From Cannes: ‘Cosmopolis’ director talks Robert Pattinson
A few months after squaring off Freud and Jung in “A Dangerous Method,” Canadian director David Cronenberg is back with “Cosmopolis.” The adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel follows the adventures of young businessman Erick Packer as he makes his way around New York in a limousine — a journey packed with violence and sex. No one comes out unharmed. Alongside “Twilight” heartthrob Robert Pattinson, we find Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton and two Frenchies: Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Amalric. The winner of the Special Jury Prize in 1996 for “Crash,” and 2012 hopeful with “Cosmopolis,” Cronenberg spoke to Metro before the film’s premiere on May 25.
How did you go about adapting Don DeLillo’s novel?
I wrote the script in six days. The first three days I re-transcribed the entire dialogue. The following three, I added descriptions for each scene. The monologues going on in Packer’s mind, I made into visuals. I am incredibly excited about this film, and even more so Pattinson’s performance.
Choosing to Robert Pattinson in the lead role may have come as a bit of a shock for some of your fans …
Rob is a wonderful actor, and I think he will surprise more than a few. Because he’s young, handsome and the star of the “Twilight Saga,” some people have come to the unfair conclusion that he is a bad actor. I am well aware of that. But I can assure you that he is incredible and a very hard worker. I can’t wait to work with him again. In fact, I even told him I would love to cast him alongside Viggo Mortensen in the future.
Have any celebrities contacted you directly to ask if they could work with you?
Most of the time they tell their agent to tell my agent they want to work with me. Sometimes I ask to work with an actor without knowing if they have ever seen one of my films. That was the case with Rob. It just so happened he was very familiar with some of my work. On set [for "Cosmopolis"], I remember he and Juliette Binoche getting into deep conversations about obscure French films. He’s a film fanatic.
Was hiring him a way of drawing the attention of people that weren’t necessarily David Cronenberg fans?
The moment we confirmed Rob had been cast in “Cosmopolis,” everyone started talking about it. I can only hope the public and the critics will like it. On the other hand, those only watching it because they are “Twihards” risk being disappointed. But fans of Rob will love “Cosmopolis.” Once you love an actor, you should be open to appreciating all of [his or her] work.
You have adapted several novels throughout your career starting with “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs and “Crash” by J.G Ballard. What kind of reader would you say you are?
I don’t like reading a book with the sole purpose of turning it into a movie. With “Cosmopolis,” it was the producer that contacted me. He said: “I have the rights to this film, and I think you are the best person out there to direct it.” And he was right! Outside of work, I will read a book because I find it rewarding. I love novels by David Foster Wallace. I became a fan of his work after his death. “The Pale King” — his book that was published posthumously — is absolutely brilliant.