David Cronenberg’s name has become shorthand for unimaginable monstrosities thanks to his horror film work, but it still a little surprising to see that he has a… unique take on one of the most worrying news stories of the day. Cronenberg is appearing in Albert Shin’s indie thriller Disappearance At Clifton Hill as a scuba-diving historian/podcaster (the movie is about a woman investigating a possible kidnapping she witnessed as a child), and he recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the film and, naturally, the coronavirus. We’re not sure why it came up, but if our own experiences with conversations are anything to go by, talking about the outbreak of a potentially dangerous virus is at least more entertaining than talking about, say, politics.
Anyway, Cronenberg seems oddly impressed by the whole thing, saying the coronavirus is “great stuff” from a scientific angle because it’s an interesting new mutation of a virus. He acknowledges that “socially, it’s scary,” but on one level it’s “just business as usual on planet Earth.” Mr. Body Horror explains that he was very close to becoming a biochemist when he was younger, studying it for a year at the University Of Toronto before deciding it would be more interesting to use his interest in science to make movies about horrible diseases and bacterias than it would be to actually research and conduct experiments for years just to be proven wrong about something.
So it’s not so much a snooty bullshit comment like when the annoying science man says “December 31 is a cosmically insignificant day so you’re wrong to care about it,” but more about Cronenberg being interested in something that extends beyond the human-centric point-of-view of… humans. It’s a weird take, but he seems like a weird guy, so it checks out. We might question it a little more if anyone else were to have this opinion, but Cronenberg’s gotta Cronenberg.