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.



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.


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



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.


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

Arrowverse New York Comic Con Tubi Photos comics 2020 TCA name the review Amazon Prime Video Binge Guide spinoff book Showtime Marathons Martial Arts Crunchyroll Awards slashers Disney Channel LGBT supernatural LGBTQ YouTube Creative Arts Emmys police drama cats ratings witnail Reality Competition streaming Disney streaming service Cannes FXX Opinion BET The Walking Dead DC streaming service Stephen King Sony Pictures spy thriller strong female leads Teen E! AMC elevated horror TV APB biography Cosplay Turner TNT free movies Calendar HBO Reality IFC Films OWN psychological thriller discovery Crackle Biopics harry potter Discovery Channel SDCC BBC Heroines 45 Set visit VICE cops Toys Television Academy San Diego Comic-Con Western teaser Marvel Television Infographic See It Skip It Spike Masterpiece politics TCA Winter 2020 theme song Emmys A24 WarnerMedia Black Mirror screenings The Witch serial killer CBS Star Wars Awards Tour quibi renewed TV shows Pride Month Quiz Comedy what to watch sequel WGN werewolf Marvel MCU Fall TV unscripted Spectrum Originals award winner mutant Summer A&E finale Mystery dc Ghostbusters vampires Fantasy Columbia Pictures TV Land spain X-Men Kids & Family richard e. Grant cancelled medical drama Mindy Kaling aliens Acorn TV screen actors guild Netflix docudrama Trailer blaxploitation Academy Awards adventure Pixar versus independent Pop Lionsgate Sundance TV Superheroes Musical Rocketman crime game show Esquire GLAAD christmas movies Country Shudder Film DGA 71st Emmy Awards CMT Classic Film indie zombies zombie Peacock Netflix Christmas movies diversity TruTV Chernobyl zero dark thirty American Society of Cinematographers romantic comedy 2019 halloween Countdown TIFF romance MSNBC Walt Disney Pictures Lucasfilm Election Red Carpet cults Sundance Food Network Captain marvel 2016 Winners Grammys sag awards Bravo boxoffice DirecTV PBS Ellie Kemper children's TV dragons toy story hispanic kids Lifetime south america TCA 2017 Rocky Comics on TV Animation Superheroe Oscars cancelled television President dramedy cars Song of Ice and Fire 007 Apple TV+ anime political drama Syfy Writers Guild of America Women's History Month crime drama ghosts Box Office Horror Film Festival Extras VH1 Certified Fresh historical drama Comic Book Elton John MTV foreign rotten movies we love Apple TV Plus disaster Comedy Central History video ABC anthology Freeform Holidays game of thrones Fox News Schedule cartoon Epix Rock YA spider-man IFC FOX Premiere Dates based on movie Pirates movies Vudu FX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Starz Britbox facebook TCM Drama dceu revenge Adult Swim batman El Rey Pet Sematary 20th Century Fox Disney Plus cancelled TV series RT21 USA Network canceled natural history ESPN Nickelodeon canceled TV shows 24 frames blockbuster Logo comiccon television hist Avengers casting Endgame GoT Video Games Thanksgiving Musicals Valentine's Day talk show OneApp The CW crime thriller comic Disney Hallmark thriller SXSW justice league Trivia Rom-Com Super Bowl Polls and Games Marvel Studios joker Mary poppins Hallmark Christmas movies NYCC Tomatazos Tumblr Paramount CBS All Access Paramount Network DC Comics Disney+ Disney Plus Best and Worst CW Seed crossover Sneak Peek festivals cinemax stand-up comedy Lifetime Christmas movies miniseries doctor who USA Amazon Prime Christmas Nat Geo cancelled TV shows 2018 Family BBC America HBO Max The Purge TV renewals Amazon sports reboot Dark Horse Comics Emmy Nominations TLC golden globes 2015 latino Turner Classic Movies period drama Sundance Now green book psycho robots Warner Bros. 21st Century Fox The Arrangement Baby Yoda animated travel Apple Anna Paquin GIFs YouTube Red Star Trek series social media Podcast First Reviews Nominations tv talk war Spring TV National Geographic spanish language Character Guide SundanceTV Ovation CNN YouTube Premium composers Interview Music ITV space jamie lee curtis Cartoon Network 2017 NBC true crime Mary Poppins Returns Hulu PaleyFest TBS First Look Sci-Fi science fiction cooking Holiday Watching Series directors nature Tarantino breaking bad Winter TV binge Mudbound mockumentary sitcom adaptation Action technology ABC Family transformers Brie Larson RT History Mary Tyler Moore Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt singing competition Year in Review Trophy Talk Universal E3 Shondaland DC Universe