more on arrival


‘Arrival’ raises profile of linguists, making them almost cool, in The Washington Post

In preparation for the shoot, a design team visited Coon’s office at McGill University in Montreal, where the film was shot, poring over her bookshelf and even inspecting the kind of bag she carries in the field. In one scene, set at the military encampment at the foot of the hovering alien spacecraft, you’ll see some of Coon’s handiwork in the background. “Imagine a military officer has helicoptered you here,” Coons recalls the set designers telling her. “You’re getting ready to start working with aliens. You have a team of 50 military cryptographers at your service. You’re in charge. What’s written on the whiteboard?”

Great article about the research undertaken by the creators of the film Arrival.


How I Wrote Arrival (and What I Learned Doing It) – The Talkhouse

My mother read to me when I was young, like mothers do. But instead of Dr. Seuss or Betsy Byars, it was Heinlein. Bradbury. Asimov. Stories of new worlds, new ideas, and possibilities for the future. It was a key ingredient in my childhood, but one I learned to keep quiet in my hometown in Oklahoma where, occasionally, adults used air quotes when saying the word science.

Go see Arrival. Then come back and read this. The film’s writer, Eric Heisserer, walks you through his journey in adapting Ted Chiang’s short story, “Story of Your Life” and, along the way, tells a story of his own–about science and art and letting smart people say smart things.



Kevin Nguyen, writing at GQ, on adapting Ted Chiang’s short story, “Story of Your Life” into the film Arrival.

Arrival is every bit as sophisticated as its short story origins, and magnificently translated into 2016’s best piece of cerebral science fiction. Amy Adams brings a precise, introspective performance to the film’s hero linguist Dr. Louise Banks. Villeneuve (Sicario, next year’s Blade Runner sequel) conjures intimacy and muted tensions to a film of global scale. But it’s arguably the script by Eric Heisserer that demands the most recognition for how it translates Chiang’s high-concept sci-fi so effortlessly.

Or at least it looks effortless on screen. The script took Heisserer six years to write. To get the rights to the adaptation, he required Chiang’s approval, so he worked on spec—meaning that he worked on it for free, and would only be paid if Chiang sanctioned it after it was completed. “It was the most stressful pitch of my whole career,” Heisserer said. “I lived with it for so many years.”

Listen to Carmen.

And, if you’re interested in Storyological’s discussion of Ted Chiang’s short fiction, listen to that here.