Cronenberg, Washington, Spies; Oh My!

David CronenbergIt’s clear that I’ve been out of the loop for a few days (sorry) because this would usually be headlining news around here but alas, better late than never and in this case, I divided on whether never may have been best.

I’ve liked David Cronenberg’s last few films (I’ll venture to say that I down right love Eastern Promises) but I’m not thrilled by the recent news that Cronenberg has signed on to adapt Robert Ludlum’s “The Matarese Circle”. The first book in the “Matarese Dynasty” series, it is the story of Brandon Scofield (an intelligence officer) and Vasili Taleniekov (a KGB agent) who end up working together to solve the riddle of the Matarese, an organization that has infiltrated all levels of society and politics. I’m sure it makes much more sense when you’ve read the novel but the wikipedia entry is a bit bare bones but it sounds to me like this is basic spy stuff though it has some resemblance to a few of the overarching themes in his past two films (powerful over reaching “secret” organizations, power struggles, control issues) and I can only imagine that Cronenberg will incorporate, however mildly, his fascination with body alteration/mutilation but I too can’t help but shake my head at the casting news that go along with the production announcement.

Denzel Washington has been slated to star in the film as Scofield, the American agent, and there is a bit of speculation as to who else may be cast in the film. The folks at /Film feel, not all that surprisingly, that recent Cronenberg favourite Viggo Mortensen could also join the cast though I also found some information over at CBC that Tom Cruise is in talks to star in the film, likely as the KGB agent. I assume that Cruise will forgo the Russian accent which could make for interesting back-story (or are we simply to pretend that he’s actually speaking in a Russian accent?)

Though on any given day I would probably be at least mildly interested in a Washington/Cruise pair up, the fact that they could end up together in a Cronenberg film is both exciting and disappointing. Who knows? Maybe this will be an out-of-the-ballpark hit but a piece of my heart agrees with Heather Buckley’s editorial and like her, I too will take him back as the master of “the New Flesh” but I haven’t given up. He hasn’t given me a reason to; at least not yet.

Marina Antunes
Fassbender for life.


  1. I agree Marina. Even though I really liked Easten Promises and I loooooooved History of Violence (one of my all-time faves), I'm a little underwhelmed at this point. I'm not a fan of Washington or Cruise. The Cruise casting rumour is pretty solid too, it's made it's way to Film Tracker, which usually doesn't publish items until there's some definite truth to them. I hope Viggo is involved, but at the same time I don't know if I want to see him in a boring old spy thriller, no matter how much Cronenberg manages to add to it with his style. I'm just leaving this one in the "we'll see" column.

  2. I just watched Eastern Promises for the first time since I saw it at TIFF. It really doesn't hold up to multiple viewings like HOV does, which I watch several times a year. EP is actually kind of dull, especially when Viggo's not on the screen.

  3. And I'm the opposite. I've seen AHOV twice and have no interest in seeing it again where as Easter Promises I've seen a handful of times and I like it more with each subsequent viewing.


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