David Cronenberg Talks About Rob and "Map to the Stars"

And evidently the Cronenberg/Pattinson collaboration has been a mutually beneficial experience as the director and 26-year-old actor are hoping to reteam on Cronenberg's next effort. Titled "Map To The Stars," Cronenberg confirmed to Playlist contributor Aaron Hillis in Cannes that he and Pattinson were hoping to make this their next picture. And the director also revealed that one of his regulars hopes to be on board as well.

"I asked Rob if he would be interested in playing a particular role in it and he said yes, he would. Likewise, Viggo [Mortensen] is interested in a role," Cronenberg said. "It would be very interesting. This is a project called 'Map To The Stars' written by Bruce Wagner who is a wonderful L.A. screenwriter."

Wagner also wrote an adaptation of "As She Climbed Across the Table," a Jonathan Lethem novel that Cronenberg hopes to make one day for Steven Zaillian's Film Rites shingle. As for 'Maps,' it's a movie Cronenberg tried to make five years ago, but the financing fell through. And the director cautions that the new iteration of this project also has yet to be sewn up financially.

"It's not a go picture. We have a script that I love that Bruce wrote," he said. "It's a very difficult film to get made as was 'Cosmopolis' actually. Whether I can get this movie to happen, I tried it five years ago, I couldn't get it made, so I still might not be able to get it made."

The film is dark comedic drama about two child actors ruined by Hollywood's depravity, and Cronenberg adds that "Maps To The Stars" is " very extreme. It's not obviously a very big commercial movie, and even as an independent film it's difficult. 'Map To the Stars' is completely different [from 'Cosmopolis'], but it's very acerbic and satirical, it's a hard sell."

It's hard to believe, but the internationally renowned filmmaker has shot every film of his in Canada or elsewhere, but never within the United States. That will change if he gets his way on this picture. "Well, 'Maps To The Stars' is an L.A. story and I really felt that is something I could not create on a set in Toronto," he told us. "Whereas the structure of 'Cosmopolis' allows me to create New York on a soundstage in Toronto."

The Canadian-born filmmaker is hoping to make the picture his first U.S. shoot. "I would want to shoot in Los Angeles and I've never shot a foot of film in America," the filmmaker revealed, describing this odd circumstance despite having spent much time south of the Canadian border. "America is very familiar to me since I was kid, my father was born in Baltimore. And it's not like I haven't wanted to, but it's just the weirdness of co-productions and so-on and money things, really -- the expense of shooting in some cities in America. So I actively would like to be shooting in L.A. for at least part of this movie, but once again with budgetary problems... I just don't know if I will be able to, but I would like to."

Another part of Cronenberg's interview to The Playlist was posted. He doesn't directly talk about Rob, but talks about the relationship between Rob and Giamatti's character.

You've said that the novel proved prophetic, but economies do wax and wane so there must be some room for coincidence. What is it about this 2003 book that resonates with you as both a cinematic and contemporary text?
"Cosmopolis" was never meant to be analysis of world economics situation, you know? That is almost gravy. The fact that the world suddenly seems to be caught up with Don DeLillo's book and it's as though we were making a documentary instead of a fiction film. Things were happening: Occupy Wall Street, the pie in the face of Rupert Murdoch. We had shot scenes with Rob [Pattison] that were so similar to that it was quite bizarre. But no, it didn't need that contemporary reality to make it interesting to me because it was the characters, it was the philosophy, it was the structure of the novel itself that was really interesting to me. And I thought it would be...you know, as an artist you're always looking for universal realitys, truths, not absolute truths, but something that has some universal meaning and yet, you have to deal with particular characters, particular moments in time and so on. And so you need the particular to be universal and I thought that was very strong in Don's novel and as I said, the world could have been peachy keen economically and I still think the book would have been resonant.

The novel has a device referring back to the stream-of-consciousness confessions of Benno Levin, played by Paul Giamatti as one of the many people out to get Eric Parker. As one of the most complicated characters in the story, what does Benno Levin represent to you?
Well, I don't think in terms of symbols and schematics. I think of Benno as a real person. I have to approach my characters as real people and with my actors we, as I've often said, you cannot say to an actor, "You will portray this abstract concept." I can't say to Rob Pattinson, "You are the symbol of capitalism." Because an actor doesn't know that. How do you act that? What do you do with that information? It doesn't help you. You have to say, "You're a character who has this past, who has this barbershop he goes to, who has this desire, who has this job." That's how an actor works and that's actually how I work. So I can't say, "Benno represents this or that." I can say Benno is a character who has a bizarre love for the Rob Pattinson character. He's in love with him. But he's also repelled by him and is also intimidated by him, to the extent that he actually must connect with him. Just the way some crazed fan has to connect with some celebrity -- that bizarre distant emotional connection. And that's the way I deal with it, so in essence, I can't answer your question the way you asked it.

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