The anticipation has nearly reached a boiling point, but the wait is almost over… David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis opens in Canadian theatres June 8th!
Great read! We get a little more insight into the film and the plans for bringing this story to life.
From if.com (Australia):
Producer Liz Watts is calling David Michod’s new film The Rover “a dirty and dangerous near-future western set in the Australian desert”.
She confirmed what the Internet is buzzing about: that Guy Pearce and Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson are in discussions to play, respectively, a man in pursuit of the people who stole his car and the brother of one of the thieves in Michod's follow-up to Animal Kingdom.
Reluctantly, Watts also added a few more details: it is hoped that The Rover will go into production late in the year and discussions about the project started 18 months ago between Michod and US producer David Linde.
Last year Linde opened the production and financing outfit Lava Bear Films with backing from Reliance Entertainment. At the time the company announced it had a first-look deal with Universal Pictures for the US and other significant international territories. Linde was, at one time, co-chair of Universal.
Linde is producing with Watts of Porchlight Films and Lava Bear president Tory Metzger will also be prominent in the credits.
Watts said that Libby Sharpe will act as line producer and the intention was to claim the producer offset.
Michod wrote the script based on an idea dreamt up by he and Joel Edgerton, one of Michod’s six partners in the Sydney-based film collective Blue-Tongue Films.
COSMOPOLIS SUPPORTING CAST –
As everyone knows by now that Robert Pattinson plays Eric Packer in David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis. What they might not know is who is Rob’s supporting cast. From the masterful Paul Giamatti, and the fresh talents of Sarah Gadon and Jay Baruchel to French luminaries Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Amalric, Cronenberg has assembled an impressive cast. Pattinson sums up the ensemble cast:“All the actors come from different backgrounds, have different personalities and have all done completely different kinds of movies. They didn’t know a lot about the film, but everybody wants to work with David and that’s why they’re here.”
Eric Packer is protected by seen and unseen forces. Kevin Durand plays Torval, Eric’s head of security.
At 6’6” he is an intimidating presence, and his character is armed and dangerous. Torval is constantly warning Eric away from his journey, especially as he receives information about “credible threats.” But Eric ignores the warnings and subverts his own security.
Durand sees his character “as a frustrated, ex-Military, father-figure to Eric.” He likens Eric to “his teenage son; I can try to guide him in the right direction, but he will ultimately do what he wants.” Torval’s assistants are Kendra (Patricia McKenzie) and Danko (Zeljko Kecojevic), whose intense encounters with Eric function to further reveal his emotional emptiness.
Enroute to his haircut, Eric meets with his business advisors. First to visit the limo is Shiner (Jay Baruchel), Packer’s trading partner and Chief of Technology. Packer depends on his electronic interface with the world and his expectations are high. Shiner is charged with delivering on those expectations, but the character is more casual and less business-like than we might expect. Or would we? Baruchel describes his character as “One of the dot com kids… a slacker who became a millionaire.” He is entrusted with Packer’s technical security, and it has made him rich, but he doubts the meaning of it all.
Vija Kinski (Samantha Morton) is Packer’s Chief of Theory. Specifically, Vija theorizes about the philosophy of finance, one devoid of humanity. Morton embodies a woman so much in her head that she barely notices the riot going on outside the limo as angry protesters spray graffiti and bounce around the limo. Reality and theory are at odds all around her, but she is unwavering.
We meet Packer’s Chief of Finance, Jane Melman (Emily Hampshire), as the single mother diverts her jog—on her one day off—to meet with Eric in the limo about a crisis with the yuan. His disregard for her personal life and preoccupation with his own concerns exasperates Jane, yet there is an odd excitement between them. She talks to him in the limo—and confirms his dangerous financial position—while he has his daily medical tests, even during his prostate exam.
Knowing Eric is a fan of artist Mark Rothko, Didi Fancher (Juliette Binoche) visits Eric in his limousine to tell him that she’s found a painting she thinks he should buy. After they make love, Eric tells her he’s not interested in a single painting; he wants to buy the entire gallery. Binoche notes that “Didi is conflicted because she is obviously attracted to Eric and wants his business, but offended by his vulgar greed.” When asked what Binoche brings to the role, Cronenberg smiles: “She brings her French-ness, talent, humor, sensuality, all the while illuminating a side to our lead character that we may not otherwise see; that he is someone who’d be involved with a mature, strong, opinionated woman.”
Sarah Gadon, the Toronto actress who played Carl Jung’s wife in Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, appears in Cosmopolis as Eric’s new wife Elise. She is a contemporary New Yorker with rich parents and a boarding school drawl, but she isn’t all about money. “Elise has a veneer of an Upper East Side woman and talks a lot about sex, but underneath she’s very much an intellectual and artist,” Sarah observes. “I think Eric and Elise are just young kids trying to be so much more evolved than they actually are; Elise loves Eric, but he’s very much a symbol of wealth while she is more a symbol of art and intellect—or she thinks she is—and the two together create friction which is exciting… but can’t last.” As for resemblance between the character and the actress, Pattinson affectionately notes: “Elise is kind of an ice queen, but Sarah’s really funny and sweet.”
Mathieu Amalric’s anti-capitalist activist Petrescu delivers a pie in the face to notoriously ultra-capitalist Eric, in a rare unprotected moment on the street. This scene was shot just days before an activist and comedian gave Rupert Murdoch a similar treatment in a British parliamentary hearing, an intriguing example of art anticipating life. Amalric acknowledges the humour of his role but also the disturbing element: “It’s a funny but scary moment that only David Cronenberg can master.” Paulo Branco describes this same moment as “terrible but real.”
K’Naan appears on screen in an open-air hearse. He plays the murdered rap star Brutha Fez, a spiritual musician who is treated as a god by the masses. Off-screen the Somali- Canadian collaborated with Howard Shore on the single for which his character Brutha Fezis remembered, entitle Mecca, based on DeLillo’s own lyrics from the novel.
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ROBERT PATTINSON ERIC PACKER COSMOPOLIS – In Cosmopolis, Eric Packer is a selfish young member of the ruling class, at the top of the super-rich 1%. He is an anti-hero whose privileged reality is decadent and isolated. Casting Robert Pattinson in this unsympathetic role wasn’t obvious. Robert’s super-stardom perhaps gives him some insight to the pressures of success, but his pressures include the attention of a zealous fan base that might expect him in a different role. And he is younger than Eric Packer was envisioned, an age difference that influences the rest of the casting process. On the other hand, young billionaires and tech-savvy traders are not unusual in today’s society. Plus, casting Robert presents an opportunity to attract a new generation to David Cronenberg’s work.
Ultimately, the choice rested on Pattinson’s talent and experience, with or without celebrity. Cronenberg found Robert mature and willing to challenge himself: “…Rob is not deluded about his fame; he understands that popularity is not the essence of being a good actor, and recognizes the danger of taking projects to please others rather than himself.” Bringing the egomaniacal Eric Packer to life required Pattinson to forget being a sympathetic character.
Cronenberg observes, “Some actors worry about not being appealing or sensitive, but that was never an issue for Rob; it was always about finding the often unlikeable truth of who Eric is and what it means to be a 25-year-old billionaire…. Rob is incredibly likeable, but he doesn’t need to be liked.” So Eric Packer, a financial god, perhaps soulless but with feet of clay, is realized by the charismatic, modest Robert Pattinson.
Robert was surprised and excited by the Cosmopolis offer. He recounts receiving the screenplay about a year earlier and thinking it was “one of the most original scripts” he’d read. However, he doubted he’d get the part: “Then the offer came out of the blue and I was amazed!” Praising David’s consistently “thought-provoking” and innovative work, Robert says he was certain about taking the part; however, he admits, “I had no idea how I was going to play it…. I was scared at first, mainly because I could interpret the script and play it so many different ways….” He didn’t have much time with David before shooting, but he knew he was in good hands. His trust in the director, as well as David’s in Robert, was wellfounded. “I could feel David moulding it as we shot, and that made me really comfortable because it meant there was no specific right or wrong way. Eventually, I was very relaxed, especially for it being such an intense piece.”
Pattinson wanted a project that would take him to the edges of himself, and Cosmopolis provides the character to do it. Eric Parker is inscrutable and contradictory, both calculating and reckless. Robert had to find the emotional core of a man who is desensitized, a man who interprets the world in terms of numbers and acquisitions. Robert notes, “I think Eric has an all-consuming ego.” He lives an artificial existence, and Eric’s success seems a product of detachment and cold rationality. Yet his odd quest for a haircut is risky, irrational. He normally makes people come to him, including a physician for a daily exam, but he insists on seeing an old-fashioned barber on the opposite side of town, despite the risk to his personal safety.
Rob notes his character’s grasp of contemporary events, business and politics. Eric Packer’s knowledge of the world, however, comes primarily through technology, and he sees most things as mere information, “some kind of list or matrix,” Rob suggests, about which he is dispassionate. Rob describes Eric “Watching screens informing him of current data all the time. I think he ends up taking drastic measures just to feel something because he’s become so desensitized.” He knows, and somewhat owns, many people but seems to have no friends. Even his new wife feels distant, an acquisition, someone to use or ignore. He is the master of his cosmos, but is he lonely at the top? Does he care? The enigma of Eric’s character is central to the film, and his interaction with secondary characters both shapes that puzzle and perhaps gives clues to solving it.