Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg’s in-development indie currently starring Robert Pattinson and Rachel Weisz, may be going forward without his long term collaborator Viggo Mortensen.
“I don’t think Viggo will be able to do it, but with the other two, so far, so good. Have they signed? No. But they have a verbal commitment if everything works out and if other things don’t come along. It’s still very possible for the three of them, but it’s far from certain. That’s life in the indie film world.”
So it’s not a firm “no” to Mortensen, but then it’s not an unqualified “yes” to all three actors either.
Mortensen — whose most recent outing was playing William S. Burroughs in Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road — is currently slated for two upcoming films, Lisandro Alonso’s untitled work and Neil Marshall’s Dracula flick, The Last Voyage of Demeter.
Whether or not Mortensen is juggling scheduling, financial concerns, or something personal isn’t clear, but these kinds of logistics certainly become more pronounced in the realm of indie filmmaking.
It’s something Cronenberg has spoken about before. In May 2012, while promoting his latest film Cosmopolis, which also stars Pattinson, the 69-year-old told Indiewire:
“It’s not a go picture. We have a script that I love that Bruce [Wagner] wrote,” he said. “It’s a very difficult film to get made as was Cosmopolis actually. Whether I can get this movie to happen, I tried it five years ago, I couldn’t get it made, so I still might not be able to get it made.”
Since then, both Pattinson and Cronenberg have talked about their hopes for getting the film off the ground. The most recent mentions courtesy of MovieLine’s Jordan Hoffman interview and another with Indiewire.
During his discussion with Hoffman, Cronenberg said he hoped to begin shooting Maps to the Stars this May but warned that “it is an indie project which means, therefore, that it could fall apart.”
With Indiewire, the director gave an insight into why he’s so keen to work with Pattinson again.
“I really think he’s a terrific actor. He’s extremely inventive. He surprised me every day on Cosmopolis with the nuances and things that he did which were unexpected. Of course I was very familiar with the dialogue and yet he would surprise me. And I thought, this is a guy who I would like to work with some more, which is how I felt with Viggo Mortensen. When you find an actor who surprises you everyday, you figure, he could do it some more with a completely different role in a completely different movie.”
Of Maps to the Stars, Cronenberg revealed a little more of what drew him to Wagner’s script, saying:
“It’s kind of a satire on Hollywood. It’s very typical of Bruce Wagner’s writing. And it’s sort of a condensed essence of Bruce. And while it’s satirical, it’s also very powerful, emotionally, and insightful and funny. And it would be the first time I’ve ever shot a foot of film in the United States. It’s strange, just because of the way the co-production deals work, that even though I’ve had movies that are set in the US like Cosmopolis or The Dead Zone, I’ve never shot in the United States. This would be the first time. And I’m really excited about it.”
In November last year, there was a flurry of excitement when Allocine announced that Rachel Weisz had joined the cast, although Deadline — and now Cronenberg — have confirmed that Weisz and Pattinson are, as yet, committed verbally.
Nutshelled, Map to the Stars’ plot arcs two film industry ex-child stars who become “ruined by Hollywood’s depravity.”
Back in 2006, Cronenberg was keen to separate the film’s premise from Robert Altman’s The Player, telling Variety:
“You could say it’s a Hollywood film because the characters are agents, actors and managers, but it is not a satire like The Player.”
As 2013 casts off, Map to the Stars is now a six-year labor of love for Cronenberg. With that kind of tenacity, optimism that its determined helmer will bring an intriguing premise — and all three cast members — to the big screen, remains.