May 16, 2014 11:08 am

Cronenberg, Egoyan show love for Canada at Cannes

WATCH: Canadian flimmaker Atom Egoyan talks about the original spark for his new film “Captives”

TORONTO — Filmmakers David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan are sharing their love for Canada this week while more than 6,000 kilometres away at the Cannes film festival.

Cronenberg, whose made-in-Toronto Maps to the Stars is showing at the prestigious festival, shared one of the reasons he makes movies in the city where he lives.

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“You have the nature of Toronto: I often think of it as a character actor who can play many different roles,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“In the 1970s, a lot of people got upset because Toronto would often be shown as somewhere else — as if that was a bad thing. But in the world of moviemaking, that’s a great thing.”

Cronenberg talked about the challenges of making Toronto look like Los Angeles for Maps to the Stars (only five days of production took place in L.A.).

“It is tricky. We knew we had to shoot in the summer, and honestly, it was palm trees,” he told the magazine. “There are places in Toronto that look strangely like places in L.A. — there’s some very modern houses and architecture. Most of the Toronto shooting took place in a modern hospital or in private residences — that was doable. [We had to] put a bunch of palm trees in the garden, and it worked very well.”

Egoyan, meanwhile, spoke to THR about Canada’s visibility at Cannes this year.

“We have three films in competition; they represent three generations. We also have filmmakers presenting in the Directors’ Fortnight and other parallel sections,” the Toronto-based director pointed out.

“It’s really, I think, the year that historically we will say Canada finally was able to consolidate this international reputation that everyone has understood over the years. This year it’s celebrated in all its forms.”

Egoyan said Canada’s film community should be proud.

“Let’s not downplay the achievement here. Let’s not do the Canadian thing and say, ‘Gee, shucks, thank you very much.’ This is a moment to be incredibly proud about, and we have bragging rights.”

The director is at the festival promoting The Captive, a thriller starring Ryan Reynolds that was shot in Sudbury, Ont. and Toronto last year. He said working in Sudbury gave the film the “dramatic winter landscape” it needed.

“It’s incredible having had a recent strong winter, because the past few winters in Ontario had been mild. It felt like the more north we’d go, the more assured we’d be to have winter,” he recalled.

“And the predominant feel of this film is this sense of the blankness of white. Certainly, working in extreme winter conditions is difficult. But we were very lucky with the way the weather held. And even when it stormed, that was something we were able to work into the film as well.”

Egoyan couldn’t help rave about Reynolds, who plays a father desperately searching for his daughter who disappeared eight years earlier.

“It will completely redefine Ryan’s career,” Egoyan said. “It’s a stunning performance. It’s a nuanced, dramatic portrayal of a man who has been tortured for eight years and remains hopeful. It’s a very compelling psychological portrait.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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