TimeOut What do you think about Eric Packer – and is it important to like your central character?
‘I think it’s important to feel empathy, not necessarily sympathy. You need to have some understanding of him, but it doesn’t mean you have to like him. You need to be fascinated enough to stay with him throughout the movie. Which is why you need a charismatic actor like Rob, who has a face you want to keep looking at.’
Does casting a star like Robert Pattinson have any significance for you, beyond the fact that he’s right for the role?
‘No. It’s similar to when I cast Viggo [Mortensen, in ‘Eastern Promises’]. It’s important for the financing. If Rob hadn’t been famous from “Twilight”, I couldn’t have had him in the movie. But for me creatively that means nothing. Once you’re on the set, it’s just you guys. There’s no-one else there. It’s as if he never made another movie and I never made another movie.’
Do you like the idea that Twi-hards might have their horizons widened by ‘Cosmopolis’?
‘I do. A lot of girls who are fans of Rob’s have created “Cosmopolis” websites, and some of them are really elaborate and beautiful. And they’re reading the book and talking about it. They know it isn’t “Twilight” and they’re still excited. We had some girls standing outside at 3am while we were shooting. They’d made a T-shirt that said “Nancy Babich” and had a pistol on it [a reference to Pattinson’s bodyguard]. So I happily wore that for them! Undoubtedly there will be some Rob fans who’ve never heard of Don DeLillo, or me, who will see this movie. It’s not the cake, but it’s the icing on it.’