Producer Jeremy Thomas talks about A Dangerous Method
Jeremy Thomas isn’t interested in making blockbusters. Instead the English producer, and founder of the Recorded Picture Company, wants to make what he calls "interest-busters" – films that pique the interest of the audience.
His most recent interest-buster is A Dangerous Method, his third collaboration with Canadian director David Cronenberg following Naked Lunch (1991) and Crash (1996).
Based on the play The Talking Cure by Christopher Hampton, A Dangerous Method details the complicated relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Jung’s patient and mistress, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).
Although he’d never seen Hampton’s play, Thomas admits that “as a thinking person” he already knew and was interested in Jung, Freud and Spielrein, all of whom have been present in pop culture for years thanks to novels such as The White Hotel (D.M. Thomas) and films such as My Name Aas Sabina Spielrein.
“I knew that he would make sure that every aspect of the film was beautiful in terms of accuracy,” Thomas said, praising Cronenberg, whom he calls The Professor, for his rigorous attention to detail. “So the film is absolutely accurate, even down to the date. When you see a date on the screen, that’s really the day it happened.”
This accuracy came from the letters written by the three central characters, which provided the basis for Hampton’s play and which still exist and can be read by anyone with a desire and a sound knowledge of German. In addition to letters, there were also photographs of the characters and settings, which proved indispensable for the filmmakers.
“This was the period of photography. So all the actors and all the people working on the film could really look and see what it was like,” Thomas said, comparing the film to other literary adaptations he has worked on such as Naked Lunch and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky (which Thomas produced).
While the subject matter may be somewhat specialised, Thomas never doubted that there was an audience for the film. “From Rio de Janeiro to Johannesburg to Timbuktu, people are interested in psychoanalysis and are interested in Jung and Freud, so I trusted that there would be enough people interested in seeing this film.”
A Dangerous Method will be released in Australian cinemas on March 29.
A scene from A Dangerous Method.