Season 4 of anthology horror show premieres Thursday.
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David Cronenberg is best known for his work behind the camera, directing a string of body horror classics, including 1986's The Fly, as well as 2005's A History of Violence and 2007's Eastern Promises, both of which starred Viggo Mortensen. But the Canadian auteur also has a fondness for appearing in front of the camera, with his acting credits ranging from 2001's Jason X to Star Trek: Discovery. Most recently, Cronenberg signed on to play a wealthy businessman named Spencer Galloway in season 4 of the anthology horror show Slasher, which is titled Slasher: Flesh & Blood and premieres on the streaming service Shudder this Thursday.

"The producers got in touch with me and said we've got this series and we have a role that you might be interested in," Cronenberg told EW in June. "They sort of called out of the blue. That's often the way it is. I had a Facetime chat with the director and the producer, Adam (MacDonald) and Ian (Carpenter). I was very flattered that they would offer me this role because it is a role unlike anything that I've ever played before. I'm usually playing a sort of dispassionate doctor or scientist and here was a very passionate, angry, tyrannical, demanding, patriarch of a dysfunctional family. There were many scenes where I would do things that I'd never had to do before and that's always exciting for an actor. So it didn't take me long to agree to do it."

Below, Cronenberg talks more about Slasher: Flesh & Blood and his new movie Crimes of the Future, the filmmaker's first directing project since 2014's Maps to the Stars.

Legendary filmmaker David Cronenberg on his role in Slasher: Flesh & Blood
Director David Cronenberg expects walkouts of his new film 'Crimes of the Future' due to strong scenes
| Credit: Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What else can you tell us about your character on Slasher: Flesh & Blood?
DAVID CRONENBERG: Spencer Galloway, as he is prone to mention, is a shipping magnate. He has a very dysfunctional family of children who are very ambitious and devious and screwed up, and he has very little patience for that aspect of them because he demands better of them, and he is also looking for one of them to take over when he dies. He is prone to yelling and making speeches, which is character, as I say, that I've never played before.

What was the shoot like?
The shoot was delightful. It was really friendly and really congenial and the director, Adam, was lovely. He's an actor himself and he understands the innate insecurity that an actor has because an actor's always wanting the director to think well of what he's doing. So it was very sweet and very friendly and the cast was lovely. Despite the extreme events that happen in the series, the actors themselves were not extreme. [Laughs] It really did feel ultimately like a family.

Legendary filmmaker David Cronenberg on his role in Slasher: Flesh & Blood
'Slasher: Flesh Blood.'
| Credit: Shudder

I don't want to spoil anything, but your character finds himself in the vicinity, let us say, of some body horror on the show. What was it like having the tables turned on you like that?
Well, I welcomed it actually. [Laughs] As a director, sometimes you are envying the fun that the actor is having with a role. Here was a chance to concentrate on that and not have the many worries that a director has but only think about the role that you're playing, the dialog that you're playing, and the physical aspects of what an actor does. So it was actually quite lovely to do.

You also recently appeared on Star Trek: Discovery. What was that experience like?
Well, Star Trek is quite a different thing because of course you have a series of directors. I was in three episodes last year and I think I'm in three this year. So your character continues from one place to another but every episode was directed by a different director. They all have a kind of different style but at the same time it's a massive series with a huge history and so there's a sort of momentum that goes with it. I think the director is not as important in terms of sensibility for a show like that because so much is established, the style of it, the incredible sets that we have here in Toronto for Star Trek, and the director has no input into that, so it's really quite a different machine. But, also, of course a lot of fun. I mean, you still have to learn your dialogue and you still have to get into your costume. So for the actors it's still a similar thing.

Do you try to put directors at ease when you walk onto a set as an actor? I imagine some people might be a bit in awe of directing David Cronenberg.
Well, honestly, I really only want to be an actor when I walk onto the set as an actor. I really don't want to be a director, so I don't think about that unless a director tells me something, and some of them on Star Trek, in particular, have. One of them said, "If you see me shaking and trembling it's because it's you on the set." I said, "Look, I just want to be a humble, obedient actor, don't be afraid to direct me. I'm not going to try to direct." So there are those moments, yes, definitely.

Did you ever consider being an actor? Did you act as a young man?
As a child I did some stage acting that came out of the schools that I was in. And then, in the '60s, when we were making underground films, we all acted in each other's films, because we couldn't afford a professional actor and in fact we didn't even want that. There were a lot of young, independent filmmakers in Toronto who based themselves on the New York, underground. We were not basing ourselves on Hollywood, we were thinking more about Andy Warhol and so on. So we would act in each other's films. It came naturally to me and just sort of segued into professional acting, where you're actually a member of the union, and you're paying dues, and you're getting paid.

It was recently announced that you're directing another movie, Crimes of the Future. What can you tell us about that?
Well, there's a press release out there that probably tells you more than I could possibly cram into our conversation now. (In April, it was announced that the film will star Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart and concerns a near-future in which humankind is evolving to adapt to its synthetic surroundings.) I don't mean to be evasive, but you should look at that. I am leaving for Athens in about four days and we're going to shoot it in Athens in August-September. It's a sci-fi genre film. So, for me, it definitely is a return to the genre as a director.

One of your earliest films was also called Crimes of the Future. How does this movie relate to that?
It really doesn't relate at all. I mean, that was one of those underground films that I was talking to you about. There actually are several directors acting in the original Crimes of the Future. As I say, we all acted in each other's films. But that was very much an art film and certainly not meant to be a commercial movie at all, very experimental. And so really I've only taken the title, because it was an accurate title for that movie and it's an accurate title for the new movie, but it's not based on that film at all, there's really no other connection.

Slasher: Flesh & Blood co-stars Paula Brancati, Jefferson Brown, Patrice Goodman, Sabrina Grdevich, Christopher Jacot, Rachael Crawford, Jeananne GoossenSydney Meyer, and Alex Ozerov. Watch the trailer for the show above.

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