David Cronenberg’s Sequelitis

david-cronenbergNaked rumbles aside, the London-set gangland thriller Eastern Promises did not exactly hurtle into the top tier of director David Cronenberg‘s work. But the newly-minted knight didn’t get to where he is by giving a damn what you think. He’s gone from turning stomachs into cassette decks to making a Robert Ludlum actioner with Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington. Good for the bank balance, sure, but not exactly challenging audience’s sensibilities much. Now the latest in his questionable career decisions is his revelation to MTV News that Eastern Promises 2 is in the works.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a situation where I actually want to do a sequel to something. I’ve never had the desire to do that before. But in this case, I thought we had unfinished business with those characters. I didn’t feel that we had finished with Nikolai and we had done a lot of research that was more than we could stuff into that one movie.”

The sequel is contingent on a meeting with Steven Knight and producer Paul Webster, and whether Knight will be able to come up with a decent script. Then there’s the matter of convincing Naomi Watts to do ninjutsu starkers. “I have some very strong ideas about what I would like to see, but I would like to hear what they have to say as well,” Cronenberg said, raising a Canadian eyebrow. So it may be nothing more than a dinner with old friends that ends with Webster expensing the check.

Once, when asked by an interviewer how Eastern Promises fit into his oeuvre, Cronenberg said, “You tell me.” True, Eastern Promises used the tattooed bodies of Russian gangsters as a kind of text, Viggo Mortensen’s leathers as a kind of second skin and Cronenberg applied a cool engagement to the notion of Russian clans as a form of hive-life.

But to this blogger, it feels like lately the director’s auteurist concerns are either getting more subtle or are fading into oblivion. It’s been a decade since eXistenZ saw Cronenberg explored ideas of his own. Though, if Denzel starts growing a sentient tumor in his neck in The Matarese Circle , we’ll be colored impressed.

So is Eastern Promises: The Wrath of Kirill a step forward for Cronenberg or a step back?

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One Response to “David Cronenberg’s Sequelitis”

  1. Pornobit: Marilyn Chambers « SquallyShowers Says:

    […] David Cronenberg gave Chambers a rare straight acting role in 1977’s Rabid, assuming playing a woman with a retractable prong in her armpit can be considered “straight.” Chambers had no range, but then she didn’t need one. As an alluring woman whose libido consumes her lovers, Chambers was playing a very modern creature. Before Monsters Vs. Aliens‘ Gigantica, Chambers showed the modern woman was nobody’s play-thing. […]

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