I knew by the time he spoke to me, the son of iconic horror filmmaker David Cronenberg, a horror film master who director awesome movies like “The Fly”, would have spoken to a plethora of intrusive journalists who would have had very little empathy for his time and the reality of how draining a press junket can really be. I was one of the last people he spoke to so my main approach for interviewing him was to make him laugh and to kind of give him a moment to relax after going through a full day of interviews with the press.
Brandon Cronenberg premiered his first film Antiviral at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 to mixed reviews. The biggest issue is that Brandon a took a different approach and created a high definition horror flick that mirrored and rebelled from his father’s work at the same time. While the concept of his film is very different from David Cronenberg’s, all of Brandon’s reviews immediately compared his horror film to his dad’s. Brandon is a new filmmaker, and Antiviral was a brave and poignant step in the right direction for his career. We talked about his dad, his personal ideas about filmmaking and celebrity culture and the experience of making and promoting Antiviral.
I’m sure you’ve been doing interviews all day. Do you have a glass of bourbon next to you right now?
(Laughs) No, I don’t. I wish I did.
I read somewhere that you weren’t into horror films.
Really? I like horror films. I’m not like super into them where they’re the only movies I watch, but I like horror films a lot.
So you’re not one of those people who goes to weekend long drive in geeky horror film fests, for three days straight?
Yeah, exactly, I have friends who are super into them in to them like that, which is cool, but I’m not a hardcore fan where some people are just completely obsessed with them.
When the idea for Antiviral popped into your head and you were ready to make it, did you ask your dad for advice?
No. I mean, we like to talk, and we talk about filmmaking sometimes, but I didn’t ask him for advice. I wish I could say that I did ask him, and give you some profound answer, like this amazing one liner that he gave me, and it changed every, but it didn’t happen that way.
Does you father support your filmmaking? Do you guys have a rivalry?
Umm, no. We’re very close, and we get along. I don’t think there’s a rivalry really.
I wonder if was there ever this apprehension or fear, that people were going to give you shit for choosing a career that was very similar to what your father did very well.
Very briefly. But I had to get that out of my head quickly. I couldn’t think about that have an honest career. If I went around worrying about what other people were saying, I wouldn’t be able to put out an honest product, so I work very hard not to think about that. It’s important that I be myself.
That takes a lot of bravery.
Have you read any of the reviews for Antiviral?
Um, some. I try not to read many of them. Whether it is a good review or a bad review, I don’t really want to read articles about how people view something that is my art.
Well, none of the reviews I read were bad, per say.
I’ve read some pretty bad ones. (laughs) Some of them were very vicious.
Ok, well I guess I read the more politely executed reviews, and from what I understand, the general consensus was that your films have more gloss. You’re film is said to have a bit more hypertension and a heightened sense of detail, where your father’s films are a bit simpler. Was that intentional? Or was it just because you’ve come up in a more HD generation of filmmakers?
Well, that’s nice to say first of all. But I don’t really think about my film compared to my father’s. I haven’t thought about my fathers films and my films in regards to a wider scope and the differences and similarities to my films. My dad’s films are not something we discuss at the dinner table.
Right now your just moving towards the end of your Antiviral’s promotional whirlwind, and after a while it will all be over. Will you take a moment to sit down, relax and watch your own shit?
(Laughs) It will be a long time before I do that.
So, I think there’s this natural affinity, when you think about celebs having their worst possible day it would probably contain a fan stalking them, chopping them up and eating them, right?
I think that would be a pretty bad day for anyone! Thank you for your interest in my fetish with mutilation.
Do you have any dream projects you want to work on?
Umm, I’m in the very embryotic stages of writing a new script. But I’ve been so busy doing press, I haven’t really had to time to really develop it yet. I am working on that and a couple of other projects.
Have you explored celebrity obsession with Antiviral to the point where you’re satisfied, or are you going to keep digging with this concept?
Um, I probably won’t do another film like Antiviral for a long time, but I wouldn’t mind revisiting the idea later on.
Would you marry or hook up with a celebrity?
I wouldn’t avoid it! I wouldn’t avoid marrying or hooking up with a celebrity, no.
Do you think after seeing your movie, they’d want to hook up with you??
I don’t know, I mean I have a girlfriend.
No, it’s fine. I mean, people have this idea in their mind about what a celebrity is, and it has nothing to do with who the celeb is as a human being. So, I wouldn’t mind being with a celebrity because their persona has nothing to do with who they are as a person. I wouldn’t worry about it.
So, you wouldn’t avoid hooking up with a celeb because you’d be able to get past the hype?
Your average person’s image of celebrity is from the media and publicity images are totally photoshopped. They have this wide range or sources and preconceptions of people they’ve never met. So what happens is that the celebrity kind of eclipses the idea of the actual human being. And that image of that celebrity character can live on, past death, like the Tupac hologram. That perpetuates the cultural myth.
Is there anything you would have done differently throughout this entire process?
No, not really. I mean, I think if I could go back, and make some changes to the film now, I would, but I don’t have any big changes that I would make. I made the movie that I wanted to make and I’m happy with the result.
Can you see yourself becoming a celebrity?
Well, directors don’t ever become as famous as actors simply because they are not as visible to the public. I work in Toronto, so it’s not like I’m in L.A. making 300 million dollar films or anything. I’d like to be famous enough where I can do my work in Toronto.
Would you move to America to make films?
No, I don’t think so.