David Cronenberg’s ‘Crimes of the Future’ Included the Real-Life ‘Suffering’ of Ear Man Actor

Greek contemporary dancer Tassos Karahalios could not eat or drink after undergoing four hours of prosthetics and modeling 40 ear replicas.
"Crimes of the Future"
"Crimes of the Future"

Crimes of the Future” is the body horror movie heard ’round the world…literally.

David Cronenberg’s dystopian surgical drama premiered at Cannes to walkouts and a standing ovation, while actress Kristen Stewart revealed even she didn’t know what the film was about during production.

Officially, “Crimes” 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, while a National Organ Registry investigator (Stewart) observes them for insights on the next phase of human evolution.

Unofficially, “Crimes of the Future” is the movie that purred that “surgery is the new sex” and includes the jarring viral visual of Ear Man aka Klinek, an artist who dances while his eyes and mouth are sewn shut, leaving him left to rely on his 40+ ears to take in the world.

Real-life contemporary dancer Tassos Karahalios detailed his total “body transformation” to play Klinek in the Greece-shot film. Designers Alexandra Anger and Monica Pavez took a mold of Karahalios’s actual ear and crafted approximately 40 replicas.

“The feeling is exactly the same as when you touch your ear, the same hardness, the same softness, the shape,” Karahalios told GQ. “It was very weird.”

The application process took over four hours, which included sealing his eyes and mouth shut; Karahalios could not see or eat or drink during the day of filming.

“I was really suffering,” Karahalios continued. “But I was also feeling very happy because David Cronenberg was coming every five minutes and telling me, ‘I’m so happy. You are doing it very good.'”

Meditation also helped curb any bodily desires: “Something happened and I didn’t care,” he added. “I forgot I have needs. I didn’t want to see anything. I was not hungry. I was a bit thirsty after a while, but I said, ‘Okay, it doesn’t matter.'”

Karahalios summed up, “[Cronenberg] is one of a kind. He does something deeply personal and deeply unique. I mean, in Greece, he’s a myth.”

And yes, he still kept the ears…in a pizza box, no less. “Crimes of the Future” may also be closer to one of the present: 3-D printed ears made of human cells have successfully been transplanted. Perhaps no prosthetics are needed for the sequel?

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