INTERVIEW: The Hollywood Reporter talks to David Cronenberg – ‘Maps To The Stars’, ‘Cosmopolis’ & Robert Pattinson & more

Ok I’m in heaven. This is what I yearn to read and post for you all. David Cronenberg talks about making movies, what Maps To The Stars is about and what it’s not, about Robert Pattinson and his experience making Cosmopolis (so different than his franchise experience), and more. Cronenberg, as always, is so articulate and here he provides a useful perspective on his new film. The setting is unique- Hollywood and all, but really it’s a family drama in that setting. It is about human yearnings.

The entire article is worth reading. Nice job by The Hollywood Reporter. Please be sure to give their site a hit at source link below, last part of interview there.

Cannes: ‘Maps to the Stars’ Director David Cronenberg on Indie Films and Portraying Hollywood (Q&A)

David Cronenberg - P 2014
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
David Cronenberg

“I’ve never lost sight of why I’m making films,” says Canada’s wizard of weird as he reflects on his career, and his long history with the festival.

Canadian director David Cronenberg is no stranger to Cannes, having received the Carrosse d’Or lifetime achievement award in 2006 and a special jury prize in 1996 in addition to having had five films in competition, including his latest, theRobert Pattinson starrer Maps to the Stars, screening May 19. It is his first feature set in Hollywood, though considering the breadth of Cronenberg’s imagination, it is not apt to be a Hollywood like any seen previously onscreen.

The 71-year-old director, whom Martin Scorsese has described as a cross between cinematic surrealist Luis Bunuel and macabre painter Francis Bacon, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his Canadian roots, his preference for an R rating and why it takes so long to make “difficult” films.

Many think of you as an American director, but you are Canadian and have shot practically all of your movies in Toronto. How did that happen?

It’s funny, but some people would think of me as a Hollywood director, for whatever reason. I’m definitely not that. Part of what I do, and sort of the rhythm of my filmmaking, involves co-productions between Canada and Europe. Once you do that, you’re committed to shooting a lot of the film in Canada or Europe, so there’s a pragmatic reason for shooting [in Toronto]. I also have a base of talented people that I work with consistently; I don’t want to abandon them for the latest “hot” person in that field. Then you have the nature of Toronto: I often think of it as a character actor who can play many different roles. In the 1970s, a lot of people got upset because Toronto would often be shown as somewhere else — as if that was a bad thing. But in the world of moviemaking, that’s a great thing.

STORY: David Cronenberg to Be Honored at Provincetown Film Festival

Maps to the Starswas shot mostly in Toronto, with only five days on location in Los Angeles. Toronto often doubles for New York or Chicago but rarely L.A. How did you pull it off?

It is tricky. We knew we had to shoot in the summer, and honestly, it was palm trees. There are places in Toronto that look strangely like places in L.A. — there’s some very modern houses and architecture. Most of the Toronto shooting took place in a modern hospital or in private residences — that was doable. [We had to] put a bunch of palm trees in the garden, and it worked very well. I’ve been told many times by friends in L.A. that you could not tell the film wasn’t shot entirely in L.A. But those five days were crucial, and [it] was really fun. You know, not too many feature films are being shot in L.A., outside of TV. And it was the first time I shot a film in the U.S. in my entire career.

You made Maps for a little more than $13 million. What is your approach to film financing?

Money can be neutral, and as long as the source of the money doesn’t involve giving up creative freedom, I don’t care where it comes from. In fact, I rather like that independent films are put together like Frankenstein: You get pieces from all over the world, and you stitch them together and hope it ends up being a living organism. That’s the financing. But creatively — obviously that’s one of the reasons you make independent films, for creative freedom. You don’t have studio interference. When I was making [2012’s] Cosmopolis, [Robert] Pattinson said to me, “I’ve never seen this before.” I said, “You’ve never seen what?” He said, “You just make all the decisions right here on the spot.” I said, “Yeah.” I mean, you don’t actually have to wait to get memos from the studio. He said he’d never been in a situation where the director did what he wanted, without consultation. I said: “You know, it’s just us making this movie. There’s no one else — there’s no Big Brother.”

Maps uses novelist Bruce Wagner’s screenplay, which satirizes celebrity culture. Does the film skewer Hollywood?

Some people thought maybe it’s based on a novel, but it isn’t — it’s an original screenplay. It’s also very much Bruce; it’s very much the kind of writing he has done in his novels. And of course his main subject is Hollywood and L.A. You could describe Bruce as a satirist, to a certain extent, but I think that shortchanges what he does. He’s very humanely realistic and emotional as well. I definitely could have played the script as high satire and exaggerated everything, but I really wanted to play against those elements because I thought they would take care of themselves. They are there, strongly, and then I wanted to play with the actors for the reality of it. I want to play it absolutely straight. It is a family drama, in the way many Hollywood stories are. It’s very incestuous, the film business. There’s not literal incest but that inbred kind of intense, inwardly looking Hollywood story.

The film has been rated R. Are you happy with that?

I worry about an NC-17. I’m very happy with an R — that’s where it deserves to be. I need to have the freedom of Bruce’s dialogue and his insights into the way people really speak. It’s pretty meaty and not PG-13 material.

When viewers see celebrity culture portrayed in Maps, will they see a side of Hollywood they find disturbing — or, as with The Wolf of Wall Street, will they get caught up in the glitz and glamour?

I don’t think people will want to live like the people they see in Maps to the Stars, yet they will understand the desires of the characters to live out those lives. It’s really, I think, given the emphasis there has been on celebrity culture — I’m thinking of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton and all of that — it would be misleading if one thinks about Maps that way. Although the Hollywood business is the backdrop of the story, it really is a lot more universal than that. Yes, it has to do with ambition and identity and striving. But it’s not just applicable to celebrity — it’s about real people wanting to work and have success and make money and be successful in their field. So you could have rewritten this for people in the automotive industry, or even in the world of finance. There are aspects of celebrity culture, but there’s no scenes with paparazzi, for example, or movie premieres.

[please give a hit to the site at the source link below for more. Cronenberg speaks of what being at Cannes means to him and staying true to why he makes films. Here’s a quote there on Cosmopolis, but go to the site for the rest.]

[…] Cosmopolis, which was not a successful film in terms of box office, for me was a really successful film in terms of pushing the envelope of filmmaking. So I’m really very proud and happy with that film.[…]


Source: The Hollywood Reporter  including photo

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