NOTE: Rob’s first answer from 0:28-0:39 contains spoilers.
Kevin Durand’s Torval, chief of security for 28 year old billionaire Eric Packer, played by Robert Pattinson, has lost his patience. Eric and Torval have a complicated relationship in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, which escalates over the course of the film. It is set almost exclusively inside Packer’s limo as it heads across town. Torval walks alongside the car, checking Packer’s many visitors, so he’s privy to the events that occur inside. The more outrageous, the angrier he gets. And according to Durand, his personal relationship with Pattinson was somewhat difficult too. We spoke with Durand in Toronto.
Torval tolerates Eric, and he tends to see him better than anyone else does and feels disdain for him. Was that intentional or did I read that in?
From when I first read it I thought he was more than just chief of security relationship with this financial iconic kid. It was kind of father son-ish in some ways, seeing someone who over the years come sot care for this kid. He’s doing the dumbest things and constantly putting me in danger. It is layered, there is a lot happening, a lot of affection too and loathing. It’s all there.
Robert Pattinson said he had ideas for his onscreen relationship with Torval. Did you ever discuss it?
He didn’t really have to think of it. He’s used to a lot of security and so it was natural. It was important to him because especially in this film, his life is in Torval’s hands. There were times when I was reading the script I asked myself so many questions. Does he like this kid? Does he want to kill this kid? There were so many things going on. Ultimately he was just trying to keep him alive.
There are moments when you’re looking at him and there is real fire.
I can’t believe it but it’s a daily thing for him. It was hard for me to get into that too much. It was the second scene we shot and I was frustrated. I was getting angry that he wasn’t looking at me. It was either his choice or David’s choice but he never makes eye contact with me so immediately that informs you of your place. I remember I had to pull it back and make it sit. You’re feeling “What am I?” This real classist thing. There was disdain for him but he was also entertained by the ridiculous shit he talks about, like saying how perky a woman’s breasts were. It’s like, “How do you get away with this shit?” I would be in prison. It’s an interesting mix of disdain and admiration.
Cronenberg’s description of his direction seemed like he’s a little removed.
I was actually amazing. I worked on the text for so long before I sent the audition in. Once he saw the audition, he said yes, perfect. We sat down and I was going to ask all this information, where is he from, what was his childhood like. So I go “So you want to talk about it?” and he goes “No!” Wow! God bless him. It was a relief because I did that work before I showed up.
You can read the rest of the interview at the source
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There seems to be a reflection of the Occupy movement in the film – what struck you about that group and how did they inform the film?
David Cronenberg: Well, they didn’t inform the film at all, because we really just stuck to the script – it just happened that what Don DeLillo [author of the original novel] wrote was prescient and clairvoyant, and it felt as if the world was just catching up with him. But for example, Paul Giamatti texted me and said ‘I can’t believe I just saw Rupert Murdoch get a pie in the face’, because we had just shot the scene where Eric Packer (Pattinson) gets a pie in the face! (laughs) It was certainly strange to be shooting scenes about anti-capitalist riots in the streets of New York and then to read about the Occupy movement. But there really are no anti-capitalists in this movie and it’s been noted that the Occupy Wall Street movement is not anti-capitalist; they want a piece of it, they want the 99% to be a part of the capitalist dream. Giamatti’s character Benno loves capitalism and investing and his complaint is that he’s been left behind by Eric, who’s destroyed the way Benno loved to work.
Well, there’s the paraphrasing of the Communist manifesto seen in the film, with banners reading ‘A spectre is haunting the world – the spectre of capitalism’, and you changed the currency that features heavily in the plot from the novel’s Japanese yen to the Chinese yuan…
David Cronenberg: That was just my feeble attempt as an ignoramus in terms of economy to make the film a letter futuristic. Since the book was written, the yen had collapsed, and then you had the tsunami that hit Japan, and suddenly they’re staggering. Now it’s obvious that Don’s ‘look to the east’ was correct but it’s China that will be the world power, and by 2015 the yuan will be a fully convertible currency and therefore might displace the dollar as the world currency.
*UPDATE* Added HQ
Here’s the HD video from Apple Q&A on June 1st