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Actors in A Dangerous Method

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Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:53 pm


What do you know about David Cronenberg’s intention to make a sequel to Eastern Promises?
Well, I know it’s planned, and I hope we’re going to make it. It would be Viggo and myself, as planned, and part of it would happen in Russia. For the rest, we’ll see.

And you’re working with Cronenberg right now?
I completed the movie already. It’s called A Dangerous Method. I play Otto Groce, the spiritual son of Freud. He would have been his follower, but he was much too crazy. Coked out, f**king everybody, having kids here and there and not taking care of them. He was really bright, but he was living too much what he was thinking about psychotherapy. He thought, “Don’t repress anything, ever,” and he would really do it.

It’s sort of an unofficial Eatern Promises reunion, what with you, Cronenberg, and Viggo in the film as well.
You don’t even know how flattered I was when he called me back in.

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:56 pm

Trending News » Entertainment » Thelma Adams: Vincent Cassel: A Q&A With the Black Swan Star
Thelma Adams: Vincent Cassel: A Q&A With the Black Swan Star
On Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 under Entertainment

From his angry young man in La Haine (1995), to his Capoeira-loving Ocean’s 12 sidekick and his Cesar-award winning Mesrine, Vincent Cassel, 44, gives his all: head, heart and muscle. We sat down at Manhattan’s Mercer Hotel to discuss his domineering ballet master in Black Swan. I found him intense, playful and every bit the French gentleman (no talking with his mouth full despite the steak on the plate before him!).

TA: Is there a difference between making films in France and in America?
VC: I don’t think it has any thing to do with the nationality. It’s just that it changes from one director to the other. You can’t compare a Darren Aronofsky to Oliver Stone. There is this idea that it’s very different from the French point of view to work in America blah, blah, blah. But I think it’s different from one person to the other, not from one country to the other
TA: What was it like with Aronofsky?
VC: Easy. We’re the same age, the same sensibility. I like him, first of all. I’ve been watching him not because I felt that one day I would work with him but because I was interested in his path, his choices. While he was shooting The Fountain we were shooting Renegade. It was a shamanic western. It had a lot to do with The Fountain. There was some thing else in common: It was a flop.
TA: And now you share a hit. What was it like creating Thomas Leroy in Black Swan?
VC: It was a coming back home. I grew up in the very environment, in studios and backstage and onstage because my father was dancing.
TA: Gene Kelly discovered your father, Jean-Pierre Cassel, tap dancing on stage, right?
VC: He was a dancer and an actor. We had a pretty close relationship with Michael Bennett, director of A Chorus Line. My father portrayed Zach, the director. So he was doing more or less the part I’m playing in Black Swan: very demanding, sadistic, tough on the dancers. When I read the script I felt like, oh, I know that world.
TA: In this film, there’s the dance world but it’s also an All About Eve story
VC: The backstage is the most interesting thing as a story to be told because the ballet, everybody knows the story, and of course it’s very stylish and not very, let’s say, new? Dusty.
TA: I love the way it captures the physicality of ballet.
VC: it’s one of the hardest things in the world, you suffer on a daily basis. It’s like being a boxer, or a monk. You do it because there’s no other way.
TA: In that way it’s thematically tied to The Wrestler.
VC: It’s actually the same idea. For Darren Aronofsky, it’s the same movie.
TA: Though this one takes a metaphysical leap the other didn’t. Once Natalie Portman’s Nina starts growing feathers, this one has the intensity where it starts to spiral. You don’t know what you’re seeing, what’s real, what’s not, whereas The Wrestler was all what you see is what is.
VC: It goes a little further out there, this one. Strangely enough, I think that’s what makes it accessible to a larger audience. At first, it doesn’t appear like a psychological thriller in the vein of say the early Polanski, and then when I saw the movie for the first time, I realized it was actually much more graphic, erotic, and scary. There’s a realistic part and then the thing goes sci fi. I didn’t realize that we were doing this from reading the script. I thought it would be more like The Tenant…
TA: How would you describe your character’s arc?
VC: He falls in love with Nina when she gets where he wants her. I hope you understand it’s not about getting laid. It’s very much about directing in a very intrusive way. When I first saw it at the Venice film festival when the lights came back I was like wow, let’s go have a drink. It’s very demanding I think.
TA: Why do you think it’s so demanding?
VC: Maybe because it’s visually very rich; there’s so many things going on, so many details, even in terms of the sound.
TA: Could you talk about Natalie Portman? Her character is moving from light to dark; Nina is about finding the darkness within your self.
VC: I would say that she goes from something whiter than what she is to something darker than what she is because Natalie is not that cute little girl.
TA: The movie pushes Portman out of that safety zone
VC: She was looking for that. She wanted to grow.
TA: She wants to push her boundaries.
VC: In The Closer with Clive Owen she was already going there. On this she really goes for it, that’s for sure.
TA: Tell me about your scenes together?
VC: She’s very easy. She doesn’t bring that diva bullshit that she could because she was the star. We had some scenes where you have to kiss and blah blah and it’s not fun to do those scenes and she goes for it. She dares and she doesn’t fake it. [laughs] It sounds like all the lines are coming from the movie now.
TA: What was different for you in this movie?
VC: It definitely has something to do with my father; an homage for me. He’d played that part in A Chorus Line. It occurred to me that I had to wait until he died to be a dancer in a movie. He would have loved it. Some times when parents disappear you suddenly accept more things from them. I worked with young directors all my life, only young directors. He dies, and it’s the first time I do a Jean-Jacques Annaud movie, and David Cronenberg.
TA: Your shooting Cronenberg’s Freud movie, A Dangerous Method…
VC: …it’s actually finished. It’s shot.
TA: It’s about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung
VC: Freud, Jung and I’m Otto.
TA: Otto who?
VC: Otto Gross. He would have been the spiritual son of Freud and Jung. He was really, really bright except that the guy was insane, more than they were. He was pushing the boundaries in terms of psychotherapy at the time, but he was a cocaine addict, he was having sex with literally everybody, he was having kids everywhere. His motto was to never repress any thing. He was living it. So, at some point, Freud sent him to Jung, saying to Jung I would like to cure this guy. He knew that Otto would push Jung further.
TA: And who plays those roles?
VC: Viggo Mortensen is Freud and Michael Fassbender is Jung.
TA: That’s an intense group.
VC: You know what? It was a lot of fun. Cronenberg’s a lot of fun, and that a lot of people don’t know watching his movies. He doesn’t take himself seriously. He’s still reinventing himself.

TA: What’s next?
VC: A romantic comedy with my wife; a very sexy one.
TA: Given your wife, Monica Bellucci, that’s no surprise.
VC: Well, it’s going to be sexy, very sexy.
TA: To quote Otto, “Never repress any thing.”

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:34 am

Vincent Cassel talks Darren Aronofsky and David Cronenberg

black swan star vincent cassel talks cronenberg 00 470 75 Vincent Cassel talks Darren Aronofsky and David Cronenberg

Vincent Cassel has been having a great 12 months - first off appearing in Oscar-certainty Black Swan, out this week, and working again with David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen on A Dangerous Method.

We caught up with the actor ahead of the release of Black Swan, and he told us about his upcoming projects, as well as working with two generations of maverick filmmakers in Darren Aronofsky and David Cronenberg.

"Strangely enough, I think they have things in common" he told us. "Maybe the fascination for the body horror material. The same subject matter, every once in a while."

"They both have a European quality to what they do. A dark European quality!"

Cassel also speculated that a proposed sequel to David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises is more than just a fantasy.

When asked if the sequel was going to happen, the actor replied, "hopefully."

"It doesn’t really depend on me. If it’s happening I’m dying to do it because of David, and because of Viggo. Me and Viggo get along very well."

"You never know what’s going to happen, or if David wants to do something else before. If it happens it will be like a year and a half, two years."

In the meantime he has been working with Mortenson and Cronenberg on historical film A Dangerous Method.

The film is about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and follows their working relationship as they pioneer psychotherapy.

Cronenberg chose Cassel to play the maverick psychologist Otto Gross alongside Mortenson's Freud and Michael Fassbender's Jung.

Freud and Jung "were crazy," said Cassel. "They were on drugs, they were talking about what they were experiencing with sex, with their relationships with their patients."

"It’s very serious - but it’s pretty wild too."

Cassel will next appear in Russian director Romain Gavras's Our Day Will Come: "It’s about redheads rebelling against society."

After that he'll play the eponymous sexual deviant in The Monk, an adaptation of the 18th century Gothic novel.

Quite a diverse portfolio of projects for one year...

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:00 pm

Keira Knightley plays it kinky in new thriller

Added At: 2011-09-04 6:48 PM

Last Updated At: 2011-09-04 6:48 PM

Based on Christopher Hampton's 2003 play The Talking Cure‚ the film is regarded as one of the prestige projects of the year.

LONDON: She made her name playing the archetypal English rose in a string of romcoms and costume dramas.

But now Keira Knightley is set to shock movie fans by playing a sexually masochistic neurotic in a controversial new thriller, reported the Daily Mail on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates Of The Caribbean star appears topless in the film A Dangerous Method and in one scene is seen strapped to a bed while being thrashed by her lover.

Knightley’s frank and often harrowing performance in the drama, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, is already generating a considerable buzz for her and co-stars Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen.

One critic has described Knightley’s performance as ‘Oscar bait’ and the film is the bookies’ favourite to take the festival’s prestigious Golden Lion for best film.

A Dangerous Method tells the story of a scandalous affair between Sabina Spielrein, a beautiful but troubled Russian who -suffers from uncontrollable and violent fits, and Carl Jung, the married Swiss psychiatrist, who agrees to treat her.

The film describes itself as a study of ‘sexuality, ambition and deceit’ and its title refers to Jung’s innovative ‘talking cure’, the ¬earliest form of psychoanalysis, in which Jung encourages Sabina to recall her feelings as a child when her father beat her.

In the opening scenes, a barely recognisable Knightley is shown being dragged kicking and screaming to the Austrian hos-pital where Jung – Michael Fassbender –works. She is shown suffering from uncontrollable fits that leave her struggling for speech.

But the pair quickly establish a relationship of trust, and Knightley’s character reveals that the fits are triggered by memories of childhood beatings administered by her father that left her sexually aroused.

The beatings are identified as the cause of her sado-masochistic desires, and in one pivotal scene, Knightley is aroused when Jung innocently beats the dust off her coat with a stick.

When he asks his patient about her earliest memories of the beatings, she tells him: ‘It excited me.’

The highly educated Spielrein dreams of becoming a psycho¬analyst herself and Jung agrees to allow her to assist him in his cases. The pair develop an irresistible passion for each other as their work continues and they become lovers.

In one seduction scene, Knightley’s character tells Jung: ‘If you ever want to take the initiative, I live in that building.’ And she then implores him: ‘I want you to punish me.’ The erotically charged film then charts the couple’s exploration of Knightley’s sadomasochistic fantasies.

The film is set in the years before the First World War when Jung was beginning to make a name for himself as a disciple of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. Historically, Jung was a founding figure in the field of ¬psychoanalysis, while Spielrein was influential on both Jung’s and Freud’s careers. Historians have pointed to a likely romantic ¬relationship between Jung and Spielrein, and the film explores the possible erotic nature of such a relationship.

Ultimately destructive, the affair is used to highlight Freud’s revolutionary theories about sex and the subconscious. Freud, played by Viggo Mortensen, is a pivotal character in the film and his relationship with Jung is destroyed by events. In life, the two men endured a famous professional rift.

Based on Christopher Hampton’s 2003 play The Talking Cure, the film is regarded as one of the prestige projects of the year.

Hampton, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Dangerous Liaisons and Atonement, has written the screenplay and the film is directed by David Cronenberg, who also made The Fly and Dead Ringers.

The film, released next February, is already attracting online comment, with fans describing it as ‘awesome’ and ‘moving’.

Jeremy Thomas, the film’s producer, said: ‘I always knew Keira was a great actress but I didn’t know how great she could be.

‘The film is not salacious and the scenes are totally justifiable.’

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:16 am

Keira Knightley Prepares For 'A Dangerous Method' Spanking Scene With Vodka Shots

First Posted: 9/13/11 03:53 PM ET Updated: 9/13/11 03:53 PM ET

With an Academy Award nomination under her belt and upcoming movies that plunge into the worlds of Freud, Jung and Tolstoy, Keira Knightely is no slouch when it comes to serious acting.

She sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about how she slipped into the role of Sabine Spielrein, a Russian woman suffering from heavy psychological issues, for her upcoming film.

In a more harrowing scene of David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," Knightley's character was placed in a very compromising position. She was to be spanked.

The scene was almost uncomfortable enough for the actress to turn down the role that may very well earn her another Oscar nod.

"When I first read the script, I thought, 'The script was fascinating, and it's David, and I really want to work with David, but I read those two scenes and just went, 'I don't think that I can do that,' particularly because it's the age of the Internet; it's gonna be everywhere; I don't want that out there'... I phoned him up to really turn it down... I said to him, 'Look, I love you, I love the script, I love the character, but I really don't know that I can play those scenes'... He said, 'Look, if I'm gonna do them, then they're gonna be clinical; they're not gonna be sexy, they're not gonna be voyeuristic in that way.' And I thought, 'Okay, well I can understand that. As long as it's clinical and it's not some, sort of, weird sexy spanking thing.'"

So the preparation for this, it would take something beyond creativity or professionalism. It took something special: Vodka.

"There was a box which he hit, so he was nowhere near me, thank God! I did actually say to Michael before one of the scenes -- I was like, 'I've got a security guard outside. You touch me and he's gonna break your legs!' And he was like, 'Keira, you're tied to a bed. You're not really in a position to say that.' I said, 'I guess you're right.'... [I did] a couple of shots of vodka -- definitely -- beforehand, and then a couple of glasses of champagne as a celebration of never having to do that again!"

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:51 pm

Knightley almost turned down Cronenberg film over spanking scene

Posted: Wednesday 14 Sep 2011

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY came close to turning down a leading role in DAVID CRONENBERG's disturbing new film A DANGEROUS METHOD - because she feared the movie's spanking scenes would haunt her for the rest of her career.

The beauty plays a Russian woman with severe psychological issues who comes between famed psychiatrists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

In one shocking scene, Knightley's character, Sabine, is violently spanked, and the star admits she picked up the phone to tell director Cronenberg she didn't feel comfortable accepting the role.

But after the filmmaker insisted the scene would not be sexual, Knightley came onboard - and indulged in vodka shots to build up her courage before the awkward take.

She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "When I first read the script, I thought, 'The script was fascinating, and it's David (Cronenberg), and I really want to work with David, but I read those two scenes and just went, 'I don't think that I can do that,' particularly because it's the age of the Internet; it's gonna be everywhere; I don't want that out there'.

"I phoned him up to really turn it down... I said to him, 'Look, I love you, I love the script, I love the character, but I really don't know that I can play those scenes'... He said, 'Look, if I'm gonna do them, then they're gonna be clinical; they're not gonna be sexy, they're not gonna be voyeuristic in that way.' And I thought, 'OK, well I can understand that. As long as it's clinical and it's not some, sort of, weird sexy spanking thing.'

"There was a box which he hit, so he was nowhere near me, thank God! I did actually say to (co-star) Michael (Fassbender) before one of the scenes - I was like, 'I've got a security guard outside. You touch me and he's gonna break your legs!' And he was like, 'Keira, you're tied to a bed. You're not really in a position to say that.'

"(I had) a couple of shots of vodka - definitely - beforehand, and then a couple of glasses of champagne as a celebration of never having to do that again!"

It seems Cronenberg is a master of persuasion - he recently confessed to flying to Britain and coaxing Jeremy Irons into playing twisted twins in thriller Dead Ringers after 30 other stars had turned the creepy roles down.

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:18 am

Toronto 2011: Keira Knightley says 'Method' role wigs her out too
September 12, 2011 | 5:00 am

From the moment Keira Knightley appears on screen--or, rather writes, shrieks and flies into Russian-accented hysterics while being carried by guards into Carl Jung's research facility--she establishes herself as one of the polarizing figures of the fall film season.

Knightley's role in David Cronenberg's history-of-psychoanalysis picture "A Dangerous Method" of Sabina Spielrein--a repressed and intelligent Russian emigre who was first a patient, then a student and lover, of Carl Jung in Zurich--has already split viewers right down the middle. To some, her decision to play Spielrein with the maximum of physical and vocal expressiveness is bold and award-worthy; to others, it's hyberbolic and unnecessary.

What both her admirers and detractors may be surprised to learn, though, is that Knightley feels a little strange about her performance too. "I was sitting and watching the movie in Venice and went 'Oh...," she said, using a four-letter word and letting her voice fall off in faintly alarmed surprise. "It's all very extreme. I thought 'Oh God, did I need to do that?' But then I realized it's supposed to be extreme," she told 24 Frames as she sipped a glass of water in a downtown Toronto hotel room.

Indeed, many of the theatrics of the role, she said, were by design. "I wanted something very shocking," said Knightley, who read numerous diaries and journals to prepare to play the role of the young patient, who through psychoanalysis begins peeling back the layers of her repressed sexuality. "I read that Sabina Spielrein was ravaged by tics, and I wanted to show that as vividly as I could."

She said she spent "days--well, OK, several hours" practicing various gestures and expressions in the bathroom mirror before trying them on set.

(Croneneberg's Thanksgiving release also looks at how Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) hash out their intellectual differences at the birth of the psychoanalysis movement in the early part of the 20th century.

Knightley added that, as hard as it might be to imagine, she actually dialed back some of her acting. "Yes, it's pretty bloody extreme, but when you read about Sabina Spielrein's hysterics, you realize that there's far less in the movie than what actually took place."

Still, she said she understood why some were reacting harshly to her performance. "This was a decision I made knowing full well it was something some people would love and some people would hate," she said. "There's something in me that likes that. I do choose things that polarize people," and then added ruefully, "Maybe I need some psychoanalysis."

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:13 pm

Keira Knightley Interview For David Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’

Drawn from true-life events, David Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ chronicles the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. Into the mix comes Otto Gross (Vincent Cassell), a debauched patient who is determined to push the boundaries. In this exploration of sensuality, ambition and deceit set the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought. ‘A Dangerous Method’ is set for release November 23rd in the US, and Febuary 10th in the UK. Check out what Keira Knightley had to say about the film in a quick interview below.

What was the research process for you like on ‘A Dangerous Method,’ to help you understand Sabina more?

Keira Knightley: As soon as I knew I was going to play the part I phoned Christopher Hampton (screenwriter), and said, ‘help!’ He said, ‘alright, come around.’ I thought that he was going to give me a talk for a couple of hours and I’d take notes, which he did, but he also handed me a massive pile of books and said, ‘Read all of those, it’s somewhere in there.’ So I did that, I also found a translation of the diaries and Jung’s notes, Jung biographies, including ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections.’ Sabina’s diary entries, a lot of that, they were very helpful. Then I spoke to couple of analyses as well, just to get an idea of what exactly hysteria was and what it would come from.

It’s such a frantic and frenetic role, was that a challenge in crafting?

Keira Knightley: It was a very challenging role, I think that was one of the reasons I wanted to play her, because I didn’t know who she was. I think very often when you play characters, there are certain threads that link you, emotionally you can understand exactly what the person went through, with this one I had no frame of reference. But that was what was fascinating and exciting about it. So it really was a question of trying to find logic with what was perceived from the outside to be madness. Because I think as much as she knew that she was ill, there were logical reasons within her for the way she behaved, so it was really about trying to understand what that logic was, and then find out from the inside and build her up. With the help of David Cronenberg, we managed to craft something. It was a very exciting process.

keira knightly sabina Keira Knightley Interview For David Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’

Is it cathartic, in a strange way, playing a role like Sabina?

Keira Knightley Oh yeah, it can be incredibly cathartic, particularly with a role like this. It’s almost strange what a wonderful time we had making this film (laughs). It’s….particularly my character is very dark, so it seems almost perverse that we had such a wonderful and fun time outside that. I think part of that was because you’re going to these incredibly dark places, you’re trying to think of that and it all comes out in that direction, then afterwards you leave it and you go and watch football, have a beer and have a really nice time.

You seem to love acting in historical based films.

Keira Knightley: I do a lot of costume dramas (laughs), I don’t know why, I really just enjoy them. I think it’s a taste thing, I just really enjoy them. I love reading about them, I love history books so it’s a privilege that that’s part of my job.

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:41 pm

Sex, spanking and the bitter feud that Jung and Freud took to the grave, according to controversial new film

By Annabel Venning

Last updated at 3:29 PM on 23rd September 2011

On a wooded hillside in a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland, a carriage drew up outside the imposing grey stone building that housed the Burgholzli psychiatric hospital.

Inside the carriage was an 18-year-old Russian girl named Sabina Spielrein, accompanied by her uncle and a police officer. She had been referred by another psychiatric hospital unable to cope with her behaviour.

When she entered Burgholzli it was not hard to see why.

Her admission notes, dated August 17, 1904, described how the patient ‘laughs and cries in a strangely mixed, compulsive manner. Masses of tics, rotating head, sticks out her tongue, legs twitching’.
Keira Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein in the upcoming film A Dangerous Method

Keira Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein in the upcoming film A Dangerous Method

The young psychiatrist who took the notes was Carl Gustav Jung. He would, in time, be recognised as one of the founding fathers of psycho-analysis, alongside his friend and mentor, Sigmund Freud.

For six years the two men corresponded and collaborated, before their friendship faltered and then turned to hostility as Jung became disillusioned with Freud’s theory that sex — and sexual repression — lay at the heart of all hysteria and neuroses.

But, in 1977, a box was discovered in a basement in Geneva that revealed another possible cause for the rupture between the two psychiatrists.

It contained a diary written by Spielrein, as well as letters from Freud and Jung and drafts of letters she had sent both men.

The papers appeared to confirm what some had long suspected: that Jung had had an illicit relationship with Spielrein.

Provocative: The film sees Keira's character getting spanked

Provocative: The film sees Keira's character getting spanked

Their affair played a part in the breakdown of Freud and Jung’s friendship, as Spielrein became caught between the two men.

The fascinating relationship between Freud, Jung and Spielrein is the subject of a new film, A Dangerous Method, based on a book of the same title, by clinical psychologist John Kerr.

Keira Knightley’s performance as the troubled Sabina has been tipped for an Oscar.

But is the film’s portrayal of a violent sexual affair, with scenes of Knightley being spanked by Michael Fassbender, who plays Jung, really an accurate depiction of their relationship?

Could Jung, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, have abused the patient-doctor relationship so flagrantly that he indulged in sado-masochistic sex with his vulnerable young patient?
Sigmund Freud was a friend and mentor to Carl Jung

Sigmund Freud was a friend and mentor to Carl Jung

What is indisputable is that Jung and Spielrein quickly moved from the doctor-patient relationship to one of some intimacy.

Jung diagnosed Spielrein as having psychotic hysteria and noted that her condition was so bad that she ‘did nothing else than alternate between deep depressions and fits of laughing, crying and screaming. She could no longer look anyone in the face, kept her head bowed’.

He described her as looking ‘oriental and voluptuous’, with a ‘sensuous, dreamy expression’, although she was convinced that she was ugly. She sat on a chair, he sat behind her and they talked.

At the root of her problems was her relationship with her parents. Although Jung could find no evidence of a sexual assault that might explain her condition, it was clear she was fixated by her father and in particular her memory of him spanking her naked buttocks.

A depressive, highly manipulative man, he delighted in inflicting punishment on his daughter, both physical and mental.

As late as the age of 11, he would take her into a separate room to beat her — possibly to relieve his frustration at being cuckolded by his wife. If Sabina failed to show him the affection he required, he would threaten suicide.

Sabina’s mother was equally manipulative, keeping her daughter in ignorance about sex, beating and humiliating her. Little wonder that Sabina felt confused and consumed by guilt, self-loathing and repressed sexual feelings, constantly fantasising about transgression and punishment.

Every other day she would sit with Jung for an hour or even two, pouring out her feelings. As she was able to confess her long repressed feelings, she no longer needed to give vent to them through her ‘devilish’ behaviour, and began to act more calmly.

It was clear to Jung that his patient was beginning to fixate on him, transferring to him the unhealthy, painful love she felt for her father.

When Jung was absent from the hospital for a day, Spielrein became unsettled.

The next day she told him that she fantasised about him hurting her and begged him: ‘I want this pain, I want you to do something really bad to me, to force me to do something that I am opposed to with all my being.’

In the film, Jung obliges by spanking her, just as her father had done. It seems incredible that he would have done such a thing in reality, but what is clear is that patient and doctor were becoming extremely close.

At times, Jung clearly tried to push her away, at others, he seemed to encourage her. She began to assist Jung in the psychological laboratory. Spielrein was extremely intelligent and educated to a much higher level than most Swiss girls were, including Jung’s wife, Emma.

Spielrein recalled how Jung confided that his wife did not understand him: ‘I was an exception, but his wife was an ordinary woman.’
The film explores the relationship between Carl Jung and his 18-year-old patient Sabina Spielrein

The film explores the relationship between Carl Jung and his 18-year-old patient Sabina Spielrein

Within a year, Spielrein’s condition was so improved that she left the hospital and enrolled in medical school, hoping to become a psychoanalyst.

The success of her treatment appeared to confirm the efficacy of ‘talking therapy’ – psychoanalysis – as pioneered by Sigmund Freud.
Jung wrote excitedly to Freud, citing Spielrein’s case. He did not, at this stage, mention anything untoward in the doctor-patient relationship, referring to Spielrein only as a ‘Russian girl’.

The correspondence developed: Freud appreciating Jung’s backing for his theories, Jung basking in the older man’s approval, until their relationship became not just mentor and protégé but almost father and son. When they finally met in 1907 the two talked for 13 hours straight.

Spielrein was by now in her third year of medical school but she continued seeing Jung regularly — so she would not relapse, as he put it. The letters between them from this period are highly compromising.

He calls her ‘My Dear’, refers to her ‘saucy letters’, and fixes a time for them to meet alone in her apartment.

Jung had become obsessed with Spielrein as she was with him. When Spielrein went to Russia on holiday and did not immediately contact Jung on her return, he became ‘somewhat hysterical’, he confessed.

She was no longer the girl he had first met, when she wore peasant dresses and plaits in her hair: now she dressed elegantly: the troubled young girl had become a woman.

He feared he was losing her and wrote plaintively: ‘Return to me in this moment of my need, some of the love and guilt and altruism which I was able to give you at the time of your illness. Now it is I who am ill.’

But whispers of the affair were beginning to be heard around Zurich. Spielrein’s mother received an anonymous letter — possibly from Jung’s long-suffering wife Emma — warning her to save her daughter.

In response, Frau Spielrein wrote to Jung that ‘having saved her daughter once, he should not ruin her now’.

'I want you to do something bad to me'

Paranoid and aware that the affair could spell the ruin of his career, just when he was beginning to be acclaimed, Jung wrote a letter that seems both candid and extra-ordinarily callous, threatening to charge her for the times he saw her daughter after she had left the hospital.

‘I did not feel professionally obligated, for I never charged a fee... you do understand of course that a man and a girl cannot possibly continue indefinitely to have friendly dealings with one another without the likelihood that something more may enter the relationship….’

He then announced: ‘My fee is 10 francs per consultation,’ before announcing that he would never see Sabina again.

In a second letter, he claimed: ‘During the treatment, the patient had the misfortune to fall in love with me… I have always told your daughter that a sexual relationship was out of the question.’

Hurt and confused by Jung’s apparent desertion, Sabina wrote in desperation to Freud, hoping perhaps that he might intervene on her behalf.

‘Four and a half years ago, Dr Jung was my doctor, then he became my friend and finally my “poet” ie my beloved… He preached polygamy; his wife was supposed to have no objection.’

Jung, in a panic, wrote to Freud pre-emptively that ‘a woman patient’ had been ‘systematically planning my seduction’.

He must have been highly relieved when Freud ignored Sabina’s letter.
But months after the affair was over, Jung reignited it again when he agreed to meet Sabina to look at her dissertation.

Jung lost his mentor and greatest love

Spielrein recorded in her diary that the secret meetings, ‘ecstatic kisses’ and ‘tenderest poetry’ quickly resumed, but fell apart again when Jung appeared to dismiss Spielrein’s thesis.

Angry and hurt, Spielrein left Zurich for Vienna, where she joined Freud’s circle of psychoanalysts. She was still deeply troubled by her affair with Jung, describing him as ‘the man who had smashed my whole life.’ Freud agreed to become her analyst.

It was around this time that Freud and Jung’s collaboration turned into conflict. Jung was developing his own theories about the libido, which he believed was an energy force that could be expressed in different ways, while Freud remained insistent on its sexual nature.

Freud grew resentful of this ‘betrayal’ by his disciple, while Jung chafed at his one-time mentor’s insistence that sex influenced everything.
The Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, which was his apartment before he emigrated to Great Britain in 1939

The Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, which was his apartment before he emigrated to Great Britain in 1939

In a letter to Jung in April 1912 Freud mentioned that ‘Spielrein had discussed certain intimate matters with me’. He implied that he would use her revelations to discredit Jung’s theories. Jung responded by making an oblique reference to Freud’s affair with his own sister-in-law.

Thus we have two of the great thinkers of the age, resorting to blackmail as a way of undermining each other’s career and using Spielrein as the pawn in their quarrel.

The irony was that, while Spielrein herself was now a talented psychoanalyst, neither of them gave her due credit for her own theories, which were both revolutionary and brilliant.

Instead, they stole these ideas, borrowing liberally from them in their own publications. In their different ways, both had used her.

Frustrated and hurt, Spielrein married a handsome Jewish physician named Paul Scheftel in the summer of 1912.

The girl was 'oriental and voluptuous'

Wherever she practised as a psychoanalyst she won acclaim for her methods and ideas. But she was unable to settle and in 1924 she moved back to Russia, where she was killed by the Nazis in 1942.

Jung and Freud’s relationship deteriorated still further. When they met in 1913 at a congress of psychoanalysts, they did not speak to each other.

The rupture was complete and for both it felt akin to bereavement. Jung came close to a breakdown. He had lost both his mentor and his greatest love.

In one of his last surviving letters to Spielrein, Jung tried to justify his behaviour to her.

Writing of himself in the third person he explained: that he had to break off their relationship ‘because otherwise it would have led… to delusion and madness… Occasionally, one must be unworthy, simply in order to be able to continue living’.

But he also credited their love with leading him to ‘things of the greatest importance.’

Despite this tribute, he never gave her public recognition: her contribution to psychoanalysis went unrecognised. He wanted Spielrein forgotten. Was this evidence of guilt over their affair?

Jung certainly had other, sexual, affairs, most famously with Toni Wolff, a beautiful, rich young girl whom he treated for depression and who later became his assistant and long-term mistress.

But he remained haunted by Spielrein, his great love and inspiration, whose tragic destiny was to be caught between two great egos.

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

Post by Admin on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:09 pm

One on One: Keira Knightley Talks 'A Dangerous Method'

Matt Patches Staff

In preparation to chat it up with Keira Knightley about her new movie A Dangerous Method, I took another glance over her lengthy list of previous roles. She's really done a little of everything�action (The Pirates Trilogy), comedy (Bend It Like Beckham), romance (Pride and Prejudice), sci-fi (Never Let Me Go) and a few projects that are nearly unclassifiable (The Jacket). Not surprising, considering she's one of the most versatile, in-demand actresses working today. The real shocking part? She's only twenty-six!

With so much of her career ahead of her, it's no wonder why Knightley is branching out, starring in one of the truly daring films of 2011. In Method, the actress co-stars as Sabina Spielrein, a young girl stricken by dementia who finds a cure in through the study of psychoanalytic. Her doctor and mentor is the famed Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), who helps her overcome her physical and mental issues through correspondence with his own colleague, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Jung and Spielrein's relationship complicates when their work evolves into a lustful romance.

Knightley spoke to me on her day off from a new movie to discuss A Dangerous Method, digging deep into the clouded mind of her character, working with legendary director David Cronenberg and why crafting intense drama doesn't stop her from having a swell time:

I was trying to figure out where you would be exactly, since I believe you're in the middle of filming?

Keira Knightley: I'm in the middle of filming Anna Karenina, but I've actually got the day off. So I'm sitting in Shortage House in London.

Well, extra thanks for talking to me! Your character, Sabina Spielrein, is a real person, ingrained in history. Where did your relationship with her life begin? How much research did you have to do to prepare to embody her?

KK: I'd never heard of her before, so when I read the script, that was the first time I knew anything about her. I thought she was fascinating. But the idea of playing her, I thought, 'Wow this is daunting.' Quite often when you play characters, you understand them on an emotional level. You go, 'OK, she's sad because of this, I get that.' But with her there was really nothing. I had no idea why she would want to behave like that, or what would cause that kind of behavior. So I immediately phoned up Christopher Hampton who wrote the screenplay and the play it was based on. So I phoned him and said, 'I'm going to play it�HELP.'

So I went to his house and he basically handed me an enormous pile of books and he said, 'start reading.' So I spent four months reading as much as I possibly could about the subject. There's actually very little about her, except for the book that the screenplay is based on, by John Kerr (A Most Dangerous Method). And then there was�I was lucky enough to find a book called Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis, a collection of essays written about her, and also translations of some of her diary entries and Jung's original notes. So I worked from that for quite a bit, and that was helpful. I also spoke with a couple of psychiatrists, including the one that compiled that book, a Jungian analyst. Just about the nature of what she was suffering from, sadomasochistic personalities, that kind of thing.

It was completely fascinating. But when you're playing someone who's mad�I don't like that word�but as much as their behavior to the outside world seems illogical, it's completely logical to them. So you try to answer the questions of why this is the way this person must behave. What has driven them to this particular way?

Considering the state Sabina is in at the beginning the film, was physicality a big part in realizing your character?

KK: No�I think the first part was the script. For her, she was ravaged by tics, hysterical fits. But what does that mean? What is a hysterical fit? So I went to Christopher and he said, 'Well, anything you want, really.' And then I spoke to the psychiatrist and asked her 'what is a tic?' And she said, 'Well, it can be anything.'


KK: Yeah. So believe or not, there weren't very specific descriptions of exactly what it was. So I did a lot of reading, and the physical side was based on a part of her diary where she describes herself as a dog or a demon. I thought it might be quite interesting to show that. So it was and Francis Bacon paintings, which were quite good for understanding internal struggle.

Really? Which paintings?

KK: Francis Bacon's Study for a Crucifixion. There were three of them and they were all weirdly helpful. And then I got on Skype with David and started making faces and asked him which ones he liked.

So there was a video Skype call that was just you making weird faces at David Cronenberg.

KK: Yup, pretty much. And give him an idea of the accent. In a conversation before he said he wanted ""mid-Atlantic with a blush of Russian"" and wanted the tics to be not funny and 'on your face.' So I said, 'OK,"" went away for a few months then came back and did a little show and tell.

So how much time did you spend making faces at yourself in the mirror?

KK: Oh, a good couple of hours, really. Just making faces. It was like, 'Oh, that one looks horrible, I think I'll make that one!'

How did you and David work together to discover the right tone, to figure out what worked and what didn't?

KK: Well, it's kind of amazing. I don't know how he does it, really. There weren't many discussions. I didn't meet him physically until the first day on set�or rather, the day before the first day when he saw what I planned to do. But before that, he's like a horse whisperer. He creates this calm, creative atmosphere that makes everyone believe they're exactly the right person to be there. It's the most empowering, amazing thing ever.

It's very tricky to make this film, especially with hysterics. This is a strange thing to say, but on film I think depression works really well because it's a kind of low energy, internalized thing, which you can pull people into. Hysteria is very highly energized that pushes people away. In another director's hands I would have been very concerned about playing this part, but because he's so brilliant, his taste is so wonderful he knows when to go really far and then when to pull things back. He basically said, 'go as far as you can and I'll pull you back.'

So it sounds like you didn't have too much time to prepare before showing up to set. Were you able to rehearse with Viggo and Michael? Or does it just happen on set?

KK: Exactly. That's the weird thing about David, it just happened! I have no idea. We got to Cologne, which is where we were shooting and I said, 'OK, should we rehearse?' and he was like, 'no.' I think me and Michael went out for a night of of drinking quite a lot of martinis. 'Hello! Nice to meet you!' And then we were on set.

I'm beginning to think all great movies are born from long nights of drinking.

KK: Well, I think it was actually the day before the first day. I wouldn't have been very with it if it was the day before. [Laughs] We did have one day before, where David took us on set, and we started with those kind of character scenes and he told us how he was thinking of shooting it and we went through it once. Literally we went, 'Yup. Fine. Great.'

Did the intensity of the on-screen action bleed over into the behind-the-scenes atmosphere? Is it a worry that you'll carry around emotional baggage while not on set?

KK: Oh, no, it was so fun, so happy. I was so grateful it was these people. It was the opposite of what you would think when you watch the film�we didn't take it home. I spent four months on my own researching it and knew it quite well, so I knew what it was going to be and it was just a question of getting it out. Once it was out, it was out. That's quite nice!

After this movie, I can't imagine Viggo and Michael palling around and smiling.

KK: But they're hilarious together! Absolutely hysterical, like a comedy duo. That's what's so weird about the whole thing.

Apparently they need to do a buddy comedy! After delving into the world of psychoanalytic, do you suddenly find yourself analyzing everyone?

KK: [Laughs] No, no, it's really annoying! The research was so specifically into her, I haven't retained any knowledge whatsoever. I read some amazing books, but I was only looking for things to use to play the character. So, no, as my study goes, it was a complete failure. But for studying for the part, it was very useful!

You can contact Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow @Hollywood_com!

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Re: Actors in A Dangerous Method

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