Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 10 Best Films Of 2001 The 10 Best Films Of 2001 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

David Cronenberg Talks The Bizarre Love In 'Cosmopolis' Between Paul Giamatti & Robert Pattinson; Discusses The Film's Timely Social Relevance & More

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist May 29, 2012 at 3:49PM

An adaptation of Don DeLillo’s titular and typically provocative novel, "Cosmopolis," is the first feature-length effort filmmaker David Cronenberg wrote himself since 1999's "eXistenZ." Cronenberg penned the screenplay in six days, and literally transcribed DeLillo's dialogue word for word in many scenes. Featuring an unlikely star in the lead, "Twilight" hearthrob Robert Pattinson, and set in the not-too-distant-future of New York, "Cosmopolis" centers on a 28-year-old billionaire and uncontested Wall Street king, Eric Packer. A financial golden boy living the dream, yet bored with his effortless existence, Parker's day takes a turn for the worse when a dark shadow is cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy. As his empire potentially crumbles, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city's streets and Packer's paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour odyssey and leads him to cross paths with a cast of characters that threaten to destroy his world.
0
Cronenberg, Pattinson, Cannes

An adaptation of Don DeLillo’s titular and typically provocative novel, "Cosmopolis," is the first feature-length effort filmmaker David Cronenberg wrote himself since 1999's "eXistenZ." Cronenberg penned the screenplay in six days, and literally transcribed DeLillo's dialogue word for word in many scenes. Featuring an unlikely star in the lead, "Twilight" hearthrob Robert Pattinson, and set in the not-too-distant-future of New York, "Cosmopolis" centers on a 28-year-old billionaire and uncontested Wall Street king, Eric Packer. A financial golden boy living the dream, yet bored with his effortless existence, Parker's day takes a turn for the worse when a dark shadow is cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy. As his empire potentially crumbles, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city's streets and Packer's paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour odyssey and leads him to cross paths with a cast of characters that threaten to destroy his world.

Also featuring Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Jay Baruchel and Kevin Durand, much of "Cosmopolis" takes place within the single setting of the stretch limousine that Pattinson's Parker rides in, making for a claustrophobic experience where Cronenberg explores society's anxieties, phobias, and the idea of letting repressed impulses and paranoia run wild. "There's a lot of dialogue that's very difficult and it's kind of extreme in its stucture, so it's not an easy sell," Cronenberg said about making the picture. Due in U.S. theaters later this summer, Playlist contributor Aaron Hillis had a quick chat with the director in Cannes this past weekend discussing the film's eerie financial prophecies, its perfectly-timed coincidence with the Occupy Wall Street themes and the concept of monetary abstractions.

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 [Pattinson] 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 realities, 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.

This article is related to: David Cronenberg, Cosmopolis


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates