COSMOPOLIS INTERVIEWS - Our friends at HeyUGuys recently did an interview with Cosmopolis director David Cronenberg and star Robert Pattinson in London. They spoke about the story, Pattinson’s character and the differences between the book and the movie. Cosmopolis follows Eric Packer (Pattinson) as he crosses Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut. Cosmopolis also stars Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, K’naan, Emily Hampshire, Samantha Morton and Paul Giamatti.
Robert, your character in the film, Eric Packer, is a not a very nice person – he’s a selfish and nihilistic. How do you approach playing a character like that?
Pattinson: I don’t think I approached it as being a nihilist. I think there was an energy there, but I think the energy of being a nihilist is something different. He’s not really throwing things away consciously, he’s just getting more stressed. He thinks he’s getting closer to something, and everything just starts falling away – he’s not consciously destroying it.
How do you think Eric Packer compares to other David Cronenberg characters?
Cronenberg: I don’t really think about my other movies – I said this before. You’re asking me to be an analyst of my own movies, but I won’t, because that’s your job! What I can say is that I don’t think about my other movies when I make a movie The joy for me is middle of the night, on the street, with your actors, nobody else around. You’re not thinking about Twilight, you’re not thinking about Scanners, you’re thinking about Cosmopolis. That’s beautiful and that’s very pure. When I’m putting the movie together I do think about the star value of the actors I get, I have to think about Robert’s passport as it’s a Canada/ France co-production, all of that stuff – but that’s all irrelevant to the actual creative making of the movie. So I try to be pure that way.
Eric Packer’s only real goal in the film is to get a haircut. Why is he looking for something so trivial?
Cronenberg: The trivial thing is not at all trivial. He even sets it up. He says “A haircut is what? It’s calendars on the wall, its a barber’s chair, it’s the neighbourhood”. It’s his past, where he was somehow pure, and somehow innocent. There’s one thing Robert did, and he probably didn’t even know he was doing it, but when he’s sitting in the barber’s chair he becomes a child. And the old barber becomes like his father or grandfather. There’s a great moment where he says “You were four at the time”, and Eric say “Five, I was five,” and it was just gorgeous. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. And this is beautiful stuff that was in every line of his dialogue, there’s a real intuitive understanding of that stuff. So as I say, it’s not trivial, you understand eventually that this movement to his childhood is what the haircut is all about.
People aren’t going to expect to see Robert Pattinson in a film like this – how do you think the Twilight fan’s who just come to see Robert will respond to the film?
Pattinson: I dunno. I mean, I hope people come to see it! (laughs). Get them into the cinema anyway you can! The Twilight fanbase is very much maligned for their tenacity for sitting out in the rain. Like in Germany yesterday, there were all these people sitting on a miserable day in the middle of nowhere, waiting. Everyone’s always screaming and that, but you go down the line, people give you books. Somebody gave me a Lawrence Ferlinghetti book, even. They give you all these different things, and it’s not like they’re giving you teddy bears. People,for some reason, have some kind of… (pauses) I don’t know. Twilight has attracted such a broad spectrum of people, and they have all kind of been lumped together because it’s much easier to get these images of people screaming and stuff. It’s quite a strange spectrum of people. A lot of people who’ve been coming to the premieres in Europe have seen the movie four or five times already, and they all have interesting critiques of it.
Cronenberg: And a lot of those girls in those lines actually had copies of Cosmopolis and they were asking us to sign them. And they’d read them, or truly intend to read it. The websites that were made by girls, young girls, Twilight fans, while we were shooting, they all had read the book – and they were still excited about the project. Some of the websites were gorgeous, really sophisticated and great. Ok, maybe they’ve only read Harry Potter and Twilight – and now they’re reading Don DeLillo! What’s wrong with that?
Read the rest of the interview here (may contain spoilers)