A MUST READ - Robert Pattinson's "Cosmopolis" Production Notes
You can download the FULL production notes HERE. They really are worth checking out. Great read and insight into the movie.
Here is a taster (obviously I'm only including the parts where Rob is mentioned)
David Cronenberg and long-time collaborator, casting director Deirdre Bowen, have
assembled a remarkable cast, with talent from America, Canada, England, and France. The
script is character-driven—much of the plot involves short, intense encounters between the
protagonist and the secondary characters. The dialogue is central and often demanding.
Eric Packer’s personality and psychological journey unfolds in a series of close interactions
with the people of the cosmopolis—his employees, lovers and enemies. Choosing the lead
actor was crucial, of course, and because the rest of cast would have to work briefly but
intimately with the lead, supporting roles also required strong casting.
“Casting is a black art,” proclaims David Cronenberg. “You can kill your movie by making a
mistake before you’ve even shot film.” When Robert Pattinson’s name was proposed for the
lead role of Packer, Cronenberg watched much of his work—including the young actor’s role
as Salvador Dali in Little Ashes—and he was sold: “Rob was the most interesting and
exciting actor suggested for COSMOPOLIS, and I knew that he would bring something
wonderful to the screen—maybe even something he didn’t know he had.” (Kate: I think I love this man. Second to Rob of course ;-})
Under David’s direction, Robert delivers an edgy, understated performance. In fact, Robert notes that he
has never felt “utilized to this degree as an actor,” and fellow cast member Paul Giamatti
describes Robert’s casting as “genius.” (Kate: Couldn't agree more!)
LOADS MORE to read After The Cut
Robert Pattinson—Eric Packer
Eric Packer is a selfish young member of the ruling class, at the top of the super-rich 1%.
He is an anti-hero whose privileged reality is decadent and isolated. Casting Robert
Pattinson in this unsympathetic role wasn’t obvious. Robert’s super-stardom perhaps gives
him some insight to the pressures of success, but his pressures include the attention of a
zealous fan base that might expect him in a different role. And he is younger than Eric
Packer was envisioned, an age difference that influences the rest of the casting process. On
the other hand, young billionaires and tech-savvy traders are not unusual in today’s society.
Plus, casting Robert presents an opportunity to attract a new generation to Cronenberg’s
work. (Kate: That's true)
Ultimately, the choice rested on Pattinson’s talent and experience, with or without celebrity.
Cronenberg found Robert mature and willing to challenge himself: “...Rob is not deluded
about his fame; he understands that popularity is not the essence of being a good actor, and
recognizes the danger of taking projects to please others rather than himself.” (Kate: I don't think Rob could ever be accused of doing that)
Bringing the egomaniacal Eric Packer to life required Pattinson to forget being a sympathetic character.
Cronenberg observes, “Some actors worry about not being appealing or sensitive, but that
was never an issue for Rob; it was always about finding the often unlikeable truth of who Eric
is and what it means to be a 25-year-old billionaire.... Rob is incredibly likeable, but he
doesn’t need to be liked.” So Eric Packer, a financial god, perhaps soulless but with feet of
clay, is realized by the charismatic, modest Robert Pattinson.
Robert was surprised and excited by the COSMOPOLIS offer. He recounts receiving the
screenplay about a year earlier and thinking it was “one of the most original scripts” he’d
read. However, he doubted he’d get the part: “Then the offer came out of the blue and I was
amazed!” Praising David’s consistently “thought-provoking” and innovative work, Robert
says he was certain about taking the part; however, he admits, “I had no idea how I was
going to play it.... I was scared at first, mainly because I could interpret the script and play it
so many different ways....” He didn’t have much time with David before shooting, but he
knew he was in good hands. His trust in the director, as well as David’s in Robert, was wellfounded.
“I could feel David moulding it as we shot, and that made me really comfortable
because it meant there was no specific right or wrong way. Eventually, I was very relaxed,
especially for it being such an intense piece.”
Pattinson wanted a project that would take him to the edges of himself, and COSMOPOLIS
provides the character to do it. Eric Parker is inscrutable and contradictory, both calculating
and reckless. Robert had to find the emotional core of a man who is desensitized, a man
who interprets the world in terms of numbers and acquisitions. Robert notes, “I think Eric
has an all-consuming ego.” He lives an artificial existence, and Eric’s success seems a
product of detachment and cold rationality. Yet his odd quest for a haircut is risky, irrational.
He normally makes people come to him, including a physician for a daily exam, but he
insists on seeing an old-fashioned barber on the opposite side of town, despite the risk to his
Rob notes his character’s grasp of contemporary events, business and politics. Eric
Packer’s knowledge of the world, however, comes primarily through technology, and he sees
most things as mere information, “some kind of list or matrix,” Rob suggests, about which he
is dispassionate. Rob describes Eric “Watching screens informing him of current data all the
time. I think he ends up taking drastic measures just to feel something because he’s become
so desensitized.” He knows, and somewhat owns, many people but seems to have no
friends. Even his new wife feels distant, an acquisition, someone to use or ignore. He is the
master of his cosmos, but is he lonely at the top? Does he care? The enigma of Eric’s
character is central to the film, and his interaction with secondary characters both shapes
that puzzle and perhaps gives clues to solving it.
Cronenberg assured Pattinson of his directorial support in creating an authentic Eric Packer.
He also promised Rob “fantastic actors” to work with on COSMOPOLIS -- and delivered.
SHOOTING IN THE LIMO
Robert Pattinson found the system worked beautifully: “I was in a car for the majority of the
time, and David was out by the monitors on an intercom, and yet he was incredibly sensitive
to every little thing we did, even when we weren’t conscious of it. He always seemed to pick
up on things when they were getting interesting, and that was very reassuring.”
In addition, Pattinson found shooting in the car helped his characterization of Eric:
“I became familiar with the car and comfortable in my seat, while each of the other actors
had to come in and figure it all out for themselves. Everyone else felt alien in ‘my’ domain.”
Given the nature of the story, this seems a fitting dynamic in which to work.
After shooting mostly in the limo for over a month, Pattinson found it “refreshing” to get out
and work with other actors experiencing a new set with him in Benno’s space and the barber
shop, also meticulously created on set by Arv Greywal and his team.
With a lead character in the same wardrobe for the duration of the film, costume designer
Denise Cronenberg recognized the need for perfect choices – and several of them - from
day one. Gucci delivered on both fronts: seven black slim cut suits, white shirts, and black
ties, belts and shoes. Denise comments: “I needed multiple costumes for Rob's character so
whatever creative choices and possible breakdown of clothing were made during shooting,
we would be equipped.”
Via GossipGyal / CosmopolisFilm.com