Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Why Is There Only One American Actor in a Movie Set in NY?

posted by Nell Minow

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.



  • Kevin L.

    Was Cronenberg’s restriction contractual or tax-based? It may be the French and Canadian governments give out generous tax breaks to the producers, but with strings attached on the payroll. And, to be fair, while set in NYC, most of it was shot in NYC’s body double, Toronto.

    For an off-beat art house project, keeping the budget low is essential to the movie getting made. So credit to the French and Canadians for backing the project.

    The Canadian subsidy issue has been around awhile. When the SCTV series was around, it was filmed in Canada because it was licensed by the Toronto Second City troupe. The producers took advantage of the tax breaks, but the Canadian authorities pointed out a regulation stating they had to have 2-3 minutes of “Canadian content” per show. The producers asked, “If we put a couple of guys in tocques cooking back bacon in front of a map of Canada, would that satisfy you?” – and Bob and Doug McKenzie and the “Great White North” sketches were born

    • Nell Minow

      I didn’t know that about the McKenzies! I loved those skits. All kinds of compromises are made for reasons of finance. I was amazed to hear that the Japanese character in the television series “Revenge” was added as part of a deal to try to get the show picked up in Japan. And it worked! If you see the movie, Kevin, let me know what you think.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Linda

    So, what you’re saying is that Rob Pattinson got this juicy role, in part, because he carries a E. Union passport! My God! If Pattinson had filed immigration papers in the U.S., he might have lost out on this very savory part! I find all of this “behind the scenes” negotiating, interesting. I’ll just bet there’s plenty of stuff that gets negotiated that we never hear about!

Previous Posts

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Thank You! This Site is 19 Years Old This Week!
It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago this week that I first began writing reviews online as The Movie Mom®.  Anyone remember Prodigy?  The first appearance of my website was via the Sears-owned online service, so long ago it does not even turn up in Wayback searches.  At the time, we

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside"
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl

posted 8:00:36am Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.