ByKen Anderson, writer at
Ken Anderson

As a huge fan of director David Cronenberg (Dead Ringers, The Fly, A History of Violence) and a rabid devotee of actress Olivia Williams (Sabotage, Manhattan, Anna Karenina), I find myself extremely–make that excessively–stoked by the provocative trailers for Cronenberg’s latest film, Maps to the Stars.

That’s trailers, plural, in that Maps to the Stars, has two theatrical trailers available online of disparate tone: an early, post-production trailer which has a dark, sinister vibe; and a NSFW Red Band trailer that taps into the film’s poison-pen Hollywood satire and ominous black comedy. It appears as if the film is in search of its marketing persona, but in either incarnation, Maps to the Stars looks intriguing as hell.

Starring Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, and Mya Wasikowska,Maps to the Stars premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival where its screening received a standing ovation and Moore walked away with Best Actress honor, and the film’s composer, Howard Shore, won for his score.

Olivia Williams, John Cusack, and David Cronenberg
Olivia Williams, John Cusack, and David Cronenberg

Maps to the Stars intertwines the stories and lives of several characters, virtual Hollywood archetypes recognizable in an instant by those (like myself) who call the City of Angels their home. Moore is a fading actress clinging desperately onto her career; Cusack is her therapist, a self-help author/life-coach type who hands his hands full with a drug-addicted, teen idol son (Evan Bird), his flinty, Hollywood stage-mother wife (Williams); and the sudden reappearance of their daughter (Wasikowska) following her release from a sanatorium.

Add to the mix a limo-driver/aspiring actor of uncertain motive, a ghost, Cronenberg’s trademark “body horror” (disfigurement from fire and pyromania figure in the proceedings), and secrets, secrets, secrets.

Adapted from Bruce Wagner’s original screenplay (which had such a bumpy road to the screen he actually had time to construct it [or from the looks of it, a very different early draft] into a novel: 2012’s Dead Stars). Wagner, a former Beverly Hills limo driver and student of the “Write what you know” school of screenwriting; wrote the wan, hit-and-miss satire, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989). Here’s hoping Maps to the Stars finds Wagner's rapier sharpened and the targets of his satire more firmly fixed in sight. The film certainly has a major stylistic asset in the ceaselessly challenging Cronenberg, whose misfires are often more interesting than most directors’ hits.

Mya Wasikowska
Mya Wasikowska

Filmed in Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles, Maps to the Stars is David Cronenberg’s 21st film, his second with actor Robert Pattinson (Cosmopolis - 2012). Maps to the Stars has been picked up by independent Entertainment One Film for distribution in the US. No release date has been set.

The Red Band Trailer (above)

Official eOne Trailer


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