Presented in Competition at the 75th Cannes Film Festival and in cinemas on May 25, “Les Crimes du futur” marks the return of David Cronenberg. The film’s trio, Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, tell us about this unique filmmaker. Meet.
David Cronenberg passionately loves actors, especially those who are not afraid of anything. It takes that to meet the expectations of a filmmaker capable of anything. In The Crimes of the Futurehis twenty-second feature film, he surrounds himself with a golden trio: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart. Three different career sensibilities, but always ready to push their limits on screen.
Present at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, where the film is screened in Official Competition, the three headliners confided in AlloCiné. They talk about their relationship of trust with the director, his particular style and the power of a cinema that takes the viewer out of his comfort zone. Meeting on the roof of a hotel in Cannes.
ENTER THE WORLD OF CRONENBERG
When Léa Seydoux receives a call to join The Crimes of the Futureshe is in a queue to go see Crash, another film by the director, in a cinema in Paris. Sign of fate. Initially, she was to interpret Timlin, a role now held by Kristen Stewart. “But I could have played any role for him“, she says.
The two actresses sign their first collaboration with David Cronenberg. His immense career necessarily imposes some apprehensions, very quickly dissipated on the set. “I was so nervousremember Kristen Stewart. But he knows how to make fears disappear because he is a man of great gentleness and tenderness. Which is surprising when you know his films.”
Léa Seydoux confirms it: “It’s funny because when people imagine him as a very mysterious man, but when you know him, he’s a very human person. We didn’t talk about the project at all because, in my opinion, when you make a film, you have to keep your secrets to yourself. We talked about life, love and these conversations helped me nurture the character.”
For Viggo Mortensen, this film marks his reunion with a longtime friend. He toured four times with him and even offered him a small role in his feature film falling. David Cronenberg plays it…a proctologist, of course. “I have a special relationship with himhe says. We share a certain sense of humor about life. There is trust between us. Thanks to this, I am ready to do anything. I can do things for him that I might hesitate to do with other directors.”
SURPASS YOURSELF ON SET
While playing for David Cronenberg, Léa Seydoux was able to overcome his fear. “I need cinema and this form of expression that is the game to transcend itshe reveals. It’s like a roller coaster before, you know you’re going to have this adrenaline rush and it’s always the case for the films I make. Finally, we almost become addicted to this feeling.”
Kristen Stewart was surprised by the filmmaker’s instinct during the takes: “He let me do one or two tries, I was about to start again, but he came towards me smiling to say: ‘No, it’s perfect!’ I was so surprised because his films are so precise, but on the set, it’s improvised cinema. When the shoot ended, I didn’t even want to leave.”
AN AVANT-GARDE AUTHOR
The works of David Cronenberg have the particularity of evolving through the ages. A film misunderstood on its release can be rediscovered or rehabilitated decades later. Whether it’s a hallucinatory thriller, satire or dystopia, his stories are always one step ahead of the world.
“He carefully chooses what his characters say and where he puts the camerainsists Viggo Mortensen. More than for other directors, his films gain in depth over the viewings. He is ahead of society in many ways.”
For example, the actor cites Crash, film released in 1996 and awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes. “This project caused a lot of controversy, but I think people weren’t prepared for it. When I see him again today, I spot new things. It wasn’t just a superficial desire to shock.”
The scenario of Future Crimes was written over twenty years ago and seems more relevant than ever. “I could not believe itis surprised Kristen Stewart. It feels like he wrote this story in response to the last three years.”
On his side, Léa Seydoux was seduced by the richness of the subjects covered on the screen: “The question of the environment, art, the plastics we eat and what we leave to future generations. Moreover, the film opens with a child. It represents the future, but this future is already dead. Fortunately there is a certain hope, a tenderness which springs up in the film and which was not visible in the scenario.”
DISTURBING PEACEFUL MINDS
Shaking up the spectators to better question them has always been one of the objectives of David Cronenberg. Kristen Stewart is happy to present such a film at the biggest film festival in the world. “Especially since I come from a country where we talk about “industry”, she adds. It is “the film industry”. This single word evokes money. Films must pay off at all costs. This one is not only intended to entertain, it is made to ask the right questions and ask ourselves who we really are..”
“Every director has their own language and David’s is so personal, specialconcludes Léa Seydoux. I think he invented a genre. When we go to see one of his films, it’s a sensory experience, we are crossed in his body. He is still one of the few to cause this.”
Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Cannes, May 23, 2022.
The Crimes of the Futurein theaters May 25, 2022.