Robert Pattinson stars in director David Cronenberg‘s adaptation of the 2003 Don DeLillonovel, Cosmopolis. The story of Eric Packer (Pattinson), a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one. Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, his day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart. Screenslam sat down with the director and star who spoke about the atmosphere on set, Robert as Eric Packer and why Robert took the role.
On the atmosphere on set:
“I’ve never really worked on something where a director has ultimate control, it looked like very little people were questioning decisions, where as my experience on every film set I’ve ever had is just an unending series of everyone questioning the director, everyone questioning everything about everything and with this there was a very confidant atmosphere on set.” - Robert Pattinson
On Robert as Eric Packer:
“I could tell that he (Pattinson) knew it was good and that he wanted to do it, but he was afraid of it afraid of it in the way actors are often afraid really, which is they don’t want to the one to screw it up because of they weren’t good enough or they’ll be on set and they’ll realize that they don’t understand it and cant deliver it the way they want, but in Rob’s case he was the one.” - David Cronenberg
“Cosmopolis” seems to be a perfect fit for Cronenberg, and my experience with the film was complicated a bit by the screening room where I saw it. There was no air conditioning, and it was mid-afternoon during the recent crazy heat here in LA. The screening room was completely full, every seat taken, and by the middle of the film, I was so hot I felt like I was slow-motion-fainting. Awful. And with a film that’s designed to make you uncomfortable anyway, my first reaction was to recoil.
I walked away blaming the movie, but thinking it over for the last week or so, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s exquisitely made, carefully controlled, a simmering look into the dead empty eyes of Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as Rome burns around him. Based on a novel by Don DeLillo, it’s all character, all mood, a slow surreal ride through Manhattan during a meltdown that seems to have been caused, in part, by his own hubris, and Pattinson is fascinating in the role. He seems to constantly be shifting through a complicated but subterranean inner implosion, pieces of himself shutting down at random, little by little. His stated goal for the day is simple enough. He wants a haircut. Never mind that the entire city seems to be on high alert thanks to the visit of a President and construction and protests and traffic and madmen and giant rats and angry wives and dirty lovers, all complications thrown in the path of Packer as he attempts to make his way across this tiny island, locked inside his sterile bubble.
I do not think I’m out of line when I observe that Robert Pattinson is from outer space. Part of what makes him so compelling in the film is that whatever weirdness Cronenberg throws at him, he rolls with it, staring out of that blank passive face with furious eyes. People race in and out of his personal orbit. He gets a physical from a doctor inside the cab at one point, carrying on a conversation while this guy’s got half his arm inside him, and the way Pattinson plays that scene is impressive. On the whole, Pattinson delivers in this difficult role, and I can’t picture anyone else tuning in more completely to what Cronenberg has done here.
It helps that Pattinson interacts with truly great performances from the supporting cast. Juliette Binocheshows up to have some sex, drink some booze, and lay some ugly truth on Pattinson’s character. Sarah Gadon is Packer’s wife, newly married and already looking for a way out, away from this shark-eyed and alien “other” who she has barely gotten to know as a husband. Jay Baruchel and Kevin Durand both do sharp and specific work in small roles here, and there’s a wonderful but oh-so-short appearance by Samantha Morton as well. Paul Giamatti almost steals the film in the last ten minutes, and it’s a testament to how good Pattinson is in the film that he stands there and refuses to let Giamatti run away with it. He gives as good as he gets. Giamatti is great, giving voice to all the frustration and powerlessness of everyone caught up in these forces at work in the modern world, these soft little boys dressed up in expensive suits, untouchable in their coffins on wheels. Giamatti is determined to break through the expressionless exterior of Packer to find the soft and vulnerable heart, and once he does, he plans to rip it out.
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Great read from Inside Movies:
Robert Pattinson, after years of puckering his sparkling vampire lips and gaining female fans with every perky strand of his swoopy hair in theTwilight films, has finally graduated with alumni cred at the box office, showing he has what it takes to draw in moviegoers beyond the romantic realm of blood-lusty (and just lusty) Edward and Bella.
Pattinson’s whoozy, philosophy-laden pairing with director David Cronenberg, Cosmopolis, racked up a solid $70,339 in three theaters this past Friday through Sunday, when it opened in tightly limited release domestically, according to box office tracker Hollywood.com. The film, about Pattinson as a disillusioned, overly sexed billionaire making his way across Manhattan to get a haircut, has made roughly $266,900 in North America, including theatrical screenings in Canada. Next weekend the film jumps into nationwide limited release in 60 theaters across the U.S., said Dylan Wiley, vice president of theatrical marketing and distribution for the movie’s distributor Entertainment One Films U.S.
“Rob, with this performance, has shown there is more to him than just Twilight,” Wiley tells EW. “This is a very serious actor playing a very serious role with a very serious filmmaker.”
Others agree – somewhat.
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