Interview: David Cronenberg on Robert Pattinson “I think it’s a spectacular performance, very nuanced and detailed.”

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Cronenberg fans will find “Cosmopolis” very much of a piece with his  filmography, particularly “Existenz.” That film concerned the creation  of a new virtual-reality game into which players directly – and  cringe-inducingly – plugged themselves. In “Cosmopolis,” Packer relies  on virtual reality to simultaneously monitor and detach himself from the real world.

“The sort of strange virtual-reality element of ‘Cosmopolis’ does lead  you to ‘Existenz,’ ” Cronenberg conceded, “but thematically they’re  different. Eric was characterized by one of the investors in the movie – a man named Edouard Carmignac, who is a genuine French billionaire – to be completely accurate. Edouard invested in this movie because he felt  he recognized many of his colleagues in Eric, that they do, in fact,  create this kind of bubble reality that they live in and that is just  completely disconnected from people’s idea of human reality.

“So on that level ‘Cosmopolis’ is very realistic,” Cronenberg said. “Of  course, at the same time, there are many gamers who live mostly in a  virtual world and, I suppose, ‘Existenz’ is still an accurate portrayal. So there is that crossover.”

At first glance, Packer appears to be a soulless character. He initially exhibits little to no outward emotion, not while receiving updates  about his dwindling finances, not during sex, not ever. That sense of  detachment is enhanced by the limo, which is smooth-running, soundproof  and bulletproof, with tinted windows that minimize Packer’s view of  outside events and prevent prying eyes from looking in at him.

“You can see his soul as the movie progresses, as he approaches his  childhood,” Cronenberg said, “because, really, we begin to realize that  the barbershop represents his childhood. It’s his childhood barbershop.  It’s where he used to live. It’s where he came from.”
“Eric wasn’t born  into money. I think you see Eric become more vulnerable and more  childlike and naive, and when he’s in the barber chair he becomes like  himself as a child, before he’d erected this Eric character, this Master of the Universe guy. So you should gradually warm up to him as you  realize how vulnerable and how wounded he is.

“It’s why I cast Robert,” Cronenberg added. “It’s a very uncompromising  performance. We don’t go out of our way to make him more likable than he is, but you want to watch him. He’s very charismatic, Rob.”

“Cosmopolis” is Pattinson’s show, and it’s as far removed as it could be from the commercial gloss and sparkly vampires of the “Twilight” films  in which Pattinson has starred as Edward Cullen. The actor has been in  the news of late, owing to the demise of his relationship with  “Twilight” co-star Kristen Stewart, but Cronenberg lauds his leading man for his often-overlooked, still largely untapped talents as an actor.

“Rob is in every scene of this movie,” the filmmaker said, “and I needed a guy who could support that. His accent is spot-on – it’s very much  like Don DeLillo’s accent. He brings a wry sense of humor, and he brings that strange emotionality that you feel from underneath because, as I  say, it’s not there from the beginning, because it’s a journey in more  ways than one.

“You have to see Eric evolve and, thanks to Rob, you do,” Cronenberg  said. “I think it’s a spectacular performance, very nuanced and  detailed.”

Like everyone with a stake in “Cosmopolis,” Cronenberg hopes that  Pattinson’s legions of “Twi-hard” fans will turn out en masse for  “Cosmopolis.” Based on the production of the film, he said, that might  happen.

“The Twi-hards followed this movie hugely,” Cronenberg said. “There were 20 to 30 sites devoted to ‘Cosmopolis,’ some of them really quite  spectacular, professional and slick, and they were being done mostly by  Twi-hards, who are mostly girls, and they were reading the book. They  were reading the book and commenting on it, on these sites, before the  movie was finished.”

The director is clearly impressed.

“That was incredibly satisfying,” he said. “They were loving the book  and the idea that Rob was doing it, and they’re supporting Rob’s choice.

“I got a lot of props myself,” Cronenberg added with a laugh, “because  the Rob fans are rooting for him to show what he can do as an actor and, therefore, they loved me for giving him the chance.

“That was their attitude, though my attitude was that I felt lucky to have Rob.”


This entry was posted in Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg, Robert Pattinson and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Interview: David Cronenberg on Robert Pattinson “I think it’s a spectacular performance, very nuanced and detailed.”

  1. Sheri Zee says:

    What an awesome article! I love it! Thanks for posting!

  2. Jan Labrick says:

    It’s my impression that the majority of fans at this site are more women than girls.Some of the fans started out as girls side by side with Rob the boy.. He has become a man and the girls have grown up too. Some of us started out as older women recalling our own love story as we watched Twilight. We all appreciated Rob’s growth as a man and an actor. If we weren’t Cronenberg fans before, we are now. Good job David and Robert.

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