Viggo ‘Promises’ A Naked Bathhouse Fight

Jeremy Smith over at CHUD turned me on to an article at The Globe and Mail in regards to David Cronenberg‘s upcoming Eastern Promises starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts.

The article does its share of kissing up to David Cronenberg (something I am not quite ready to do yet), but for the most part it talks about the production of Eastern Promises, and while it is a good article there is certainly one piece of it that stands out more than the rest.

With Cronenberg one thing you can be assured of is that he isn’t afraid to lay it all out on the table in any one of his scenes. Did you think The Fly was a bit too gruesome? Did you think the violence in A History of Violence was all too real and a little disturbing? I can only think if you answered yes to those questions than Cronenberg would say, “Good!”

One thing is for sure, it sounds like this upcoming London thriller involving Russian mobsters dealing in sex-slave traffic will be one more movie that will fit in nicely on the Cronenberg shelf as talks of a naked bathhouse fight involving Viggo and his enemies. Here are some snippets:

For Cronenberg devotees, it will be a classic example of the kind of body transformation themes have characterized his work for more than 35 years. But the scene that will undoubtedly prove the major talking point of the film is a bathhouse fight between Mortensen and two other men that is loaded with extreme violence along with nudity.

Initially, Cronenberg and his set designer had found what they thought was a perfect London bathhouse with lots of small rooms and corridors that was “creepy and great,” but when the owners decided to renovate and modernize it, the filmmakers had to build their own. Working initially with models, he told the stunt co-ordinator what he wanted. The stunt co-ordinator spent a couple of hours a week with the three actors involved, with Cronenberg dropping in to monitor the action. Then the actors performed it in slow motion while Cronenberg worked out his camera moves: “I didn’t want Bourne [Ultimatum]-style impressionism where you don’t actually see what’s going on. People go to the movies to transform, or live another life, and I wanted them to feel that they were there, that they were vulnerable.”

Somewhere in there, he says, there was the question of what to do with the towels.

“I’ll fight naked. That’s how it would happen,” Cronenberg says of Mortensen’s reaction. “There wasn’t even a discussion about what else we do because Viggo knows I’d be too restricted if I couldn’t shoot him from the waist down.”

Cronenberg says he’s already got feedback commenting on the bravery of the scene. “These days with DVDs and screen grabs and so on, we know there will be naked shots of him on the Internet, so the naturally vulnerability of the actor is increased, but we also know that’s how the scene must be played.”

So for all the ladies looking for a screen capture of Mortensen’s junk just wait till 2008 when you can screen grab your DVD and whatever else your hands are searching for, but before then you will have to catch Eastern Promises in theaters on September 14. For more on the film including a look at some new stills (sorry no nudes) click here.

For the complete Globe and Mail article click here.


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