Interview: Patricia McKenzie on Cosmopolis, Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg

Cosmopolis Italia had the chance to talk to Patricia McKenzie about her career and filming Cosmopolis. You may recall, Patricia plays Kendra Hays, one of Eric Packer’s bodyguards, in the film.  This is a fantastic read! Lots of on set goodies and info on her “taser” scene with Robert Pattinson, her character’s need to dominate Eric and the “very sexy, tense and humorous” feel of the scene. Patricia also had lovely things to say about the working atmosphere on David Cronenberg’s set. Here is an excerpt but be sure to check out the full interview at our affiliate Cosmopolis Italia.

CI: In “Cosmopolis” you play Kendra Hays, Can you tell us something about her? Who is Kendra?

PM: Kendra is an exhibitionist who craves power and wants to dominate Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) sexually. She was initially hired to be his bodyguard, but quickly becomes his lover. They are opposites in many ways, but both are hollow inside and searching for meaning in their existence. Ultimately, they risk leaving each other feeling as empty as they started.
CI: How was working with director David Cronenberg?
PM: Possibly my favourite experience on any production ever. David is a dream director to work with. The first time I met him, he gave me a big hug, and said “At last, we meet!” He is very calm and confident which made me feel that I could be instantly vulnerable with him. After each take, he would say to me and Rob, “Another great take!” It was a great relief, because we were shooting a fairly complicated love scene with wonderfully strange dialogue by Don Delillo. My only complaint was that we finished 6 days earlier than we were supposed to and none of us ready to leave that wonderful experience behind so soon. I would love to star in a long running TV series with David Cronenberg as the director!
CI: How was the mood on set?
PM: The mood of set was that of a happy, peaceful family, because David he gives everyone the time they need to do their best work. He also has a tendency to rehire the same people so the cast and crew are always an enviable mix of talent, professionalism and ego-less devotion to deliver a great film.
CI: Did you give any workout tips to Robert Pattinson? How about your own workout schedule?
PM: Our love scene happened one month ahead of schedule so neither of us had time to get in the exact shape we wanted to be in, but I did a juice fast three days prior, and he went to the pub and drank a beer. Rob already has an incredible screen presence that comes easily to him, so he is very relaxed about how he appears.
A few months before we started shooting, I started boxing and combat training and I did a 3 week detox. It was something I always wanted to try, so I used the film as my motivation. I really enjoyed the process and have integrated the healthy eating and the boxing into my lifestyle.
CI: One of your scene involves you shooting Robert with a taser gun..did something funny happened that day? can you tell us something about it?
PM: For me the funny thing was that everyone approached the scene with no idea what was going to happen, but to be ready for anything. David, Robert and I explored it together, the way we might do if it were a play. We thought we had it nailed down, so we took a lunch break for the crew to light the scene. Then, after lunch, David said he wanted to shoot the scene a different way so the crew took time to re-light everything and Robert and I had time to bond a bit more before we started shooting the love scene. The result is amazing, very sexy, tense and humorous. I can’t really say what happens with the taser, you will have to see the movie to find out!