As the movie releases in India, SpotboyE.com caught up with Jeremy for a quick chat. Excerpts:
You knew that you were not the lead character in Arrival. Then why did you say yes to the film?
I loved the script. I thought the script was amazing. It’s a beautiful story. But my main motivation was working with Amy Adams. It wasn’t the character that enticed me to do the film. My part was good, but I was more interested in supporting her. It was a phenomenal part for her and a phenomenal part for a woman. The movie is told through her eyes, it was always going to be her movie.
It’s a very insular story told through the eyes of Amy’s character, a linguist who is hired to try to communicate with the aliens. I’m hired on as the other side of this team, a physicist to deal with communication through mathematics. Part of the character that was interesting to me was that it was very far from anything I’ve ever done. It was very left-brain, very mathematical and scientific.
Director Denis Villeneuve said that you have always played characters like Jason Bourne and Hawkeye, and this was strikingly different for your persona. How did you prepare for this role?
I had experts to help me play a convincing scientist, but my understanding of programming, computer languages and binary code helped me to at least get a grip on the physics. Denis told me what he didn’t want. He didn’t want my character to be milky, bland, at his desk writing, computer guy. He wanted Ian (my character) to have life and verve, a lot of personality. That’s exactly how I saw it. I had an instant image of Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws.