New film Arrival holds a 'special place' in Amy Adams' heart
Star of sci-fi drama Arrival says she gets real joy from the effect her movies have on audiences
Amy Adams was explaining why she couldn't turn down her role in the new movie Arrival.
"I really wanted to take a break and just be a mum for a while. Then I read the script," she said at our interview in Toronto.
"It had such an amazing heart and soul to it. And on top of that, it had these sci-fi elements which were also interesting and intriguing.
"It left me with such a deep connection to my character, Louise, that it was hard for me to imagine letting her go."
The movie, which opens here tomorrow, introduces Adams' character Louise through her daughter, that relationship being an important through line of the story.
When spaceships land in various parts of the world, she accepts the government's summons, with fellow scientist Jeremy Renner, to make contact with the aliens and figure out why they have come.
But suspicious world leaders misunderstand the aliens' purpose and threaten the delicate understanding the two have painstakingly achieved.
And Louise has to mitigate that danger as she comes to understand how learning about aliens through their language changes the way she understands life.
Being a mother of a six-year-old makes her a better actress, Adams said.
"It has had a huge effect. I have so much more empathy since becoming a mother and that is something that I don't want to lose."
The greatest sci-fi films offer a lot of complex ideas and are not solved with simplicity. They spark conversation and a lot of thinking when you walk out of the film.
She added: "Realising the way we are taught to teach our children compassion and show them compassion has helped me communicate with other people, instead of shutting them down or being defensive."
Sci-fi is a genre she has always enjoyed.
"The greatest sci-fi films offer a lot of complex ideas and are not solved with simplicity. They spark conversation and a lot of thinking when you walk out of the film."
We talked about whether she weighs a movie's potential commercial and awards success before taking a role, specifically with reference to Arrival.
"I can't concern myself with the outcome of the financial success, because I can't control it to some degree," said the 42-year-old.
"I can do what I can do and show up and talk about the film. But outside of that, I guess I could go to a theatre and auction something off, like, come on, see the movie.
"(Arrival) does hold a special place in my heart. So I am hoping that audiences come to it open and willing to see that."
And audiences are willing - Arrival has already made more than US$157 million (S$225 million) worldwide.
But what about Adams herself? She started her career playing a princess in Enchanted - is her life enchanted as well?
"I do pinch myself. It does feel like that. But my everyday life isn't like this, where people dress me and stuff. Unfortunately, I have been snapped many times in unflattering outfits carrying toilet paper.
"So my everyday life feels very pedestrian, yet wonderful and beautiful. But when I get to see the effect of the films that I do have on people, that is the real joy for me."
She added: "'Cinderella' moments come at festivals when I get to see the audience interact with the film."
Much of the acting that Adams does in the film, for which she has received best actress nominations for the Golden Globes and Baftas - is shown through close-ups, mostly wordless, the strength of her performance seen through her eyes.
We talked about what it is like for her to watch her movies.
"I would love to say that I would watch them and remove all vanity, but it's impossible. And as a woman who is not 20, you see everything.
"I don't watch them for years, partially because I feel that no one needs to see their face that closely. But it's actually been really helpful, because I am confronted with myself in a different way.
"I am hoping that makes the process of ageing and changing a little more palatable, that I am able to confront it much more openly, because I can't deny it."