What Made Toronto The Perfect Setting For Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy

“Enemy” is based on the 2002 Portuguese novel “The Double” by Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago, and Denis Villeneuve told VODzilla that as he was scouting Toronto, he found architecture and locations he “had been dreaming about” when he read the book. Speaking to Interview Magazine in 2014, he elaborated:

“In the book, Saramago describes the city as a huge monster — a megalopolis. There are not a lot of cities that are like this in the world, some in China and Japan and South America, but I wanted to do a movie in English. My neighbor city Toronto was there, and I went there scouting and I found out that Toronto had the perfect landscape for the movie — the never-ending suburbs and forest of skyscrapers that would be suitable to create that kind of tension, the paranoid environment, the anxiety.”

Villeneuve also likened Toronto to a virgin city, cinematically, in that “it’s not a city that reminds you of a lot of movies like New York, Chicago, or even Tokyo.” “This virginity was great for us,” he added, “because we felt free and had no references. We felt like we were the first ones, which was not true, but we did have that feeling.”

“Enemy” is notable for its yellow, almost jaundiced color palette, which Villeneuve used to evoke the “phantasm” of Saramago’s novel and (as he put it) “remind us of the atmosphere that was described in the book, the claustrophobic environment.” This was also accomplished by shooting what he called “the funky side of Toronto — the more Latin, South American side of Toronto like the white buildings.”

“The book is set in the ’80s,” he concluded. “I don’t know why and it’s tough to explain, but the ’80s are yellow for me.”

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