Cronenberg navigates next project

“A History of Violence” helmer David Cronenberg will next direct “Maps to the Stars,” a Bruce Wagner-scripted darkly comic drama about Hollywood excess and intrigue.

Lensing will begin in the fall on the first pic the Canadian will shoot on U.S. soil.

The film will be financed and produced by Robert Lantos through Serendipity Point Films. Lantos will make his third film with Cronenberg, after “Crash” and “eXistenZ.”

“You could say it’s a Hollywood film because the characters are agents, actors and managers, but it is not a satire like ‘The Player,’ ” Cronenberg said. “Bruce is brilliant about writing characters in this world, and I’d wanted to do something with him for ages.”

Cronenberg was exec producer on “I’m Losing You,” a Hollywood tale that Wagner scripted and directed from his novel.

“A History of Violence” drew critical acclaim but came up short during award season. “I am glad to have settled on my next film; I’ve been on the lunch and dinner circuit promoting ‘A History of Violence’ since last May,” Cronenberg said. “When both SAG and the DGA ignored us, to me the handwriting was on the wall. A lot of directors told me how much they loved the film. Why the DGA didn’t recognize it, your guess is as good as mine.” ICM-repped Cronenberg will rely on Wagner’s script for a genuine look at Hollywood culture, since he always makes his films at home in Canada, even U.S.-set films like “Violence.”

“Hollywood is a world that is seductive and repellent at the same time, and it is the combination of the two that makes it so potent,” Cronenberg said. “I won’t fall back on some cliches or simplistic sloganeering, because the culture and what it reveals about Western culture and the rest of the world is very complex. I’ll definitely shoot some in L.A. and the rest on sets in Toronto.”

Lantos said he will finance the film through a pre-sales effort that will be undertaken before production begins.

“I’ll wait until we cast it before I do that, and in terms of domestic distribution, I might wait longer than that,” Lantos said.

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