Graphic of a fly

Cronenberg: Canadian Icon: Transcript 04

PIERS HANDLING: Do you think your resistance to sentimentality has taken you out of the commercial mainstream

DAVID CRONENBERG: Yes I do.

PIERS HANDLING: And does that bother you?

DAVID CRONENBERG: No, because there’s no way I could fake it. I’d be bad at it. I don’t even think I’d be good at doing it. And it was interesting when I was talking to MGM about doing a Robert Ludlum project, The Matarese Circle. And I met Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington. And Denzel—he didn’t say it to me directly—but he was asking “do you think Cronenberg is capable of doing what it takes to do a mainstream film?” Because that’s what he wanted to do, like “OK, this is a spy movie and it’s an action movie.” And they said well, he did A History of Violence and he did Eastern Promises. And he said “those aren’t mainstream films, those are art films.” And I realized that in Hollywood terms he’s completely right. And I thought then, “gee, maybe to do a fight scene is not enough. It’s that sentimentality that is required.” That I don’t want to do, and don’t even know if I could do, quite honestly. How cynical are those filmmakers who do those films? Are they part of it? Or are they standing outside of it and feel like they are manipulating people while they do it? Or are they a party to it, as well? Do they feel it, as well? I would be—being sentimental in that way, falsely emotional is the way I think of it—I would be incredibly cynical doing that. Because I know I’d be constructing something that I had no faith in for the purpose of involving the audience in a charade. So I do think it’s a problem. And I certainly think when I get scripts and stuff—any script that depends on that to work, I know I’m the wrong person for it.