David Cronenberg’s latest dystopian body horror drama centers on two surgical performance artists, played by Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux, who publicly showcase the metamorphosis of human organs in avant-garde installations. Stewart portrays a National Organ Registry investigator who becomes fascinated with their performances and believes the artistic innovation will lead to the next phase of human evolution. “Crimes of the Future” premiered at Cannes and will debut in theaters June 3.
“I told [Cronenberg] I have no idea what this movie is about, but I’m so curious and maybe we can just figure it out,” Stewart said during a Cannes press conference about signing on to the film.
The Oscar nominee continued, “We, the actors, spent every single day after work being like, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ But then I watched the movie last night, and it was so crystal clear to me. It [was] so exposing, and it does feel like you’re hacking up organs when you’re making something, and if it doesn’t feel that way it’s not worth it.”
As Cronenberg anticipated, the film premiere was met with walkouts, as well as a seven-minute standing ovation.
“Everyone loves to talk about how his movies are difficult to watch, and it’s fun to talk about people walking out of Cannes screenings,” Stewart said. “But every single gaping, weird bruise in his movies, it makes my mouth [fall] open. You wanna lean in toward it. And it never repulses me ever. The way I feel, it is through really visceral desire and that’s the only reason we’re alive. We’re pleasure sacks.”
Writer-director Cronenberg, who penned the “Crimes of the Future” script over two decades ago, told IndieWire that the film is meant to be “super modern” when approaching “surgery as the new sex,” to borrow a line from the movie.
“I’ve had moments where things were forbidden, things were bad, things were taboo,” Cronenberg said. “I haven’t paid any attention to it in terms of altering my approach…The human condition is the subject of my filmmaking and all art. Right now, these are things that are intriguing in terms of where people are and how they’re living.”