David Cronenberg, Julianne Moore, John Cusak, Olivia Williams and Robert Pattinson. (Image: George Pimentel/WireImage)
Try though he might, Robert Pattinson can’t shake the Twi-hards. The alley adjacent to the Lightbox was teeming with adolescents (and not-so adolescents) hoping to catch a glimpse of the sparkling vampire, who has of late found new life as a muse for David Cronenberg. Cronenbeg and Pattinson were on hand Tuesday morning alongside Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, screenwriter Bruce Wagner and producer Martin Katz to talk about Cronenberg’s latest, the L.A.-set Maps To The Stars. (Mia Wasikowska, arguably the film’s lead, was noticeably absent.)
Given that Maps is a searing, frequently surreal, sometimes totally silly satire of Hollywood celebrity, it feels like something of an anti-film-festival movie: a movie that hates movies. But for Cronenberg, the setting is pretty incidental. “The movie isn’t about celebrity, really,” he said. “There are no papparazzi. There are no red carpets. It’s a family drama…It could have been a story about Silicon Valley or Wall Street or any other intense business that encourages ambition and deception and all of that stuff.”
Cusack chimed in with a story about his own experience as a young actor in the 1980s, when he was flown out to Hollywood’s famous Chateau Marmont to rerecord dialogue on an early film. There, he spotted wrestling legend Andre The Giant wearing a satin jacket with the word “hell” written on the back. “I thought, ‘Alright, this is what this is going to be,'” said Cusack, “You have no fucking idea what you’re getting into…But it can be a really toxic place. It’s so predatory and people are so afraid. It’s comical, but it can be quite vicious.”
Julianne Moore was asked about her Best Actress win at Cannes for her role in the film, and about her recent commemoration on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to which Cronenberg offered a dark joke that felt like a missing scene from Maps To The Stars. “They’re going to start burying people under the stars!” he suggested. “And there’ll be a lucite screen so you can see them.”
“Like Stalin!” laughed Cusack.