Vincent Cassel Had ‘No Idea How to Play’ His Character in New David Cronenberg Film

"I never thought he had such confidence in me and I’m really flattered," Cassel said about being cast.
Vincent Cassel at Westworld premiere
Vincent Cassel

Working with David Cronenberg for a third time may be the charm, but also the most challenging, experience for actor Vincent Cassel.

The French star detailed Cronenberg’s upcoming supernatural drama “The Shrouds” in a new interview, announcing that production will begin in mid-2023 in Toronto. The film is also set to star Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future” star Léa Seydoux.

“It’s the story of a man who loses his wife. It’s about the incapacity to cope with the loss of a loved one,” Cassel told The Guardian. “I never thought he had such confidence in me and I’m really flattered. I told him, ‘David, honestly, I have no idea how I’m going to play this.’ And he said that’s exactly why he chose me.”

Per the official synopsis, Karsh (Cassel), an innovative businessman and grieving widower, builds a device to connect with the dead inside a burial shroud.

Writer-director Cronenberg told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn while at 2022 Cannes that “The Shrouds” will take place in a world where people can watch their deceased relatives decaying in real-time. The concept was originally set as a Netflix series, with Cronenberg writing two episodes before the streamer canceled plans.

“I think they’re very conservative and for whatever reason, they didn’t go ahead with my project,” Cronenberg said. “I still thanked them because I wrote a script and I wouldn’t have done that if it hadn’t been for their enthusiasm.”

He added, “I was interested in a streaming series as an alternative form of cinema because suddenly you’re making eight or 10 hours of film.”

In fact, Netflix was allegedly among the potential financiers for Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future” but also ultimately passed. The sci-fi body horror film starring Kristen Stewart premiered at 2022 Cannes, where Cronenberg expected walk-outs.

Similarly, longtime Cronenberg collaborator Cassel recalled the controversial Cannes premiere of Gaspar Noé’s “Irréversible” 20 years prior.

“You know, everybody was spitting about this movie, saying it was horrible, it was vulgar, blah, blah, blah,” Cassel said. “I had people coming up to me and writing to me on the internet: ‘Man, I hate you. I have had nightmares about what you did.’ Thank you very much. That’s the best compliment.”

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