A Dangerous Analysis

Director David Cronenberg and Actor Michael Fassbender Expose Their Creative Methods

Filmmakers Carlo Lavagna and Roberto De Paolis diagnose the motives behind David Cronenberg's new film, A Dangerous Method, with the director and star actor Michael Fassbender. A marked departure for Cronenberg, revered for such films as horror classic The Fly, and psychodramas Eastern Promises and A History of Violence, A Dangerous Method charts the love triangle between Sigmund Freud (Cronenberg regular Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Fassbender), and the psychoanalysts’ brilliant but troubled patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). Interviewed before he won the coveted Coppa Volpi award in Venice for his role in Steve McQueen’s Shame, rising star Fassbender opened up about the approaches and manipulations great directors use to coax a performance out of their actors. “It's interesting to find out all the different methods,” observes De Paolis. “There are actors that never rehearse, and actors that rehearse for a year to catch a character’s soul.” Having missed the auteur in the Italian city, he and Lavagna finally cornered Cronenberg in his hometown of Toronto after the biopic's premiere. “He’s the sweetest guy on earth,” says De Paolis of the inscrutable director. “Of course, he must have a huge dark side, you can tell by his films and glacial eyes; but people that manage to express it so well through their own art get rid of it in real life.”

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