David Cronenberg Cosmopolis, the new film by David Cronenberg, was more than likely to be chosen to be part of the 65th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Its lead actor is Robert Pattinson. An unexpected but promising collaboration, where the Twilight star portrays a multi-millionaire who drives through Manhattan in a high tech limousine , premise of a self-destructive odyssey.
Contact Fnac: What were your motivations by adapting Don DeLillo’s novel?
David Cronenberg: The dialogues. When I read the book, I thought that I would love to hear them coming out of the mouths of excellent actors. And from a cinamatographic point of view, it was a wonderful challenge to shoot in a limousine in motion. I asked my team to watch the films Das Boot and Lebanon, two films shot in secluded places. It’s quite liberating to have a scenic structure as rigorous as it requires rethinking the traditional approach of cinema, not only regarding the movement of the camera but also regarding the choreography of acting.
Contact Fnac: The choice of Robert Pattinson to play Eric Packer surprised the media. Yet it makes sense.
David Cronenberg: Casting is an occult art. This is something enormously important work as a director. You can kill your film, even before the shooting, with a bad casting choice. And yet there are no instructions to guide you. I felt that Robert Pattinson had the required charisma to embody a strangely neurotic , powerful and yet immature man, who evolves in front of us during the odyssey that occurs through the film. Eric is not a lovable character, and I needed an actor who is not afraid of that. But he is also fascinating, hypnotic, and those are qualities that an actor can possess or not. Robert has them.
Fnac Contact: Power, alienation, self-destruction … Would you say that Eric Packer is close to your previous characters?
David Cronenberg: The brilliant and self-destructive characters are my favorites. They give off such an aura, and thir fall is so instructive, if not entertaining. I am perpetually curious, and sometimes shocked, by our attitudes as humans, and by the human condition in general.
Contact Fnac: You used to be snubbed by the Cannes audience, and then you ended up as President of the Jury. What happened?
David Cronenberg: It took some time before the critics and part of the audience understood what I was trying to do. That’s why it’s important to have a long career, since your previous films highlight the first, and with time, the specter of your work becomes like a little universe that makes sense for everyone : a creative sense of the month.
Contact Fnac: How do you react when you were offered the role of Eric Packer?
Robert Pattinson: I had read the script a year before and I thought I had absolutely no chance of getting a role in the film, not to mention Eric’s part . And when David (Cronenberg) called me, out of the blue , I was more than surprised! It was clearly one of the most exciting and demanding projects that I could have read.
Contact Fnac: You said that your experience on the set was kind of ‘crazy’. What do you mean exactly?
Robert Pattinson: It was just different from anything I have done before. The script included some really unusual stylistic ideas and I think nobody really knew how to approach this type of material. You know, it’s rare to work with a director who allows his movies to evolve this much, organically.
Contact Fnac: Are there any other filmmakers you would like to work with ?
Robert Pattinson: There are too many to mention them all . But there are among them French directors, including Jacques Audiard, for example, who made quite exceptional