Sicario Director Denis Villeneuve Explains The Challenge Of Making A Female-Led Movie

denis villeneuve

While Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is no stranger to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, having had many titles from his back catalogue screen there, his upcoming effort – Sicario – is something of a watershed, being his first feature-length film to be selected to screen in competition during the event. The film – about Mexican drug cartels – will have a wider release on September 18th, and stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

The most recent films from Villeneuve include the critically acclaimed Prisoners and Enemy, and the successful director recently spoke to The Montreal Gazette on hearing the announcement of the selection of Sicario, expressing confidence in his latest work.

“It’s my best film yet. It’s the most ambitious in terms of scope. It’s also my most accessible film yet. I take total responsibility for it – whether people like it or not. I had absolute total freedom on the film, from casting to editing. Although I wasn’t given final cut approval in my contract, they loved my cut and that’s the cut that will be seen in theatres.”

His assertion about freedom of casting is demonstrated by the fact that those financing the movie initially required Blunt’s lead role to be re-written as male – but both Villeneuve and his screenwriter, Taylor Sheridan, opposed that requirement.

“It isn’t easy to get a film made where the protagonist is a woman – there’s less money, people are afraid, and it’s really sad that it’s still like that today. It’s ludicrous, and this film shows that attitude is depasse.”

Sicario – which is a slang word for ‘Hitman’ – will be considered by the Cannes Jury against entries from Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes, among others. The festival runs from May 13th to May 24th 2015, with a competition jury headed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Source: The Playlist