[WATCH] ‘Arrival’ editor Joe Walker on needing ‘a different attitude’ to work in sci-fi

When asked during our recent webcam chat (watch above) about the difficulties of working in science fiction for the first time, “Arrival” editor Joe Walker candidly admits, “I think it’s the fact that for a large part of the shoot, the only thing I had with two of the main characters was a man in a green latex suit holding a large pole with a rubber ball on the top. It took a certain amount of imagination.” This Paramount Pictures release stars Amy Adams as a linguist recruited by the military to assist in translating alien languages when space ships land over several countries. While communicating with two of the aliens — nicknamed Abbott and Costello — she gains new insight into the nature of life, death, and time.

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The veteran editor of such films as “Shame” (2011) and “Blackhat” (2015) found that working on Denis Villeneuve‘s effects-heavy mind-bender required, “a different attitude. It’s almost like post is a continuous shoot, because you’re constantly generating new content.” He adds, “it’s not like you shoot everything, you stop, you cut it, you consider it. The first assembly is missing two characters, and you have to build it up piece-by-piece.”

Related: Watch our interview with Denis Villeneuve (‘Arrival’)

Walker received an Oscar nomination for cutting the Best Picture-winner “12 Years a Slave” (2013). This is his second collaboration with Villeneuve, following his ACE-nominated work on “Sicario” (2015), and the two are currently in post production on “Blade Runner 2049,” the highly anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi classic. So suffice it to say, Walker has a new-found knack for the genre. Will he win his first Academy Award for “Arrival?”

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