Facts about Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villenueve Biography
Denis Villenueve is the French-Canadian film director whose string of successes include the kidnapping thriller Prisoners (2013), the drug war drama Sicario (2015), and the Oscar-nominated sci-fi epic Arrival (2016).
Denis Villenueve had success in his filmmaking career almost from the start. He grew up in Quebec and studied at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He was only 30 when his early feature, August 32nd on Earth (1998), was screened at Cannes.
He reached larger audiences with the daring dramas Polytechnique (2009, based on a 1989 Montreal shooting massacre) and Incendies, (2010, about a Montreal mother hiding a mysterious and tragic past). The films won 9 and 8 Genie Awards, respectively, from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and Incendies was Oscar-nominated as best foreign language film.
From then on, Villenueve began working on bigger movies with bigger stars, from Prisoners (with Hugh Jackman and Viola Davis) to the psycho-thriller Enemy (2013, with Jake Gyllenhaal) to Sicario (with Emily Blunt as an FBI agent caught in drug war confusion on the Mexican-American border).
Film reviewers have noted that Villenueve’s films often have strong female leads, and that trend reached a new height with the 2016 sci-fi epic Arrival. The film, with Amy Adams as an expert linguist struggling to communicate with aliens who visit Earth, was nominated for 8 Oscars — including best picture and best director for Villenueve.
After the success of Arrival, Villenueve took on a daunting challenge: directing Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. The sequel, starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, began filming in 2016.
Denis Villenueve “is married to Tanya Lapointe, a Canadian journalist, and has three children from a previous relationship” according to a 2016 New York Times profile. A 2011 article in MacLeans magazine said Villenueve “has three children, aged 11 to 14, from a previous relationship” — meaning his children were born roughly from 1997-2000.