Crimes of the Future: Cronenberg–I am Older than the Cannes Film Festival…..

Politics: Canadians “Think Everybody in the U.S. Is Completely Insane”

The Canadian director and stars Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart discuss his body-horror shocker ‘Crimes of the Future.’


“I hope to commit a few more cinematic crimes before I’m finished,” said David Cronenberg, unveiling his return to Cannes with Crimes of the Future, the competition title that premiered at the film festival on Monday.

Despite, in his own words, being “older than Cannes Fest” (Cronenberg is 77, Cannes celebrates its 75th anniversary this year), the Canadian auteur was in fine form at the Crimes press conference Tuesday, delighting journalists with his self-deprecating wit and occasional insights into his body of work. At one point, after one reporter’s long-winded question, the director quipped: “That wasn’t one question, it was 10. So now you only get a half .”

Cronenberg was joined on stage by the film’s stars Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Scott Speedman, as well as the film’s producer Robert Lantos.

With his new film, the director returns to the sci-fi body horror of films, such as Videodrome (1983) and eXistenZ (1999). In the dystopian world of the film, which imagines a future in which surgery has become the new sex, Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux star as performance artists whose’s art involves manipulating and mutating their internal organs. Kristen Stewart plays an investigator from the National Organ Registry, who obsessively tracks their movements. Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Don McKellar, Tanaya Beatty and Denise Capezza co-star.

Although Cronenberg said the film was not overtly political, he admitted it resonated with the current times, given the debate in the U.S. over the potential overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the rolling back of abortion rights.

“In a non-obvious way [the film] is about who owns whose body,” he said, adding that in Canada, where he lives, “we think everybody in the U.S. is completely insane and cannot believe elected officials are saying the things they are saying.”

Asked about the choices he’s made in his long career, Cronenberg recalled how he turned down the opportunity to make the original Top Gun in 1986 (the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, celebrated its international premiere in Cannes last week.)

“In the past, when I had a career, people offered me things but though I like machinery, I did a film Fast Company (1979) which nobody talks about, about drag racing, so I  could see why they might think I would be interested [in directing Top Gun]. But for two hours to watch the movie, great. But to spend two years working on it. No, thanks.”

Despite some shocking scenes that will test the mettle of many an audience member, the Cannes crowd was impressed by Crimes of the Future on its world premiere Monday night, showing Cronenberg and his cast with a 6-minute standing ovation.

Speaking to Cronenberg’s extreme visual style, Stewart dismissed the oft-cited criticism of the director that his films can be difficult to watch. “Every bruise in his movies makes my mouth open, it makes me want to lean forward, it never repulses,” Stewart said, noting that for her, Cronenberg’s movies express “really visceral desire, and that’s why we’re alive.”

Mortensen, whose starring role in Crimes marks his fourth collaboration with Cronenberg, called himself “a willing slave” of the director, noting that he was “pounded into submission” long ago. Seydoux called him an “icon of cinema.”

Neon will release Crimes of the Future stateside.