David Cronenberg mentioned me in a recent interview with Indiewire (well, not by name — he actually called me "the journalist woman," but I'll take what I can get) and while part of me is honored to earn an inch of real estate in his brain, I'm not crazy about the content of the conversation.
When asked about negative comments he made to me, months ago, about "The Dark Knight Rises" and the pedestrian nature of superhero movies in general, Cronenberg replied, "See, this is how it all gets distorted," and suggested that the interview we published had taken his remarks out of context.
Let me be clear: I have no problem with his opinion. None. I love superhero movies — and I love Cronenberg's movies, too — but being a good director or a good critic doesn't make anyone's opinion more objectively true than mine. Or yours. He says that people who consider Christopher Nolan's Batman movies art don't know "what the f**k they're talking about." I say, in matters of total subjectivity, we all know exactly what the f**k we're talking about, by definition.
"I think it's still Batman running around in a stupid cape," Cronenberg said, in response to my suggestion that other well-regarded directors (like Nolan) have invigorated the superhero movie genre. "Christopher Nolan's best movie is 'Memento,' and that is an interesting movie. I don't think his Batman movies are half as interesting though they're 20 million times the expense."
He's entitled to his opinion, and it made for a lively discussion; his remarks were picked up by a handful of prominent entertainment sites, causing a fanboy backlash and setting the stage for this recent followup.
In his recent conversation with Indiewire, Cronenberg claims that, when journalists quote him, "they never quote themselves." Well, we published a Q&A — the Q there stands for "question," if that wasn't abundantly clear — so of course that's not true.
He suggests, too, that his dismissiveness wasn't directed solely at Nolan, and I'll absolutely agree with that. He speaks about the genre as a whole in the published piece. In the interest of the fullest disclosure: when publishing a Q&A, for the benefit of the reader, I'll cut chatter, asides, extra words if the subject stumbles and restarts, etc. Cronenberg asked me for an example when I posed the broader question — would he ever consider making a superhero movie, as other respected directors have — and I offered Nolan. I cut the exchange because it didn't add anything; if Cronenberg feels that his Nolan-centered rant rests on the shoulders of my suggestion, I apologize for leaving it out. I did say Nolan's name first.
But the question I asked him was about his interest in the entire genre, not just the "Dark Knight" trilogy; his answer's singular focus on the Batman movies was a choice he made. Far from putting words in his mouth, I was genuinely taken aback — not by his disapproval, but by the volume of his disdain. His quotes were real, they were accurate. Perhaps he wishes he'd been a shade more delicate; I know speaking candidly, on the record, is difficult for even the most articulate among us, and the question was unexpected. But there's a world of difference between "in retrospect, that was more negative than I intended to be" and "I was taken out of context."
Oh, and one last thing: Cronenberg says our interview happened before "The Dark Knight Rises" was released to anyone but journalists, making it impossible for him to have seen it. It's a silly non-argument; I didn't ask him to review the film, I asked if he'd like to make one. I don't blame him for missing it — he's a busy guy — but our interview was in mid-August.
Even a journalist woman knows "TDKR" came out in July.