Perennial bad boy and punk auteur Lars von Trier has come out from under the covers of depression and silence once again to share a few revelations, personal and professional, with University of Copenhagen film professor Peter Schepelern in his first interview since his startling winter 2014 Q&A with Danish daily Politiken.
1. He has fallen off the wagon, and yes, he’s still depressed as shit. “I drink moderately — probably not moderately enough,” said Von Trier, who is still attending AA meetings. “For the moment I feel really shitty. I cry and cry… yes, [I am] a sensitive man.” Von Trier courted controversy when he revealed that was undergoing treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, and that “Nymphomaniac” was the first film he wrote fully sober — and it took him a year and a half. (“Dogville” was apparently written in a 12-day drug binge and clearly “Antichrist” was not the work of a sober man.) He still fears aging, and that in the wake of his very public “Melancholia”-era recalcitrance, and his sobriety, that he won’t be able to make another movie. “I am very aware of the possibility of becoming too old to make films.”
Oh, and the first drug he tried? “It was coke. Two grams a day. I can recommend.”
2. He’s getting back to work. There was talk last year that Lars von Trier, working with “Antichrist” script supervisor Kristian Levring, wanted to make a Detroit-set horror movie. That, like the “Antichrist”-inspired video game “Eden” he planned to develop, appears to have fallen away. According to the new interview, von Trier is once again chiseling away at “The House That Jack Built,” his first major serial television project since his spooky hospital psychodrama “The Kingdom.”
3. It will be an eight-part crime series told from a serial killer’s perspective, and it will be in English. As revealed at Venice last year, von Trier’s Zentropa partner Peter Aalbæk Jensen is developing the series and looking for a major international star to take on the lead role. Sick puppy von Trier said to Schepelern: “May I use your hands as the killer’s hands? They are hairy in an interesting way.”
Back in his more productive days, Von Trier’s dark, dank debut “The Element of Crime” (1984) was a grim serial killer story told from the sepia-toned perspective of a cop who starts to identify with the murderer. How soon can he churn this out?
4. He doesn’t watch new movies. “Out of principle, I do not see any film from the time I began to make films.” Later, he adds: “The worst thing would of course be if I liked them.”
5. But he did see “The Matrix.” “I came to see ‘The Matrix’. It was fucking good. But the problem is that I am now unable to do action scenes in slow motion.” You could argue that Von Trier sort of did this in the operatic opening tableaux of “Melancholia,” the film that proclaimed his towering depression and indifference to the apocalypse. (In 2011, Anne Thompson got literally the last Cannes interview with von Trier before he went off to have dinner with Kirsten Dunst to repair the damage he had done to their relationship at the “Melancholia” press conference.)
Ryan Lattanzio is the staff writer for TOH at Indiewire. Follow him on Twitter.