Robert Pattinson on David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis

Facing roles in David Cronenberg's new film Cosmopolis, actors Robert Pattinson and Paul Giamatti said they felt terror and intimidation at the daunting project.

Cronenberg, Pattinson and co-star Giamatti discuss adapting novel into film

Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg on Cosmopolis

9 years ago
The star and director of Cosmopolis talk to CBC's Eli Glasner about adapting Don DeLillo's novel for film and taking inspiration from his dialogue. 8:20

Facing roles in David Cronenberg's new film Cosmopolis, actors Robert Pattinson and Paul Giamatti said they felt terror and intimidation at the daunting project.

A critique of capitalism and the financial industry, Cronenberg's film draws dialogue and lengthy exchanges straight from the 2003 Don DeLillo novel that inspired it.

It made for an "intense" and "intimidating" experience, Giamatti admitted at a press conference in Toronto on Monday, in advance of the film's Canadian debut following its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cosmopolis stars Pattinson as a billionaire asset manager who gets caught up in a remarkable one-day odyssey in Manhattan. Giamatti portrays a deranged former associate who shares a pivotal scene with Pattinson's financier.

Other stars include Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton and Canadians Sarah Gadon, Jay Baruchel and Kevin Durand.

Pattinson, best known for the blockbuster Twilight vampire romance film series, said he and Baruchel felt "absolutely terrified," when they began shooting the film in Toronto. However, Cronenberg's calm demeanour and approach soon put them at ease, he said. 

By keeping true to the script, other elements simply fell into place organically, Robert Pattinson said in an interview with CBC's Eli Glasner on Monday.

"It all felt quite, for whatever reason, like something very obvious to do. It never felt like anything was particularly forced, or we'd had to plan anything."

For Cronenberg, it's the strength of DeLillo's words and of the cast that's key.

"It's the dialogue first of all which carries everything...It's incredibly funny, incredibly profound, incredibly adept and very philosophical. I mean, you don't get that very often," he said.

"If you've got great dialogue and you've got a great actor, the actor speaks the dialogue and it immediately manifests itself. The truth of it, the force of it is right there."

Indeed, the main direction Giamatti recalled receiving from the Toronto-based filmmaker was "not to screw it up because it's the climax of the movie. Literally, he said 'Don't blow this because it's the end of the movie,'" Giamatti told CBC.

"There's a way in which he trusts you so completely which is unique...He knows you will figure it out. He trusts you more than you trust yourself and that’s a really great thing."

Cosmopolis opens across Canada on Friday.

With files from The Canadian Press