It was only a few weeks ago that I reported Canadian filmmaking extraordinaire David Cronenberg, now 78, reportedly had a new movie in the works, despite having previously admitted “if I never make another movie, that’s perfectly OK.”
Details were sparse, shedding little light on the project other than the fact that Viggo Mortensen was onboard and that it would hearken back to Cronenberg’s humble beginnings in the science fiction body horror genre. Fast forward to April 29th and a slew of new details were released, including the feature’s name, Crimes of the Future.
Curiously enough, this shares the same name as the 1970 science fiction feature produced, written and directed by Cronenberg, which envisioned a Children of Men-like 1997, but instead of women being infertile, all fertile women have been killed by a virus. I have admittedly not seen it in its entirety, but what I do know is it is an hour-long silent film (though there is voice-over narration accompanied by obscure nature sounds) that devolves into foot fetishism and paedophilia. Thankfully, Cronenberg’s upcoming Crimes of the Future is not a remake of this 1970 feature, but instead a revised dramatic examination of the direction in which Cronenberg feels humanity is going, which is, of course, the merging of man and machine. “I have unfinished business with the future,” he recently told Empire Online.
In this regard, Crimes of the Future has more in common with Videodrome than it does with its 1970 namesake. The released synopses, however, reads like a noir-styled Cyberpunk 2077, with one key difference being that this particular media product might actually work (that’s some not-so-subtle shade for all you disgruntled gamers out there). Of course, there is the usual Cronenbergian spin on the material, which sees the filmmaker return to science fiction body horror–the genre that largely defines his career–for the first time since his 1986 masterpiece The Fly.
The IMDb synopsis describes Crimes of the Future as a “deep dive into the not-so-distant future where humankind is learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings. This evolution moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, altering their biological makeup.” While this says a lot about the film’s setting and thematic direction, it offers little insight into the narrative or the characters that will drive it. However, Deadline’s reporting elaborates further on these details:
“While some embrace the limitless potential of trans-humanism, others attempt to police it. Either way, “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome” is spreading fast. Saul Tenser is a beloved performance artist who has embraced Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, sprouting new and unexpected organs in his body. Along with his partner Caprice, Tenser has turned the removal of these organs into a spectacle for his loyal followers to marvel at in real-time theatre. But with both the government and a strange subculture taking note, Tenser is forced to consider what would be his most shocking performance of all.”
In my previous reporting on the matter, I noted that Viggo Mortensen was the only actor publicly attached to the project, quite clearly set to play the lead role that we now know as Saul Tenser. Mortensen and Cronenberg are kindred creative spirits, having worked together on three previous projects, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, and then A Dangerous Method in 2011, which was the last time they worked together, although there was something of a role reversal last year as Cronenberg made a cameo (as a proctologist, no, less) in Mortensen’s directorial debut, Falling.
With last week’s official announcement of Crimes of the Future also came its impressive cast, which includes Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux, Scott Speedman and Canada’s own Don McKellar, who, as it happens, starred in Cronenberg’s last science fiction feature, eXistenZ, in 1999.
Crimes of the Future is to shoot entirely in Greece, with its producer and long-time Cronenberg collaborator Robert Lantos telling KFTV that it is the “perfect setting…as it is bespoke tailoring for David Cronenberg’s unique vision of a future which intermingles with the past.” The production will be shot over a surprisingly short 30-day period from August 2 to September 10. A release date has yet to be announced.