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Lars Von Trier is a big fat troublemaker.
That may, in fact, be part of why I love the guy. He seems perfectly happy to roll a hand grenade into a press conference just to see what will happen, even if it means he's going to get blackballed by the Cannes Film Festival. He doesn't seem like he's able to control himself, but that's part of what defines his work, and I don't think he could or should change.
Another thing that makes me love him is that I honestly believe awards are the last thing on his mind when he starts a new piece of work. He seems driven by his own particular sensibilities and his own particular interests, and he seems more than happy to make audiences so uncomfortable that they don't know how to react.
There is no campaign so far this year as audacious and in-your-face as the one that's been running for "Nympomaniac," and I flat-out cackled today as I worked my way through the assortment of what can only be called "O-face portraits" that were released today of the entire primary cast of the film. By now, you've likely heard that this is a long anthology film that will feature, in certain cuts, hardcore pornography that will be accomplished by the use of digital trickery, with the heads of the stars grafted onto the bodies of the sex performers. I'm surprised that (A) it took this long for someone to decide to do something like this and (B) that Von Trier had to resort to digital trickery for his entire cast. I can easily imagine Shia Le Beouf signing on to make this film simply because he wants to demolish whatever image people have of him already.
Check out this promo image, released earlier this year. Look at how much fun the cast seems to be having with this debauchery. I can only imagine how over-the-top the film itself is going to be:
We've put all the posters together in a gallery, and it's worth taking the time to look at all of them. Connie Nielsen of "Gladiator" fame, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and more are all stripped down and ready to go here, and "Nymphomaniac" is looking more and more like one of the most insane and exciting events planned for 2014.
In the spirit of the NSFW gallery embedded below, here's a quick NSFW story from the set of my film "Cigarette Burns." We were fortunate enough to have Udo Kier in the movie, playing a depraved film collector, and one of the things that made him such a joy to have on-set was the way he would tell stories between takes. By far, the most outrageous story he told us was about the making of Paul Morrissey's "Blood For Dracula." For the scene where Kier's Dracula is staked, they buried him in a grave up to his neck, then put a fake body on him. Kier was stuck in the grave long enough to get bored, so he started to masturbate, doing so even during actual takes so that some of his agonized "death" faces in the final cut of the movie are him in anything but agony. Only he could tell that story and make it seem both charming and socially acceptable, and his character poster here is basically an illustration to go with that anecdote.
There's still no word on when we'll see the various versions of the film here in the US, but I can't wait for Magnolia Films to put it out.