David Cronenberg, the Canadian director known for such films Videodrome, Dead Ringers, and A History of Violence, recently sat down with his frequent collaborators, producer Jeremy Thomas and make-up and special effects designer Stephan Dupuis, for a lengthy discussion on how they make films. Over the hour, the trio discussed Cronenberg’s career arc, the pitfalls of independent film financing, and the terms of collaboration on a film set.
Thomas, who invested early in Cronenberg’s career and helped realize their first of many projects together, including Naked Lunch, acknowledges the unusual and controversial qualities of the adaptations Cronenberg has undertaken. For Cronenberg, finding a producer that matches his level of excitement about a given project is an integral part of realizing his films but remains a challenge each outing.
He discussed the shocked reactions among Hollywood producers toward the content of his highly-anticipated upcoming film Maps to the Stars, including an Oscar-winning actress who couldn’t commit due to the material. A likely Cannes debut, Maps to the Stars has a talented ensemble comprised of Julianne Moore, John Cusack, and Robert Pattinson, and will hopefully pick up distribution for a release this year.
Cronenberg also discusses how he almost directed Basic Instinct 2 (he says he had a good script) with Rupert Everett in the lead, but MGM said no because the actor is gay — something Cronenberg was “shocked by” and couldn’t believe was thought in “this day and age.” He agrees the final project was “terrible,” and goes on to open up about how Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, and more all passed on starring in Dead Ringers. The talk balances anecdotes about the artistic and financial obstacles encountered during production, so whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker or a Cronenberg fan, you’ll find something of worth and one can watch it below.
What did you glean from the conversation?