David Cronenberg Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (11)  | Trivia (29)  | Personal Quotes (58)

Overview (3)

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Birth NameDavid Paul Cronenberg
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early age (he wrote and published eerie short stories, thus following his father's path) and for music (playing classical guitar until he was 12), Cronenberg graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Literature after switching from the science department. He reached the cult status of horror-meister with the gore-filled, modern-vampire variations of Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), following an experimental apprenticeship in independent film-making and in Canadian television programs.

Cronenberg gained popularity with the head-exploding, telepathy-based Scanners (1981) after the release of the much underrated, controversial, and autobiographical The Brood (1979). Cronenberg become a sort of a mass media guru with Videodrome (1983), a shocking investigation of the hazards of reality-morphing television and a prophetic critique of contemporary aesthetics. The issues of tech-induced mutation of the human body and topics of the prominent dichotomy between body and mind were back again in The Dead Zone (1983) and The Fly (1986), both bright examples of a personal film-making identity, even if both films are based on mass-entertainment materials: the first being a rendition of a Stephen King best-seller, the latter a remake of a famous American horror movie.

With Dead Ringers (1988) and Naked Lunch (1991), the Canadian director, no more a mere genre movie-maker but a fully realized auteur, got the acclaim of international critics. Such profound statements on modern humanity and ever-changing society are prominent in the provocative Crash (1996) and in the virtual reality essay of eXistenZ (1999), both of which well fared at the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals. In the last two film projects Spider (2002) and A History of Violence (2005), Cronenberg avoids expressing his teratologic and oniric expressionism in favor of a more psychological exploration of human contradictions and idiosyncrasies.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Marco Rambaldi<rambaldi@hotmail.com>

Spouse (2)

Carolyn Cronenberg (1979 - 19 June 2017) ( her death) ( 3 children)
Margaret Hindson (1970 - 1977) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (11)

Prioneered the "body Horror" genre that involves mutation, parasites, or particular medical conditions.
Uses dark backgrounds
Films often include explicit carnage
Frequent references to the Flesh or the New Flesh
Frequently uses the music of Howard Shore
Frequently casts Robert A. Silverman
Movies about crime families
Frequently casts Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel
Most of his films were shot in Canada (Videodrome (1983), The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), A History of Violence (2005) and more).
Costume design of his films are frequently provided by his sister Denise Cronenberg.
Often casts Jeremy Irons and Robert Pattinson

Trivia (29)

Costumes in his films are usually designed by his sister Denise Cronenberg.
Was set to direct Total Recall (1990). He even wrote a few drafts of the script before Paul Verhoeven took over.
Brother of costume designer Denise Cronenberg.
Uncle of Aaron Woodley
His father was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and his mother was born in Toronto, Ontario. All of his grandparents were Lithuanian Jewish immigrants.
John Carpenter paid homage to him in Escape from New York (1981). One of the United States Police Force guards is on the line with Hauk, then adds that Cronenberg is on the line for him. Another person paid homage to in the movie was George A. Romero, who had Isaac Hayes's right-hand man named after him.
President of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 52nd Cannes International Film Festival in 1999.
Directed an episode of Friday the 13th: The Series (1987), The Services, called Faith Healer. 13 years later, he appeared in the Friday the 13th film (unreleated to the series), Jason X (2001).
Was offered the chance to direct Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) but he declined.
His crew referred to the final Brundlefly monster seen in the climax of The Fly (1986) as the Space Bug.
Father was a bookstore owner and sometime columnist for the Toronto Telegram. Mother was a piano rehearsal accompanist for the National Ballet.
Father died at age 61.
Deferred his own salary to make Spider (2002).
Father of Assistant Director Cassandra Cronenberg.
Cites Winter Kept Us Warm (1965) as his inspiration for becoming a filmmaker. It was screened at the University of Toronto when he was a student.
Has admired bugs and insects since childhood. This fascination has lingered on, and can be felt through many of his films.
At one point he was in line to direct The Singing Detective (2003), with Al Pacino in the lead.
Turned down the chance to direct Top Gun (1986).
Turned down the chance to direct RoboCop (1987).
His regular cinematographer until 1988 was Mark Irwin until Dead Ringers (1988), on which Irwin was unable to work because of his commitment to The Blob (1988). Cronenberg then hired Peter Suschitzky, who became his regular cinematographer, and Cronenberg and Irwin have not worked together since then.
His father was a journalist and his mother played the piano. These roles are reversed in The Fly (1986), in which Jeff Goldblum plays the piano to impress Geena Davis, who plays a journalist.
Has often referred to The Brood (1979) as his own twisted version of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
Profiled in "American Classic Screen Interviews" (Scarecrow Press). [2010]
Has directed 2 actors to Oscar nominations: William Hurt (Best Supporting Actor, A History of Violence (2005)) and Viggo Mortensen (Best Actor, Eastern Promises (2007)).
He once said that Scanners (1981) was the most frustrating directing job he'd ever had.
Inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame in 1999.
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 75th Venice International Film Festival in 2018.
President of the jury at the 18th Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF), which took place in Switzerland from July 6-14, 2018.

Personal Quotes (58)

It's my conceit that perhaps some diseases perceived as diseases that destroy a well-functioning machine actually turn it into a new but still well-functioning machine with a different purpose. The AIDS virus: look at it from its point of view. Very vital, very excited, really having a good time. It's really a triumph if you're a virus. See the movies from the disease's point of view. You can see why they would resist all attempts to destroy them. These are all cerebral games, but they have emotional correlatives as well.
Since I see technology as being an extension of the human body, it's inevitable that it should come home to roost.
My dentist said to me the other day: I've enough problems in my life, so why should I see your films?
You have to believe in God before you can say there are things that man was not meant to know. I don't think there's anything man wasn't meant to know. There are just some stupid things that people shouldn't do.
Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.
Drugs and creativity don't go together for me. Like everybody in the '60s, I had one acid trip and some cocaine and hash, you know, the stuff everyone did. But it's been 30 or 40 years since I bothered to do that. What I need is clarity. Even not having enough sleep is a problem for me, never mind doing any kind of drugs.
[on the exploding head in Scanners (1981)] Yeah, it is metaphorical...it isn't just a special effect in a vacuum.
When you're in the muck, you can only see muck. If you somehow manage to float above it, you still see the muck, but you see it from a different perspective. And you see other things, too. That's the consolation of philosophy.
All stereotypes turn out to be true. This is a horrifying thing about life. All those things you fought against as a youth: you begin to realize they're stereotypes because they're true.
Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion.
I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontations. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you're making a horror film doesn't mean you can't make an artful film.
If you look at a baby, the most fascinating thing to a baby, a newborn, is the human face. The baby will look at your face and watch your face move and want to touch it. If it's a fantastic head and what it's talking about is fantastic, then you can't have anything better. It's the best!
Civilization is repression. You don't get civilization without repression of the unconscious, of the id. And the basic appeal of art is to the unconscious. Therefore, art is somewhat subversive of civilization. And yet at the same time it seems necessary for civilization. You don't get civilization without art.
You need language for thought, and you need language to anticipate death. There is no abstract thought without language and no anticipation. I think the anticipation of death without language would be impossible.
If religion is used to allow you to come to terms with death, and also to guide you in how you live your life, then I think art can do the same thing. But in a schematic way, in a much less rigid and absolute way, which is why it appeals to me and religion doesn't.
The versions of The Dead Zone (1983) and The Fly (1986) that you find on video carry my name, and they are the films that I made, but I hate the way they look on tape. Too bright.
I have no rules. For me, it's a full, full experience to make a movie. It takes a lot of time, and I want there to be a lot of stuff in it. You're looking for every shot in the movie to have resonance and want it to be something you can see a second time, and then I'd like it to be something you can see 10 years later, and it becomes a different movie, because you're a different person. So that means I want it to be deep, not in a pretentious way, but I guess I can say I am pretentious in that I pretend. I have aspirations that the movie should trigger off a lot of complex responses.
We've all got the disease - the disease of being finite. Death is the basis of all horror.
As filmmaker, I ask questions but don't have answers. Moviemaking is a philosophical exploration. I invite the audience to come on the journey and discover what they think and feel.
My movies are body-conscious. The first fact of human existence is the human body. If you get away from physical reality, you're fudging, in fantasy land, not coming to grips with what violence does.
We question a country's self-mythology. Perfect town and perfect family are - like Westerns - part of America's mythology, involving notions of past innocence and naïveté. But is it possible for innocence to exist while something heinous transpires elsewhere? What does it take for a country to be rich and prosperous? What does that country do to the world?
To me, the life that we live is heaven. My idea of paradise is life on Earth. But we often don't know it, and can't see it that way, until, I'm sure, we start to leave it. I guess that's the way I feel about film.
I don't have a moral plan. I'm a Canadian.
[on being voted the People's Choice Award at the 2007 T.I.F.F.] I feel like I've just been elected prime minister of Canada!
I identify with the parasites.
When we talk about violence, we're talking about the destruction of the human body, and I don't lose sight of that. In general, my filmmaking is fairly body-oriented, because what you're photographing is people, bodies. You can't really photograph an abstract concept, whereas a novelist can write about that. You have to photograph something physical. So that combination of things suggests to me a particular way to deal with violence. And it's not a bad thing that people really understand what violence is. It's not, however, a politically correct thing I do. I'm not a big fan of political correctness. It's very detrimental to art in general. An artist's responsibility is to be irresponsible. As soon as you start to think about social or political responsibility, you've amputated the best limbs you've got as an artist. You are plugging into a very restrictive system that is going to push and mold you, and is going to make your art totally useless and ineffective.
If I were doing a comedy with somebody slipping on a banana peel, I wouldn't show the reality of slipping on a banana peel, which could be quite horrific, involving cracked skulls and broken spines and crippling. You have to do what's appropriate to the movie.
When I am doing art, I have absolutely no social responsibilities whatsoever -- it's like dreaming.
[on M. Night Shyamalan] I HATE that guy! Next question.
People ask me how is it to direct special effects? Is it fun? And in fact it's kind of like getting a performance out of a bowl of shrimp salad actually, because it lies there and it's kind of you know, it's agonizing and I hate it, directing special effects I like working with actors and it's much more fun.
[on awards] It can be very exhausting if you're nominated, so at a certain moment, part of you is almost praying you don't get any nominations.
[on Michael Fassbender] Even with an intellectual character, his approach is visceral. He jokingly likes to say the only research he did was read 'The Idiots Guide to Carl Jung'. He's just so perky it drives you crazy. One day I found him standing out in the sun in his costume and makeup, with this big smile. I said to him, 'Michael, why are you smiling like that?' He said, 'I don't know... life.' I said, 'It's so irritating that you're happy all the time.'
[on embracing digital film recording] I have no particular affection for 'film'. It's about time film died its natural death. However, the filmmaking process is exactly the same. Why would you ever want to shoot film? Well, I don't.
I have no demons. I was always a nature boy. I loved nature and animals and insects. And [Brandon] proved to have that same kind of sensibility, which undoubtedly has something to do with the kind of movies I've made and that he seems to be making as well. It comes from a real affection for the strangeness of animal life on earth. I's very pure and very direct.
[on his son Brandon Cronenberg's developing interest in film-making] I noticed he was incredibly sensitive to the music of film. He knew what scary music was. He'd run away.
[on working with Patrick McGoohan on Scanners (1981)] He had extreme Catholic views about sexuality, which came onto the set. My leading lady... came to me incredibly distraught and said, 'Patrick said, 'Are you a whore? Are you a slut?' And he started to lay into her because she'd had, like, five husbands. That was Patrick, and those were the things I had to deal with as a relatively young director. He was probably the most difficult actor I ever worked with, though he gave a fantastic performance.
[on working with Patrick McGoohan on Scanners (1981)] He's a brilliant actor; the voice, the charisma, the presence, the face. Phenomenal. And he was aging so well; he looked so great in that beard. But he was so angry. His self-hatred came out as anger against everybody and everything. He said to me, 'If I didn't drink I'd be afraid I'd kill someone.' He looks at you that way and you just say, 'Keep drinking.' It's all self-destructive, because it's all self-hating. That's my theory. He was also terrified. The second before we went to shoot he said, 'I'm scared.' I wasn't shocked; Olivier said that he was terrified each time he had to go on stage. With Patrick, though, it was just so raw and so scary-full of anger and potent. But he was sensing the disorganization; the script wasn't there, so he was right to worry about it. He didn't know me. He didn't know whether I could bring it off or not. We parted from the film not on very good terms ultimately.
[on The Dark Knight Rises (2012) as 'art'] I don't think they are making them an elevated art form. I think it's still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don't think it's elevated. Christopher Nolan's best movie is Memento (2000), and that is an interesting movie. I don't think his Batman movies are half as interesting, though they're 20 million times the expense.
[on Christopher Nolan] What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he's shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That's really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in American Cinematography Magazine, and technically, that's all very interesting. The movies, to me, they're mostly boring.
[on superhero movies] But a superhero movie, by definition, you know, it's comic book. It's for kids. It's adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, you know, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don't think they know what the fuck they're talking about.
Frankly, I don't like seeing my old films. When you make a movie, it's yours. It's in your control, up to a certain point. And, after that, you let it go. It flies out. It's like having a kid. It's a cliche but your 'kid' becomes an individual creature in the world. It intersects with people you don't know, and it has experiences you don't control anymore, and that's what you want. So, unlike your children, whom you might invite home to dinner, I don't invite my films home to dinner.
I'm a totally anti-storyboard person.
I think I can say that the characters in my films don't really I respond to a political stance or a schematic. They're not meant to be an illustration of a theory.. I never really worry about a character being sympathetic or not. That, to me, is a very Hollywood attitude, but it's not an attitude you find in, let's say, European films of that time.
[on a reluctance to revisit his earlier movies for re-editing purposes] I really think of a film as being part of an archaeological dig, you know? And you want it to be as close to what it was in its time as possible.
There's an entire generation of Americans who have been spawned in the back seat of a 1954 Ford. So it's not like I invented sex in cars.
[on the University of Toronto and Winter Kept Us Warm (1965), 2014] I can't say the University of Toronto led me to horror, but what it did do was lead me to cinema, though I never studied cinema. There was a student called David Secter who was making a movie called Winter Kept Us Warm (1965), which starred some friends of mine. And it never occurred to me that you could make a movie. It was unlike someone growing up in LA where everybody's parents were in the business. In Toronto, no one's parents were in the movie business because there wasn't a movie business.(...) The number of films I've seen that have impressed me is endless. But actually, Winter Kept Us Warm (1965) is the most influential film of my life in a weird way. It wasn't a horror film - it was a drama about students coping with life at the 'University of Toronto' - and it wasn't because of its artistry. It was just the fact it was made. It's hard to reproduce the shock I felt when I saw my classmates on screen in a real movie, acting. It was like magic: you are watching TV and suddenly you are in the TV, acting in some TV series. It was that kind of shock.
[on what's the most frightening film ever made] That's totally subjective because what frightens some people is like a laugher to somebody else. For each person there might be a different answer to that question. Bambi (1942) is a terrifying film for a kid because Bambi's mother is killed. When you're a child that's a terrifying thing. So does that qualify? There's a movie called The Blue Lagoon (1949), which was really scary for me as a kid. It's kids on a boat, the boat sinks, the parents drown, the kids are alone on the island with a drunken sailor. There's a scene in a cave with a snake and a skeleton and all that stuff, and that was a scary movie for me. Probably for an adult not so scary. Then, as an adult, for me, Don't Look Now (1973), Nic Roeg's film with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. That really got to me, that was very effective film-making, its anticipation of death was so palpable. On the other hand if the person who asked this question saw it maybe it wouldn't have any effect. There's no absolute universal.
[on his imagination and humor] My imagination is not full of horrors at all. This is the misunderstanding of what my movies are. First of all, I think all my movies are funny. Not everything in them is funny, but they are full of humour. And second, it's not really my imagination. Anybody looking at the news on the internet or in a newspaper, there's horror there every day - compared with that, my imagination is a wonderful playground!
[on philosophy] I consider myself a junior existentialist. When I started to read Jean-Paul Sartre and by association Martin Heidegger I thought, "Oh wow, this is what I've been thinking." There's a great lecture Sartre gave called 'Existentialism is a Humanism'. He basically said, "Look, we humans are really all we've got, forget about the afterlife, it doesn't exist. Forget about God, there is no God. We should accept that and if we did and realised that compassion and humanistic empathy were valuable - more than valuable but crucial - then the world would be a better place." So that's really my approach to life.
[on being an auteur] But for me, my movie-making is like a diamond, in the sense that it has many facets but when you look in each facet, you are looking into the inner core of the same diamond. That diamond is really my experience of life, that's all it is, and so it's inevitable I return to the same themes and tropes and considerations but from slightly different angles.
The Brood (1979) is my version of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), but more realistic.
The only authentic literature of the modern era is the owner's manual.
The painter Willem de Kooning said: 'Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented.' I say, the human body is the reason the cinema was invented. The face, the body, is its true subject, the most photographed object in cinema. Cinema is the body. I'm here today because I've made some movies. However, because of the internet, Netflix, streaming, cinema is dissolving, the big screen is shattering into many little screens, and this is causing much stress amongst movie-nostalgia hardliners. It does not matter to me. In fact, it pleases me. Because the human body is evolving, changing, and since the cinema is body, it makes sense that the cinema is changing, evolving as well. If movies disappeared overnight, I would not care. The cinema is not my life. Your art form cannot be your life. To say that it is, to make it be that, is to evade life itself. However, you will not do that, will you? No, I'm sure you won't. [his speech receiving an honorary degree from OCAD University, 2018]
I don't go to the cinema any more. [In Neuchâtel at the Fantasy Film Festival] I've seen more movies than I've seen in the last five years. [The jury] are seeing 16 films. I don't think I've been to the cinema 16 times in the last five years. In that sense, for me, that cinema is already dead. However, filmmaking is not dead. Image-making is not dead. Cinema becomes something else. It is no longer the cathedral that you go to where you commune with many other people. [July 2018]
I started to think maybe the cinematic equivalent of the novel is really a Netflix series that maybe goes on for five years or seven years. Really, this is a new art form. It's not like old television series. I am seeing some series I thought were really quite brilliant, like Tom Tykwer's Babylon Berlin (2017). Fantastic - and like a novel. I thought maybe the cinema as we know it is really writing a short story but if you want write a novel, then you have to do a series. I started to think maybe I am not finished with the cinema exactly if we think of the cinema as it is evolving...it is possible that instead of writing a novel, I would do a series for Netflix. [July 2018]
To me, movies are sex. Movies were made for sex, there's no question about it.
I never want to scare people in the cinema. I want to send them on a philosophical journey, to show them who we are and who we are not. [translated, at NIFFF in Neuchâtel, 2018]
[on his early ambitions as a writer] I didn't only want to be a novelist, I wanted to be an obscure novelist, who is discovered someday by coincidence. Like Djuna Barnes for example. An author, who is barely known, but if you finally read her, she's great. [translated, at NIFFF in Neuchâtel, 2018]

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