the Cronenberg interview, a few notes on synchronicity, Soviet motorcycles,
nepotism, Martin Amis and some gratuitous references to Russian literature.
PK: Have you
had that happen before in other films, where the theme or some other elements
of the film suddenly became reflected in real life.
there something with “Crash” that was going on then.
well, “Crash” — and then even “Dead Ringers.” Suddenly, there was all this
twins stuff happening and there were five twins movies that came out. It was
very bizarre. And with “Naked Lunch”there
was suddenly all these writers writing and having characters from their books
come to life. Yeah, it’s strange sometimes. It’s as though you’ve tapped into
the zeitgeist somehow and it tends to reflect back on you.
PK: Is that
motorcycle in the movie yours?
DC: No, but
it was certainly my motorcycling knowledge that got it to be a Ural. Originally
he had written it as a Royal Enfield and I thought that for her father, who was
Russian, he should have a Russian motorcycle and I knew about Urals. Sure
enough, they still make them. You can buy a new one in England; in fact, that was a new
one that we aged down to look vintage because we wanted it to start all the
time. But no, that wasn’t my bike, but it is exactly what I wrote the line for
Nikolai to say, “[Here Cronenberg recites in a Russian accent Nikolai’s line
from the movie describing the motorcycle that, like in the movie, I found
almost a character in the movie. It’s the only technological item, really.
DC: Yeah, but
you certainly see it’s lovingly photographed.
PK: Do you
DC: I don’t
collect them, but I still ride them. I favor Italian bikes, I have Ducatis.
PK: You also
race cars, too.
DC: Well, I
did. I haven’t done that for quite a while. But I have raced them in the past.
PK: All of
your films tend to have a dissection of the family unit--and also, you’re
family is part of your unit making the movies.
DC: That’s true.
PK: Have you
ever thought about what this means?
[laughs] Well, I mean, nepotism is great. It’s wonderful to have your family
involved with you. Certainly movie business is not the only business where this
occurs. It’s sort of natural that your family lives your business with you and
that some of your kids or relatives are going to get into it just by osmosis.
There was a time when there was no film business in Canada. When I started, it wasn’t
like in L.A.
where your friend’s father was in the business if yours wasn’t. But there was
nobody around because there was no film industry, so it’s kind of sweet that
it’s changed in Canada
now. Of course, family drama is one of the dramatic cores--you can’t really get
too far away from it, I think.
PK: This is
your second largest budget yet?
DC: Yeah, this is the second bigges budget. “A
History of Violence” was 32 million and this was about 27 or 26 million.
PK: Having so
much money invested, did you get a little bit of interference from people who
put the money up?
DC: No, Focus
[the studio] were great. And it wasn’t only Focus, but BBC films, of course. It
was very intelligent support and collaboration and the one thing you want to be
able to say, weirdly enough, is “If it’s bad, it’s my fault,” because nobody made
you make it bad. I have to take the full brunt of it. Well, if you don’t like
it, it’s my fault. That’s actually the best compliment I can give to my
PK: So, next
movies: “London Fields,” “Painkillers,” none
of these came about.
DC: No, you have
to be careful of imdb.
PK: Well, you
told me a couple of years ago that that “London Fields” credits was a possibility.
I had Martin Amis visit the set of “Eastern Promises” with his wife, but for
various reasons, at the moment, that’s sort of in limbo. So I actually don’t
know what I’m going to do next.
PK: Do you
like that feeling better than knowing what you’re going to do next?
DC: Each one
has kind of a thrill factor, so I’m okay with either one.
PK: Did I
hear the name Vladmir Nabokov come up as the person who was providing the drugs
DC: It was
Valerie Nabakov. He was initially called Valerie and I thought we should give
him a last name so, yes, I did give him the Nabokov name.
PK: I think
Nabokov would’ve been happy with that.
DC: I also
gave Nikolai his last name, which was Luzhin. It’s only mentioned once when the
cop comes looking to find him in the hospital, “Nikolai Luzhin, please,” he
says and that’s an allusion to his novel
“The Luzhin Defence.”
PK: Yeah, and
that was made into a movie too, with John Turturro.
DC: Yeah, I
think they just called it “The Defence.”
Dostoevsky references, even though I guess both of you have read “The
well, we read the version called “The Demons.” I phoned Viggo and said, maybe
you should be reading this new translation of “The Possessed” which is called “The
Demons” and he said, “I’ve just finished it.”
PK: Yeah, it
was my favorite Dostoevsky book. I wanted to be Stavrogin when I grew up, but
it didn’t work out that way.
That’s a good thing.
PK: I hope
your film gets another fifteen minute standing ovation [as did “A History of
Violence” when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005].
thank you very much.
Promises” won the audience award at the festival].