The trouble with sitting in Dad David Cronenberg's director's chair

His new film shows he's his own man, says Brandon Cronenberg

"He's my father, I grew up with him and I've been compared with him all by life," states Brandon Cronenberg batting off the inevitable question about following his father, Videodrome director David Cronenberg, into the director's chair. "That is one of the problems when you have a well-known parent, people are interested in that relationship, but it also got quite boring after a while and I didn't want to be defined by it. I'm just doing what is interesting for me."

Nonetheless, 32-year-old Brandon is not helping his own cause by following in his father's footsteps and sitting in the director's chair. It becomes all too easy to compare the two and of course it's the nature of celebrity that has us wondering what it was like for Brandon growing up under the aegis of Canada's best-known director.

He even admits that to a certain extent it's because he saw the celebrity of his father and his circle of friends that he was motivated to make Antiviral: "I definitely had some insight into celebrity, seeing my father and the other side of it and so I borrowed from that."

Antiviral even has a plot that could have come straight out of one of his father's movies. Set in the near future, celebrity fascination has continued to balloon to the extent that a market has developed for the germs of famous people. When oddball Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) injects himself with the germs of rising superstar Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) he gets incredibly sick. Soon after, Geist is discovered dead and March has a race against time to find a cure to the virus.

Celebrities would often pop over to the Cronenberg family home for dinner. It was while the cutlery was at work that the young Cronenberg saw a disconnect between the public and private personas of the dinner guests and he began to question how the media report on those in the limelight.

"One of the things that is interesting to me and I also have some insight into because of how I grew up is how removed the celebrity as an entity is from the actual human being," says Cronenberg. "Celebrities are cultural constructs, they are loosely based on human beings and I think being able to see a human behind that construction has given me insight into how disconnected these fabrications are from the actual people."

Brandon, himself, seems like an awkward character, uncomfortable under the media spotlight. Dressed all in black he seems nervous and sits atop of his hands to stop them flailing as he tackles questions. Growing up, he had natural emnity to following in his father's footsteps, but with his interest being in books – he imagined as a child he would be a novelist – music and visual art, cinema seemed like a natural home for his talents.

The initial idea for the thriller came in 2004 while he was at film school and Antiviral started life as a short film. Bed-ridden by a particularly bad case of the flu, Cronenberg remembers, "I started having this feverish dream and obsessing over the physicality of illness and the fact that I had something in my body and my cells that had come from somebody else's body and there was a weird intimacy to that connection."

The irony is not lost on Cronenberg that by making a film about celebrity he is feeding the beast. "Sure! But at the same time, film is a great way to discuss things and explore aspects of our culture. I mean the film is satirical and critical but it's not meant to just be a statement against celebrity culture, it's meant to be a discussion about it."

'Antiviral' plays at the Sci-fi London Film Festival on 10 November

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
TV

Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit