This is a fantastic interview with David Cronenberg, mostly about ‘A Dangerous Method’ and Freud but with some great ‘Cosmopolis’ bits as well. We get a hint at the final running time too. Be sure to check out the full interview at Living in Cinema.
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JT: Your films all come in tightly, right around 90 minutes. Is that something you’re aware of throughout the process? Why is that important to you?
DC: I do like to have a very short script. I’ve never made a movie that’s been two hours long… If you’re doing Laurence of Arabia it deserves to be more than two hours. But for me, I sort of want to tailor it to the subject. I don’t want it to be too long and too boring. My sensibility is, make it tight, don’t waste time, be efficient. Shoot simply. I’ve really simplified my shooting over the years. That also helps you with the budget. When you’re doing a movie like A Dangerous Method, which is a hard film to finance because it’s a period piece, because people talk a lot in it. It helps if you can say to your producer, “I’m going to shoot this in fewer days than you thought, and bring it in under budget,” which I did. That’s all production stuff. But it does have to do with my feeling that a movie really needs to justify being long. The standard script of 115-120 pages, to me that’s too long… The script for this was 80 pages.
JT: In addition to budgetary reasons, do you prefer shooting in one or two takes for creative reasons as well?
DC: I did the same with A Dangerous Method and the same with my latest movie Cosmopolis. One or two takes…if you’re working properly with your actor and your actor is properly prepared, you don’t need more than that. The idea of doing ninety-nine takes like David Fincher is supposed to have done…it’s a completely different way of filmmaking.
JT: Cosmopolis is slated for next year, which is a return to screenwriting for you and features a stellar cast. What can you tell us about it, in particular Robert Pattinson, who seems a unique choice for a Cronenberg leading man?
DC: I think he’s kind of parallel to [Knightley] really. I think he’s a very underrated actor who’s really good. And so he proved to be. I think he’s fantastic in the movie… He’s really great. You can ask Paul Giamatti who’s said that publicly, because he does a big scene with him. Cosmopolis is based on a novel by Don DeLillo. It couldn’t be more different from A Dangerous Method, except that it to has a lot of dialogue. But it’s a very different kind of dialogue. You’ll have to wait and see.