To be honest, I didn't think it would be a realistic movie. What really interested me was the lyricism of the script, a combination between poetry and fun… Usually, when I read a script, it's possible for me to visualize the movie. It wasn't like that with Cosmopolis: it was like I could only hear. Did that possibility of “hearing” came from the importance of the dialogue? Yes, because the dialogue surprised me even by the unique style. Starting by the structure of the pages: I could instantly see long monologues, which are rare in movies. At the same time it is incredibly easy to read: I think I read it in 40 minutes…
The book was written a long time before the financial crisis from 2008 and, now, it almost seems like a piece of news from today.
Even the pie on the face episode with Rupert Murdoch looks like a “prediction” from Cosmopolis
By knowing that, did you feel like you're portraying the reality of the present days?
As strange as it seems, I didn't. I felt that it was a movie about the wish to be free There are people that see it as a nihilist story, about the neglect of everything, but I never saw Eric Packer's character that way. To me, he's someone desperately trying to find something and… he can't.
Why, is money not enough?
Yes. In any case, to him, money is something that doesn't mean anything. I should say that the stock market can be anything to mean, it doesn't make any sense. For example, when we read the news about Facebook: 104 billion dollars? How can that be real?
Before filming Cosmopolis, were you familiar with Cronenberg's work?
Yes, I had seen a lot of his movies. I had a poster of Scanners in my room.
Maybe we can say that Cosmopolis brings back one of the main questions from his previous movies. What is reality?
There is one scene, during a riot, where Eric says to the woman, that conversations between “normal” people are too strange… And every time he tries to behave like a human being, he feels like an alien. Would it be that reality is just to take some antidepressants and live… happy?
How is it for an actor to prepare for a character like this?
I started by the usual ways and that didn't work.
What usual ways?
Where does the character come from? What are his motivations to behave like that? All of the sudden, nothing of this makes sense for Eric. There's a scene (which is in the book too) that, to me, was the key point of everything. It's the moment where Eric, with his “chief of theory” talk about the Nasdaq building: to them, it looks like a church.
And what happens in a church like that?
To them, they spend the time crating transactions, everything happens as if they'd live in the future, no need to deal with the present: the future is infinite, the present is astounding.
How do you think that people will see Eric? Will they be sympathetic? Will they hate him?
To be honest, I don't know. The first reactions have been really good, but I don't know. When I watched the movie, I felt that, in the end, Eric is just a really sad character. What is strange is that if we had to deal with him, Eric would be someone that no one would care about.
This sadness is probably a recurring theme with Cronenberg…
Definitely, because they are not stories that end when we get to the end. There's always some unreachable happiness, that leaves discomfort… I like that.