Maps To The Stars Story – Collection of All We Know to Date (last update 4/23/14)

Here’s my collection of Story information:

Added 4/22/13: From .Much new information is available from a new source at this post (translated from Italian):  “PRODUCTION NOTES: from Italian on ‘Maps To The Stars’ – informative! thx @filmtv_it”.

Most significant as new information is that the story is based on the personal experience of Bruce Wagner, who before becoming a writer worked as a limo driver. Robert Pattinson who plays the limo driver in Maps To The Stars, ‘Jerome’,  is the only character “not touched by madness or a ghost”.  There’s a bit more on what we already knew about characters, as well. ~BuckyW

Added 4/23: From eOneFilms new Maps To The Stars Facebook. Not a lot new, but we learn Dr. Weiss’ TV show name!

“In MAPS TO THE STARS, director David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from our celebrity-obsessed culture.  With this tale of a secret-filled Hollywood family on the verge of implosion, director David Cronenberg (EASTERN PROMISES, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from our celebrity-obsessed culture. Meet the Weiss family, who are making their way in a sun-soaked Southern California rife with money, dreams, fame, envy, angst, yearning – and relentless hauntings. Sanford Weiss (John Cusack) is a famed TV self-help therapist, whose “Hour of Personal Power” has brought him an A-list celebrity clientele. Meanwhile, Cristina Weiss (Olivia Williams) has her work cut out managing the career of their disaffected child-star son, Benjie (Evan Bird), a fresh graduate of rehab at age 13. Yet unbeknownst to any of them, another member of the Weiss family has arrived in town – mysteriously scarred and tormented Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), just released from a psych ward and ready to start again. She soon works her way into a friendship with a limo driver (Robert Pattinson) and becomes personal assistant to unraveling actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), who is beset by the ghost of her legendary mother, Clarice (Sarah Gadon), the subject of a hot new Hollywood production. But Agatha is on a quest for redemption – and even in this realm of the artificial, the make-believe and the unearthly, she’s determined to find it, no matter what it takes.”

Added 4/14/14- From Telerama France, as exclusive source of 1st movie trailer, released today (watch right margin->)

“We’ll know on Thursday 17 late morning if Maps to the Stars by David Cronenberg is in competition is part of the Cannes competition - uh … we believe very strong – but here are the first tantalizing images. Two years after Cosmopolis, the Canadian director delivers a film noir in the tradition of all the great movies about Hollywood, from The Player to Mulholland Drive. A fantastical vision of the ‘dream factory’, an immoral, off-the-wall thriller that deals with the fate of older stars and teen idols. The movie is carried by a top-notch cast, notably its two main actresses, Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska (the star ‘s Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton), but also the handsome Robert Pattinson. Maps to the stars come out in France May 21. (Source)

Added 3/28/14: Interview in, from the director

“I would say that Maps to the Stars really feels very much like me to me. It is also very much Bruce Wagner, who wrote the screenplay, but it’s taken me ten years to get that movie made, so I have to say that obviously there was a compulsion there for me to not let go of it. I tried several times to get it made, and I finally did. What more can I say? I really needed to make that movie.”  He adds: “And it’s certainly got some horrific scenes. Some of them are only horrific emotionally, mind you. I say, only. But there are a few pretty good body moments, too, I think you’ll find.” ~David Cronenberg

Added 3/28/14: From Variety

“Maps to the Stars” (David Cronenberg). A perpetual Cannes competition bridesmaid since 1996′s controversial “Crash,” the cerebral Canadian auteur reteams with his “Cosmopolis” star, Robert Pattinson, in this satirical takedown of the entertainment industry.[..]

From: The Guardian In story speculation we’ll likely see Maps To The Stars as an official selection at Cannes 2014:

“Taken from a script by Bruce “Wild Palms” Wagner, Maps to the Stars is apparently about “the convoluted world of shallow, selfish celebrities and their minions, all of whom are about to be manipulated and destroyed by the young woman who literally represents the fruit of their twisted machinations.”

From Telefilms Canada

From this Telefilms production information page. It varies from what I posted just below, however it doesn’t tell us anything we haven’t already posted on. However I think the last sentence is a new one (bolding is mine.) Think this is the “in a nutshell” description of what to expect!:

“The Weiss family is the archetypal Entertainment Industry dynasty: Sanford, the father is a celebrity therapist and best-selling author; Cristina, his wife, manages the career of their thirteen year-old son, Benjie, a TV star. One of Sanford’s clients, Havana, is an actress who dreams of remaking the film that made her mother, Clarice, a movie star. But her mother, now dead, has come back to haunt her dreams. Benjie emerges from rehab as his elder sister, Agatha, is released from a stint in a psychiatric hospital where she has been serving time for arson. Ghosts, death, and all manner of vices collide as the family reunites. Maps to the Stars is a darkly satiric drama about celebrity obsession.”

From: Reporting on TeleFilm Canada providing funding for this Canada-Germany co-production.

There’s no new story information here from what we’ve already posted, but “Welcome to the Weiss family reunion” sounds fun doesn’t it?

“Stafford Weiss (Cusack) is an LA psychotherapist and life coach who made his fortune with self-help books promising happiness. His wife Cristina (Williams) is the overbearing mother-manager of their thirteen-year-old son, Benjie (Evan Bird), a TV star and recent drug rehab grad. Their estranged daughter, Agatha (Wasikowska), has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and befriends limo driver (and aspiring actor) Jerome (Pattinson). Welcome to the Weiss family reunion. Then of course there are Stafford’s celebrity clients. Among them is Havana Segrand (Moore), an actress with an unusual new assistant. Havana’s dream of reprising her dead mother Clarice’s (Gadon) starring role from the 1960s slowly crumbles while ghosts, death and all manner of vices collide.”

From Jeff Sneider at The Wrap: 

“Cosmopolis” star Robert Pattinson is moving from the back seat of a limousine to the front, as “Maps to the Stars,” his next collaboration with director David Cronenberg, has started its 30-day shoot, which runs through August in Toronto and Los Angeles.

“A contemporary tale exploring the demons of our celebrity-obsessed society, story follows the Weiss family, which is led by Stafford (Cusack), a psychotherapist and life coach who made his fortune with self-help books. His wife (Williams) is the overbearing mother-manager of their 13-year-old son (Bird), a TV star recently out of drug rehab. Their estranged daughter (Wasikowska) has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and befriended a limo driver (Pattinson) who is also an aspiring actor.


One of Stafford’s celebrity clients is Havana (Moore), an actress with an unusual new assistant. Havana’s dream of reprising her dead mother’s (Gadon) starring role from the 1960s slowly crumbles while ghosts, death and all manner of vices collide.”

Also the same day as above, this from Screen Daily:

“Bruce Wagner wrote the screenplay about the colliding lives of a successful LA psychotherapist and his famous family and friends in a society obsessed by celebrity.


Maps To The Stars’ marks a return to the shocking and audacious cinema Cronenberg fans love, with a fantastic cast of award-winners and hugely talented newcomers,” said Katz.”


Here’s more plot summary, from a profile of the film in eOne’s portfolio of films at Cannes:

“The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Sanford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; mother Cristina mostly looks after the career of their son Benjie, 13, a child star. One of Sanford’s clients, Havana, is an actress who dreams of shooting a remake of the movie that made her mother, Clarice, a star in the 60s. Clarice is dead now and visions of her come to haunt Havana at night… Adding to the toxic mix, Benjie has just come off a rehab program he joined when he was 9 and his sister, Agatha, has recently been released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.”


EOneFilms‘ Plot Summary in their online profile of the film we posted 5/12/13. Mia Wasikowska plays Agatha; Evan Bird plays her brother Benjie.

“Led by the loathsome yet funny and touching child-star Benjie, we witness the convoluted world of shallow, selfish celebrities and their minions, all of whom are about to be manipulated and destroyed by the young woman who literally represents the fruit of their twisted machinations, Agatha, Benjie’s tormented, apparently psychotic sister. As much as it is a sharp, comic look at a vacant and corrupt world, MAPS TO THE STARS is also a haunting ghost story.”


Here’s what we heard about the ‘Maps To The Stars’ story prior to the above from eOneFilms:

From Deadline:

“Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Sarah Gadon are set to star in the ghost story that’s described as a scathing attack on celebrity-obsessed LA.”


From David Cronenberg in Variety, 2006:

“You could say it’s a Hollywood film because the characters are agents, actors and managers, but it is not a satire like The Player. Hollywood is a world that is seductive and repellent at the same time, and it is the combination of the two that makes it so potent. I won’t fall back on some cliches or simplistic sloganeering, because the culture and what it reveals about Western culture and the rest of the world is very complex.”


From David Cronenberg in The Playlist:

“It’s kind of a satire on Hollywood. It’s very typical of Bruce Wagner’s writing. And it’s sort of condensed essence of Bruce. And while it’s satirical, it’s also very powerful, emotionally, and insightful and funny”, he explained about the movie.”


From Cineuropa

“The film [will] recount the misadventures of two child actors caught up in Hollywood’s dark side.”


From Julianne Moore speaking at press day for her film ‘The English Teacher':

“The movie is based on a book by Bruce Wagner who’s a wonderful writer and L.A. satirist,” Moore said. “It’s not only about celebrity culture, but the pursuit of fame at any cost. I was talking to my husband about this the other day, ‘why do people want to be famous, what is it that people are interested in, why are they looking at it?’ I think every human being has a desire to be seen; to be seen for who they are authentically and sometimes they misinterpret it as being seen in a different light.


“Because really where we feel best and most successful is when we are seen for ourselves in a personal relationship and yet celebrity culture has sort of distorted it and made it about people valuing people being seen as like pictures or images,” Moore continued. “There’s this weird disconnect that the celebrity culture enforces and I don’t know how we got there. I feel like it happened really rapidly too because when I started out as an actor it wasn’t quite the same.”


From The Tracking Board, just prior to Cannes, April 18, 2012

“Pattinson has just become attached as a supporting actor in director Cronenberg’s upcoming darkly comedic drama, MAPS TO THE STARS. The pic, to which Viggo Mortensen is already attached, details the story of two child actors ruined by Hollywood’s depravity. Pattinson is said to play Jerome, a chauffeur by day and struggling actor by night. Scribe Bruce Wagner, who was originally set to direct until Cronenberg took the reigns in 2006, penned the script.”

This was noted as an exclusive story by the Tracking Board from just prior to Cannes 2012- the story being that Pattinson was attached to do this film. I made a mental note of it because in Don DeLillo’s novel and David Cronenberg’s film, Rob’s character, Eric Packer, was driven around New York in a limo. I thought how fun- now he’ll do the driving? This was posted at my Cosmopolis Blog when it came out in April 2012, and I brought it here.


*Much thanks to writer Ken Guidry at IndieWire’s The Playlist for noting our film fan site for Maps To The Stars in one of his new stories. He complimented (and linked directly to) this collected post of reported story elements. Made our day! See: IndieWire’s ‘The Playlist’ Cites & Links to Our Site In News On ‘Maps To The Stars’ Shoot


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