"Sicario NMF /Si.'Ka.Rjo/. (Asesino A Sueldo) used to describe Assassins or Hired Killers in Jerusalem that killed Roman soldiers; In Mexico, Sicario means Hitman". In December 2013, it was announced that Villeneuve would be directing a Mexican border drama, scripted by Sheridan, and Black Label Media would finance and co-produce with Thunder Road Pictures. Basil Iwanyk would produce the film along with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill. In May 2014, Lionsgate acquired the U.S. rights to the film, while Lionsgate International would handle the foreign sales. Emily Blunt signed on to the film in April 2014, shortly followed by Benicio del Toro. Jon Bernthal and Josh Brolin joined the film in May. Daniel Kaluuya, Maximiliano Hernández, and Jeffrey Donovan were then cast. Principal photography began on June 30, 2014 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
With Sicario, Villeneuve has dramatically opened a wider dialogue, helping to make the inarguable into the debatable. It is an eye-opener - a motion picture that asks difficult questions, presents well-developed characters, and keeps us white-knuckled throughout. It is the best in crime/thriller traditions, but goes deeper into a reflection of one of the greatest moral dilemmas in modern society, choosing to not only be memorable, but to matter. It’s Villeneuve's most difficult film. This is a filmmaker operating at his peak - an exceptionally made, provocative and vital film for our times. However, the film's intellectual pursuit, it is little more than a pretty prism through which superficial American guilt and generalized Mexican stereotypes are made to look like the product of serious soul-searching. Villeneuve's treatment of the film's dense and complicated subject matter can be summed up as Mexicans want their homeland back, and the Americans want to endlessly control it. In the end, we have to ask, Do we need another handsome, well-assembled, entertaining movie to prove that we are all victims and monsters?