Nicolas Winding Refn’s Space Rocket Nation announced today the start of production in Los Angeles on the writer/director’s “The Neon Demon,” starring an uber-cool cast including Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves.
Without further ado, here’s the official synopsis: “When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.”
Refn cowrote this LA-set, female-led horror film with Mary Laws. Refn dipped into genre moviemaking before with his kickass, po-mo noir “Drive,” but “Neon Demon” marks the director’s first leap into true horror movie terrain.
Most directors start with horror and move on—as was the case for Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Jackson, Oliver Stone and, to a degree, David Cronenberg, who shuttles between genres—while many others choose it. It may be that Refn, never one for restraint or R-rated barriers, is making a calculated move to direct a commercial hit to widen his options after his arty booed-at-Cannes flop “Only God Forgives,” which has visual and thematic elements of horror moviemaking, including a creepy mother-son incest subtext.
Refn’s progression into horror is a natural one. He loves “Twin Peaks” and David Lynch, whose fingerprints were all over “Only God,” Refn’s gory spaghetti western sendup.
“The Neon Demon” is produced by Space Rocket Nation’s Lene Borglum in association with Wild Bunch and Gaumont.