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David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 15, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, CA Profession: director, screenwriter, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Hailed as one of the most original and sophisticated horror filmmakers that came to prominence during the 1970s, David Cronenberg transcended the limitations of his somewhat disreputable genre to become one of the most respected directors of his generation. Cronenberg first gained notice for audacious sci-fi horror thrillers like "Shivers" (1975), "The Brood" (1979) and "Scanners" (1981), before scoring critical and commercial hits with "The Dead Zone" (1983) and his remake of "The Fly" (1986), starring Jeff Goldblum. Following the critically lauded "Dead Ringers" (1988), Cronenberg began branching out beyond horror to direct the adaptation of William S. Burrough's "Naked Lunch" (1991) and courted a great deal of controversy for "Crash" (1996), which focused on a group of people who derived sexual pleasure from car crashes. After years of earning a reputation - perhaps unfairly - as an exploitation director, Cronenberg gained wider respect for his Academy Award-winning thriller "A History of Violence" (2005) and his excellent crime drama, "Eastern Promises" (2007), both of which starred favored actor Viggo Mortensen. Having gone through many permutations throughout his career, Cronenberg attained...

Hailed as one of the most original and sophisticated horror filmmakers that came to prominence during the 1970s, David Cronenberg transcended the limitations of his somewhat disreputable genre to become one of the most respected directors of his generation. Cronenberg first gained notice for audacious sci-fi horror thrillers like "Shivers" (1975), "The Brood" (1979) and "Scanners" (1981), before scoring critical and commercial hits with "The Dead Zone" (1983) and his remake of "The Fly" (1986), starring Jeff Goldblum. Following the critically lauded "Dead Ringers" (1988), Cronenberg began branching out beyond horror to direct the adaptation of William S. Burrough's "Naked Lunch" (1991) and courted a great deal of controversy for "Crash" (1996), which focused on a group of people who derived sexual pleasure from car crashes. After years of earning a reputation - perhaps unfairly - as an exploitation director, Cronenberg gained wider respect for his Academy Award-winning thriller "A History of Violence" (2005) and his excellent crime drama, "Eastern Promises" (2007), both of which starred favored actor Viggo Mortensen. Having gone through many permutations throughout his career, Cronenberg attained the status of being one of the most intelligent and interesting contemporary auteurs working in English language films.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
5.
  Spider (2002) Director
6.
  Camera (2000) Director
7.
  Existenz (1999) Director
8.
  Crash (1996) Director
9.
  M. Butterfly (1993) Director
10.
  Naked Lunch (1991) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Body Art (2014)
3.
 Barney's Version (2010)
4.
 Sisters (2007)
5.
 Jason X (2002) Dr. Wimmer
6.
 Resurrection (1999) Fr Rousell
7.
 Last Night (1998) Duncan
8.
9.
 Stupids, The (1996) Postal Supervisor
10.
 Extreme Measures (1996) Hospital Lawyer
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Submitted fantasy and science fiction stories to magazines for publication as a youth; none purchased
1966:
As a college student, directed, wrote, shot and edited first film, the 16mm, seven-minute short "Transfer"
1967:
Wrote, directed, shot and edited the 14-minute 16mm short "From the Drain"
1969:
First feature and first film in 35mm, "Stereo" (produced, directed, wrote, shot and edited)
1970:
Completed second feature, "Crimes of the Future"
1971:
Traveled to Europe on Canadian Council Grant
1971:
While living in France, directed, scripted, and shot three fillers for television
1972:
Returned to Canada
1972:
Made six fillers for TV (directed, scripted, and shot)
1972:
Episodic TV directing debut, "Secret Weapons" for the Canadian series "Project X"
1974:
First commercial feature, "Shivers/They Came from Within/Frissons"; also wrote script
1976:
Cast Marilyn Chambers (the "Ivory Snow" porn queen) as a woman with an unsatiable thirst for blood in "Rabid"
1979:
Used Samantha Eggar's bodily-manifested anger in "The Brood" as a reflection of own anger over divorce from first wife
1980:
Wrote and directed the sci-fi horror flick "Scanners"; among film's assets were the noteworthy special effects; spawned a host of sequels (none of which Cronenberg directed)
1983:
Wrote last original screenplay for 16 years, "Videodrome"; starred James Woods in a dynamic performance as head of a soft-core TV channel mesmerized by bizarre, untraceable "snuff" transmissions that have a hallucinatory power
1983:
First feature directed from another's screenplay, "The Dead Zone", based on a Stephen King novel; first Hollywood film
1985:
Acting debut in John Landis' "Into the Night"
1986:
Scored commercial success with "The Fly," a reworking of the 1958 cult sci-fi movie starring Jeff Goldblum; made cameo appearance as a gynecologist
1988:
Directed "Dead Ringers"; starred Jeremy Irons in fascinating dual role as twin gynecologists who share each other's lives ¿ and lovers; based on the true story of the Marcus brothers
1990:
First major acting role in a feature, Clive Barker's "Nightbreed"
1991:
Brilliantly adapted William S Burroughs' supposedly unfilmable novel "Naked Lunch"
1993:
Reteamed with Irons for "M. Butterfly," a tame and disappointing adaptation of David Henry Hwang's Tony Award-winning Broadway play
1996:
Turned another unfilmable novel, J G Ballard's <i>Crash</i>, into an intriguing, disturbing, enigmatic motion picture
1999:
Directed first original script in more than 15 years, "eXistenZ"
1999:
Served as jury president at the Cannes Film Festival
2000:
Signed agreement with Internet studio ExFlix to provide content; announced plans to create "David Cronenberg's Film Skool" featuring a character called Rant Quealy
2002:
Directed Ralph Fiennes and Miranda Richardson in the psychological thriller "Spider"
2005:
Directed "A History of Violence," a film about an average family that is thrust into the spotlight after the father (Viggo Mortensen) commits a seemingly self-defense murder
2007:
Helmed the thriller "Eastern Promises," reteaming the acclaimed director with Viggo Mortensen
2007:
Directed and played a suicidal man in the short segment titled "At the suicide of the last Jew in the world in the last cinema in the world" featured in "To Each His Own Cinema"
2011:
Directed Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Mortensen in "A Dangerous Method"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Harbord College: -
North Toronto Collegiate: Toronto , Ontario -
Drewson Street Public School: -
Kent Senior School: -
University of Toronto: Toronto , Ontario - 1963 - 1967

Notes

"Roger, I had a very strange dream last night. In this dream, I found myself making love to a strange man. Only I'm having trouble, you see, because he's old and dying, and he smells bad, and I find him repulsive. But then he tells me that EVERYTHING is erotic, that everything is sexual. You know what I mean? He tells me that even old flesh is erotic flesh, that disease is the love of two alien creatures for each other--that even dying is an act of eroticism. That talking is sexual. That breathing is sexual. That even to physically exist is sexual. And I believe him. And we make love BEAUTIFULLY." --A monologue from Cronenberg's "Shivers" (1975), his first commercial feature, quoted in The Shape of Rage, edited by Piers Handling

"It's a small field, Venereal Horror, but at least I'm king of it." --David Cronenberg talking about "Rabid" (1976) in Monthly Film Bulletin, February 1987.

About Ted Turner's reaction to "Crash": "The film is a meditation on sex, death and technology, but it's beyond articulating. So somebody like Turner slips to the next available notch, which is about teenagers and cars and sex, or something silly like that--especially coming from a guy whose network shows 'The Dukes of Hazzard' all the time." --David Cronenberg quoted in Daily News, March 19, 1997.

"Kids have been masturbating and crashing cars for years; I don't think I'm going to contribute to that. It's ridiculous to think we are realigning society in order to trigger psychotics. People fasten their seatbelts after they see this film. I've probably saved lives." --Cronenberg quoted in the London TIMES, May 28, 1997.

"It's always amusing to me, and maybe a little sad, when people say to me, 'Why did you choose that to be your next film?' And I say, 'Because the money came together.' It's not as though I snap my fingers. People have this wonderful delusion, because your name is known, that you're rich, incredibly powerful, and can do whatever you want. None of these is true.

"When you talk about power, you can also talk about influence, and then it's the body of work, perhaps, that's an influence, and that's not for me to decide. The influence of my first couple of movies still resonates. They're still remaking 'Shivers' with parasites; even the influence it had on 'Alien' is obvious. So, in the sense of that kind of power, that's really more for the critics to decide than for me. It's not something I feel, except that I'm now at an age when people can say I inspired them." --David Cronenberg to Cinefantastique, June 1997

About why MGM (who initially developed project) dropped "eXistenz": "Their own demographics tell them this kind of movie is going to be attractive to young men--because it's sci-fi and about games--and young men don't want the lead to be a girl. They want it to be them. Suddenly you realize you've not written quite so commercially viable script as you thought. Feminist so-called paranoia about Hollywood is absolutely justified." --From Sight and Sound, April 1999

Cautiously hopeful about the reactions to "eXistenZ", he still worried: "It's depressing to think that it might be too much, too confusing, too complex, for people. One feels in danger of losing an audience. There might come a time when there is no audience who can inderstand what I'm doing. Then I'm no longer a film-maker--I mean you need an audience." --From The Guardian, April 1, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Carolyn Cronenberg.

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Denise Cronenberg. Costume designer, dancer. Has designed costumes for all her brother's features since "The Fly" (1986); studied ballet with the American Ballet Theatre and worked for years as a dancer before changing careers.
daughter:
Cassandra Cronenberg. Assistant director. Served as assistant director trainee on three of father's movies ("Naked Lunch" 1991, "M Butterfly" 1993 and "Crash" 1996); 3rd assistant director on "eXistenZ" (1999).

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Shape of Rage: The Films of David Cronenberg" General Publishing/New York Zoetrope, Inc
"Cronenberg on Cronenberg" Faber and Faber

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