Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Making Cosmopolis Come Alive at Madison Ave. & 47thBuckyW Don DeLillo Original Series: "Take a Walk on the Wild Side: 47th St. NYC Photo Diary and Novel Tour
Eric undergoes a physical exam after Dr. Ingram makes a limo call for this purpose. This exam gets interesting as Jane Melman is there first as a spectator, in conversation about the situation with the yen, and then becomes [ahem] a more physically active participant.
|Screencap from the trailer|
There is little to show from my walk in this block, but I viewed two things relevant to the novel.
As I walked along 47th and approached Madison, lo and behold, I caught a stretch limo crossing the intersection. Dominating the intersection, I understand how repeatedly seeing this sight could inspire his story of one man in one car:
|“The car crossed Madison and stopped in front of the Mercantile Library as planned.”|
Here’s Don DeLillo at the press conference at Cannes 2012 for Cosmopolis. This was made in response to a request to comment on talk of this film being the “First of the New Millenium.” Cronenberg commented he was not going into making the film with that premise, and DeLillo said he was not either when conceptualizing the novel. This is what he had to say about that:
DeLillo: “What I was thinking about, NY city streets at the turn of the century, and perhaps before seemed suddenly filled with white stretch limousines. Manhattan is the last place on earth that such automobiles would move comfortably. After a time, we got used to seeing them. I began to get very interested in this spectacle of enormous cars, trying to turn corners amid crushing traffic. I decided to place a character in such a car and simply go from there. There was no thought in my mind about millennia or apocalypse. Just one man in one car. And that is how I began the novel.”
I visited the Mercantile Library noted in the novel. It felt like it could be a home-away-from-home for both accomplished and aspiring writers in the city. Here’s a link to its site: centerforfiction. It has a great used book section in the back room on the first floor that I spent some time in. Here’s a link to their multimedia archives, one can look up by author’s name, videos of talks and readings the Center has hosted: HERE.
A quote from the novel:
“Ingram did an echocardiogram. Eric was on his back, with a skewed view of the monitor, and wasn’t sure whether he was watching a computerized mapping of his heard or a picture of the thing itself. It throbbed forcefully on-screen. The image was only a foot away but the heart assumed another context, one of distance and immensity, beating in the blood plum raptures of a galaxy in formation. What mystery he glimpsed in this functional muscle. He felt the passion of the body, its adaptive drive over geological time, the poetry and chemistry of its origins in the dust of old exploding stars. How dwarfed he felt by his own heart. There it was and it awed him, to see his life beneath his breastbone in image-forming units, hammering outside him.”
Following the above in the novel is the exchange you hear in this film clip:
How this scene ends in the film*:
Eric learns something is off-kilter with his prostate. Jane leaves the limo as it reaches Fifth Avenue.
5th Avenue and the Diamond District, where being a pedestrian got a bit interactive…
Making Cosmopolis Come Alive at: Lexington & 47th St.
Setting Focus: A Room With a View (Eric’s apartment tower)
Making Cosmopolis Come Alive at: 3rd Ave. & 47th St.
Story Focus: Eric Packer & his Advisers Track the Yen
Making Cosmopolis Come Alive at: 2nd Ave. & 47th St.
Making Cosmopolis Come Alive at: 1st Ave. & 47th St.