Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf Talk Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

The Hollywood Reporter
Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf Talk Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'
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Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf Talk Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

Sex might sell but the stars of Nymphomaniac talked down the erotic of Lars von Trier's self-defined "porno film" and focused on the art of the controversial director's latest project.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgardand Shia LaBeouf, speaking for the first time since shooting on Nymphomaniac began, took turns praising the Danish director as an inspiring, if misunderstood cinematic genius.

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"He's a genius. He's a visionary. We have maybe, what, 10 of those on the planet?" LaBeouf said, saying he didn't hesitate when von Trier asked him to play in his sexually explicit film billed as "a woman's erotic journey from birth to the age of 50".

"I'll do anything (Lars) tells me," LaBeouf added. "I came here ready to do anything."

Charlotte Gainsbourg, who stars in The film as Joe, a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, countered the oft-repeated claim that von Trier, whose films often focus on suffering or self-destructive women, are misogynist.

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"The fact he depicts women who suffer or make themselves suffer, doesn't make him misogynist," said the actress, who has worked with von Trier before on Antichrist and Melancholia. "(My role) is incredible. It could have been written by a woman," Gainsbourg added. "I feel I'm actually playing Lars in this role, which is an honor."

Stellan Skarsgard, another von Trier veteran, played down the sex in the film, which - the actors and producers pointed out - will be carried out by body doubles and visual effects. Or, as LaBeouf joked, "all the bases are covered."

"When we call this a porno, it's meant ironically but irony doesn't work well in print," Skarsgard said. "The film is sexually explicit but, believe me, it will be a very, very bad wanking movie."

 

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HED Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf Talk Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

DEK "He's a visionary...I'll do anything he tells me," says LaBeouf of the controversial Danish director and his new "porno film."

 

Sex might sell but the stars of Nymphomaniac talked down the erotic of Lars von Trier's self-defined "porno film" and focused on the art of the controversial director's latest project.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard and Shia LaBeouf, speaking about the film for the first time since shooting on Nymphomaniac began, took turns praising the Danish director as an inspiring, if misunderstood cinematic genius.

"He's a genius. He's visionary. We have maybe, what, 10 on the planet?" LaBeouf said, saying he didn't hesitate when von Trier asked him to play in his sexually explicit film billed as "a woman's erotic journey from birth to the age of 50".

"I'll do anything (Lars) tells me," LaBeouf added. “I came out here ready to do anything.”

Charlotte Gainsbourg, who stars in the film as Joe, a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, countered the oft-repeated claim that von Trier, whose films often focus on suffering or self-destructive women, are misogynist.

"The fact that he depicts women who suffer or make themselves suffer, doesn't make him misogynist," said the actress, who has worked with von Trier before on Antichrist and Melancholia. "(My role) is amazing. It could have been written by a woman," Gainsbourg added. "I feel I'm actually playing Lars in this role, which is an honor."

Stellan Skarsgard, another von Trier veteran, played down the sex in the film, which - the actors and producers pointed out - will be carried out using body doubles and visual effects. Or, as LaBeouf quipped “all the bases are covered.”

"When we call this a porno, it's meant ironically but irony doesn't do very well in print," Skarsgard said. "The film is sexually explicit but, believe me, it will be a very, very bad wanking movie."

Gainsbourg said she “thought it was a joke” when von Trier first announced – in Cannes last year – that he planned to make a porno film but said she didn't hesitate when he asked her to play Joe, whose erotic life the film depicts in a series of flashbacks. Despite some superficial similarities with her role in also-explicit Antichrist, Gainsbourg said there was “no connection” between that role and that of Joe in Nymphomaniac.

Newcomers Stacy Martin and Mia Goth as well as Christian Slater, Jamie Bell and Connie Nielsen have supporting roles in Nymphomaniac. Von Trier js shooting the project as two separate full length films, which he plans to relase in both soft and hard core versions.

Despite the film's title and erotic content, Von Trier has said his main goal is not to titillate but to transfer, in film, qualities from the world of literature. In an interview with THR in Cannes last year, von Trier citied literary inspirations such as Marcel Proust's monumental classic In Search of Lost Time as an example of the kind of literary style he was aiming to transfer to film.

A smiling von Trier showed up for the photo call Thursday in Cologne with the actors and producer Louise Vesth but did not take part in the press conference. The Danish filmmaker has said he will no longer speak publicly after the fallout from his now-infamous press conference at the Cannes Film Festival last year when his comments about Hitler led him to be banned from the festival and, briefly, to be questioned by French police on charges of propagating hate speech. The charges were later dropped.

Skarsgard, who starred in Breaking the Waves, von Trier's international breakthrough, said he doesn't expect the outspoken director to stay quiet forever.

“I don't think he will stay away too long,” Skarsgard said. “He will eventually come back. But he is dealing with something we all are dealing with, which is that the press needs conflict for entertainment, so they often don't go beneath the surface. And that makes it very difficult to express yourself before the press. And that is what he experienced in Cannes last year.”

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