If you were to ask anyone around The Playlist watercooler what their most anticipated film at the Cannes Film Festival is, you’d likely hear Denis Villeneuve‘s “Sicario” crop up more than once. “Prisoners” and “Enemy” were very well admired around these parts (and of course, elsewhere too) and the director himself is feeling very confident about his latest work. “It’s my best film yet,” he said at a press conference earlier this month, following the announcement his film had made it into Cannes (via The Montreal Gazette). “It’s the most ambitious in terms of scope. It’s also my most accessible film as well.”
It’s “…a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent,” he added, when speaking recently with The Guardian. Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio del Toro, “Sicario” centers on a female cop (Blunt) and two male Delta Force rangers who cross from Tucson to Mexico to catch a drug lord — but once they cross the border, it’s a whole different, more dangerous and depraved world than they were expecting. And while you think this cast would be a no-brainer for anyone looking to finance the movie, the filmmaker reveals he actually had to fight to prevent Blunt’s role from being rewritten for a man, following a request from the backers of the movie.
“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,” Villeneuve explained. “It’s ludicrous, and this film shows that attitude is dépassé.”
Indeed it is. At the end of the day, it’s not about who plays the roles, but what the final result turns out like, and Villeneuve thinks he’s got something that could be a big hit. “It’s for the general public, more than any other film I’ve done, and it’s the kind of cinema I want to do,” he said, with no concerns about making something for mass consumption. “Film is pop art; It’s not whether it’s auteur cinema or not; that’s a false distinction. Cinema is cinema.”
“Sicario” opens on September 18th.