Thanks to @RKbubbles for the scans and translation
M: Robert, with Bel Ami you have already tried to emancipate yourself from Twilight. Now you have Cosmopolis. Aren’t you scared you’re gonna lose a lot of fans?
Rob: No because I always try to take really interesting parts that my fans could like as well. For me, doing small, interesting movies is a really great option to have a career after Twilight.
M: And what remains from Twilight?
Rob: What remains is the reassurance that we created a rememberable movie series. I don’t really understand how the character Edward got so popular. The majority says, “He’s just so sexy!”. Others say, “It’s the way he loves Bella. That one I can understand more. With time the movies got more and more romantic as well because there were so many conflicts in the story and because Bella and Edward had to fight for their love.
M: Do you feel a lot of pressure to be successful whenever you take on a new part?
Rob: While shooting I don’t feel any kind of pressure really but it’s really strange that everyone knows what you do and say. You really have to be careful not to hurt anyone and not to say anything wrong.
M: You and Kristen Stewart can never really escape the media… Everyone’s always takling about your “relationship”…
Rob: Like I said, it’s just important to pay attention to what you do and say when you’re in the public eye. Now if I show up with a girl somewhere it’s immediatly suggested we’re dating. Even when I show up with a guy somewhere.
M: Will you be working together in the future?
Rob: Kristen and I are trying to write a script right now because she has an instinct for good stories. Also I’ve been throwing around ideas for some short movies that I wanna do as a director sometime. It’s gonna be a while tho till I’m there because first I have to learn from all the amazing directors I get to work with. That interests me a lot.
M: What made you want to play in “Cosmopolis”?
Rob: I thought the topic was really interesting. I locked myself up in my hotel room for two weeks and learned the text. It shouldn’t be changed because it was based on a novel by Don DeLillo. I thought that was really nice because for me it felt like I was singing a song in front of the camera. At the same time, sometimes it felt like we were shooting a documentary because as we were shooting the scene with the protests, the evening news reported about the actual protests of the Occupy-Wall-Street-Movement.
David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis is a very stylish work. It should be, because it’s a film largely about style. Its theme is the heartless, even sociopathic detachment with which today’s hyper-rich lead their hermetically cushioned-in lives. The problem with stories satirising decadence is that what they satirise can end up looking seductive. What’s to stop Cosmopolis becoming as vacantly chic as the world it depicts?
The answer is Cronenberg’s ironic intelligence – although this is so finely tuned that it’s hard to pin down quite how it works. That’s why some of his most provocative films – among them, Crash and eXistenZ, both of them echoed here – are among his most misunderstood.
Cosmopolis courts the same fate. The source is Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel about a young billionaire financier, Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), who spends a day riding across Manhattan in his state-of-the-art limo. He’s ostensibly after a haircut, but in reality – as his reckless financial speculations threaten to sink both him and the entire global economy – he’s heading for a rendezvous with death, truth, the impenetrable dark beyond his world’s luminous spectacle. He is, you might say, cruising for a transcendental bruising.
Cronenberg hasn’t so much adapted as transcribed the novel: he’s trimmed its incident but left much of DeLillo’s hyper-stylised dialogue. The film records Packer’s progress across town, his car moving with regal slowness because of various obstacles: among them, a presidential cortege, the funeral of a Sufi rapper, an angry demo directed precisely at people like Eric. Occasionally Eric picks up passengers with whom he engages in serious, sometimes abstract discussion. An elegant woman (Juliette Binoche) joins him for businesslike sex – then rolls around coquettishly while discussing the viability of Eric’s prospective art purchases. Hirelings discuss numbers, currency fluctuations, the “microtimed” nature of post-modern knowledge, in the case of Vija Kinsky (Samantha Morton), Eric’s “head of theory”. Another woman (Emily Hampshire) comes on board in time to witness Eric’s daily rectal exam – which makes for a grotesquely comic flirtation, Eric leaning over her like a tortured Francis Bacon nude.
Eric’s ultimate appointment is with Benno Levin (Paul Giamatti), an angry ex-employee who embodies an abandoned pre-digital culture. En route, there are other stops to make, including several dreamily happenstance encounters with Elise (Sarah Gadon), the wife that Eric hardly knows.
Here’s what I mean about style: see Cosmopolis in a cinema with good sound, and listen to the way that Gadon’s silky, incantatory voice is recorded so that it’s like a physical object, filling the space around it. This might seem merely an effect, but it’s intrinsic to the outright difference of this film. Cosmopolis uses sound and silence brilliantly. The limo is a space capsule drifting weightlessly through town, excluding all external noise – which implodes into the car the second its doors open.
The car is at once throne room and coffin, its black leather interior as fetishistically realised as anything in Cronenberg’s car-sex drama Crash (look at Binoche’s stiletto propped post-coitally on the console). Outside, the world’s disorder scrolls frictionlessly by, like a live stream of a pageant happening in another universe.
The limo is Eric’s psyche, which can only remain security-sealed for so long; by and by, the world and his own mortality will get to him. But the car is also a stage for an ambulant chamber drama: this is the most overtly theatrical film Cronenberg has made, a series of heightened two-handers, culminating in the apocalyptic showdown with Giamatti’s Levin.
As for what Cosmopolis says about the current financial abyss, I’m not sure it’s that interested in pursuing the diagnoses of DeLillo’s book. What the film does explore, mesmerisingly, is the riddle of how to turn a book about a limo ride into an experience that is itself a ride – or rather a glide. Such is the film’s out-and-out otherness that Robert Pattinson – who puts up a strong, wryly amused show as the savagely blank Eric – himself becomes a stylistic element among many. This is a surpassingly odd film that some will reject outright, but I was totally won over. Cosmopolis may, like Packer’s limo, be an elaborately conceived but essentially vacant vehicle – yet it has a master at the wheel
It’s been a while since we’ve done a poll so here’s one for you guys this morning. What’s your favorite Robert Pattinson movie so far this year? Cosmopolis or Bel Ami? We know that not everyone has been able to see these two movies yet as they haven’t been released worldwide but we’d still like to get your opinion!