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That’s Brandon Cronenberg, David’s son who just started
shooting his debut feature ANTIVIRAL in Toronto for the HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
producers (see previous item here).
Among the crew is HOBO cinematographer Karim Hussain (pictured left), who recently
gave Fango some words on the intriguing body-horror project.
“It’s a dark science-fiction piece that’s basically about
obsession with celebrity,” Hussain tells us. “In the near future, people become
so completely fixated on it that they start to market diseases that celebrities
get. And it becomes a commercial commodity; people want to make sure they have
their favorite star’s herpes, for example. But they put a copyright on the
diseases, to make sure they’re not spread without monetary gain, and mess with
the DNA so that they won’t be terminal or dangerous—the symptoms will just be
the symptoms of the exact disease your favorite star has. It’s a completely
wild concept; very interesting science fiction.”
At the time Fango spoke to
Hussain, principal photography had yet to begin, but he discussed the visual
approach that he and Cronenberg (pictured right) were planning to bring to the
material. “We’re talking about shooting it in a pretty naturalistic way,
because the concept is so far-out,” Hussain says. “It’ll be similar to one of
the New Wave Romanian films, like [the Cannes prize-winner] 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS
AND 2 DAYS. That’s a big inspiration for ANTIVIRAL, as well as a film called
12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST and another called POLICE, ADJECTIVE. Very interesting
stuff. But although it’s going to be kind of naturalistically filmed, that
won’t take away from the fact that we’re going to be doing some pretty radical
things as well. In a sense, its obsession with disease and details will
resemble [Hussain’s THEATRE BIZARRE segment] VISION STAINS. There will be some
visual similarities to the macro/extreme close-ups in VISION STAINS.”
ANTIVIRAL is being produced by Niv Fichman and Rhombus
Media, for whom Hussain previously wielded his camera on HOBO. “That’s been
really great; they’re friends, and we know each other quite well,” Hussain
says. “You know, I think now that Brandon’s father has kind of moved away from
doing these kind of radical genre films—not that he won’t come back—Brandon is
sort of taking over the family tradition. It’s definitely going to be an
The elder Cronenberg has been known for using the same
cinematographers repeatedly, including Mark Irwin and Peter Suschitzky, and
Hussain is hoping to forge a similar continuing creative relationship with
Brandon. “He’s a pretty amazing fellow,” Hussain says. “He’s really smart, and
he loves dark science fiction, as do I. He’s very talented, and definitely has
a clarity of vision. He’s not just copying his father; he has his own voice.
That whole Cronenberg reputation carries on through David’s children; he’s got
very smart kids.”
ANTIVIRAL stars genre veteran Malcolm McDowell, Sarah Gadon
(who appears in David Cronenberg’s new film A DANGEROUS METHOD and upcoming
COSMOPOLIS), THE LAST EXORCISM’s Caleb Landry Jones, Douglas Smith and Nicholas
Campbell. Stay tuned for more on this film, and check out our interview with
Hussain on his THEATRE BIZARRE work in Fango #309, on sale next month.
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