INTERVIEW: David Cronenberg On His Very Eclectic ‘Maps To The Stars’ Cast + More

David Cronenberg spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his eclectic cast in Maps To The Stars, his technique of working with actors and lots more.  You’ll find some excerpts below but make sure and head over to EW and have a read of the full interview.

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EW: As someone who loves movies about movies—Sunset Blvd., The Player, Get Shorty—I think I was your perfect audience. But Maps to the Stars is maybe a little bit bleaker and darker than those.
David Cronenberg
: That comes from Bruce. He’s written about nine novels, mostly about Hollywood. His father was briefly in the business, and he grew up there and has great stories to tell when he was a limo driver and drove Orson Welles, and Olivia de Havilland, and Mick Jagger. You name it, he’s done it.

Was the tone there from the first draft, or was it even more acerbic?
He wrote the first script 20 years ago, and I first saw it about 10 years ago. It was [always] pretty much what you were seeing. Bruce could’ve written a 1,000-page script, with all the stories that he has. He’s actually said that every line of dialogue in the script he’s actually heard spoken somewhere along the line.

There’s this famous Billy Wilder story that Louis B. Mayer berated him after screening Sunset Blvd., saying he disgraced the industry. What type of reaction have you sensed to your film?
When I first tried to get it made as an American production, the response I got from one very well-known indie producer—who also has done some big studio movies—was the classic thing. He said, “I could not do that to this business that’s been so good to me.” And at the Cannes Film Festival in May, a studio head, also someone who declined to be involved in making the movie, after the screening, came to me, draped his arms around me, hugged me, and said, “Your movie scared the shit out of me. I had nightmares all night and then today, when I went to the Hotel de Cap for a party, all I could see was scenes from your movie.” I thought, “That’s a pretty good review.”

(………)

t’s a film very much about actors. I’m curious what you’ve learned about actors over the years.
My technique of working with actors comes from my temperament, which is I suppose fairly Canadian. [Laughs] It’s very collaborative and congenial. I like to have a really happy set with lots of humor, and the actors have the feeling on my set that they are observed. I see everything that they’re doing. An actor wants to know that you’re watching what they’re doing, and they want to be directed. They don’t want to have no guidelines. And I’ve also found—and I suppose this is somewhat like the Woody Allen technique—if you cast it well, you really don’t have to do a lot of directing of your actors. If they understand the script and you’ve made the right casting choice, they just go do it. I’ve never believed in the sort of svengali thing where you hypnotize the actor to do your bidding, or you take an actor and break him down psychologically so you can rebuild him as the character. I’ve never felt that was remotely realistic, and I never felt that any actors that I worked with needed that.

You mention getting the right actors for the right roles. For Maps, you have a very eclectic cast playing characters who are flawed, if not warped. Was it easy to attract actors, or were there some who reacted the same way as those spooked executives?
I did have some actors who are afraid of the roles because they were so extreme. For example, the scene where Havana Segrand is sitting on the toilet while she has a long conversation with her assistant and she’s farting and doing all that stuff. There were several actresses who were approached during the long development of this script of the movie who couldn’t do that scene. They just could not bring themselves to do that scene. And you accept that. People say, “How do you talk your actors into doing things like that?” I say, “Well, you don’t. If you have to talk them into it, they are the wrong actor for the role.” So with Julie, we never even discussed it. It was just business as usual, and we had a lot of fun with it, because in some ways, it’s a very funny scene. And in some ways, it’s a very disturbing scene. We all understood all of those things. You need the right actor to do that and one who is not afraid or intimidated. There is no calculating that; you just have to really talk to the actor and find out.

(……….)

More disturbing to me than the incest that’s in the film was the entitlement of the child actor, and the way that people around him treat him. That’s Bruce’s perspective—but do you find that pervasive in this industry, with young stars who attain that kind of success?
Sure. I can tell you that John Cusack said, “I was Benjie.” John was a child star, and he could say from his own experience that that would’ve been him at that time. That having fame, adulation, lots of money thrown at you, weird kinds of power that you didn’t know you had, is completely deforming to a kid who has no self yet to shape those kind of events.

All of my actors could vouch for the veracity of those characters. Not that they were those characters, but they knew people who had undergone those things. Julianne Moore, for example: She’s in her 50s. How many actresses did she start with who were really hot for awhile, and after the age of 40, completely disappeared, like they didn’t exist anymore? It becomes like an existential terror—a kind of pre-death in Hollywood that you suddenly don’t get those phone calls. Nobody wants you on the screen. And if you’re not on the screen, you don’t exist. And that happens to women more than men.

Check out the full interview with David over at Entertainment Weekly

INTERVIEWS: Olivia Williams talks about Maps To The Stars – “dark territory but was exhilarating”

The Irish and UK press had a couple of interviews with Olivia Williams that came out for the Bluray/DVD release in the regions, February 2nd.

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Excerpt from The Independent:

Your most recent movie, Maps to the Stars, deals with Hollywood’s dark side. There’s murder, suicide, incest…

I wouldn’t say that all of those things happen all of the time to such a concentrated group of people. But I would say that I have heard of most of those things happening to individuals. It’s a satire and a lot of it is far-fetched. But it’s not unheard of.

You play the controlling mother of a child star. Who did you base your character on?

It is a combination of people I have come across in the past 20 to 25 years in the business. I’m not going to name names.

Is Hollywood an anxiety-inducing, crazy-making place?

It depends on what level you choose, or are forced, to engage with it on. There is a moment when you are accepting a job when you have to become involved with the business affairs people at the studio. Their job is to paint you as worthless and your agent’s job is to paint you as of inconceivable value. They’ll say you haven’t made a successful studio movie in five years and the last thing you did got good reviews but no one went to see it… It’s a gradual chipping away at your worth.

Excerpt from Breaking News (Ireland):

Olivia Williams has said she was drawn to her film Maps To The Stars because it was thrilling heading into “dark territory”.

The 46-year-old actress plays a Hollywood mum in David Cronenberg’s satirical drama, which also stars Robert Pattinson and Julianne Moore.

“I was driven in the first place by the script, which had everyone on set both laughing and appalled in equal measure. It felt like we were in very dark territory, but was exhilarating at the same time,” she said.

“Given the subject matter, some feared we’d never be invited back… but ultimately Hollywood loves to see itself caricatured, whether or not it is flattering.”

Olivia said she was “intrigued” to work with filmmaker Cronenberg on the project.

“I have always been a bit too squeamish to watch his work, but the script was so funny and appalling at the same time, I just wanted to be involved. My enthusiasm carried me through my nerves,” she said.

“Very quickly on set I felt I just wanted to tuck in, like a big meal. There were lines and scenes I just couldn’t wait to play.”

USA: The “exaggerated, compressed, but accurate” Maps To The Stars gets a release date

According to BoxOfficeMojo, Maps To The Stars will release in the US on February 27, 2015.

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We can’t help but wonder if the film is getting pushed away from a fall release and the releases in other countries (already out in the UK, releasing on Halloween in Canada and if you’re in France (or have a multi region player), you can buy the Bluray/DVD HERE) for a reason. Maybe it hits too close to home?

75Los Angeles Magazine explored the message of the film and hit it squarely – “Maps to the Stars Grapples with the Movie Business’s Most Complicated Character: Hollywood Itself”:

David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars is a Hollywood monster movie in which Hollywood is the monster. When Mia Wasikowska gets off the cross-country bus amid the sunshine and palm trees, she might be Naomi Watts arriving dumbfounded and dreamy in David Lynch’s 2001 Mulholland Drive but for the glint of recognition in her eyes and the mysteries of her past lurking behind the burn scars on her body. Wasikowska’s estranged family includes a self-help-guru father, who insists he loves her even as he makes clear he never wants to see her again, and a basket-case mother managing the acting career of a post-rehab son, whom the sister once tried to set on fire. The young woman wrangles a job—“For a disfigured schizophrenic,” observes her brother, “you’ve got this town pretty wired”—as a “chore whore” for a fading Hollywood luminary played by Julianne Moore, who’s desperate for the starring role in a biopic about her own abusive movie-star mother. Incest both sexual and creative connects everyone to everyone else. On Cronenberg’s map, the coordinates overlay each other; the revelation of secrets is less important than the madness that secrets engender.

Click HERE to continue reading the article. Screenwriter, Bruce Wagner, said via Thompson on Hollywood, “I’ve given you the lay of the land as I see it, saw it, and lived it.” and always the provocateur, David Cronenberg, has been direct about his feelings on the film and it’s relation to Hollywood.

Esquire: Everyone in Maps to the Stars is fundamentally awful and driven by a repellent amount of egomania. Is Hollywood really that bad?
Cronenberg: In short, yes. I live in Toronto. I dip my toe into the Hollywood tar pit every once in a while, and I can say that my experience of it would very much confirm the insights in the movie. It’s exaggerated and compressed, of course, but I think it’s pretty accurate.

E: So, everyone just floats around on a sea of fake emotion?
C: Absolutely. There’s always an agenda and strange personal manoeuvring. I flirted with a studio for a while back there [in 2008], when I was going to adapt the Robert Ludlum novel The Matarese Circle. I met with Denzel Washington, and spent some time with Tom Cruise. So I had the meetings, I had the experiences, but didn’t get to make the movie [the studio, MGM, declared bankruptcy; the film was abandoned]. I’ve had enough experiences over the years to know that all the resonances in Maps to the Stars ring true.

maps-nooooClick HERE to read more of his interview with Esquire. John Cusack doesn’t mince words and labels Tinsel Town a whorehouse to the Guardian.

Maps to the Stars broods on how celebrity corrupts the fallible. It’s also something of a bitchfest; a blood-letting that Cusack enjoys having a stake in. Hollywood today is closer to Wagner’s vision than we realise, he says. It’s no longer a place, it’s a nostalgic idea. The mega-corporations have stepped in, bringing with them the era of the 50-producer movie. In modern Hollywood the franchise is king, the star is used as leverage. “You can’t make it up,” says Cusack. “It’s a whorehouse and people go mad.”

Julianne Moore doesn’t see Maps To The Stars as a film about Hollywood and elaborates with the Irish Independent:

For Moore, this was never a film about Hollywood – which is “just a place where people make movies,” she notes. “Really, this is a movie about people who are so desperate to be seen and heard and acknowledged as human beings, and they’re seeking outside validation to obtain that, by being famous, celebrities or whatever… it’s really about who we are as human beings and what people want, and how sometimes they’re not able to get it.”

Robert Pattinson also seems to agree with Moore when speaking to the Independent:

“I’ve met characters that are pretty similar. Everyone’s saying the films biting, but I think it’s sympathetic to a host of characters. Women like Havana: in reality people would despise her, they don’t have friends for a reason, but I don’t think anyone comes out of the movie hating her and that’s testament to Julianne. It’s a bunch of weirdos who spend time self-obsessing and talking about it afterwards.”

Whatever the issues are, we hope the film and Moore still receive a qualifying run for award season, reported HERE. A few of us on staff have seen the film and think she’s simply sensational. A ball of fire you can’t turn away from.

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BUY: @LWLies Maps To The Stars edition with a fantastic Julianne Moore cover + MORE

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The Maps To The Stars cover for Little White Lies is on sale today! Here’s a preview of the magazine but be sure to grab a copy HERE. The cover is fantastic.

David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars gets the full LWLies treatment in our eye-scorching new issue.

As we delve deep into festival season, Little White Lies have opted to pay colourful homage to Canadian filmmaking maestro,David Cronenberg, and his new movie, Maps to the Stars, a withering satire of contemporary Hollywood. We speak to the director about the movie industry’s incestuous creative tendencies, and we also hear from the film’s award-winning star,Julianne Moore, about her three decades as one of the world’s most talented and distinctive actors.

The big centrepiece of the issue is an in-depth index of Cronenberg’s entire career as a filmmaker, writer, opera-director, auto enthusiast, divorcee and actor. The Cronenberg Index brings together a clutch of LWLies regular writers to offer 26 mini essays covering his movies and his obsessions from every angle conceivable, and boasts spooky two-tier illustrations by TCOLondon designer, Lauréne Boglio.

Our eye-scorching cover for this issue was supplied by Polish artist and illustrator Ada Buchholc, and it captures film’s subtle mix of hot, gaudy celebrity and a mortal fear of losing that status. Check our more of Ada’s work here.

David Cronenberg talks about the sweet and approachable Julianne Moore + Golden Globe chances for MTTS?

The New York Times did a nice profile on Julianne Moore for Maps To The Stars and highlighted some complimentary quotes from David Cronenberg. We also found a more hopeful possibility for MTTS award chances, especially for Moore.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 6.46.02 PMExcerpt from NY Times:

Ms. Moore’s role in “Maps to the Stars” is of this big, no-holds-barred variety. She plays Havana Segrand, a sort of latter-day Norma Desmond, a fading B-List Hollywood actress who is both needy and tyrannical, childlike and monstrous. Her character has to, among other things, engage in an explicit threesome, have back-seat limo sex with her chauffeur (Robert Pattinson), dance in glee upon hearing of a child’s death and deliver a bossy monologue while seated on the toilet. Ms. Moore’s performance is so vivid and daring, while also sad and at times extremely funny, that it earned her the best actress prize at Cannes this spring, and some forecasters are already speculating that it may finally win her the Oscar that has so far slipped just out of her reach. (Ms. Moore has been nominated four times, including twice in 2002, for “The Hours” and “Far From Heaven.”)

Mr. Cronenberg said not long ago that one reason he cast Ms. Moore is that she looked the part. (It also didn’t hurt that she recently acquired a British passport, which enabled Mr. Cronenberg, a Canadian, to get around some complicated financing requirements limiting how many American actors he could use.) “You have to have someone who’s the right age,” he explained, “and she has to be beautiful. She has to be convincing as someone who has had a moment of stardom. And, of course, she has to be willing to do it.” The toilet scene may have been a deal breaker for some; even Mr. Cronenberg’s sister, Denise Cronenberg, the movie’s costume designer, thought it was too much.

Everyone who has worked with Ms. Moore says that in real life, she couldn’t less resemble the temperamental Havana Segrand. “She’s incredibly well prepared and a wonderful collaborator, a proper pro,” said Stephen Daldry, who directed her in “The Hours.”

Mr. Cronenberg agreed. “You don’t get the diva, the ego, the entourage,” he said. “Right up until the moment the slate clicks, she’s 100 percent her sweet, approachable self, and then she’s this character that you wouldn’t want to spend any time with.”

Click HERE to read the NY Times article in its entirety.

We suspect we’ll see more great write-ups for Julianne and the rest of the cast as the film prepares to premiere at TIFF. We were disappointed to learn Focus World acquired distribution rights for the US and will release the film early next year. While that seems to take Julianne out of the running for Oscar consideration, Gold Derby shared exclusively that the Golden Globes and other critics awards might be on the agenda for Maps To The Stars:

No, “Maps to the Stars” will not have a costly Oscars campaign, but it will aim for other kudos. An executive involved with the film tells Gold Derby exclusively that “Maps” and Julianne Moore (winner, Best Actress at Cannes) are in the running for Golden Globes, BAFTA, film critics’ trophies, and SAG and other guild awards.
In fact, discussions are currently under way with the film’s handlers and all of those awards, which are much easier to win without hefty campaign investment required at the Oscars. For example, to qualify for the Globes, a film just needs to debut for one week in one Los Angeles theater during 2014. After that, “Maps” promoters just need to screen it for the 90 HFPA members, send them DVDs and do a special press conference for the foreign journos. That’s all. Currently, the plan is for “Maps” to compete in the Globes’ comedy/musical categories, but no decision has yet been made about placing Julianne Moore in lead or supporting.

Many of the guilds like SAG have screening committees that decide nominations and are easy to access for a reasonable investment. Voters in the film-critics’ groups can be targeted efficiently, too. In fact, many of them are seeing “Maps” today at the Toronto International Film Festival.
By contrast, to launch “Maps” effectively into the Oscars derby could cost up to $20 million, which is what many frontrunners have spent in recent years. Technically, a film may qualify after unspooling just one week in a L.A theater just like the Globes, but it needs a fullblown campaign to bring it to the attention of lazy academy members who insist upon private screenings, personal copies of the DVD and more.
U.S. distribution rights to “Maps to the Stars” were just acquired by Focus World, the digital division of Focus Features. It sometimes books films into a few select theaters, but mostly rolls out wide to digital platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Netfflix and On Demand services offered by Verizon FiOS and AT&T Uverse.
Frankly, the company doesn’t have the promotional budget needed to do an effective Oscar run. It’s sad commentary on what’s become of the Academy Awards derby when producers and distributors automatically throw in the towel and admit they can’t compete.

Click HERE to continue reading Gold Derby’s breakdown.

We’ll see what happens but for now, we have TIFF to look forward to! Maps To The Stars premieres on September 9th.

Maps To The Stars expected in 2015 for US theatrical release from Focus World

Can’t lie. This seems pretty disappointing for the film that walked away with a Best Actress win at Cannes Film Festival. Why no awards run? Havana would NOT approve.

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We have our fingers crossed the source in Variety’s article is right and Focus World will do a limited release to be eligible. We’ll see…

Variety:

After winning the best actress award in Cannes for “Maps to the Stars,” Julianne Moore was considered a strong bet in this year’s Oscar race for her turn as a washed-up star in the David Cronenberg drama. But the overdue actress, who has been nominated for four Academy Awards without winning, could be sitting out of awards season.

In a deal that closed last week, Focus World picked up U.S. distribution rights to the Cronenberg drama from Canadian outfit Entertainment One (eOne), sources tell Variety exclusively. “Maps to the Stars” won’t premiere stateside until early 2015.

Focus World is the alternative distribution division of Focus Features, and it hasn’t been decided if the drama will be released on VOD, play in theaters domestically or some combination thereof. “Maps” could get an Oscar qualifying theatrical release at the end of 2014, so that it would at least be eligible for Academy Awards nominations, according to one individual with knowledge of the deal, but a movie with that kind of strategy can sometimes get lost in the slew of December contenders.

“Maps to the Stars” will screen this fall at the Toronto International and New York Film Festivals, which are traditionally launching pads for Oscar contenders. On Sept. 9, Moore is scheduled to appear at a cocktail event following a screening of the film at Toronto.

“Maps to the Stars” premiered at Cannes to mixed reviews, although Moore was singled out by critics as delivering one of the best performances of her career. The film is a dark deconstruction of celebrity culture and co-stars Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson, who previously worked with Cronenberg on “Cosmopolis.” Bruce Wagner (“Wild Palms”) wrote the screenplay.

Co-financed by eOne and Prospero Pictures, “Maps to the Stars” was produced by Prospero’s Martin Katz, SBS Productions’ Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt. Sentient Entertainment’s Renee Tab and eOne’s Benedict Carver executive-produced the film.

EOne Films International handles worldwide rights to “Maps to the Stars,” and will directly distribute the film in Canada, the U.K., and Australia and New Zealand. The movie opens in Canada on Oct. 31, and will rollout to other regions of the world starting this year.

WME negotiated on behalf of eOne with Anjay Nagpal, SVP, and Gene Kang, VP of Business Affairs, representing Focus World.

Thompson on Hollywood also has more to say about the deal:

Julianne Moore can kiss goodbye to any hopes she was nursing for an Oscar campaign for David Cronenberg’s Cannes Best Actress winner “Maps to the Stars,” which is set to play Toronto and New York festivals. Canadian distributor eOne was going to distribute the film stateside, but it has now sold U.S. rights not to Universal specialty distributor Focus Features–the arm that would handle an Oscar effort–but Focus World, their digital distribution arm, which plans an early 2015 release.

The entertaining satire of Hollywood boasts a strong cast including Cronenberg fave Rob Pattinson, who canoodles on screen with both an anxiety-ridden movie star (Moore) and the troubled daughter (Mia Wasikowska) of psychotherapist/coach to the stars (John Cusack) and his wife (Olivia Williams), who manages his son’s career. Ordinarily you would expect this to have a strong theatrical release, but this kind of movie does well on VOD, with smaller marketing costs.

Co-financed by Entertainment One (eOne) and Prospero Pictures, “Maps to the Stars” was produced by Prospero’s Martin Katz, SBS Productions’ Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt. Sentient Entertainment’s Renee Tab and eOne’s Benedict Carver executive-produced the film., which eOne Films International will directly distribute in Canada, the U.K., and Australia and New Zealand.

INTERVIEW: Robert Pattinson On ‘Maps To The Stars’ & THAT Scene With Julianne Moore

Robert Pattinson was interviewed in the September issue of Esquire UK and spoke about filming Maps To The Stars, that infamous scene with Juliane Moore and more.

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Here’s an excerpt of the interview……….

‘Maps…’ is Pattinson’s second collaboration with the Canadian director, the first was Cosmopolis two years ago. And like so many of Cronenberg’s films, it’s unsettling, nightmarish even. Pattinson insists that he’s “the sweetest guy in the world, like a really kind university lecturer”. But Maps isn’t sweet or kind. If the Twihards come, they’d better be ready.

Hollywood has long been satirised by filmmakers, but ‘Map’s goes further than anything previously – there’s incest, pyromania and murder, the deaths of both children and animals. The characters are so grotesque they’re often hard to watch, and yet since it’s Cronenberg, they’re also quite funny; it’s that queasy experience of being amused and deeply disturbed at the same time.

Pattinson’s role is small but memorable. He’s a limo driver and one of the only sane characters on the screen, albeit an opportunistic and amoral one. He starts a relationship with a personal assistant (Mia Wasikowska), and then in full view of her, has sex with her boss, Julianne Moore. They do it in the back of his limo. It’s a scene he remembers well. “It was the first time I met Julianne,” he says. “And that was the first scene I shot. It was that part of the scene, too, the sex part.”

This wasn’t some directorial manipulation to elicit a certain performance – it was just pragmatism, an efficient schedule. But for Pattinson it presented some unique challenges. Not only did he have to plunge into sex with a perfect stranger – and it wasn’t pretty sex, but grunting doggie style, neither side particularly enjoying themselves – but he had one of his nervous episodes in the process. Call it performance anxiety, just not that kind.

“I noticed I was sweating,” he says. “Like really heavy sweat.” Already there’s a theme here, just like the saliva story, Pattinson is a man who has sweaty adventures. When the going gets tough, his glands get going. In this case, we’re not talking a damp film of sweat across the brow, but big bulbous droplets, like he’s got malaria, or he’s a footballer in Manaus. “I remember trying to catch the drops as they fell onto her back. It was weird. Huge splashing drops. At one point she turned around and said, ‘Are you all right?’” (There may be no connection, but Pattinson took up meditation on the ‘Maps’ set.)

Moore won best actress at Cannes this year for her performance as Havana Segrand, a fading star who’s so damaged that she literally dances with joy when she hears that a rival actress’s son has drowned. In another scene, she invites her assistant, or “chore whore”, to watch as she tries to take a shit. “I’ve definitely met people like Julianne’s character,” he says. “I just don’t think she’s a bad person. I see her as desperate and sad. But maybe my moral compass is just all over the place!”

Read the full interview and see the photoshoot over at EsquireUK

“I found that the script, the characters, the dialogues were amazing” ~ David Cronenberg Talks ‘Maps To The Stars’ + New BTS Set Pic

Maps To The Stars is featured on the cover of Cahiers Du Cinéma Magazine along with a great in depth interview with David Cronenberg, which is slightly spoilerish if you are still a Maps virgin, so BE CAREFUL.
You’ll find the English translation of the interview below the scans of the magazine.

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The issue also features a new behind the scenes pic of David at work with Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska

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 English Translation Thanks to MapsToTheStarsfr

Planet Hollywood

Cahiers Du Cinéma : Maps To The Stars is a very violent burden. This is a farewell to Hollywood.
David Cronenberg : I don’t only see the movie as a movie about Hollywood. This a movie about ambition, fame, immortality, money. It could be The Wolf Of Wall Street, it might be in the world of business or in the automobile industry in Detroit. The movie is about any industry that produces powerful pictures or products. And stars that are born because of that. For me it’s not really an Anti Hollywood movie. I know it’s strange to say but this is less a story about Hollywood as the dark side of Hollywood. Besides if there were not this script of Bruce Wagner, I wouldn’t have made a movie about cinema. Many filmmakers, often younger ones, like to make movies about movies. I have no interest in this type of self-referential movie. It’s like writers who write about writing, it doesn’t interest me. But I found that the script, the characters, the dialogues were amazing. So it’s Bruce’s fault (laughs)!

Hollywood is widely a metaphor for our times.
Absolutely. This is another reason why it’s not really an attack against Hollywood. The movie talks with our obsession, not only the fame, but also of ourselves. The screenplay was written before Facebook. Now everybody is a star on Facebook. Everybody takes pictures while eating. On Instagram, people imitates the lives of celebrities. Is it good or bad? I don’t know. In any case it’s not very productive. And in a way it’s unhealthy, it only creates the illusion. And Hollywood of course is the huge, iconic version of that. Because we’re still haunted by James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart. People still think about these icons and they try to bring them back to life with new technologies. There is in everybody a desire for immortality. The movie talks deeply about the fear of death and the existential dread : if Havana doesn’t receive a call from her agent, if she doesn’t make any movie, she ceases to exist. She is desperate. This isn’t just ambition, it’s the fear of being annihilated. I think that if the viewer understands that, he doesn’t just see a movie about Hollywood but a movie about desires and universal traumas now.

We feel the death throughout the movie. Especially the death of children : Hollywood is like built on the bodies of children.
Not only on the bodies of children. I see Hollywood as a very dense planet, with a huge gravitational field. People come from all over the world, they are drawn into the orbit, and once they are there, they can’t escape the gravity of Hollywood. They are stuck. We know many directors whose career died in Hollywood and many people die in Hollywood. There isn’t a year without someone dies of an overdose or a car accident. It’s a form of suicide. The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman isn’t perhaps technically a suicide, but in a sense, yes it’s a suicide. There is something corrosive and destructive in Hollywood.

Maps To The Stars is like an anti Mulholland Drive ; in David Lynch’s movie, even though Los Angeles is a nightmare, the city is the location of dreams. The heroin arrives by plane, the city is a promise; your heroin comes in a mundane way by bus amid lots of passengers.
Every day people come by bus to Los Angeles; for them, there is no glamour. Yet the paradox is that it’s not at all like arriving in Chicago, because the world of cinema is still there. I learned from making the movie that many people no longer wanted to live in Los Angeles: for example John Cusack lives in Chicago. Because in Los Angeles, you can’t escape from the world of cinema. Even if you go wash your car. Everyone has several jobs, everyone is or wants to make movies. Bruce Wagner is very accurate because he lives in Los Angeles for a long time, and his father was in the world of cinema. He keeps repeating: the script isn’t a satire, everything is true. He heard every line of the dialogue. It’s not an exaggeration or a caricature. When I talked to my actors, I asked them not to exaggerate, not to play excessively, I wanted that the interaction between the characters is real, at a human level, ordinary. I told them that the situations speak for themselves, that they haven’t to emphasize, that it would be more powerful if it was real.

Julianne Moore is impressive in her very daring part. What did she bring to the character ?
She neither can’t live in Los Angeles, she lives in New York. She’s in her fifties and she knows a lot of actresses who have disappeared in this age. She’s beautiful and she continues to work, but this is an exception. The world of cinema is very brutal. She could base her character on actresses she knows, actresses who have had ‘their time’ during three or four years and which have disappeared because their lack of talent appeared or because they aged badly. We find an existential trauma : I’m an actress but I can’t play anymore. Who am I? Do I still exist?

The movie is scary about the age. There’s this discussion in a party between child stars who treat 25 years old actresses of ‘post-menopausal women’.
It’s like that. They have no sense of their own age, they don’t know that they’ll age and they are mortal. They’re cruel because they’re afraid. Fear makes monsters. These children have no philosophy, they have no one teaching them anything, because their parents are like Havana or Benjie’s mother, they push their career and live a life of fame through their children. Parents become monsters and children learn nothing else but become monsters in their turn. They are caught by the gravity of the planet.

Evan Bird, the 13 years old actor, is great. Did he acknowledge this world of child stars ?
No, not at all. When I chose him, he was even 12 years. He is Canadian, I was happy to find him because it’s a difficult part. I had seen him in the TV show The Killing. This is a very intelligent child.

The movie is particularly raw and trivial, many scenes take place in a bathroom or in the toilets.
Yes, that’s an interesting point. This is where the reality of your human body exists. I read that North Korean people believed that Kim II-sung, the first dictator of North Korea, never went to the bathroom like Buddha. They thought of him as a farewell …

A child kills another near a urinal, it goes a long way … At the same time, the beauty of the movie is that it’s ‘for’ children, to save the children. The character played by Mia Wasikowska is older but behaves like a child. She gathers children.
Yes the main character is the sweetest, most naive, the purest even she’s crazy. She isn’t here to become a star but to solve a family trauma. Jerome’s character played by Robert Pattinson is also a child. He isn’t born in Los Angeles, he comes from Indiana and elsewhere, he believes that he is able to play the game. It’s pathetic, he’ll be destroyed like a child. He’s too vulnerable. He plays the badass people but he doesn’t. At the end, the children are destroyed by monsters. This is the new direction taken by the poem Liberté which was written by Paul Eluard at the time of the Resistance. Here, freedom is death.

You’ve worked during all these years with Bruce Wagner on the script ? Did it evolve a lot?
We worked together for years. The script has been updated to the last minute because when we started working, Facebook, smartphones, Twitter didn’t exist. And Bruce likes to use contemporary references. I first talked about the role to Julianne Moore eight years ago, so we had also to review the script based on age. And then I also made a change in ghosts. I don’t believe in ghosts and I’ve never film them. But Bruce says that he believes in them. There were scenes of dead children in the streets at night. Very powerful scenes. But I was wondering : in which spirit are those ghosts? It was a different kind of ghost. For me only the ghosts of memory are legitimate. We can be haunted by the dead people, whether relatives or celebrities. But there are real ghosts, I can’t accept it, so I removed these scenes. Except where the character talks to themselves.

For the dead mother, what was the reference film in which she shot? Seeing these images in black and white, we think about David And Lisa and Lilith.
Bruce thought about the movie Lilith by Robert Rossen that I had seen a long time ago. The mother could be Jean Seberg.

It’s a way of saying that Hollywood is a permanent remake.
Yes, it brings us to the theme of incest. In the Egyptian royal dynasty, incest was the norm. To keep the purity of the lineage. Hollywood is also incestuous. There is no fresh blood, no new visions, we film Spiderman 5 and X-Men 13 to infinity. The movies are products of incest : deformed, retarded, disabled products of incest.

Did movies become monsters ?
No, they aren’t monsters, they’re disabled. It’s different. Movies are like children who have terrible genetic defects. Their genetic structure isn’t correct.

What kind of relation do you have with Hollywood ?
I live in Toronto, I have an agent in L.A. and a lawyer in L.A. and they keep me informed. I know the scripts that are circulating. I had meetings with people from studios, which are the most absurd comedies that I could live. They’re even more ridiculous than in the movie. I have had experienced it when I had to do Basic Instinct 2, then The Matarese Circle based on Robert Ludlum’s spying novel with Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise for MGM. I made very very odd encounters that time. I can’t tell you more, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I felt talking to actors playing the role of studio executives!

Why did you have so much difficulty making Maps To The Stars ?
My movies are canadian-UK, Canadian-French or Canadian-German coproductions. I had to shoot at least five days in Los Angeles. We couldn’t recreate Hollywood in Toronto, we had to shoot there, it’s so special. We shot twenty four days in Toronto and five in L.A. One of the problems was to find a coproduction allowing to shoot in the States, and therefore spending money in the United States rather than in the coproducing country. And in most coproductions, it’s not possible to have a co writer which isn’t from the coproduction country … There is also the problem of the actors : we were only allowed to have one American actor, and that’s John Cusack. Julianne Moore has a British passport, Mia Wasikowska is Australian with a Polish passport, Robert Pattinson is English. We didn’t manage to find a coproduction eight years ago or five years ago either. And this is the coproduction with Germany which allowed us to get an American screenwriter. And Saïd Ben Saïd joined us. Here is the reality with which I have to deal as an independent director !

Did you like to shoot in Los Angeles ?
I loved it. It was very cathartic. When I shot Eastern Promises in London, I shot a secret London that nobody recognizes. This time, I wanted to shoot iconic places: the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Chateau Marmont, Beverly Hills, even Rodeo Drive where the stars do their shopping. It was exciting. It was the first time I shot in the United States. A History Of Violence was my only real movie studio, fully funded by New Line. I could have all the American actors that I wanted, but the studio wanted to shoot in Canada because it was cheaper! They didn’t even let me shoot in their own country.

In Maps To The Stars, we can feel the light of Los Angeles. At the end, on the terrace of the hospital, the decor is very strange, we can feel the hills behind.
You believed it? This scene is a CGI one! We shot the hills and we put behind the scenes in Toronto. There was nothing around. I know that in Los Angeles, we would see the hills, that’s why I put this background. We did the same the thing in the scene where Mia discovers Rob on set, the Hollywood hills in the background are made in CGI. When people ask me if I like CGI, I say yes: not to create monsters, but to give birth to this kind of atmosphere without anyone noticing it. It’s invisible but it helps to create a certain reality.

And why did you not create a strange reality in Toronto ?
No I couldn’t: there aren’t enough palm trees in Toronto! I always kept saying jokingly: ‘When we go to Los Angeles, we need at least one palm tree in each scene !’

Was it a joke to shoot Robert Pattinson as a limo driver after Cosmopolis?
No. Of course, I thought about it, but he loved the idea of being a part of an ensemble, not being the lead actor. So this is a chance … In fact, in the movie, he’s Bruce Wagner, because Bruce was a limo driver for years, and the lead part in his first novel, Force Majeure, is a limo driver. But only a few people saw Cosmopolis, so nobody will think about it. I hope there will be more people going to see Maps To The Stars (laughs)!

Scans Source

‘Maps To The Stars’ Featured In ‘Total Film’ Magazine

The new issue of ‘Total Film’ magazine which hits UK shelves this Friday has a feature on Maps To The Stars and interview with David Cronenberg and the cast in their ’10 Coolest Movies Coming Your Way’ section.
Be SURE to grab yourself a copy!

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David Cronenberg talks Maps To The Stars (“I can’t wait to screen it in Hollywood”) + fall release expected

David Cronenberg was honored at the Provincetown Film Festival and discussed Maps To The Stars during his Q&A with John Waters. The article from THR is a great retrospect on David’s work and his insight but here are the excerpts about Maps To The Stars. The article also says we can expect the film later this year.

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David Cronenberg, Debra Winger and John Waters at the Provincetown Film Festival

Excerpts from The Hollywood Reporter:

The Filmmaker on the Edge honoree swapped stories with fellow indie iconoclast John Waters in a lively Q&A at the 16th Provincetown Film Festival.

PROVINCETOWN — David Cronenberg’s ambivalence toward Hollywood is on full display in his latest feature, Maps to the Stars, a satire of celebrity obsession and entertainment-industry incestuousness that premiered this year in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, winning a best actress award for Julianne Moore’s fearless turn as a strung-out screen diva.

“There were a couple of Hollywood producers, and one of them said, ‘I could not do this movie, because I could not do that to this business that has been so good to me,’ “ said Cronenberg, while being honored with the Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the 16th annual Provincetown Film Festival.

“But I actually had the head of a studio come over to me in Cannes, hug me and say, ‘Your movie scared the shit out of me. I had nightmares about it all night. And then the next day I went to a party at the Hotel du Cap, and all I could see was scenes from your movie.’ So I thought that was a positive reaction.”

“I really love CGI in the sense that it’s another tool,” he said. “When I made Naked Lunch, there was no such thing as computer generated graphics. Even in Maps to the Stars, which is relatively naturalistic, there’s a lot of CG that’s wonderful. It was set in Hollywood, but it was mostly shot in Toronto. We just shot five days in Hollywood. And yet I could put the Hollywood Hills in the background easily because of computer graphics. That’s a fantastic tool for a director, and that’s why I love digital. But because it’s exciting, it does get overused, of course.”

Maps to the Stars, which eOne will release in the U.S. later this year, was relatively expensive by Cronenberg’s earlier standards, costing $13 million. Returning to that film, Waters asked, “So is Hollywood going to forgive you for this one?”

“I can’t wait to screen it in Hollywood,” Cronenberg replied. “Obviously, Hollywood owes me absolutely nothing. But I don’t owe Hollywood anything either.”

“There is a strange use of an award in Maps to the Stars,” said Cronenberg when accepting the Filmmaker on the Edge trophy and feeling its weight. Let’s just say the scene involved does not involve it sitting on a mantel. “I urge you to go see the movie, and you’ll understand.”

Click HERE to read the article in its entirety. It touches on much of David’s work.