It’s turning out to be an Amy Adams year at the movies. In the spring she had her big bathtub scene as Lois Lane in “Batman v. Superman,” and in a few weeks she’ll be seen as a woman tormented by the contents of her ex-husband’s novel in “Nocturnal Animals.” But right now she shares lead roles with Jeremy Renner in director Denis Villeneuve’s (“Sicario”) philosophical science-fiction drama “Arrival.” Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks, a renowned linguist, haunted by a personal tragedy, who’s recruited by the American military when huge alien spacecraft make their way to Earth and hover over a dozen cities. Her mission — and she has no choice in whether or not to accept it — is to figure out, with Renner’s theoretical physicist character, how to communicate with the mysterious visitors, thereby avoiding what might amount to intergalactic war. Adams spoke about the film and her character at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Q: This character and film are unlike anything you’ve done before. How did you get involved?

A: They sent me a script. Now, I was at a point where I wasn’t really reading scripts, but a member of my team said, “No, no, no, you’re reading THIS script.” So I read it and I fell in love with the character. And when I got to the end of it, I had to go back and read it again. But the emotional core of it is what drew me to it. During my first meeting with Denis, I found that we shared this intense connection over the character. He felt very passionate about her making her “every woman,” in a way. He said that even through the sci-fi elements and the political elements, this is a woman’s story. That no matter what other story we’re telling, the core of it has to be this story, and that helped ground me. That was a beautiful thing to me.

Q: Did you immediately identify with Louise?

A: Any time you get a character that’s as well developed and emotionally vulnerable, yet intellectual and with strength of character, it’s a real gift as an actress. Because it’s a reflection of what women are to me. It’s not just one thing; they’re not purely intellectual, they’re not purely vulnerable. We’re fleshed-out human beings, and to see that reflected so beautifully was a pleasure.

Q: Did you pick up on all of that right away when you read the script?

A: I come to scripts very open. When I read this script, I was moved in the first 10 minutes. I realized that I loved this woman and loved what she was bringing to it. So I read the whole script, and it wasn’t till I got to the end, and she’s talking (to a military officer) when I went, “Oh, my!” Then I went back and re-read it with (the ending) in mind, and it created this complexity and duality that I had to play, and I thought, “Well, that’s really challenging!” There was this beautiful dance that Louise gets to do between time and space.

Q: It was reported that you worked with a professional linguist before starting the film. What did that do for you?

A: I was grateful to learn that linguists aren’t necessarily proficient in many languages. Some of them are focused very narrowly on one particular language and maybe become a master of the history of that language. So that sort of freed me up to not feel like I had to convince the audience that I could speak everything fluently.

Q: Did the messages of the film affect you personally?

A: I’m watching my (6-year-old) daughter learn how to communicate and learning to choose which words to use. Choosing the wrong words is one of the most beautiful things to watch a child do. Because you can tell their intent is there, and you know what they mean even if they’re not using the right word. What this film has helped me remember, and being a mom has helped me remember, is that intent is just as important as content. Sometimes in today’s media, intent gets lost inside the content. That’s why I think it’s so important to have face-to-face communication. That’s what this film reminds me: You do have to look at somebody to communicate effectively with them, and I hope we don’t lose that.

“Arrival” opens on November 11.

— Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.