The Reeler

Recent Comments


A Girl and a Gun
Ain't It Cool News
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Anne Thompson
Art Fag City
Better Than Fudge
Big Picture Big Sound
Bitter Cinema
Blank Screen
Brian Flemming
Bright Lights
Celluloid Eyes
Chutry Experiment, The
Cinema Confidential
Cinema Eye
Coming Soon
Cool Cinema Trash
Cyndi Greening
Dark Horizons
Drew's Blog-O-Rama
Esoteric Rabbit
Film Detail
Film Experience, The
Film Journal, The
Film Journey
Film Stew
Film Rotation
GreenCine Daily
Hacking Netflix
Hammer to Nail
High Sign, The
Hollywood Elsewhere
House Next Door, The
IFC Blog, The
In the Company of Glenn
IndieScene Movie Marketing Blog
indieWIRE Blogs
Jay's Movie Blog
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Kaiju Shakedown
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Last Night with Riviera
Light Sleeper
Long Pauses
Masters of Cinema
Matt Zoller Seitz
Midnight Eye
Milk Plus
Mind Jack
Movie Blog, The
Movie City Indie
Movie Hole, The
Movie Poop Shoot
New York Cool
NY Post Movie Blog
News of the Dead
No More Marriages!
Notes From Underdog
Out of Focus
Persistence of Vision
Queer Film Review
Reel Roundtable
Screen Rush
Screener (Film Journal Int.)
Screening the Past
Self-Styled Siren
Short Sheet, The
Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine Blog
Still in Motion
Stranger Song, The
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
Tisch Film Review
Vince Keenan
World Film (at
You Know, For Film

The Reeler Blog

David Cronenberg Finds God

By Christopher Campbell

On the eve of the opening of their new film, Eastern Promises, director David Cronenberg and screenwriter Steve Knight dropped by the Director's Guild Theater for a screening and Q&A hosted by the Musuem of the Moving Image and Variety. The discussion began with the obvious acknowledgement that Eastern Promises makes for a great double feature with Cronenberg's previous work, A History of Violence. But because Knight had nothing to do with that film, the conversation turned towards the topic of the duo's collaboration.

Steve Knight and David Cronenberg at Thursday's preview screening of Eastern Promises in Midtown

"The great thing about working with David," Knight explained to the audience, "is that he has an eye for things that won't work and also an instinct for what would work. So when we first sat down to discuss the script, there were elements of it that David instantly knew would slow things down or wouldn't work. And as a result of David's sure-handedness, the meeting didn't have to be long. Really it's an ideal situation."

"I found the same," Cronenberg replied. "You can often have writers who are very protective of the material because it's theirs, and [for] no other reason. Not necessarily because it works. Then you get a whole ego thing going on; it can be quite messy. But Steve was not like that."

One specific example of the script's malleability is the spareness in the scripting of the now famous, soon-to-be-legendary moment in which Viggo Mortensen kicks ass in a bathhouse while completely nude (and uncensored). "In the original script, [Steve] never talked about the towel," Cronenberg said. "Where did it go? Was it on the body or was it not? So we had to figure that out. It was not too detailed a script. Really when you write a script it is broad strokes mostly, because to put in all the detail that it takes to actually make a movie would make an 800 page script. A script is not even a blueprint, because you can build a house from a blueprint, but you can't build a movie from a script in the same sense."

Knight does deserve credit for the film's underlying themes. "There's birth and death and renewal and Christmas and all of that," he said. "Those things are there if people want to look for them."

"Somebody actually came up with a very interesting religious interpretation of the whole movie," Cronenberg added. "With the baby being Moses in the bulrushes. I'm serious. And you know, it was convincing. I'm convinced. I've made a religious epic. I like Ben-Hur..."

A religious epic with nude fight sequences and acknowledged homosexual undertones (Cronenberg: "Of course there is") -- what else is new? If only Focus Features would sell it based on that description.

Posted at September 14, 2007 10:49 AM

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Search The Reeler
Join the Mailing List

RSS Feed


Send a Tip