion.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) and based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 novella Story of Your Life, the intellectual drama with a genre twist (in theaters Nov. 11) stars Amy Adams as Louise Banks, a linguist hired by the government to decipher an extraterrestrial language when a dozen alien pods pop into the atmosphere and hover mysteriously near the ground.

“This isn’t a graphic-novel universe or creating a new universe. This happens in our world today, as it exists,” says Adams, who is in London filming Justice League, in which she reprises her role as Lois Lane. “Not having to transport myself to a universe where superheroes exist, which is also fun, really helped me ground the character and the experience.”


When the vessels arrive, Louise is a damaged woman going through some turmoil in her personal life, Adams says. “She felt real, like somebody I would know and somebody I would like to have a conversation with. Emotionally, the journey she takes in this was devastating to me.”

Plus, she’s very untrusting of the policies and protocol of her new gig: “You can tell she’s been down this road before in helping out the government and it’s turned out poorly.”

That said, Adams adds, “she absolutely needs this, probably more than she knows.”

Brought in to help from a mathematical point of view is physicist Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner. “I haven’t played a smart nerdy guy,” says the Avengers star. “I thought there was a great challenge in that.”

Jeremy Renner stars as mathematician Ian Donnelly in

Jeremy Renner stars as mathematician Ian Donnelly in 'Arrival.' (Photo: Jan Thijs)

The communication gap between people and extraterrestrials is reflected in the global community depicted in the movie, as countries share information while harboring different fears, agendas and political climates. “You see the divide in the unity with people across the world and what that does as well,” Renner says.

In terms of the aliens' verbal and written language, "Denis and the team have done a great job with the visuals and getting to something that looks familiar and not completely abstract,” says Adams, who gets a close encounter when Louise insists on face time with the world’s new out-of-town guests.

Filming scenes with the aliens, the actress recalls working with “a very brightly lit white screen with these awesome puppeteers who ran around holding very long poles with big orbs on the end.”

Renner promises that they’re “not goofy creatures with guns who are going to kill us.” In fact, Adams adds, their look is “different than what you would have thought.”

Arrival feels like “if you blended a (Stanley) Kubrick and a (Steven) Spielberg movie,” Renner says, and instead of a “big Michael Bay alien movie,” the new film is more along the lines of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Contact.

“If you’re a parent, it’s going to wreck you," he adds. "It’s big and there are thriller elements and tension, but it’s going to lean much more into a thinking person’s film.”

Source: Brian Truitt at USA Today

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