I don’t really want to be a links clearinghouse where I spend all my time culling the internet for interesting tidbits to pass along. For one thing, there are tons of sites that already to a better job of that than I could ever hope to and for another I’d rather spend my time watching movies than surfing the internet. Still, I do surf and people do send me links to great stuff. If something interesting comes along and I have something to add to it, I’ll run it.
For example, Joel passed along this Andrew O’Hehir Salon interview with David Cronenberg to me. It’s a couple of weeks old, but Eastern Promises is still lurking in theaters and you should still see it. This is as good of a reminder as any and also some of the things Cronenberg talked about got me to thinking.
Near the end of the interview, O’Hehir asks Cronenberg a pretty obvious question about whether the success of A History of Violence has made projects possible that weren’t possible before and Cronenberg responds:
I believe it has. I’m hot for 10 minutes, you know? I take it with a grain of salt, but I appreciate it nonetheless. Suddenly people are considering me for scripts that I guarantee you they would not have considered me for before History. If you showed them Spider as my last movie, they would blanch. They’d get very nervous. Because it’s an art film with a capital A, and it’s low budget. My most expensive film is still History of Violence, which cost $32 million. This one was around $27 million. When people hear about movies costing $180 million, they may think that’s peanuts. But in fact, everyone involved takes $26 million very seriously, and so do I. It’s a lot of money.
Spider made the film festival circuit in 2002 and when Cronenberg presented it the AFI Film Festival that year, one of the things I remember him talking about was the difficulty getting money for movies. Looking back at that time, I don’t think it was at all a creative low for Cronenberg, but it was certainly a box office low. It was strange to see this relative giant of cinemas struggling to get financing. This was the guy who did The Dead Zone, The Fly, Scanners and Videodrome for chrissakes.
$32 million is nothing for a movie and it’s his most expensive. I wonder what Michael Bay could do with a Cronenberg budget. He’d be back to making milk commercials. You never hear Cronenberg complaining though. He’s enjoying his financial success while he has it (he’s had it before) and he’s smart enough to know it might only be temporary, but you get the sense he enjoys the freedom of being able to do his movies his way. He might not get to make every movie he wants to make, but each one is his. Without the massive expectations that come from enormous budgets, he’s free to be himself.
He’s a guy who might not be everyone’s cup of tea and who might not hit a home run every time he makes a movie, but you at least know it’s going to be personal and interesting. David Cronenberg is one of the good ones and Eastern Promises is still in theaters. Check it out.