One of the most interesting films of the week - and possibly this year - is David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis.
Not only is the revered director of body horror (The Fly, Scanners) and recent thrillers (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) back on form after the tame A Dangerous Method, he’s made one of the bravest casting decisions of the year. For this adaptation of the difficult Don DeLillo novel stars Robert Pattinson, he of the Twilight saga.
Although Pattinson has made interesting choices since being cast as sparkly vampire Edward Cullen, the likes of Remember Me, Water For Elephants and Bel Ami haven’t stretched him too far. That all changes with Cosmopolis, as the Brit turns in a fascinating, multi-layered and utterly compelling turn as billionaire New Yorker Eric Packer. The financial whizzkid travels through Manhattan during a time of death threats and political unrest to get a haircut, with the wordy drama confined mainly to a high-tech limousine. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from the uncompromising Cronenberg.
Pattinson and Cronenberg recently stopped by the Apple Store on Regent Street to chat to fans, where the actor advised young Twilighters to check out Cronenberg’s Videodrome and Dead Ringers. Cronenberg himself offered: ‘Maybe Crash. My Crash, not the Paul Haggis Oscar-winning Crash. The good Crash.’
The director on why he wanted Pattinson: ‘I just thought it would be wonderful to hear this dialogue spoken by wonderful actors, and I stumbled accidentally across Rob. The charisma that he has is obvious and is necessary for this film as his character is in absolutely every scene. You have to have someone who has the chops, and is interesting and charismatic.’ Pattinson himself admitted he wasn’t an obvious choice, before adding: ‘It’s not an obvious movie. You’re not going to see another Cosmopolis for a while. There’s a feeling in the words and the rhythm; you can read it a hundred times and something begins to reverberate.’
Pattinson reflected on Cronenberg’s work: ‘There is a sadness in the movie, and there’s quite a lot of sadness in a lot of [David’s] movies which is not acknowledged really. It’s quite melancholic… Some filmmakers say their films are really a part of them, and they always exist. [David’s] movies are like children you put in a basket and let go down the river.’
Cronenberg has worked with Viggo Mortensen on his last three films, and after the success of his partnership with Pattinson, it’s reassuring to know they plan to work together again. The director said: ‘I’ve done three movies with Viggo Mortensen. I love him and we’ve connected in a very deep way, and frankly I feel a similar connection with Rob. I’m not finished working with him. My dream is to have Viggo and Rob in the same movie. I think they’d be fantastic together. I cannot allow myself to believe that we will never work together.’
As always, the refreshingly blunt and hilarious Pattinson said a couple of things that caused him to apologise to his manager/agent sweating beside him. Slating his back catalogue in one fell swoop he uttered: ‘I’d thought I would get a movie to Cannes in ten or fifteen years, to do it this year is unbelievable. More importantly, I like the film. I can watch it as a movie. I can imagine myself paying for a ticket! That’s a really great feeling.’ There was also a little remark when asked if he would do a film in his British accent: ‘I feel very naked working with my British accent - I feel like I’m not really acting. And also, English things aren’t very good.’ (Cue frantic apology.)
You can watch Filmbeat’s interview with Pattinson below, where he attempts to describe what Cosmopolis is actually about: