AUDIO: David Cronenberg discusses Cosmopolis, separation anxiety from Rob, the art of the unlovable character and MORE

The player won’t embed and some of you might not have the time to listen but I summarized the interview. It’s not a transcript although some things I wrote were verbatim but you get a good idea from these highlights:

  • Starts with Eric and Vija clip
  • David begins by saying he’s suffering from separation anxiety because after a 3 week promo in 5 different countries, he said goodbye to Rob (Rob has already returned to Los Angeles) and he’s really feeling it.
  • The host says they had no interest in Rob but David quipped back, “I was going to bring him here anyway”. 🙂
  • David: The movie is very philosophical. Philosophical observations about the nature of capitalism. He thinks it’s more pro-capitalist. Mentions complexities of the film.
  • Host: What were you thinking when you cast Rob? David: You’re looking for a great actor. It’s a very difficult role with a lot of dialogue, Quite funny too. You need an actor that gets all of that.
  • Host: Did you know he could do it? David: I had seen him in Little Ashes where he plays a young Salvidor Dali, an extreme, difficult Spanish movie. This is a guy who’s not afraid to do something really challenging and difficult. He’s not afraid to play an unsympathetic role. Until you do the movie, you don’t know the breadth of it and I think he gives a fantastically subtle and beautifully modulated performance.
  • The host brings up Rob saying in Cannes he doesn’t know what the film is about and asks David about this. David: We don’t know what the movie is about. If you send an email, you know what the email is about. Art is not an email. Old Hollywood joke, if I wanted to send a message, I’d use Western Union. What you’re delivering is an organic universe. What does your life mean? What does my life mean? A movie is a life and it doesn’t have a meaning in a normal sense.
  • Host debates David about that comment. Asked if it’s true of any movie and David said yes. The host asked, “We don’t know what Bad News Bears is about?” Then he begins to describe it and David tells him he’s getting into plot descriptions and then gives the “about a billionaire who goes to get a haircut” description of Cosmopolis. On that level we all know what it’s about.
  • David: What Rob is talking about is there’s a feeling that you have to analyze. Psychoanalyze a character to get under the skin. When you think about how people really interact, that’s not how you approach your own life and not how you approach a character. I was telling Rob you don’t need to analyze this character.
  • The host (who didn’t want Rob there initially LOL) quotes Rob saying that David wanted him intentionally dazed.
  • David: It wasn’t that I wanted him like that. I could see that was the way he was working. When he didn’t think too much. It’s a question of an actor who has not yet learned to trust his intuition, his instinct. His lack of confidence which Rob admitted to.
  • David talks about how athletes also do this – over think and outsmarting themselves and they should just throw the ball.
  • David mentions the London Whale again (not the baby one that went up the Thames).
  • Discusses the isolation of the limo but when Eric leaves the limo, he doesn’t know how to interact and talk. David also warns against making sweeping generalizations.
  • Host: Can extreme wealth create extreme desensitization? David: I think it can but it’s not inevitable. Cites Richard Branson and Bill Gates as wealthy people who are not desensitized.
  • David: Money is something we created. It doesn’t exist in nature.
  • Host: It doesn’t feel like a human thing. It feels out of our human control. David: But it is something we created. You don’t get animals with an economic crisis.
  • The host brings up Rob again and his character not being likable.
  • David: Rob found a review on the internet that said the film was aggressively unlovable and I loved that and thought that was great. “Yes! That’s what we are!” The desire to be loved is death when it comes to art. You can’t say anything true and cutting and profound if all you’re after is love. (David is referring to art not life).
  • Host mentions that seems true for the creators but for characters, isn’t it orthodox to want to see something redeemable in the characters.
  • David: This is not coupons in the grocery store. What is interesting is provocativeness, intrigue. If you are intrigued by the characters, if you find them fascinating, what they do is illuminating. If it provokes you. That’s great. None of that equals likable or lovable. There could be that too but the chances are slim that they all go together so I say you can’t take your eyes off Rob in this movie. So it makes you question what is art. What is entertainment. What do you look for in a movie. Some audiences only look for something light and fluffy and feel good. This is not the movie for them. If you’re looking for something more, immediately you’re not talking about something likable.
  • The host challenges about having a movie of all villains but David says that would be what’s interesting, more pure potentially because you can only go so far with the generalizations. Also jokes there’s a reason actors like playing villains.
  • The American Dream was discussed. The get rich quick dream because the class structure was dissolved that was rooted in England. In America, to be rich was to be elite.
  • Host: Do you think people still believe that in America? David: I think they do because they see stories of Facebook and someone becoming a billionaire in his 20s just playing on his computer. I think there are levels where some people don’t believe that. There’s always been a hopelessness in certain segments of society.
  • Host: It’s a very compelling film and different from anything else out there. You said it was a difficult film to get made. Why is that?
  • David: Part of it was the economics crisis. Money sources have disappeared. The film industry is the amphibians of the world. Such thin skin that any change can effect us. Toxicity in the environment effects us because it’s not a necessary business. Sources have dried up. Distribution has dried up.
  • Host: So it wasn’t the content of the film (anti-capitalist). David: No because a really good capitalist would love an anti-capitalist film if it makes money.
  • Host: What are you reaching for now as a filmmaker? David: It hasn’t changed. Things that are entertaining amusing provocative. I still love the joy of creation. People talk about the difficulties but when we’re alone on the film set and we’re making the movie, it’s so much fun. You’ve got the people you love to work with and you’re creating something and you’re killing yourself laughing. With Paul, Rob, me and my crew just doing that last 22 minutes of the film on one set with those guys was great fun. It was joyful. It was wonderful.
  • Host: Nothing more gratifying than a great artist who still loves making his art. David: Exactly. At that moment, you have defended yourself against despair, despondency, depression. Suddenly you’re just alive and you’re really excited and you’re happy.

David was great and if you have 23 minutes to spare, click HERE to listen.

I can’t wait for David and Rob to be reunited for more promotion. The limo is having separation anxiety too. 😉

Thank you, Jay, for the tip!

  • Pingback: *AUDIO* David Cronenberg talks Robert Pattinson and Cosmopolis with CBC « Thinking of Rob()

  • Thanks for the write up!

    Wow, it seems the host REALLY doesn’t like Rob. Or maybe he was just being a hard ass. I have to say, I love David, he’s one of the most real Hollywood “types” out there. And of course I love him even more because he loves Rob so.. 😉

    • I think he was just being narrow-minded. Attaching himself to the misconception of Rob not being a good actor. Many in the mainstream are very judgmental of Rob and talk about him like they have a chip on their shoulder. Like Rob wronged them or some bullshit. It’s ridiculous and it’s been awesome having someone like David Cronenberg on Rob’s side because he’s respected and doesn’t have time for that bullshit.

      • Cosmonerd

        I think the host was displaying dry Canadian (Canada Dry?) humor when he said “we have no interest in him” because he then went on to devote a number of “Hardtalk” style questions to giving Cronenberg a chance to praise and defend Rob. Likewise the host expressed a number of conventional ideas about how films should be constructed that David could parry with lucid arguments. It’s an interviewing technique. We literal-minded Americans sometimes have trouble recognizing Anglo-Canadian irony and nuance. I can say this because I lived in England for a year and that’s how long it took me to finally “get it.”

        • I dunno, I am Canadian and he sounded just plain rude to me. Also, why toe the line with an introduction about an actor who is fighting that very kind of dismissive nonsense? The host honestly really rubbed me the wrong way with that introduction; perhaps farther into the interview a joke like that would have been more appropriate. As it was he reminded me more of Howard Stern than anything. It set a tone. *sad trombone sound* Other than that I loved the questions he asked about Rob and how David answered them. The body of the interview was great.

          • yeah i loved everything David said but that’s nothing new lol

  • Pingback: AUDIO: Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg’s CBC Radio Interview // Robert Pattinson UK()

  • delle1

    Wowzer,I’m blown away by David,how can anyone not love this man….he knows what we know and he’s not afraid to tell the world about ROB…This was the highest praise anyone can give and coming from a well respected director this has to be better than winning an oscar…..Rob,you’ve seduced this man in the subtlest way,with your wit charm and of course brilliant acting ,David is now your no.1 fan and he’s telling the world…..Thank you David, I love you for loving *ROB*

  • dee265

    Wow Rob will always be my heart but I’m thinking DC is coming up a very close second. Maybe it’s because he loves him too.What a class act. As far as the host I am so sick and tired of Rob being short changed at every turn. I read or heard today that this was his first dramatic role…WTF? If that is true then why did we spend a weekend in NYC last April to see him. Did I dream that????

  • Tink,
    Thanks for the transcript of the interview! Cool to see it in writing!
    Love that Mr. Cronenberg has such a strong allegiance to his cast and to the film itself.
    Wouldn’t you just like to sit with him and have a peek into his mind?
    I can only think of a few other people in the film industry that I have even the slightest interest in, with regard to the workings of their minds.
    Great coverage of the Cosmopolis promo weeks!
    J.D.

    • thanks for the compliment on the coverage. it was tough for me and deb to keep up on here. we did wrap posts when we blogged on Water or Elephants and felt that worked best during big promo stuff. plus Robsessed always explodes during these times and pulls me away. we still need the wrap post for the Toronto premiere. that’s actually my responsibility. so many goodies! we have time though. time to digest all of this. plus US promo to look forward to as well.