Cosmopolis gets a test screening? PLUS David Cronenberg talks Cosmopolis & filmmaking process

Yesterday, an interesting tweet popped up:

We doubled checked with the tweeter that this was David Cronenberg’s film and got a reply:

How exciting is that?? It’s merely a guess on my part but perhaps they’re giving the film a test run leading up to Cannes? Fingers crossed!

David Cronenberg sat down to talk with Post Magazine and Cosmopolis came up a few times. I also enjoyed DC dropping a line that reminded me one of my favorite quotes from Cosmopolis. Can you figure it out? 😉

The excerpts include Cosmopolis mentions & certain aspects about Cronenberg’s filmmaking process. GREAT read over all. Visit Post to read the article in its entirety.

From Post Magazine:

Director’s Chair: David Cronenberg – ‘A Dangerous Method’

Here, in an exclusive Post interview, Cronenberg talks about making the film [A Dangerous Method], his love of post, and why he’s such a big fan of digital and will be happy to see the demise of film.

POST: Talk about the look of the film, and about working with director of photography Peter Suschitzky* for over 20 years.

CRONENBERG: “The look all comes from the weather and time of year, which gives it a certain light. Then you decide — were the rooms lit by gas or electric light? Then it’s, how does that light react with the clothes — Keira’s in particular. Once again, I rarely start a film with visual look in mind. I let the movie express itself, and as we find the locations and costumes and cast, and start building sets, it gradually emerges. Peter’s a profoundly cultured man, very well-read, and this was heaven for him. He belongs in this era.”

POST: Your editor was Ronald Sanders**, who’s cut 15 films for you. Tell us about the editing process. Was he on set?

CRONENBERG: “No, and after working together for 35 years this was the first time he wasn’t with me on location. Even when we did Eastern Promises in London, he was there. So this time we did it all over the Internet. We’d send over the digital files, he’d download and then start cutting, and it worked out very well. He stayed in Toronto and cut on an Avid. But we do have a shorthand, and my director’s cut took just a week — because I’m shooting more simply these days, so I give him less footage to work with, but also, we understand each other and he knows immediately why I’ve done this shot instead of that one, or that angle instead of another. So we don’t need to talk about it a lot.

“I don’t ever look at the movie while I’m shooting. I do look at dailies, although to be frank, I’ve almost stopped that too, as you’re watching the monitor. In the old days, the footage you got wasn’t what you saw on the monitors, but today it’s so closely calibrated you can actually judge lighting from the monitor — even when you’re shooting film, not digital, and we shot this on film. So on the set I feel I’ve already looked at the rushes while we’re shooting, and I don’t look back unless I feel there’s a problem or we need to adjust something or need missing coverage.

“If Ron thinks there’s a problem, he lets me know, but it’s very rare. I like to be surprised by the movie and forget what I shot. I learned the value of that a long time ago, on my first film. I was editing every night and I completely lost perspective. I knew things were wrong but not how to fix them. Then I realized I needed to be the one who hasn’t seen all the footage. So a week after I finish shooting, Ron has a cut, and then I can just watch it like any movie, and it’s the only chance I have to be that objective. Then I go into the editing room and work on it. On my next film, Cosmopolis, which I’ve shot already, I did my director’s cut in just two days — a record!

MORE Film School 101 with DC after the cut!

POST: Do you like the post process?

CRONENBERG: “I like it very much, though I don’t mind it being as short as it seems to be now. Really, the biggest part of post for me now is the sound mix, not the edit. I just don’t spend a lot of time in the editing room.”

POST: How many visual effects shots were there in the film?

CRONENBERG: “It’s actually my biggest visual effects film so far — we have over 220 shots, all done by Mr. X in Toronto, who have done a lot of stuff for me. Once again, talking about the look and sense of nature, all the Burgholzli clinic interior scenes are sets, so it means that the greenscreen is what your windows are. They’re all greenscreen and then have to be replaced by shots of Lake Zurich and so on, to give the feeling there of that openness, that you can run out of the Burgholzli and be in this orchard. So any time you see a window, it’s a greenscreen shot.

“If you’re moving the camera, it can be quite a complex visual effects shot to get the perspective right and the out-of-focus level proper appropriate to the lens you’re using and so on. Then are all the shots on the trans-Atlantic liners coming to New York, which are combinations of live footage and CGI. I have even more visual effects shots in Cosmopolis.”

POST: Tell us about audio and the mix. How important is it in your films?

CRONENBERG: “Huge, and it’s also the least glamorous and least-covered aspect of the whole filmmaking process. Before 3D, sound gave you that three-dimensionality, so it’s so crucial to have the ambiance right, the footsteps right, the whole tone right. I have a great team I’ve worked with a lot, including my mixer Orest Sushko and sound editors Wayne Griffin and Michael O’Farrell. Orest works in LA, but he has a deal that allows him to always come back to Toronto to mix my films, and he’ll be in Paris when we do the mix for Cosmopolis.

“I’m very involved in the mix, and that can take a long time, but no one bothers me during ADR, say, unless they feel we need to loop something.”

POST: Did you do a DI [Digital intermediate]?

CRONENBERG: Yes, also at Deluxe Toronto. I’ve done a lot of DIs and I love digital. I can’t wait to get rid of film, to be honest. I still remember the first time I saw a Moviola, since the first films I edited were on a Moviola, and this editor showed me how to use one in just 10 minutes, and I said, ‘I can’t believe this is right! It tears your sprockets, it’s so noisy you can’t even hear the sound.’ So when flatbed systems came in, I thought, ‘This is an advance, but they’re still pretty primitive.’ It was so obvious that the film version of word processing was necessary, and though I have an affection for typewriters, I was so happy to get rid of those too. So I’m all for the digital revolution.

“We shot this on film but shot Cosmopolis with the Arri Alexa, the first time for Peter and me. And Peter, who’s not a tech head and is quite a traditionalist, said he never wants to go back to film again.”

POST: So is film dead?

CRONENBERG: “It’s dead. It’s like stills. Who shoots stills? Only stills photographers and fashion photographers and you’re trying to differentiate yourself from everyone else, so you shoot massive Polaroids. Film’s dead — no question.”

POST: Tell us about Cosmopolis.

CRONENBERG: “It’s based on the novel by Don DeLillo, all about this one day in New York, and I have a great cast — Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Juliet Binoche. We’re doing the post right now and then mixing it in Paris.”

*Peter Suschitzky was also the director of photography for Cosmopolis.
**Ronald Sanders was also the editor for Cosmopolis