Crimes Of The Future’s Léa Seydoux And Viggo Mortensen Share Their Ideas On The Meaning Behind Cronenberg’s Latest Movie (Hint: It’s Not To Gross You Out)

Since David Cronenberg’s latest movie Crimes of the Future has focused its marketing around images of sliced-up bodies and the tagline “surgery is the new sex,” there’s been an interesting discourse about what The Fly filmmaker could possibly have in store for audiences with his return to sci-fi horror. Then, when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, there were reports of viewers walking out of the debut screening during its grotesque sequences. Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen, two of the movie's stars, have ideas about the movie’s themes, and their answer opposes the popular belief about it. 

When CinemaBlend virtually sat down with Seydoux and Mortensen, we spoke about the themes of the film from their own point of view. First, in the No Time To Die actress’ words: 

Actually, I didn't know exactly what it was all about the first time I read it and then, little by little, you start to shape the contour ["outline" in French] and then you [feel it]... For me, the way I understood the movie was that it was a metaphor about what it is to be an artist, the main theme, but of course with David it's so layered that there's so many. I mean, it's so rich and it really makes you think a lot. This is what I love about David, he's for me, one of the rare directors to be a real artist, which is not something very common. And he has really created a certain style of cinema and his own language as well. I really think I was just curious, so I plunged into the film andI loved the relationship with both our characters – the tenderness that I could feel in this very chaotic world. And that tenderness was really something that for me, it was my, it was a guide. It was the only thing I could relate to in a way.

Both Seydoux and Mortensen seem to agree on the core element of the movie, and to them, it’s nearly a love story. Check out the Lord of the Ring actor’s thoughts: 

When I first read the script, I thought, 'Wow, this is a lot, there's a lot happening here, and we're gonna be doing some very strange things together’. But I also recognized immediately that at the center of it, there was this unusual, but as you say, very tender love story and this relationship that are committed together. And they're like a real team as artists, but there's also a respect and a genuine affection that comes through here, to the point where they're willing at some times in the story to sacrifice their individual creative ambitions for the physical and mental wellbeing of the other person. There's this give and take, there's an evolution in the relationship in a really nice way.

You can check out the Crimes of the Future actors’ full responses in the video above. Cronenberg’s latest movie centers on their characters, Mortensen’s Saul Tenser and Seydoux’s Caprice, who are performance artists in an imagined future. In this future, humans have evolved past simple pleasures and turn to pain to turn them on and entertain themselves. Weird? Yes, but as the actors shared, there’s a deeper storyline between its main characters they enjoyed exploring. 

While much of the conversation around Crimes of the Future is in its blood and gore, which is often associated with David Cronenberg’s best work, the movie itself has an emotional story involving these performance artists who have a unique partnership and care about one another in an intriguing way. As someone who has seen the movie (check out CinemaBlend’s review of Crimes of the Future), I can see how the actors have gravitated toward this element of the film, because it was truly the most human and oddly most interesting element of the movie. 

Crimes of the Future feels like a thought experiment of where we could go as a society in hundreds of years as we continue to become numbed by the entertainment that used to blow our minds. And amidst the ideas being explored, the audience is grounded by the affection two people can have for each other, even if their careers and way of having sex are super uncomfortable and alien to modern times. 

You can also check out CinemaBlend’s interview with David Cronenberg about working with Kristen Stewart and stay tuned for more exclusive coverage on upcoming 2022 movies.  

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.