At this week’s second UK premiere* for A Dangerous Method, we spoke to Viggo Mortenson about the attraction of working with David Cronenberg.He explained,
“He makes what can sometimes be a very trying or difficult job, or emotionally demanding, he makes easy and fun. He never loses sight of the fact that, after all it’s play, it’s make believe. It should be fun, there’s no reason for it not to be, and he helps you feel that way too. There’s a lot of directors – I would say, more often than not, directors forget that. They feel the pressure, or they take themselves or what they’re doing too seriously.”
When asked whether he was referring to directors he has worked with he continued,
“I don’t think there’s many directors like him, who are so secure as people. That have such technical knowledge, and actually like actors – a lot of directors don’t. Don’t understand them, don’t want to understand them, feel threatened by them and the suggestions that they have. He’s not.”
Now file this under speculation, but I’m guessing Peter Jackson doesn’t count as one of the ‘secure’ people, at least not in Mortensen’s eyes. The actor hasn’t been brought back for a cameo in the Hobbit, in spite of seeming quite keen to do so. Perhaps this could be why.
During the evening we also caught up with Kiera Knightly, who explained that the film was very nearly much more tame,
“I was in doubt about doing it because of two specific scenes in the film that are of a sadomasochistic nature, and I actually phoned up David and I said, ‘look, I love you, I love your work, I love the script but I don’t know if I want to do this. It’s the age of the internet, we know what the British press are like’, and he said, ‘OK, we’ll take them out’.”
Fortunately she managed to talk Cronenberg round,
“I actually thought, the reason I’d phoned him up to turn it down is because I thought it was really important that they were in there. I didn’t think it was gratuitous to have them in there. I thought it was incredibly important, if you were going to make a film about Freud and Yung, and about this woman who was torn apart by her sexual desires, in that medium you can’t not see what you’re talking about. So anyway, we talked about it and talked about it and kind of got into what it was in her that meant that she needed to do that, and exactly how he was going to shoot it. And the fact that he didn’t want to make it sexy or voyeuristic, but kind of brutal and strangely clinical, I went, ‘OK, let’s do it’.”
*You read that right. It originally premiered at the London Film Festival in October, but apparently that doesn’t count, so we got another one.