NY Times: Cosmopolis – Cronenberg’s take on Don DeLillo   3 comments

Here’s a great article about Cosmopolis from NY Times

Mr. Cronenberg’s latest film,“Cosmopolis,” takes place in a spectral world of global capital, digital information and virtual everything. Its currency-trading billionaire hero, cocooned in a white stretch limousine that serves as a second skin, deals and speaks in abstractions and is himself something of a hologram, an inscrutable young master of a conceptual universe.

Cosmopolis,” due Aug. 17 from eOne, follows the suave Eric Packer (played by the“Twilight” heartthrob Robert Pattinson) on what proves to be a day of reckoning. Inching through Manhattan traffic for a haircut on the other side of town, he receives a succession of experts and analysts in his leather-upholstered sanctum, which doubles as a boardroom, a bedroom and even a doctor’s office. External distractions — a presidential motorcade, anti-capitalist demonstrations — appear through tinted windows and on touch screens. Everything happens and is experienced at a dreamlike remove. Eric’s bet against the Chinese yuan has turned disastrous, but he responds with eerie detachment, numbly contemplating the prospect of his economic and actual extinction.

“Cosmopolis” is hardly obvious screen material on the page. But Mr. Cronenberg has located cinematic life in other novels that many would deem unfilmable, whether for being too bizarre (William S. Burroughs’s “Naked Lunch”), too graphic (J. G. Ballard’s“Crash”) or too interior (Patrick McGrath’s “Spider”).

Read more after the jump

The limo built for the film was a “Lego-like modular structure,” Mr. Cronenberg said. “It had to come apart for lighting, for sound, for camera.” In keeping with Eric’s stipulations that his car be “prousted” — lined with cork, à la Proust’s room, to shut out the din of the outside world — Mr. Cronenberg instructed his sound designers to keep the limo scenes free of ambient noise. Not even the hum of the engine is audible.

This airless bubble is an oddly apt vessel for Mr. DeLillo’s heightened language, which Mr. Cronenberg transcribed almost verbatim. (He wrote the script in a mere six days.) “It’s very stylized,” Mr. Cronenberg said of Mr. DeLillo’s dialogue, “but it also taps into some inner rhythms of the American psyche.”

Amid a revolving door of mostly female visitors played by the likes of Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, the impassive constant is Mr. Pattinson. “I don’t think Rob’s face has ever been examined in such excruciating detail, from so many angles,” Mr. Cronenberg said. “That was part of the casting. You want a face that can take that.”

Mr. Pattinson acknowledged that the part was challenging. “The dialogue seemed to flow really easily,” he said. “But when you approach the character in a conventional way and try to figure out who he is, that becomes terrifying.” He added: “I kept trying to hold on to that element of not really understanding him. I think David liked the takes when I had literally no idea what I was doing.”

Even now the movie remains elusive for Mr. Pattinson, who said he had seen it four times: twice he was baffled (“It was impossible to crack”) and twice he connected with the dry absurdist comedy. “David just presents it as deadpan, and people don’t know whether to laugh or not,” he said.

Mr. Cronenberg’s apocalyptic film is perhaps best appreciated not for its topical links to the real world but for giving form to the nightmares of our age. “I wanted to play ‘Cosmopolis’ as absolutely real as you could,” Mr. Cronenberg said. “It’s a realism that’s disturbing because it’s so close to reality, and yet you know it’s not. I suppose at that point you’re talking about dream reality.” He added: “I’ve always thought that movies work in terms of dream logic. Even movies that present themselves as 100 percent real, it’s still a dream.”

Read the rest of the article here


Posted August 3, 2012 by fastieslowie in Robert Pattinson

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