David Cronenberg on Freud's weird chair

David Cronenberg is one of my all-time favorite film directors and I alway enjoy hearing his thoughts on the obsessive and curious details that, in my opinion, really elevate his films. In fact, back in 1997 I had a great time interviewing Cronenberg for the print bOING bOING and all we talked about were the squishy oozy sounds he likes to use in his movies. Over at the Landmark Theaters site, I just read an interesting new essay he wrote about the chair seen here. It's the armchair from Sigmund Freud's study that Cronenberg had copied for his latest film, A Dangerous Method. Now it sits in Cronenberg's home. From Landmark Theatres:


Forced research is one of the pleasures of moviemaking, and it was particularly so for this, my first biopic. When we discovered (Freud's daughter) Mathilde's description of Freud often reading in this chair with one leg looped over one chair arm, book held high, head unsupported, leaning back casually, an image made all the more charming by the unfailing formality of his dress, I knew this was a moment we had to have in our movie. When Viggo began waggling his foot in agitation over what he, as Freud, was reading, I did a close-up of that suspended foot, that wonderful shoe capped by its gray spat. These are the tiny details that help resurrect a historical figure to the full extent that art allows.

When I finally saw the real chair at Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead, I could see that it was more finely made than our budget-limited replica. Leather stitching rather than crude furniture nails bound the aging, cracked hide, and the shapes of the arms and the seat were more complex, more elegant, and the varnished tortoiseshell finish of the back of the chair put our raw wood to shame. But I have our chair in my house in Toronto now, and it has a double history for me—Freud and his movie doppelgänger Viggo/Freud—and I like to sit in it from time to time. It always surprises me how good its lumbar support is.

Cronenberg on Freud's chair

More about the chair at the BBC's "A History of the World"