The Canadian auteur wouldn’t stop talking about Netflix all week in Venice.
David Cronenberg is having a whirlwind of a week in Venice, holding court for two master classes before accepting the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement in directing on Thursday from jury president Guillermo del Toro.
The Canadian auteur has oddly spent much of the week shilling for Netflix, calling it everything from “the future of cinema” to “revolutionary.”
At one point during a solo master class on Wednesday, he joked, “I sound like I’m an executive at Netflix … and actually if they offered me a job right now … I haven’t been working … But seriously, do you have their phone number?”
When asked to discuss his “Netflix project,” however, he simply whistled.
Cronenberg denied reports that he is developing a television series, as was reported by some outlets out of Venice after his first master class, held earlier in the week with Spike Lee.
There, speaking with Lee — who has a TV series version of She’s Gotta Have It on the streamer — Cronenberg merely said it would be an interesting prospect for him serving as a showrunner, creating a concept, directing the first few episodes and then letting others run with the idea.
Cronenberg said, as previously reported, that he had thought about writing a second novel after his first, Consumed. But after watching TV series on Netflix, he found that a series could also be “novelistic.”
“I thought that it might be an alternative for me to writing another novel, to develop this phantom TV series,” he said, jokingly referring to the fake news that got misreported out of the panel.
“Even a bad novelist can give you the sense of being in someone’s head,” he said, saying you can’t do that in a film. “But I think you could find a way to do that in a TV series that you expect to do in two, three, seven seasons. That’s a lot of cinema.”
“I think structurally it could be quite inventive and quite different,” said Cronenberg, hinting again at the freedom afforded to filmmakers by Netflix.
For Cronenberg fans hoping for something sooner, they may rejoice in knowing that Consumed has been optioned for a TV series by Canadian producer Robert Lantos for AMC.
“It’s like children: They run away and they turn into people you don’t recognize,” said Cronenberg, of having his work adapted into a pilot by other writers.
Cronenberg didn’t spend much time speaking of his own body of work, but the director received the largest round of applause in Venice when discussing his film Crash, which he called “not the one that won the Oscar but the better one.”