Filmmaker David Cronenberg has never shied away from difficult subject matter. In films such as Videodrome, eXistenZ, and A History of Violence, the director has explored profound themes such as identity, reality versus illusion, and the implications of merging technology with the organic. His distinctive, often bizarre visual style gives his work a visceral punch that few others can match. Though some of his movies are more explicit than others, they all have a strong undercurrent of weirdness, and Cronenberg’s long-anticipated Hollywood critique, Maps to the Stars, is no exception.
The script is supposedly so edgy and off-kilter that no studio has picked it up, despite the filmmaker’s half-decade-long quest to get it made. However, recent rumors suggest the possible involvement of previous Cronenberg collaborators Robert Pattinson and Viggo Mortensen, whose combined star power may just be enough to finally get the project off the ground.
Twilight star Robert Pattinson seems to be making a valiant effort to distance himself from his role as Edward in the vampire saga, having picked up an eclectic variety of roles over the past few years. Though opinions of his actual acting talent vary considerably, he was nevertheless cast as the lead in Cronenberg’s most recent film, Cosmopolis, which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Cosmopolis charts the collapse of a young billionaire’s (Pattinson) business empire over the course of a day, and is essentially one long odyssey across New York City. In classic Cronenberg fashion, the film reportedly tackles heavy subjects and profound themes, and is just unorthodox enough to alienate a significant chunk of the audience, while leaving the rest enraptured. Presumably impressed with Pattinson’s performance, Cronenberg went ahead and offered him a role in Maps to the Stars, to which the actor expressed interest (provided it doesn’t get shelved again).
I asked Rob if he would be interested in playing a particular role in it and he said yes, he would. Likewise, Viggo [Mortensen] is interested in a role. It would be very interesting. This is a project called ‘Maps To The Stars’ written by Bruce Wagner who is a wonderful L.A. screenwriter.
Viggo Mortensen (best known for his role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy), has become something of a fixture in Cronenberg’s projects of late, starring in three of the director’s most recent films, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises (which earned Mortensen an Oscar nod), and A Dangerous Method. Few specifics are available as to the nature of the part he would play in Cronenberg’s passion project.
Maps to the Stars has still not officially been confirmed (despite Cronenberg’s efforts for the last five years), but Bruce Wagner’s screenplay apparently focuses on the plight of two former child-stars, while commenting on the entertainment industry’s relationship with Western Civilization as a whole. So, yeah, it sounds pretty deep. In keeping with Cronenberg’s other work, it’s also reportedly extremely dark and disturbing. However, the story has still been described as at least partly comedic, so it may fall into the category of “black comedy.”