CANNES—We don't know much about Lars Von Trier's upcoming film Nymphomaniac except what it says on the Nymphomaniac page of the Internet Movie Database: "A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating"—and it's the final part (well, two parts, actually) of his "Trilogy of Depression," the first two parts of which are Antichrist (2009) and Melancholia (2011)—which, like Nymphomania, star Brit-born Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Oh; and one more thing: When the film was about to begin production, much of the buzz surrounding it centered on the announcement that many of its main characters—famous Hollywood actors all—would be having hardcore sex on camera. Besides Gainsbourg, this would possibly include Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen, Shia LaBoeuf, Willem Dafoe, Stellan Skarsgaard and Christian Slater. (Von Trier is being very closed-mouthed about the details of the film, including who's supposed to get it on with whom, though his producer said that, "It's about religion, about God, about philosophy.")
Sadly, the announcement that some or all of these stars would be getting it on hardcore-style didn't get as much traction in the media as it deserved—and now we know that that early buzz was only partly true.
"We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex, and in post we will digital-impose the two," explained Nymphomaniac producer Louise Vesth at the Cannes Film Festival, where the two-part film was supposed to debut this month. "So above the waist it will be the star and the below the waist it will be the doubles."
And while it's sad that audiences won't get to see Beatrix Kiddo and the other cuties bare it all and ball the night away, the very fact that Von Trier will attempt to "use experimental graphical elements" and "double exposures" to simulate the big stars having sex raises a bunch of questions of its own.
For instance, without knowing how many sex scenes are contained in the film, or how closely the "porn stars" hired to do the hardcore resemble the stars they're semi-body-doubling for, we do know that it'll take at least six more months beyond the time they've already spent to do the superimposition so that the match-ups will look real—and only time will tell if Von Trier's editors are actually able to synch up two pairs of moving bodies so they appear to be just one couple... or will it simply be a laugh riot? Nor do we have any idea how much this graphic manipulation will cost Von Trier to accomplish, but we're guessing it's got to be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of bucks.
Just some things to think about as the lawsuit against Measure B winds its way through the courts, with Intervenor AIDS Healthcare Foundation claiming that the measure doesn't infringe on adult filmmakers' rights because, according to AHF's Motion to Dismiss the complaint, "To be clear, Measure B does not require that condoms or other safety measures appear in the final product or film." [Emphasis in original.] By that, of course, they mean digitally removing from the finished film the condoms, gloves, face masks and other paraphernalia the California Health Code requires that performers wear during sex—so the adult industry should follow with interest just how successful Lars Von Trier will be at performing a similar digital feat... and how much it will cost him to do it!
Pictured: A scene from Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac.