"Cosmopolis" brings star Pattinson to Cannes

Fri May 25, 2012 12:49pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

CANNES, France (Reuters) - "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson is a ruthless billionaire on a journey to self-destruction in Canadian director David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis", a searing attack on greed and capitalism launching at the Cannes film festival.

In the movie based on a Don DeLillo novel of the same name, capitalism is corrupting, characters cannot communicate, and people joke that rats could be the new currency. The film is competing for the festival's top prize to be awarded on Sunday.

The slick but stilted critique of the financial industry managed to capture the zeitgeist that erupted last year with the Occupy Wall Street movement, protests in Manhattan that occurred even as the film was being shot, Cronenberg said.

"We didn't think we were making ... a prophecy, when we started making the movie, but suddenly that was the case," Cronenberg told reporters. "For some reason our movie is capturing the moment. It became a documentary instead of a fiction film."

Heartthrob Pattinson plays high finance wonderkid Eric Packer, obsessed with the idea of crossing New York during heavy traffic and roadblocks to get a haircut.

It is never clear why the perfectly groomed lead actor wants a haircut, but along the circuitous route across town in his white stretch limo he appears in every scene of the movie -- usually sitting in a throne-like black leather seat.

"You need someone that people want to watch and he was brave enough to play a character who is not really sympathetic," Cronenberg said. "Some actors don't want to play that. And he was not afraid."

Pattinson told reporters he was initially intimidated by the prospect of working on the film, acknowledging that "I can't explain what the movie is about."   Continued...

Cast member Robert Pattinson poses during a photocall for the film "Cosmopolis", in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival May 25, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard