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by Jay A. Fernandez
April 24, 2012 2:57 PM
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Charlotte Gainsbourg to Star in Lars Von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

Charlotte Gainsbourg at the New York premiere of "Melancholia." Photo by Dave Alloca/Starpix.
Charlotte Gainsbourg’s bona fides as a daring actress have long been established, not least because she has starred in two films made by Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier: “Antichrist” and “Melancholia.” Well, the actress has decided to join Von Trier’s cinematic circus one more time, as the lead in his pornographic drama “Nymphomaniac,” which should prove to be her most exposed on-screen performance yet.

The Hollywood Reporter’s German correspondent Scott Roxborough reports that Gainsbourg will co-star with Stellan Skarsgard in the story of “the erotic life of a woman from the age of zero to the age of 50." Von Trier plans to include graphic depictions of sex in the retelling of the woman’s sexual history, though the filmmaker intends to shoot both soft and hardcore versions.

Though body doubles were used, Von Trier included a shot of graphic penetration in the prologue to “Antichrist” involving the married characters played by Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe. Not shy about her willingness to commit fully to her tortured characters, Gainsbourg spent a portion of that movie naked and performed several scenes of simulated sex and masturbation.

Von Trier is not the first serious filmmaker to experiment with depictions of non-simulated sex — Michael Winterbottom’s “9 Songs” famously did the same—but as he is a bit of a cultural lightning rod and often fields criticism that he is a misogynist because of the hardships he rains down on his female protagonists (Bjork in “Dancer in the Dark,” Emily Watson in “Breaking the Waves,” Gainsbourg in “Antichrist”), this new exercise in provocation should prompt its own scoffs and wails.

NRW Filmstifftung, the German regional subsidy board, is financing “Nymphomaniac” with $1.6 million in production subsidies. Filming is scheduled to begin over the summer.

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3 Comments

  • Nicole | April 28, 2012 5:08 PMReply

    Can't wait for this film. I absolutely love Lars vonTrier's films and Charlotte Gainsbourg. I know they will not dissapoint.

  • Josselin | April 25, 2012 5:53 AMReply

    What's really paradoxical about the accusations of misogyny against LVT is that his actresses keep getting awards for their performances in his movies. (Bjork, Gainsbourg, Dunst)

    Actually, the more you think about it, the more this theory sounds stupid.His heroines' suffering is always caused by outside forces that LVT, as a left-wing anarchist, points out and condemns, such as religious extremism in Breaking the Waves, fascist behaviors in BtW and Dogville... Antichrist, which spawned the biggest campaign against him on grounds of misogyny, is ABOUT the history of misogyny, about a woman whose guilt of letting her child die is fueled to the point of madness by the misogyny in the medieval texts she studies as an academic.
    Finally, Melancholia is the last touch in destroying these accusations, since the melancholic character played by Dunst is the voice through which he expresses his own psychological torment.

  • jingmei | April 24, 2012 8:20 PMReply

    Their cooperation again of this has not been a news since long ago. P.S. 9 Songs from some perspective could be treated as a kinda storyline about a couple's hanging out bunch of live rock gigs.