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Figuring Out Cronenberg’s Upcoming Project

In an interview with The Guardian early last year, David Cronenberg, to the dismay of many, reiterated his words from the Venice Film Festival, in that while he was working on getting a number of projects off the ground, “if I never make another movie, that’s perfectly OK.” Cronenberg has taken his foot off the filmmaking pedal in recent years, still remaining a passionate advocate for cinema (especially Canadian cinema) while taking the time required to shop around his material for backers. But now in his late-70s, the prospect of another uniquely Cronenbergian film was becoming less likely with each passing year.

Or, at least it did, until one of his go-to performers, Viggo Mortensen, dropped some tantalizing information in a recent interview with GQ for his film Falling, which he wrote, produced, directed and stars in (Cronenberg, as it happens, also has a cameo).

During the interview, Mortensen acknowledges that he and Cronenberg, with whom he has worked on A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method, are set to team up once again for a shoot this summer, though details are scarce. He has admitted, however, that the film will be from a script that Cronenberg wrote many years ago and has since “refined it”, with the intention of making it his next movie. When speaking with The Guardian, Cronenberg acknowledged that “No matter whether you’re in Canada or not, with independent film…it’s difficult to get anything made. The more unusual a film is, the more resistance you’ll face”, which on its face speaks to the issues he was having getting projects off the ground at the time, but also hints at their obscure nature in comparison to his more recent features, which were decidedly grounded.

Yet, if Cronenberg has proven once thing over his five decades in the film industry, particularly with a body of work that can range from dramatic period pieces to psychological thrillers, it is that he knows how to get his movies made, however insane it might seem on paper. And if Cronenberg’s ruminations to The Guardian–paired with Mortensen’s recent comments–are anything to go by, it is that he will be returning to his horror roots in a manner not truly seen since his 1986 masterpiece The Fly.

Mortensen has seen the script, indicating in no uncertain terms to GQ that “without giving the story away, he’s going maybe a little bit back to his origins…. It’s almost like a strange film noir story. It’s disturbing and it’s good, I think.” Yup, that sounds par for Cronenberg’s wondrously twisted course, and no doubt fans of Cronenberg are salivating at having just read those words (I know I did when writing them), while the “film noir story” reportedly weaved into script is an exciting concept for a director who has showcased a rare stylistic flexibility in his trove of genre-bending features.

Journalists covering developments on Cronenberg’s next film have repeatedly speculated that it could in fact be an adaptation of his own 2014 novel, Consumed, for which the evidence is almost as complementary as it is contradictory. 

As far as the former goes, an adaptation of Consumed is the project Cronenberg has been most vocal of in recent years, while there were rumours of a potential deal with Netflix that ultimately fell through. What’s more, Mortensen’s hint of the narrative uncannily fits the depraved mysteries at the heart of Consumed, which follows two seemingly unconnected journalists investigating brutal crime cases that intertwine in unexpected ways.

However, the evidence against Cronenberg’s next film being Consumed is such that I am erring on the side of scepticism. For one thing, Mortensen has stated that this is a script Cronenberg “wrote a long time ago,” suggesting that it likely predates the 2014 publishing of Consumed. Given that time fosters sentiment, I will go out on a limb and say that this is the same “very personal” script that Cronenberg has reportedly refined, whilst bearing in mind that The Guardian unequivocally identifies this mystery script and Consumed as two separate projects, casting further doubt upon the adaptation. As Cronenberg maintained in that same interview, “Whichever one happens first, I’ll do”.

And that is ultimately what it comes down to. But sadly, Cronenberg and Mortensen are the only public figures who can answer that question. Perhaps when news of further casting lands more light might be shed on the Canadian maestro’s first film since 2014’s Maps to the Stars. Regardless, the very fact that Cronenberg is making at least one more movie–in the genre that defined his career, no less–is all the news I needed for now.

What do you think will be David Cronenberg’s next movie? Do you even agree with what I said? Be sure to let us know down in the comments.


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