ETA2: Added Cronenberg's interview with The Playlist at the bottom of the post.
ETA: Added 2 more Cronenberg interviews - with Details and IGN - at the bottom of the post, after the Movieline interview
The Blu-ray release of Cosmopolis is coming out in the heart of Oscar-campaign season. I get the sense it doesn't bug you too much that this film isn't being discussed more as a contender.
Yes. Every year I try to be as disconnected as possible. This year it's been very easy because we haven't been nominated for any awards. It's not sour grapes, it's not compensation; it's a relief. It's very easy to get caught up in it if you are nominated. The people who are releasing the movie get excited, they want you to do more, and you understand it because the awards can maybe get more people to see the film. This, on its face, is a good thing. However, it is all bullshit, it is all annoying and it is all very problematical. But it gives people stuff to write about, gives structure, we understand. But I won't be watching any of the awards shows.
End of the year lists, though — Cosmopolis did end up placing second in Cahiers du Cinema's top ten of the year.
Yes and on Sight and Sound's list, as well.
So the snooty-pants Euros are digging the movie. And, it'll no doubt end up somewhere on my top 20, I think. [Note: it came in at #12.]
If I gave you money would you put it higher?
Depends how much money. C'mon, let's talk. A hundred grand goes a long way.
Would you give me a hundred grand to write that Cosmopolis is the best movie of the year?
No! [Laughs.] But it's a thought.
[...] Sorry, so... Cosmopolis on Blu-ray. Special deleted scenes on here?
I'm usually reluctant to include deleted scenes. They're deleted for a reason. I like the the magic. On A History of Violence I included one or two because they were unusual, but that's the only time I've done that. On the other hand, I really appreciate a good “making of” documentary. I find that film students and film fans who might otherwise never get on a film set might really see something if you, the creator, are honest. Of course, I'm not doing the “making of” myself — I'm too busy making the movie — but I do encourage the reality principle. I don't want the “making of” to just be a promotional spot. Similarly, when I do a commentary, as I've done for Cosmopolis, I don't bullshit. I don't just say how wonderful is to work with or how much fun we had at the wrap party. I talk about the making of that particular moment we're looking at.
Is your next project ready to go?
Finishing my novel right now, and I hope to be shooting Maps of the Stars in May, written by Bruce Wagner. However, it is an indie project which means, therefore, that it could fall apart.
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.
IGN: Many people left Cosmopolis with questions, how do you feel that features like “Citizens of Cosmopolis” are going to illuminate things, or further the conversation?
David Cronenberg: I think the “making of” is actually longer than the movie, so it should do something along those lines. Obviously anyone who bought the DVD is interested enough in the movie to pursue it. I think one of the reasons that I like doing a really good “making of” is that we try very hard when we do that to not just make it a sort of fluff piece where everybody says, “it was great working with everybody,” but to really show what the process of making the movie was. As a result, for example, it’s great for film students and film enthusiasts because it’s as close as some people get to really being on a film set. And in this case it’s an unusual film set, obviously, because of the limo and so on. So we really took a lot of care to make sure that it was accurate, honest, straightforward and illuminating.
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.
Talking about Rob
"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."
Talking about "Maps to the Stars"
"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.