Learning how to speak or understand an alien language is one of the many complications of encountering extraterrestrial life—one that’s almost always dismissed through the kind vague sci-fi justification that would make Rob Lowe’s character in Thank You For Smoking proud. The upcoming thriller Story Of Your Life, however, looks to tackle that problem head on.

As reported by Deadline, Amy Adams has been cast in the film as an “expert linguist” hired by the military to determine whether the creatures in a recently landed alien ship are friendly by learning how they communicate. (Presumably Adams’ character will do this by trying to order food in their restaurants, or watching their movies with English subtitles on.) Story Of Your Life is based on a short story by Ted Chiang, and it sounds pretty heady, what with its crazy symbol-based language and themes of linguistic relativity and the nature of free will. Thankfully, we’ll have Amy Adams there to explain it to us.

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