DETAILS: Did having someone as marketable as Robert Pattinson in the lead help get Cosmopolis made?
DAVID CRONENBERG: It’s not just Rob, but this was a Canadian-French co-production so actors like Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Amalric really do contribute to the strength that you have when you’re trying to find money. What matters is, do you have a good actor working with you?
DETAILS: What made you want to cast Rob? This part is so far removed from what his enormous Twilight fan base would normally see him in.
DAVID CRONENBERG: Surprisingly enough they were very interested in it and developed websites for Cosmopolis just because of Rob. And a lot of the girls were talking about reading “Cosmopolis.” I think the only thing they had read, probably, was “Twilight” and “Harry Potter,” and suddenly they’re reading Don DeLillo.
DETAILS: There’s a very slick, high-tech fashion to the film. What was your inspiration for the look of Rob’s character?
DAVID CRONENBERG: It all comes from what the characters are supposed to be in the movie. They’re both very wealthy. They’re both very comfortable with their wealth. It’s interesting because some people have asked, “Is Rob’s fame a parallel to Packer?” And I say, “No, quite the contrary. Eric Packer is not famous at all. He doesn’t want his name in the paper.” He dresses well, but sort of conventionally. In fact, Rob said that he wanted the guy to be dressed in almost a non-descript way. It’s expensive clothes, but it’s not flashy.
DETAILS: Maps to the Stars is supposed to start shooting in May. Have you been able to sign Robert Pattinson, Viggo Mortensen, and Rachel Weisz?
DAVID CRONENBERG: I don’t think Viggo will be able to do it, but with the other two, so far, so good. Have they signed? No. But they have a verbal commitment if everything works out and if other things don’t come along. It’s still very possible for the three of them, but it’s far from certain. That’s life in the indie film world.
Cronenberg: Honestly I don’t have an agenda, and I don’t have a plan. It really is project by project. When I’m making a movie it’s as if I’ve never made another movie, honestly. I don’t think about my other movies. I think sometimes people think you say: “Yyes, now looking at the arc of my career I should do a movie like this.” But it’s never like that. First of all, it’s so hard to get movies financed that you can’t really control when the movie gets made. For example with Dead Ringers people said to me, “why now?” And I said, “well actually I tried to make it ten years ago, and if I’d gotten the financing together I would have made it happen then.” So, first of all, you don’t really have that control to pick and choose when you’ll do this kind of movie. And the other thing is, as I say, it’s just an individual response. When Cosmopolis the book was presented to me by the producer it was completely unexpected, and yet my response to it was immediately positive. My response to the book without thinking about Don Delillo’s other books, although I had read a lot of them, or my other movies. When I cast Rob Pattinson I’m not thinking about his other movies other than, “okay he’s famous enough to get us financing.” Other than that I’m just thinking about whether or not he’s a good actor. So you have to filter out the noise. There’s a lot of noise, and you have to filter it out and have a 1:1 relationship with the work that you’re doing, and I find that’s natural for me. I don’t find that hard to do.
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“I really think he’s a terrific actor. He’s extremely inventive. He surprised me every day on ‘Cosmopolis’ with the nuances and things that he did which were unexpected. Of course I was very familiar with the dialogue and yet he would surprise me,” Cronenberg enthused. “And I thought, this is a guy who I would like to work with some more, which is how I felt with Viggo Mortensen. When you find an actor who surprises you everyday, you figure, he could do it some more with a completely different role in a completely different movie.”
“Maps to the Stars” mention-
“It’s kind of a satire on Hollywood. It’s very typical of Bruce Wagner’s writing. And it’s sort of a condensed essence of Bruce. And while it’s satirical, it’s also very powerful, emotionally, and insightful and funny,” he explained about the movie. “And it would be the first time I’ve ever shot a foot of film in the United States. It’s strange, just because of the way the co-production deals work, that even though I’ve had movies that are set in the U.S. like ‘Cosmopolis’ or ‘The Dead Zone,’ I’ve never shot in the United States. This would be the first time. And I’m really excited about it.”