Indiewire sat down with David Cronenberg to talk about Maps To The Stars in Cannes. David gave an insightful interview as always. This excerpt extends on a comment during the press conference (HERE) and his thoughts on Cannes but the whole interview is a great read.
You’re a Cannes vet. How is this experience going compared to past ones at the festival?
It’s different this time in that I’ve never been here where you get so many reviews before your actual screening [“Maps to the Stars” screened for the press the night before its official Cannes premiere.] They’ve always screened it for the press before the official screening. But there used to be an embargo on releases and you had to wait until the premiere. And I think the difference now is the Internet, Twitter, blogs and all that. And so before you go into a major screening you already know what the flow—the general flow—of the reaction is going to be. Whereas before it was kind of exciting because you had no idea how people would react to the film. Now, of course, you still don’t know how that specific audience will react—at the premiere—but it does take a little of the drama out of it. The night before, everyone—we are all sending each other on our cell phones the reviews that were good. Having said that, the reviews have been great. There have only been a few negative ones. And some fantastically positive ones—which is always exciting. And the response of the audience was terrific. The standing ovation was wonderful and heartfelt. You can always tell whether they are being perfunctory and polite or whether they’re really excited.
So you are one to read the immediate responses on Twitter.
Absolutely. I mean in this case yes. There comes a wonderful point when you just don’t give a fuck anymore what everyone thinks because you’ve had so many reactions that you can’t absorb anymore. You’ve read so many reviews you can’t absorb anymore. But the first ones you really want to know because it’s your first articulation of a response to the movie. I mean you sit with a couple of audiences. This was my first audience last night. I’ll sit with a couple more. But the first responses that tell you why they felt the way they did are always the first reviews. Now, you don’t know if it’s really a review or some Twitter—it’s all from journalists here, so at least there’s that. How legitimate the journalists are, how good the critics are these days, as you know, it’s kind of an iffy proposition. You get a sense of it. I’m still at the stage where I’m interested in what people have to say. And you do weed out the ones where the writing is really bad and they can’t spell and you usually just sort of dismiss those.
You said in the press conference that the film is not so Hollywood specific — that you could substitute the industry for Wall Street, Silicon Valley, etc. to the same effect. Can you elaborate on that?
Basically, you’re examining the human condition — What is it to be a human being now. And of course, it’s a drama. Nobody wants to see a movie where everyone is nice and everything is OK. You might want to live that, but no one is interested in seeing that. So you are looking for unexplored aspects of what it is to be human now. And often for me that leads me to dark places and obviously it does the same for Bruce. If you’re talking about an industry and what kind of pressures that puts on people because there’s power, there’s money, there’s success, there’s glamour, there’s celebrity in industries like Wall Street and Silicon Valley. They are the same. But what’s good for a filmmaker, for Hollywood, is that it is something visually exciting. Because, of course, the image is the essence of Hollywood. Both onscreen on the red carpet. What is your image? Whereas in Wall Street, despite “The Wolf of Wall Street,” what they actually do is pretty boring. They are looking at screens and they are looking at their phone. And if it’s Silicon Valley you got nerds in front of their computers. Not very exciting to look at, to make drama out of. Because the image is so important in Hollywood that really gives you something special to play with as a filmmaker that you wouldn’t have with those other industries. But, at the same time, even if you are trying to examine something that is universal, you cannot photograph an abstract concept. You have to be photographing something very specifically and usually it’s the human face, that’s what you’re photographing.
Having said that, that Hollywood in a sense can be a more cinematic version of what can happen anywhere else, there are unique things obviously about what happens in Hollywood. And one of the pressures that’s unique is the pressure on children. You don’t get 13-year-old celebrities in Wall Street. You very soon will get 13-year-old celebrities in Silicon Valley. And the pressures on them—it’s like Mark Zuckerberg. I mean you’re getting 17 or 18 year old billionaires, that is happening. But at the moment there is nothing quite the equivalent of a 13-year-old superstar who is fucking up and taking drugs because he cannot handle the pressures that are put on him. And that’s something in this story that is unique to Hollywood.
Click HERE to read the entire interview!