David Cronenberg still can’t sell out

There’s many who believe that past a certain age directors shouldn’t make movies anymore, but I say look at David Cronenberg. 

The man who gave us Scanners, The Fly, and A History of Violence, to name a few, is nearing 70, and is making films as good, if not better than ever.

Director Allan Arkush (Rock N Roll High School) worked with Cronenberg at New World Pictures, and still greatly admires his work.

“A History of Violence is a great movie,” Arkush says. “There’s no wasted motion in that movie. It covers an enormous amount of territory, and it doesn’t feel like a movie that’s 95 minutes. It feels like you’ve learned an enormous amount, and it covered a lot of territory.”

David’s filmography also one of an uncompromised vision. He once joked to at the Cannes Film Festival, “I’ve been waiting for years to sell out, it’s just that nobody offered me anything before now.” 

His fans were worried about this at first, but as his fans certainly know by now, he couldn’t make a commercial film on purpose in a million years. Cronenberg was offered such films as Flashdance, Top Gun, Witness, The Juror, The Truman Show, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because as Ghostbuster director Ivan Reitman told The New York Times Magazine, he felt Cronenberg should make a comedy. (Reitman also produced Cronenberg’s Rabid, and it was his idea to have notorious porn star, Marilyn Chambers, play the lead.)

It was after Cronenberg wrote twelve rejected drafts of Total Recall that the remake of The Fly, which was totally up his alley, came long, and gave him a big commercial breakthrough that held its own with Aliens in the summer of ’86. (Scanners was his biggest hit previously.)

As to why Hollywood kept approaching Cronenberg with clearly unsuitable movies for his style, it’s because his films come in on schedule and under budget. 

And funny enough, Cronenberg, who is very open minded, felt the only movie that wasn’t appropriate to his sensibilities was Flashdance, although it would have been interesting to see what he could have done with it visually. (At the same time, he turned down Witness because he dislikes the Amish).

Cronenberg’s next film, A Dangerous Method, which is his take on Freud and Jung creating psychoanalysis, is due in September. It may not be a hit at the box office on the level of Scanners or The Fly, but it’s sure to be well-made, intelligent, thought provoking, and discomforting. Fans of his, like myself, wouldn’t expect anything less.