May 2nd, 2014 / 5 Comments

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This interview with David gives some great insight into the film but as it says below, it does contain spoilers. The original interview is in Italian & have translated with Google Translate. Thanks to for sharing the interview:

Hollywood burns. No matter what you say or what happens: the appearance covers the essence, the illusory happiness of the success conceals personal ghosts, madness reigns supreme. He got to see everything firsthand Bruce Wagner, a successful writer who as a young man – while trying to make it as an actor and / or writer – he worked as a limo driver in Los Angeles, close to meeting those who had been the fame kissed. From that experience was born years after the script maps to the Stars , a film directed by David Cronenberg will be presented in competition at the Cannes Film Festival before arriving on Italian and French on May 21. Family drama on the one hand and fighting inner demons on the one hand, Maps to the Stars crosses the destinies of the distraught family of Weiss with that of the more troubled actress no longer young Havana Segrand: it comes out a merciless critique of the Hollywood system, David Cronenberg’s best explains in an interview with Serge Grünberg, his interviewer par excellence, which, being devoid of contractual receivables (it is attached to one of the versions of the French press kit for the film) I decided to readjust and offer. Good reading. But beware: CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Interview with David Cronenberg

For some time you were planning to collaborate with Bruce Wagner. How did you find it?

It is known that Bruce Wagner is a successful writer who has published ten novels, most of which takes place in Hollywood or, in any case, in Los Angeles. We got in touch when he published his first novel in 1991, a text that has proceeded to send me personally. I found a fantastic book, and since then we have not lost sight of. For a long time, I also decided to adapt the novel and the film, something that few people know, we have also worked together on a television series called Firewall . In essence, the series was a sort of Microsoft versus Apple, Steve Jobs versus Bill Gates, but too many limitations imposed by large issuers involved in the project have ended up killing everything in the bud. It’s always the same story: the changes and impositions kill people. It could have been a great series, who knows …

Then, when Bruce wrote the screenplay for Maps to the Stars , he made ​​me read and I thought it was wonderful and perfect to wear on the big screen. We have worked on, we changed a few things and we soon met the interest of Julianne Moore. The gestation of the film is, however, went on for almost ten years: this is the third film after Dead Ringers and A Dangerous Method , which work so long.

With Maps to the Stars she approaches for the first time at the fantastic, touching a ghost story.

Yeah, the ghost of James Dean haunts for real world … In the original screenplay Bruce was more of a ghost but I wanted to get rid of it. As you know, I have a sort of philosophical aversion to ghosts because they assume a life after death, a concept somewhat religious. And I am against any religion. There is no doubt that I am obsessed by my parents. I see them, hear them, but I do not perceive them to be everywhere: they are, if anything, in my head. This is something disturbing and at the same time positive that comes from love. Here, I accept only this type of ghosts: those that arise from the experience and memory. And the ghosts of Maps to the Stars belong to this sphere: the spirits are connected to the memory. Many people have real conversations with the dead – I myself have had this experience – but that does not mean that you accept the definition of traditional religious and ghosts. I also touched on the topic in The Dead Zone , where the protagonist should predict the future is simply a psychotic or really that gift?

The ghost of the mother of Havana is quite real: is an actress who continues to live on the screen and pursues her daughter, having become a sort of icon.

That ghost is the insecurity of Havana. It’s as if it was her own reflection in a mirror, who speaks and who shows signs of advancing age. Psychologically, it is very believable and it also works perfectly. Bruce Wagner was very understanding with my choices: being himself a director, he knows how important the choices of the author. Despite being on a daily basis on my set, it has never interfered with my decisions. On second thought, it is also the first time that allow one writer to follow my work so closely.

The other major theme of Maps to the Stars is incest.

Shown is a particular type of incest. When it comes to incest, everyone thinks the relationships father / daughter or mother / son and in a few rather than brother / sister, especially when this involves two kids. The world of cinema by its very nature is quite incestuous, if you pass me the comparison: it is mostly a small group of people that you meet all the time, and who share the same problems. And Hollywood is a community even smaller. Incest in Hollywood is in the business, sensitivity and creativity. The results are then under the eyes of all: the largest movie studios are nothing more than the result, often deformed, with many problems, of an incestuous union. In Maps to the Stars , there is a family drama but is within a well-defined family, which in some way is the family of Hollywood.

In Maps to the Stars is also a reflection on how Hollywood considers how the young actors of the products is the case, for example, Benjie, who at thirteen is already aware of its value, a bit ‘like the pharaohs of Egypt .

It is interesting to compare with Egypt. The pharaohs wanted to become immortal gods, separating reality from the essence body. When Benjie met the producers, one has the impression that the wish that no longer exists because of its problems. They prefer the star Benjie to the problematic teenager Benjie. Also in this case falls into play a religious phenomenon: the image (eternal) is gradually separated from the body (mortal). A body dies but his image no: James Dean died physically but his image is still alive. The same is true of Elvis and his music, for example.

The situations described in Maps to the Stars are cruel, as are his characters. The feeling is, however, that you did not want to make a movie cruel.

You can. I shot several scary movies but this time the cruelty is at a psychological level more realistic. I have the impression that in this world, the cruelty is something innate in the human soul. Ambition, cruelty and hypocrisy are part of our DNA: people show gentle, sweet and affectionate, but once in contact with the ambition awaken their sides cruel and brutal. Agatha, for example, attempted to kill her brother but there are many questions about her behavior: it is only attracted by her brother? Or want to exorcise something else? We do not know.

There is also a horrific scene in which, after the death of a boy, Havana sings and dances.

This seems to be the only scene in the movie where she is really happy. This scene is truly terrifying. Who would dare admit such a reaction? But I am afraid that it is very human. In a sense, it is not her fault.  She does not feel any guilt in showing her joy. Havana has had everything in life: she lives in a nice home, a nice car, a career well underway. It looks like all those Hollywood actresses who, once the forties, they start to wonder if they will be able to maintain their lifestyle. Her greatest desire is to become an immortal goddess, she wants to win an Oscar and is willing to do anything to achieve that.

Agatha’s father is rather a therapist, a wizard and very cynical.

It’s the classic television charlatan, cynical and greedy, who fancies himself a great priest / healer. Like all television magicians, has a mindset that leads him to believe in his own scam: This is what also makes it irresistible. It is nothing but a great actor and I have described similar characters in Brood – The Brood or Videodrome . In addition, he can not stand that people act against his instructions and the most resistant of the “patient” is really his daughter Agatha, who attacks physically. The behavior of Agatha is as if it were a form of bad publicity to his work, putting into question the foundations and results.

  • Sue
    Posted on May 02, 2014

    I toyed (albeit very briefly) with the idea of NOT reading this post because of the spoilers. Of course, I caved within seconds, and I’m so glad I did. I can’t wait to hear everything DC has to say about this movie. For sure we’re in for a treat. Thanks Michelle.

  • silvie
    Posted on May 02, 2014

    Thanks Michelle, glad that I got to read this. I’ll be able to watch the movie with a better understanding of the concepts/issues that are dealt with. 😀

  • Trish
    Posted on May 03, 2014

    Michelle, I’m going to make a note of the date of this post so I can read it AFTER I’ve seen the movie. I am so tempted, but I really really want to see it without knowing what’s going on. Thank you for the spoiler alert – I’m one of those people that like being surprised on Christmas morning!

  • Michelle
    Posted on May 03, 2014

    Completely understand Trish, will be something to enjoy after you’ve seen the film 🙂

  • Carmel
    Posted on May 03, 2014

    I read the first bits but once I saw the hint of those spoilers I stopped. I am happy to leave David’s movies with questions . And I’ll be happy to go again multiple time to try and figure it all out. Not reading all David’s insights here is a pretty hard though

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