RT Interview: Lars von Trier on Antichrist

The Danish director on his controversial latest.

by | July 22, 2009 | Comments

RT Interview: Lars von Trier on Antichrist

If you go down to the woods today… Well, just don’t. Danish provocateur Lars von Trier‘s arthouse psychohorror Antichrist is the most controversial film of the year — and the most gruelling. Written by von Trier while he was bedridden with depression, it sees Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving couple who retreat to a woodland cabin to recover from the death of their baby son. But healing quickly turns to horror as their wounds are ripped wide open: hardcore sex, ultraviolence, emotional meltdown, graphic torture and, um, a talking fox. It’s a bizarre, powerful, audacious curio that’s tough to swallow but even harder to ignore. Having spent his career ripping up the cinematic rulebook with daring, dazzling movies like The Idiots, Dancer In The Dark and Dogville, von Trier calls Antichrist the most important film of his life.


Antichrist

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1210830[/tomatometer]

It’s a great title for a horror film…

Lars von Trier: I always thought it was a good title. It’s not really a horror film and it’s not really religious. So if it’s a good title for this film, I don’t know! But it’s a good title.

Did you expect Antichrist to be so controversial?

LvT: No, not really. That suits me fine. I could see that in Cannes that there were people beforehand that had decided already either not to like it or like it. But very few countries are going to censor the film. The only country in Europe that’s going to censor it is Germany. In America, we don’t know yet. It’s not a big problem for me.

How did you persuade Willem Dafoe to star?

LvT: Originally, we were thinking of younger people. But Willem sent me a letter asking if I had some work for him. And I said, ‘Sure!’ He was a little reluctant to start with, but then my wife did this brilliant thing. She said, ‘You dare not take the part!’ And you shouldn’t say that to Willem! So he jumped in.

Is it true that Eva Green wanted to play the female role?

LvT: We spent a long time looking for the female. And yes, Eva Green wanted to do it so we nearly had a Bond girl in the film! We had lots of discussions but her agents definitely didn’t want her to do it. We wasted two months. I was so mad, because you can’t wait two months.

So how did you get Charlotte Gainsbourg?

LvT: Charlotte came in and said, ‘I’m dying to get the part no matter what.’ So I think it was a decision she made very early and she stuck to it. We had no problems whatsoever.

Antichrist

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist.

Was she worried about the nudity and violence?

LvT: After reading the script and discussing with me how those scenes were going to be made, there was never any doubt in her mind. That’s fantastic. And I’m very, very happy that she got the Best Actress prize in Cannes. It was a courageous performance because she is a very, very shy person.

What about the hardcore sex scenes?

LvT: We used porn actors. In fact, it was funny, for the scene in which she masturbates him and the blood comes out, they just kept on going. I could not understand it. And then someone told me that in porn you are not allowed to stop until the director tells you! So this poor guy was incredible…

Do you worry that audiences with get numbed to the violence?

LvT: Yeah, yeah, of course. But when you think about all the footage we now see from real life, I feel like you can show anything. But then when it becomes fictional, there’s a limitation. So it’s very strange.

You’ve been suffering from depression for some time. How did that affect you on this film?

LvT: I felt like an old man that was helped through the film by the actors. I was not at my very best, so all the things that I normally enjoy, I was not able to do. I couldn’t direct and handle a camera at the same time. I just didn’t have the mental capacity. I have been under therapy for several years.

RT Interview: Lars von Trier on Antichrist


Antichrist

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1210830[/tomatometer]

People are accusing you of misogyny again. Did you ask your wife she thinks of the film?

LvT: No, but I don’t usually; I don’t trust her. Because she’s said for a long time, ‘Why are you depressed? You made the very best film.’ And I said, ‘But you haven’t seen it.’ She said, ‘Yes, but I know.’ Come on! How can you trust her? She’s very, very positive about whatever I’m doing in life. I love my wife very much. She’s fantastic in that way, because she supports anything. Absolutely anything. So I don’t trust her in that sense! But it’s very nice. It’s what you want, yes.

Do you worry that people will hate the film?

LvT: I don’t think about that. I kind of consider myself to be the public. What kind of film would I like to see? How would I like to be provoked? Then some of the audience share my views, some does not. Thank God, some people do react like me! This idea in Hollywood that you can produce a film that will hit a broad audience – and you do test screenings to see when people laugh – it would be impossible for me.

Did it upset you that critics in Cannes laughed at the talking fox?

LvT: I was not there at the screening. But I think I can hear the different between that kind of laughter and laughter from somebody who has decided to hate the film from the start.

But is the fox a joke?

LvT: No, it comes from these Shamanic journeys that I did. It’s not like getting onto a plane! Yes, I am still afraid of that. You have a drum beat and you go into a trance that takes you into this parallel world. And there, I talked to this fox and it demanded to have a line.

Antichrist

Willem Dafoe in Antichrist.

Did he say anything else?

LvT: Well, the first fox I met was a red fox. And it started to split itself to pieces. And afterwards, I met a couple of other foxes. Silver foxes with little cubs. And they said to me, ‘Never trust the first fox you meet.’ So it was interesting.

Is your movie a Shamanic journey?

LvT: That would be very nice. Shamanic journey is very personal. There’s nothing religious about it at all. But it’s great fun.

So what’s your Shamanic animal?

LvT: An otter. Yes! It’s nothing you decide. It’s what popped up.

What will you do now?

LvT: I don’t know. I really don’t know. I can’t even think about making another film at the moment. There’s nothing there. I like gardening. I’m sat in my garden right now and it’s very peaceful. I’m really a nature man. I spend as much time as I can in nature. I feel really safe there.

Antichrist is out in the UK on Friday and in the US on 23rd October.

Tag Cloud

police drama Extras NYCC Shondaland adventure USA CW Seed crossover Starz BBC zombies 21st Century Fox TLC DC Universe NBC FOX ABC Family crime CBS Disney Channel DirecTV Mindy Kaling science fiction talk show transformers Acorn TV Country Set visit Thanksgiving Cartoon Network Winter TV Comedy Central Photos See It Skip It USA Network Nominations Rom-Com CNN cinemax Martial Arts TNT CMT National Geographic what to watch TCM spy thriller 007 Interview Year in Review travel FXX Star Wars finale TV Rock A&E Comedy Election El Rey binge YA Drama ESPN Western unscripted GIFs Watching Series serial killer crime drama sports singing competition Podcast PBS Mary Tyler Moore Christmas medical drama social media Universal Lionsgate cooking historical drama Showtime 24 frames Syfy docudrama dramedy Biopics VH1 Fantasy Sci-Fi Pirates Awards ITV Pop Polls and Games Marvel DC Comics Warner Bros. DC streaming service American Society of Cinematographers Sundance Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt hist LGBTQ cats Sneak Peek BBC America dceu The Arrangement Paramount Network supernatural Trailer Disney Creative Arts Emmys 2016 BET Lifetime aliens TV Land Fall TV period drama zombie Schedule Dark Horse Comics Superheroes Writers Guild of America TIFF Valentine's Day PaleyFest Certified Fresh SXSW war HBO IFC Films comiccon Fox News Comic Book Tumblr President discovery Spike X-Men Teen Premiere Dates GLAAD Trivia festivals Ghostbusters Emmys romance Britbox Superheroe Ellie Kemper SundanceTV ratings Freeform dc composers Cosplay E! Pixar Winners The CW 2015 20th Century Fox robots YouTube Red Toys WGN based on movie Character Guide Bravo Adult Swim OWN FX Horror Amazon Nickelodeon SDCC VICE Countdown Best and Worst Oscars AMC TruTV Infographic boxoffice Reality Competition Super Bowl Sundance Now Crackle TBS Musicals CBS All Access Music Sony Pictures Calendar Grammys MSNBC RT History golden globes political drama Marathons Nat Geo IFC Spring TV Action biography TCA Musical History cults Box Office Video Games GoT Summer Lucasfilm ABC technology Mystery Red Carpet Animation Rocky Opinion crime thriller Tomatazos Hulu Food Network Star Trek TCA 2017 Netflix APB E3 MTV Logo sitcom 2017 diversity First Look Esquire Holidays psycho harry potter 45 politics thriller Masterpiece Reality Paramount justice league Kids & Family cops vampires