Similarly, another key change to the book's narrative came when Cronenberg cast Pattinson, who, perhaps appropriately, plays a young hotshot who's prematurely contemplating his own obsolescence. Cronenberg said that he never really talked to Pattinson about the film's main themes or what Eric symbolized. Instead, he said Pattinson was more concerned with whether Cronenberg thought he was good enough to play Eric. "We didn't discuss any of these abstract things," Cronenberg recounted. "You can't shoot an abstraction. You cannot photograph an abstraction. And likewise, an actor cannot act an abstraction. You can't say to an actor, 'You will be the embodiment of American capitalism.'"
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