It’s been around seven years since the last time legendary director David Cronenberg helmed a feature film, 2014’s Maps to the Stars, but the 78-year-old auteur is apparently gearing up for a return. Cronenberg is reportedly headed to Greece to shoot a new science fiction film titled Crimes of the Future—a familiar title to Cronenberg completionists, as it is the same as his sophomore feature all the way back in 1970. It’s unclear if this Crimes of the Future is a full-on remake of Cronenberg’s own work from 50 years ago, but if it is, clearly he must feel passionately about it to want to remake a film that is now half a century old.
The original Crimes of the Future follows the director of a dermatological clinic following a plague caused by modern cosmetics that has killed off all the world’s women. Like other Cronenberg films of this era such as Shivers and Rabid, it combines social satire with the body horror the director is known for, and would later apply to movies like The Brood and The Fly.
One can’t help but wonder if this film is the same one that frequent Cronenberg collaborator Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) was talking about when he mentioned that he was gearing up with the director to shoot a secret project of some kind in the summer of 2021. Speaking to GQ, Mortensen said the following: “Yes, we do have something in mind. It’s something he wrote a long time ago, and he never got it made. Now he’s refined it, and he wants to shoot it. Hopefully, it’ll be this summer we’ll be filming. I would say, without giving the story away, he’s going maybe a little bit back to his origins.”
“Going back to his origins” would certainly fit with a reimagined version of his sophomore feature, Crimes of the Future. Without a doubt, it will be fascinating to see how Cronenberg approaches such a project more than 50 years after beginning his career. And not to be forgotten, it’s cool to have Cronenberg working again while his son Brandon Cronenberg is likewise drawing raves for films like Possessor, one of our best movies of 2020.
Crimes of the Future has now been confirmed to star Mortensen, along with Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Don McKellar and Lihi Kornowski. It sounds like an entirely different concept than Cronenberg’s 1970 film, which Deadline describes thusly:
Crimes of the Future is taking a deep dive into the not-so-distant future where humankind is learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings. This evolution moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, altering their biological makeup. While some embrace the limitless potential of trans-humanism, others attempt to police it. Either way, “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome” is spreading fast. Saul Tenser is a beloved performance artist who has embraced Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, sprouting new and unexpected organs in his body. Along with his partner Caprice, Tenser has turned the removal of these organs into a spectacle for his loyal followers to marvel at in real-time theatre. But with both the government and a strange subculture taking note, Tenser is forced to consider what would be his most shocking performance of all.