For a lucky bunch of filmgoers at Lincoln Center, last night's opening night screening of Cosmopolis wasn't just about seeing a faithful-to-a-fault adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel on the big screen (or seeing what lead Robert Pattinson is like when he isn't sparkling)—it was also about hearing what the movie's always interesting director, David Cronenberg, had to say about his latest work. And the Canadian master didn't disappoint, chatting about everything from his speed-adaptation method (which will drive any wannabe screenwriter nuts), how he picked RPatz for the demanding lead role (his passport helped), why co-star Paul Giamatti thought he was being punked, and the allure of sex in cars. There was no talk, however, of trampires.

To start, Cronenberg reviewed how he went about adapting DeLillo's Joycean novel, in which a wildly wealthy young man crosses Manhattan in his cork-lined limo to get a haircut. After being handed the book by a Portuguese producer the director wrote the whole script in six days. First he transcribed all the dialogue from the book. "DeLillo's dialogue is unique in all his novels," he explained, "and I think of him the way I think of Harold Pinter or David Mamet. It is the way that people speak on a certain level but it is also incredibly stylized." Then he added the settings and action descriptions and—voila!—he was done. "To my surprise, in six days I wrote a screenplay. It was the first time I've ever done it that way and that quickly. That never changed, that was our screenplay from beginning to end."

And yes, DeLillo approved of the script and the things that Cronenberg took out of the book to make it work (which, beyond excising a series of journal entries, really isn't that much—for better or worse).

So how did Twilight hearthrob Robert Pattinson get involved? Cronenberg had lots to say about that. He went over the casting process like this:

Well, you start with a list of actors and everybody has a list and agencies get excited or not about your project and they suggest people. Sometimes they are ridiculously wrong and sometimes they are interesting. And then you narrow down. How old is this actor, can this actor do a New York accent? Even if he's an American can he do a convincing accent? What is his passport?

This isn't something you would normally think about but this is a Canada-France co-production and I'm very restricted by the numbers of Americans I can actually use in the movie. There is actually only one American in this movie and that is Paul Giamatti. It is bizzarre, but these are the games you have to play to get an independent movie financed.

And then does he have the chops, y'know? Does he have the charisma? Because he is in absolutely every scene in this movie. And even in a Tom Cruise movie you will not see Tom in absolutely every scene but this one he is. So you are going to be looking at his face a lot. And I'm going to be looking at his face a lot. And I want to be constantly inspired by that face and that performance. And gradually, gradually, gradually, I started to think that Rob Pattinson was the right guy.

Once we got in touch with him, he was totally shocked. Because he is the sweetest guy, very down to earth, very self-deprecating, and he was genuinely shocked that anybody wanted him for a movie. Honestly! Because he gets offered a lot of stuff. But it is all terrible stuff. Vampire teen stuff. And he immediately saw that this wasn't that. So he was very excited about it. But he was also afraid. He didn't want to be the guy who destroyed the movie. He knew it was good, he knew it was funny—Don DeLillo's writing is always funny. So it took me about ten days to convince Rob that he should do it, that he was the right guy. And once we did that, we didn't look back.

According to Cronenberg the actor was a pro on set, handling working with a constant flux of new actors over the shoot (poor boy had to have Juliette Binoche writhe around in front of him). Having never had a real prostate exam (which he does in the film—inside his limo), he was reportedly shocked that they don't actually take six minutes. Cronenberg also says the actor admitted to being "terrified" of the pressure, to which the director told him "whatever."

But probably the best story Cronenberg shared? When Paul Giamatti got on set to shoot the movie's draining, 22-minute final scene with Pattinson he pulled the director aside and, concerned, asked: "What's with Rob? He's doing this weird English accent—is he trying to psyche me out?" Apparently nobody told Giamatti his co-star was British. Whoops!

Of course, Cronenberg didn't just talk about actors. The Crash director—who sounds more like Garrison Keillor everyday—also joked about his affinity for sex and cars ("the only place I can have sex," he deadpanned), taking out a time-skipping subplot out of the movie ("we tried it, but it gave it to much of a spin that I didn't like"), had a few anecdotes about DeLillo (he still communicates via fax) and what he thinks of the Twihards seeing the movie (he's for it): "There are Twilight fans, young girls who like the movie, and they get it. And I think they do. I think they get it."