On Thursday, June 4 at 9 p.m. the first episode of a show Richard executive produced, REELSIDE (Episode 1 of 6 *Original Documentary Series Premiere*) debuts on The Movie Network!
The first show is Sarah Gadon’s directorial debut. Commissioned by an Italian fashion magazine for a photography project, celebrated photographer Caitlin Cronenberg and actor Sarah Gadon (Maps to the Stars, Dracula Untold) travel to Bruce Peninsula National Park. This episode explores how the pair connected amidst the Hollywood and Fashion machines, and issues of image-making, film, and fashion. Enemy, starring Sarah Gadon and Jake Gyllenhaal, follows the episode at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Read Richard quoted in a recent Canadian Press article by Victoria Ahearn!
“As film critic Richard Crouse puts it, the definition of what it is to be a movie star has changed in the social media age. Some major celebrities are no longer the big box-office draws they used to be and they’ve had to put more effort into the promotional circuit, such as late-night TV appearances.
“It used to be that you’d announce a Tom Cruise movie and people would be lined up around the block to see it, and that no longer holds true unless the movie happens to be called ‘Mission: Impossible’ and then people will go see it with him in it,” says Crouse, a journalist and author who has two syndicated weekly columns in the Metro newspaper and a syndicated Saturday afternoon radio show on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto…” Read the whole thing HERE!
Hollywood loves pointing the camera on itself but not since The Player has the selfie provided such a wonderfully sadistic portrait of Tinsel Town. At the centre of David Cronenberg’s film is a Hollywood family — played by John Cusack, Olivia Williams and Evan Bird. Orbiting them are a former big name actress (Julianne Moore) and a burn victim (Mia Wasikowska), whose presence threatens to expose closely guarded secrets. The terrific performances and decidedly un-Hollywood feel of this, the most Hollywood of Cronenberg’s films, make Maps a compelling psychological thriller.
Hollywood — self-obsessed child that it is — enjoys turning the camera on itself, but with Maps to the Stars, director David Cronenberg uses the city as a palette to paint a picture of the stupid, venal and stratospherically self-involved behaviour that goes on behind the scenes in Beverly Hills’s gated communities and back lots.
At the centre of the film are the Weisses, a Hollywood family (John Cusack, Olivia Williams and Evan Bird) with more secrets than TMZ’s too-hot-to-handle file, Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), a former big name actress who is now as messed up as she is washed up and Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), a burn victim with schizophrenia whose presence threatens to expose closely guarded secrets.
This may be the most sun-dappled film Cronenberg has ever made, but don’t let the light fool you; it’s also one of his darkest. I say one of his darkest because the 71-year-old director has frequently visited what Victor Hugo called “night within us,” provoking Village Voice to call him, “the most audacious and challenging narrative director in the English-speaking world.”
Spider, a trip into the mind of a severely mentally disturbed man starring Ralph Fiennes, is a case in point. Called “Cronenberg’s most depressingly bleak film,” by critic Ken Hanke, the 2002 film sees Fiennes deliver a virtually dialogue-free performance as the title character. But it is Miranda Richardson as several characters — all the women in Spider’s life — who really steals the show. It’s a spooky, cerebral thriller.
The Brood is probably Cronenberg’s most traditional horror film. Featuring murderous psychoplasmic kids, experimental psychotherapist Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar as a fetus-licking mother, it is the very stuff that nightmares are made of. It’s lesser seen than The Fly or Dead Zone and way more down-and-dirty, but for sheer scares it’s hard to beat.
A Dangerous Mind, the tautly told story of two psychoanalysts you’ve heard of, Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), plus one you’ve probably never heard of, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), sees Cronenberg combine a love story and birth of modern analysis.
The almost total lack of physical action means the focus is on the words. Some will see a film rich with dialogue, others will see it as verbose. But that’s the kind of duality the movie explores.
Finally, in Cosmopolis, Cronenberg takes us along for an existential road trip through the breakdown of modern society. Based on a novel by Don DeLillo and starring Robert Pattinson as a controlling and self-destructive billionaire money manager, the movie covers the gamut of human experience, from haircuts, money and infidelity to asymmetrical prostates and mortality.
David Cronenberg has spent his entire career working on the fringes of Hollywood. An auteur with a singular vision, his big hits and art house flicks all live outside the The Entertainment Capital of the World. With the release of “Maps to the Stars,” the first film he ever shot in Los Angeles, he almost ensures he’ll never do business in that town again.
Hollywood enjoys turning the camera on itself, but not since Robert Altman’s “The Player” has the selfie provided such a wonderfully sadistic portrait of Tinsel Town and its citizens. Cronenberg takes a bite out of Hollywood and finds a cookie full of arsenic.
At the center of Bruce Wagner’s script are the Weiss’s, a Hollywood family with more secrets than TMZ’s too-hot-to-handle file. Father Stafford (John Cusack) is a self-help guru who uses new age jargon— “If we name it, we can tame it.”— and massage to heal his wealthy clients. One of his regulars is Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), a former big name actress who is now as messed up as she is washed up. Stafford’s wife Cristina (Olivia Williams) is the momager of Benjie (Evan Bird) a teen superstar fresh out of rehab. Into this toxic mix comes Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), a burn victim with schizophrenia whose presence threatens to expose closely guarded secrets.
This may be the most sun-dappled film Cronenberg has ever made, but don’t let the light fool you, it’s also one of his darkest. The glee Havana feels when she wins a coveted role in a movie because the original actress’s son has died is a nastier indictment of Hollywood than anything in “Sunset Boulevard.” Ditto Benjie’s disappointment when he learns that the young girl he visits in the hospital has non-Hodgkin lymphoma. “I mean non-Hodgkin’s, what’s that?” he says. “Either you are or you aren’t.”
Cronenberg uses the notion of Hollywood mythology as a palette to paint a picture of the stupid, venal and stratospherically self-involved behavior that goes on behind the scenes in Beverly Hills’s gated communities.
Moore presents Havana as a bundle of exposed ego and neurosis. Cusack is a career-minded Zen master, a cruel man whose world is starting to unwind while his son Benjie is a foul-mouthed child with a squeaky clean image. Rona Barrett would have had a heyday with this bunch.
Wasikowska is the outsider, the fly in the ointment that connects and tears apart each of the characters. She’s a strange, ghostly character, almost as ghostly as the poltergeists that haunt Benjie and Havana. In a world where flickering images are often more potent than the people who make them, the appearance of specters isn’t otherworldly, it’s an expected offshoot for a world that believes in the make-believe.
“Maps to the Stars” will divide people. Some will find its sadomasochistic glee in the travails of its characters unsettling; others will revel in the terrific performances and the decidedly un-Hollywood feel of this, the most Hollywood of Cronenberg’s films.
Maps to the Stars
Directed by David Cronenberg
Starring Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams
With this tale of a secret-filled Hollywood family on the verge of implosion, award-winning director David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from our celebrity-obsessed culture. From a screenplay by acclaimed author, screenwriter and West Coast chronicler Bruce Wagner, and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams and Sarah Gadon, MAPS TO THE STARS tours the seductive allure and the tender, darkly comic underbelly of contemporary success.
In the new David Cronenberg film Maps to the Stars, Julianne Moore plays actress Havana Segrand.
A child of Hollywood, she’s the daughter of a movie star who became a star herself but is now, as Moore says, “monstrous and childlike.”
Havana is a bundle of exposed ego and neurosis, a Hollywood stereotype, but Moore promises she’s not based on anyone in particular.
“I swear to you she sprung to life from the page,” she says.
“That was what was great about it. (Screenwriter) Bruce Wagner’s language is so precise, so spectacular, so emotional; it was almost like poetry.
“There was a rhythm to it. I could hear her voice in the rhythm of the speech and how things were supposed to be delivered.
“The key to Havana for me was her arrested development. She’s stuck at the age her mother died. She’s so childlike.
“Everything is all about her mother and not being parented. All this childish, even sexpot behaviour — the ‘Look at me!’ — is all about not being parented. That’s all she wants.”
The film is a wonderfully sadistic portrait of Tinsel Town and its citizens, portraying the wild side of Los Angeles where venal and stratospherically self-involved behaviour plays itself out on the public stage. It’s a dark picture of life in Hollywood, but longtime New York City resident Moore says the conduct isn’t exclusive to the movie biz.
“I‘m sure there can be a certain kind of permissiveness in any business,” she says, “on Wall Street and Silicon Valley and in certain socialite circles.
“People try and pin it on Hollywood as the only place it happens, and of course, it’s not.
“I only lived in L.A. for a while in the ’90s. There was a different quality to socializing than I had ever seen before. I’m pretty bourgeois. I’m not a partier. I don’t really go out, but when I moved to L.A. there was a degree of socialization. I was like, ‘Whoa, there’s a lot of parties out here.’
“I was also single and out in a way I hadn’t been before. Very soon after that I met my husband, we had children and I went right back into my hole.”
She does, however, go out from time to time.
“I have a school event later tonight,” she laughs as we end the interview.