Venice: Lars Von Trier Speaks, Sort Of; Helmer Prepping English-Language TV Series, Eyes “Huge Cast”

nymphomaniac-posterUPDATE: TrustNordisk has released further details of Lars von Trier’s TV series project which was first mooted during a press conference in Venice this morning. A “huge” international cast will star in The House That Jack Built with von Trier to start working on the script this fall for a 2016 shoot. Plot details are being kept close to the vest, but exec producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen said the series will be “without precedent” and cautioned, “You better hold your breath.” Louise Vesth is producing for Zentropa. It’s being developed in co-operation with DR executive producer Piv Bernth. DR is the Danish public broadcaster behind such series as Borgen and The Killing.

PREVIOUSLY: Danish bad boy filmmaker Lars von Trier appeared in Venice today in honor of the out of competition screenings of the Director’s Cut of his Nymphomaniac Volume I and II. Unlike his appearance sporting a Persona Non Grata t-shirt on the red carpet in Berlin, he wasn’t physically here on the Lido. Instead, he showed up via computer screen on the dais during a press conference that included star Stellan Skarsgard and producer Louise Vesth (Charlotte Gainsbourg is on the Lido but chose not to attend as she feels her performance speaks for itself, Vesth said). Von Trier for his part honored his 2011 promise to refrain from all public statements and interviews. But in a cheeky gimmick, when Skarsgard wanted help in answering a question posed by the press corps, he held up a numbered placard he said represented a “lifeline” and looked to von Trier for help. Skarsgard called von Trier by cell phone, repeating questions in Danish, and the helmer responded — though his answers were inaudible to the room. Skarsgard then relayed what was said.

Near the end of the proceedings, Vesth seized the opportunity to make an announcement. “Now, when he’s not able to speak, so he cannot say that it’s not ture, I’m happy to announce that the next Lars von Trier project will be a TV series in the English language. He has a really really good idea which I cannot tell more about right now. He wants a huge cast and from what I heard I’m sure that it will be something that you have never seen before and you will definitely never see it again.” Von trier previously toiled in TV with Danish fantasy/horror mini The Kingdom in 1994.

Earlier in the press conference, one of the questions posed to Skarsgard was whether he had learned anything about female sexuality from making the controversial Nymphomaniac films. Skarsgard said he knew a little more, but wanted von Trier’s answer, too. He rang the helmer who could be seen holding the phone but not saying anything. “He’s just sighing,” Skarsgard said, “This is the worst lifeline I’ve ever had.” Von Trier finally responded, “Have I learned anything about women? No, I know everything about women.” On the subject of the two lead characters in the film and what they represent, Skarsgard again turned to a lifeline and von Trier answered that to a certain extent, some of the two characters represent him, “but every time something masochistic is shown, it’s him,” Skarsgard relayed. Von Trier then disappeared from the screen and talk turned to rumors of him being a difficult director to work with. Skarsgard said those rumors were born out of the director’s work with Bjork on Dancer In The Dark. “You should never have two control freaks on a film set. They both wanted to make the film and that doesn’t work. Other than that, he’s the sweetest and loveliest man to work with… You never feel safer than on a Lars von Trier set.”

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