Two great interviews from David Cronenberg talking in detail about Cosmopolis. The film is available On Demand NOW from Amazon, iTunes and Walmart. Links are located at the top of the side bar. Also check your cable listings under new releases and foreign films. US Bluray/DVD release is Jan. 1st, link also located on the side bar for pre-order.
The first interview is from Some Came Running:
SCR: Watching the film, it kind of struck me as funny that it took you and Don DeLillo so long to come together because there seemed to be so many very distinct affinities, particularly with the way you both use language. I wondered if you could talk about coming to this text and deciding that you were right to adapt it.
CRONENBERG: Sure. Well, I had read quite a few things of Don’s and I did know for example that his epic,Underworld, had been bought, I think, by Scott Rudin and then never made. And that doesn’t surprise me, because it’s—you know, you can make about 10 movies from that book. So I guess it’s really a question of which project, you know. And I hadn’t actually read Cosmopolis, or even heard of it for some reason, when Paulo Branco the Portuguese producer, very experienced, he’s done about 300 movies I think, came to Toronto and said, I have the rights to this book, I’m in touch with Don DeLillo and I think you should direct this. And so really it was—when I read it, yeah, it was love at first sight. I thought, I really need to—what I’m going to do is I’m going to see if—I’m going to do a sort of preliminary kind of rough screenplay from this book to see if I think it really is a movie. Because there is a lot in the book and in all of Don’s writing that is not directly, you know, translatable to cinema. And that’s the case with most novels. People say to me, why do you end up doing these unfilmable novels? And I say, oh, really, all novels are unfilmable in essence, because the two art forms are really quite different. And there are so many things you can do in a novel that you simply can’t do in movies and vice versa. And that was true of Cosmopolis. There’s so much that’s interior and metaphysical and metaphorical and all of that. So I wanted to see if there was a movie in there and I wrote—it was the dialogue, exactly, that was the key to me. And I transcribed all the dialogue, just on its own, and put it into script form. And said to myself, OK, is this a movie? And I thought, yeah, it is a movie and in fact it’s a movie I really want to make. And it really literally took me only 6 days to write the screenplay.
SCR: I think people make a similar misapprehension about your work as they do with DeLillo’s; is they don’t see the comic aspect of the language, this baroque deadpan.
CRONENBERG: Yeah. It’s true. I mean a lot of the reviews of the movie even were very solemn. And I thought, well, there are a lot of laughs in the book and the movie, and why aren’t they seeing that? Or responding to it at least. And of course, if you don’t do that, then your perception of the movie is going to be quite distorted, I think.
SCR: And it gets even more heightened at the end too, where the combination of your visuals and the dialogue really catapult you into Burroughs territory. And I always thought in DeLillo’s work such as Great Jones Street there’s this streak of a Burroughs-type consciousness that is not his but that kind of enters from without and comments on what’s going on.
CRONENBERG: Well, and of course Burroughs was incredibly accurate with his dialogue in a similar way to Don. That is to say, it is stylized but it’s also real. It really nails some—the realities of American speech and the mentality that’s behind that speech as well. So it can be quite devastatingly funny in a satirical say as well.
Click HERE to continue reading! David mentions his visit with Rob to the New York Stock Exchange, filming NYC in Toronto and more!
The second interview is from First Post and he continues discussion about the dialogue and mentions choosing Robert Pattinson for Eric Packer:
It’s interesting you say that because you once even said in an interview, “To me dialogue is cinema”, and generally, not many filmmakers hold dialogue in high regard.
Well, yeah, I think, you know, cinema is about the human condition, really, and so much of the human condition exists as words, as conversation and as dialogue. I mean, you don’t have culture and you don’t have human society without words of some kind, and without human communication. And human condition by words gives you an abstraction. So I know that it’s easy to think of cinema as being essentially action or visual and it’s a common misconception that it is action of a very crude, physical kind, but, in my experience of cinema, (chuckles) over 65 years of it, I feel that without dialogue, without words, without conversation, without this talking, and without the human face – because I think the thing we photograph most as filmmakers is the human face – in particular, cinema wouldn’t be cinema.
A lot has been said about your unconventional choice of Robert Pattinson for the lead role.
The thing I liked about Rob Pattinson as an actor is that he’s a serious actor. And you could lose sight of that, because he’s had this big popular success with the Twilight movies, but he is not afraid to play a character who is difficult to like, you know, because some actors are afraid to do that, because they feel it is too personal, that they themselves will not be liked by their audience, and so on. But a real actor is not afraid to play an unsympathetic character, and Rob is a real actor.
Also, I think to be an actor, you need intelligence, first of all. For example, Rob immediately realised that the script was quite funny, and most people don’t get that. Then you want sensitivity to the subtleties of the movie, in terms of what is going on in the movie, the dialogue and so on. And Rob, personally, is very knowledgeable about cinema.
(chuckles) I don’t think his Twilight fans realise this about him, but he’s really an aficionado about art cinema. I mean, on the set I’d find him talking to Juliette Binoche about obscure French cinema, (chuckles) so you know, he brings a real depth of understanding of the history and art of cinema and all of those things mean that you have a lot of power and a lot of responsiveness from your actor as a director. It’s like driving the Ferrari instead of driving, you know, a Volkwagen Beetle. And you get that with Rob. I must also add, he’s very down to earth and very easy to work with. He’s not diva at all, you know. He’s really a sweetheart.
Click HERE to read the entire interview! David adds more thoughts on dialogue, Eric Packer as a character and more!