From Twilight to the cinema of David Cronenberg, that's a big step. It is the beginning of a new career for you?
Firstly, to be here with this movie, it's amazing. For a young actor like me, for people who really like cinema, it's the ultimate festival. One of the only ones that considers cinema like an art form. Here it's not about being a celebrity and all that comes with it. To go back on the subject of my career, it's probably the start of something. Because shooting Cosmopolis gave me the confidence I needed to invest myself in projects that really interest me.
You started in England but you became famous because of Hollywood. Do you think young american actors see Cannes like you do?
Maybe ... until the day their movie gets selected *laughs*. In the US, Cannes isn't given a lot of media coverage, we talk about it more in a professional environment. Whereas in London, the festival is on the first page of the newspapers for two weeks. The thing that is weird here is all these people that clap for you at the end of the screening. I went to the one for On the Road (note: wednesday night) and it hit me. In the USA, people leave as soon as the credits roll. I asked David what would happen if we were booed with Cosmopolis. Do we have to stand up for 20 minutes anyway? *laughs*
Apparently, you're a fan of Cronenberg. Did you sign on for one of his movies without reading a script?
Absolutely. I did so last week! My agent asked me if I was ready for the next movie with David and I said yes without thinking *laugs*. For Cosmopolis tho, I read the script one year before it got offered to me and I found it excellent. On the first read, I felt a connexion. It talked to me, without me even knowing what it was about.
Cronenberg didn't make you rehearse or explain to you that he wanted to discover the meaning of the movie during the shoot. It didn't scare you?
Its' pretty understandable because the script is really complicated and can be taken in many different ways. David didn't talk to me a lot, indeed. We had a brief conversation, that's it. I remember sitting in my hotel room two weeks before filming; telling myself: "My god!" The very first days, I was terrified. We did camera tests. I was sitting in the limo, I didn't have anything to do ... and I almost threw up. My heart was beating so fast, I was scared David was going to fire me, that he thought I was a faker. But he was really relaxed. His crew explained to me that for the first week, he didn't know what he was doing, but that it was normal ... That he was trying to find a meaning to the movie. As soon as we found our rythm, we went faster and faster. At the end of the filming, we only did one take per scene. It was crazy. For the last one, we had 4 days scheduled, we did it in one day and a half.
What was the hardest for you? The dialogues that are pretty literary?
Most of the time, dialogues in movies aren't very good. And actors change them, it's part of the job. In this one, they were so good ... What was difficult was that David tended to change the program of the day depending on a technical problem or another. Which meant that I had to have the script memorized, every day, like a play. But it was nice because most of the time, when you go back to your hotel after filming, there's not much to do but then I had to go over the script ever night.
What about the sex scenes? Are they fun and exciting at the same time?
The most difficult one was the one with my bodyguard played by Patricia McKenzie. At first, we were supposed to see us climax at the beginning of the scene, and then talk after. But David suggested that we talked while we fucked *laughs*
And the scene where your prostate gets examined?
5 minutes before we filmed, David told me 'I want to see the bottom of your balls on the top of the frame.' *laughs* At the moment, I reminded myself that I would do anything for him. So I went back to see him and told him that wouldn't happen. He took it really well. At the start, it's a very bizarre scene that you won't see again in another movie, I promise.
Don DeLillo wrote the book before 9/11 and the financial crisis. But his characters in Cosmopolis deal with current dilemmas. Did you try to make yours as contemporary as possible?
It wasn't done on purpose. Except that tons of things came on during filming. Like the Occupy Wall Street movement that happened at the same time as we were filming the riot scene. And then Rupert Murdoch got a pie in the face, like my character! It's funny, because at first I didn't see Cosmopolis like a description of reality, more like a poem. That's how the book is read and what makes it timeless. Now about the financial crisis, its virtual side, the fact that we could replace money by rats and that it wouldn't change anything ... I completely agree. To be honest, I never invested money in anything. It doesn't make sense, it's all in people's heads.
Did you think of a speech if you win?
Absolutely not! I'm terrified by only the idea of going on stage and to get booed!
It would be your first big award ...
Hey, I won Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards for Twilight. Three years in a row!
Well now we could as well give you the price of the best finger in the a..
*roars with laughter* That would be amazing, that was be an incredible price. For the best prostate scene in the history of cinema.
Your next movie will be with Cronenberg then?
I don't know when exactly we're going to shoot. It will be David's first movie in America. In Los Angeles, to be exact. It will be about the industry of cinematography and I promise that it's going to be really weird. Till then, I'm doing Mission: Blacklist with the French director, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, who did Johnny Mad Dog. It'll be about the search of Saddam Hussein and we want to film in Iraq, in Tikrit, even tho it's complicated. But I'm 26 and it's the kind of thing that tempts me. If someone should do it, it will be me!