Interview: Brandon Cronenberg
With a name like Cronenberg, the eyes of film fans would most assuredly be on you with keen anticipation. But (and not to be blasphemous) let’s forget about David for a minute. Despite constant questions about and comparisons to his father, Brandon Cronenberg continues to prove his talent as a horror director, rather than the son of one.
POSSESSOR, his second feature, floored audiences at it’s Sundance premiere and the many festivals it continued to play at in 2020. Now it has a much awaited wide release across US and Canadian cinemas.
The film is a Sci-Fi horror with a sleek look that sucks you into an alternate reality with night terror sequences and ultra-violence that will affect even the most hardened of genre fan. POSSESSOR, like many compelling Sci-Fi films, brings us new technology as a way of exploring the human condition, in this case, inviting us question how stable our identities are.
FEAR FOREVER spoke with Cronenberg, who shared insights into the film and his creative process.
FF: Antiviral was a spectacular directorial debut, and you have followed it up just as successfully. Are there aspects of the two films which overlap? Or were you looking to go in another direction completely?
BC: I wasn’t intending them to overlap. I’ve had some people suggest that there are some preoccupations across the two of them; construction of identity or injecting identity, in a sense, into someone else’s body. But I honestly wasn’t thinking of Antiviral when I was writing Possessor. It was its own separate process.
FF: I think all of us at some point deal with having imposter syndrome; especially when something monumental is happening. We want to pinch ourselves and question whether we really are who we seem or if we have been pretending this whole time. Is this something Possessor taps into?
BC: I would say it goes even deeper than that, ultimately. I don’t really think we have a true self; I think it’s all, to a certain degree, performance. Sometimes we’re performing for other people; sometimes we’re performing for ourselves.
And so definitely there is an interesting and I would say, common experience of being in a particular situation or trying to accomplish something and not being able to see your self in it somehow because it’s at odds with your identity. Whether it’s imposter syndrome in the sense that you mean it, or whether it’s just that disconnect between our own self image and how other people see us.
FF: You’ve said before that, originally, Possessor was one, much denser script that you broke into two screenplays. Will we see that other film in the future?
BC: It’s quite possible. The other screenplay is still in the early, malformed phase of writing it. It’s not really shootable in its current form, but it has some stuff in it that I am very interested in. I ended up writing two other films over the course of Possessor’s development- because it took a very long time to get it together-and so those will presumably be my next films.
They’re both fairly far into the development process; one is called Infinity Pool which is a kind of tourist resort satire with Sci-Fi and horror elements, and the other is a hallucinatory space horror film called Dragon. I would love to shoot those back to back as soon as I’m allowed to, but definitely the other script is something I’ll probably return to when I have some time.
POSSESSOR is in theatres and select drive-ins in the US and Canada as of October 2nd.