“Cosmopolis” is a new movie based on a book by American author Don DeLillo. It is a story about Americans who work in the world of finance and takes place entirely in New York City. It stars British actor Robert Pattinson, best known for another American role, Edward in the “Twilight” series.
A number of British actors play Americans very convincingly, including Hugh Laurie in “House,” Tom Hardy in next week’s “Lawless,” and Christian Bale as Batman in the Dark Knight movies. And Americans play Brits, too, like Gwenyth Paltrow in “Shakespeare in Love,” “Emma,” and “Sliding Doors” and Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning role as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
I’m in favor of casting the best actor for the role without regard to his or her native accent. But there’s more to the story in the casting for “Cosmopolis.” According to Slate, director David Cronenberg explained that the movie was a co-production financed by Canada and France, and so was limited to just one American actor. He wisely chose Paul Giamatti for a small but crucial role. Pattinson’s EU passport qualified as a part of the French component of the film.
I understand that compromise is a part of any project as expensive as this one. But I am sorry to think that decisions so central to the quality of a film are being made for reasons that have so little to do with the quality of the film.