Last month Steve spoke with Josh Trank and Simon Kinberg, and got the first details on what to expect from their upcoming Fantastic Four adaptation. The part of the interview that most resonated with me was the fact that Trank was drawing inspiration from the work of David Cronenberg – a genuinely clever take on the material given how close the heroes’ transformations skew toward body horror.
With Maps to the Stars arriving in US theaters later this month, I jumped on the phone for an exclusive interview with Cronenberg this morning. Given his long-established preference for working outside Hollywood’s studio system, I couldn’t pass up the chance to ask him what he thought about the fact that his work is now influencing a major studio franchise film. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s fine. Once you’ve contributed your voice to the cinematic conversation, it’s out there and it’s up for grabs, absolutely. So I don’t complain. In fact, I take it as a compliment.
He also pointed out that this is not the first time a major studio film has drawn inspiration from his work, singling out the rather blatant similarities between his parasites in Shivers and the monstrous extraterrestrials of Alien:
As far back as Alien, for example, which totally ripped off things from my movie Shivers – Shivers featured a parasite that lives in your body, bursts out of your chests, jumps onto your face, and jumps down your mouth, and suddenly you see this in a studio film, which was hugely successful, Alien. The writer of the script, Dan O’Bannon, had seen Shivers, we know that he had seen my movie and, shall we say, appropriated it. So this is not new stuff for me.
When you come up with something original and it really strikes a chord in people, it’s going to imitated, it’s going to be appropriated, and it’s actually kind of nice when someone just flat out admits it. That’s actually pretty good. Not everybody does.
Maps to the Stars arrives in US Theaters, On Demand, and on iTunes February 27th. Look for our full interview with Cronenberg that week and click here for all our Fantastic Four coverage.