David Cronenberg Says 'A Dangerous Method' Is An "Intellectual Ménage à Trois"

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 3, 2011 5:07 AM
2 Comments
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Still Hoping To Make 'Eastern Promises 2' With Viggo Mortensen



It has been a very busy fall so far for David Cronenberg. His latest film "A Dangerous Method" has been traveling the globe, premiering at the end of August at the Venice Film Festival, going to Telluride and then TIFF last month for its North American debut and now, hitting the New York Film Festival. For a director whose filmography generally displays a tendency towards the freakier end of the spectrum, his new movie is bit straighter than we're used to from Cronenberg. Starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley, the film centers on the relationship between Carl Jung (Fassbender) and Russian-Jewish patient Sabina Spielrein (Knightley), which turns sexual, ultimately causing a rift between Jung and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), but also catalyzing strong findings in regards to Jungian psychoanalysis.

We recently had a chance to speak with David Cronenberg at the New York Film Festival and he revealed that it was Christopher Hampton's play, which serves as the foundation, which opened the door into the story the director had long wanted to tell. "I've always wanted to do a movie about Freud and the birth of psychoanalysis, but to say that is of course to say nothing, because there's no structure in that," he explained. "But [with this play], suddenly there is a structure. And this was my first introduction to Sabina and she is part of what I call an 'intellectual menage a trois,' and that structure was terrific -- the span of it, the relationship between Freud and Jung that went over six or seven years."

"So here's this wonderful structure with this incredible character Sabina who I had never heard of and that's really what drew me to the story," Cronenberg added. Indeed, the dimension that Sabina brings to the relationship between Freud and Jung provides a fascinating entry into the common and conflicting mindsets between the two great psychoanalysts.

But if you think Cronenberg will get a chance to rest after these press rounds are over, guess again. The ever busy helmer is already in post-production on his next film, "Cosmopolis," starring Robert Pattinson and while he's not yet decided on his next film after that, the long talked about "Eastern Promises 2" still remains on the table. When we spoke with Viggo Mortensen at TIFF he said about the project, “I think that’s still a possibility, but something we’ll definitely do [together] I’m sure and I’m looking forward to it already, whatever it is.” And when we asked Cronenberg directly, he revealed that it's very much in development.

"We're trying," Cronenberg said when asked if he and Viggo would return for a sequel. "Steven Knight has written one draft, he's working on another one. Focus Features is interested and Viggo is interested so, we'll see." But either way, Cronenberg and Mortensen will find a way to keep their working relationship going.

"Oh yeah," Cronenberg said emphatically when asked if they'd collaborate again regardless of whether "Eastern Promises 2" gets made. "We figure we will reunite [on something eventually]." We'll have more from this interview soon, but for now, if you're in New York, "A Dangerous Method" plays NYFF this week and hits theaters in limited release starting November 23rd.

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2 Comments

  • Hanna | October 5, 2011 3:30 AMReply

    I wish this film could be released in major theaters sooner than it will be. Both Fassbender and Mortensen are serious actors and the story is incredibly ironic. Dr. Jung could never have gotten away with what he pulled now in the psychology profession. The fact that this is based on a true story makes the movie very compelling. Its like a fiction tale like this couldn't be made up. Curious what die-hard Jungian analysts in practice and licensed will think of A Dangerous Method.
    http://sanfranciscostories.tumblr.com/post/11058035229/dr-carl-jung-would-be-stripped-of-his-license-today

  • stwsr | October 4, 2011 10:36 AMReply

    Big Cronenberg fan, but I really did not enjoy this movie. I believe it may have something to do with Keira Knightley deliberately bugging her eyes and protruding her jaw more than the normal amount.

    Perhaps he should have cast another actress. Perhaps then I might be able to get past the irritation and actually give the movie a chance.

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