Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cosmopolis: Cronenberg In Defense of Pattinson

Yesterday, I posted about Howard Shore, who scored Martin Scorsese's HUGO - there's a lot of chatter that this is the finest 3D film ever - and  I mentioned that Howard Shore has worked on every single one of David Cronenberg's films except for The Dead Zone. And that Cronenberg and Shore had Cosmopolis in the works, starring Robert Pattinson. Well, it's actually in the can. While there's no release date yet, it should be sometime during the first half of 2012. And in case you wondered what Robert Pattinson (Edward in the Twilight movies - is it possible there is anyone out there who doesn't know this?) was doing in a Cronenberg film, so were a lot of other people.  And they've been asking Cronenberg about the casting choice in their interviews with the director of A Dangerous Method. That film, based on John Kerr's A Most Dangerous Method is out now in limited release. It stars Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortenson and Keira Knightly. It's a book I will never, ever read but the film does look absolutely riveting!
Anyway, here's what Cronenberg told the Huffington Post about his controversial decision regarding Pattinson's casting in Cosmopolis.
Why did you want Pattinson for the part in Cosmopolis?
Cronenberg: Well I'd watched a movie that I think not too many people have seen called "Little Ashes," where he plays Salvador Dali, and he plays him as a young man and plays him with a Spanish accent. So I thought, well that's really interesting, I mean this was before he was a "Twilight" star, because, it takes a particular handsome young man to decide to play that role. And then I did watch some of the "Twilight" stuff and I watched "Remember Me" and I felt that he had a lot going on. He's supposed to be a super smart billionaire at a young age, 28 he says in the movie. It's intuition. I didn't know him as a person, but I'd figured from the movies that I'd seen, like "Little Ashes," that I could maybe interest him in doing something that's not "Twilight" obviously. To read the entire article which focuses on A Dangerous Method go to
Huffington Post

And here's what Cronenberg told Josh Horowitz at MTV:
"You start with the basics. How old is he? What does he look like? Is the character very nerdy? Is he handsome and devilish?" Cronenberg said. "Is he an intellectual? You think about all these things and you think about the actors who could possibly project the things that you need from this character."
Once Cronenberg had a list of potential candidates for the "Ulysses"-inspired protagonist, Eric Packer, it is important to consider a star's profile in order to get the proper funding for the film. Cronenberg said that it takes an actor with a name like Pattinson to get his movies made.
After judging Pattinson's interest in the project and working around his schedule, it was clear to Cronenberg that he was the man for the job. "Ultimately, I felt he was the guy. Once again, intuition," he said. "I saw his movies, including ones maybe his Twi-Hard fans don't know about, like 'Little Ashes.' Maybe they saw 'Remember Me,' I'm not sure."
As for Pattinson's "Twilight" reputation, it's something Cronenberg acknowledges. "I can't pretend that I'm not aware of that. This is an unusual jump for him. He said it himself. It's scary," Cronenberg said, adding that it's the scary part of it that makes it worthwhile. "It's a scary thing because he's never really had to carry a movie quite that way before, totally on his own," he said. "He's in every scene. He's almost in every shot, so scary for him, but for an actor, scary is good. You don't want to be bored. You don't want to be too confident."
The question that will be on everyone's minds who goes to see the film may ultimately be, "Can the 'Twilight' kid actually act?" Cronenberg was quick to cast any doubt aside. "Really, he's fantastic. He's sensational," he said. "Really, I'm telling you. He's a great actor. It's obvious in the movie. It's not like maybe yes, maybe no. It's obvious."
Hopefully it will be obvious to the rest of us! I'm not a huge Pattinson fan but I'm all for helping actors break out of their casting niches.

If you're not familiar with the book, here's the storyline from Amazon. Director, Cronenberg, also wrote the script by the way:
It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end -- those booming times of market optimism when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments.
Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. On this day he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town.
His journey to the barbershop is a contemporary odyssey, funny and fast-moving. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors -- his experts on security, technology, currency, finance and theory. Sometimes he leaves the car for sexual encounters and sometimes he doesn't have to.

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