Last year, we shared news of 58-year-old Danish provocateur Lars von Trier’s first TV show, an eight-part English-language TV series The House That Jack Built, which producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen claims is “without precedent.” The news broke at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, where von Trier’s director’s cut of Nymphomaniac screened in all of its 325-minute glory, and producer Louise Vesth spoke a bit about the filmmaker’s plans: “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 again.”
Von Trier later said he didn’t know if he could ever make a film again, and he didn’t mention the television project again until this week, when he spoke at the University of Copenhagen and announced that he was, indeed, back at work on the project. Ostensibly concerning a serial killer (shown from the killer’s perspective, of course), the project remains pretty ambiguous, though the idea of Lars von Trier bringing his singular style of lugubrious joy to our living rooms (and, more likely, our laptops) is pretty exciting, like sneaking into your living room to watch Cinemax after your parents went to bed when you were a kid.
Though the invidious auteur has been reaping critical acclaim since his oneiric neo-noir debut The Element Of Crime, the supremely lonely yet aesthetically peppy Nympho garnered some of the best reviews, and the most, er, penetrative discussions of von Trier’s career. (And the film all but expunged the acrid taste von Trier’s foot left in our collective mouths after his Nazi comments at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.)
Von Trier announced his sobriety last year, saying he’d begun to attend AA meetings, but expressed concern that his creativity would suffer without the vitality of inebriated inspiration.“There is no creative expression of artistic value that has ever been produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug addicts,” he said.“Who the hell would bother with a Rolling Stones without booze or with a Jimi Hendrix without heroin?” On Wednesday, he admitted that he still drinks, “probably not moderately enough.” Infer what you will about the insinuated relationship between von Trier’s creativity and von Trier’s drinking.
In happier news, von Trier will also be returning to France this May for the first time since the Cannes debacle. According to Screen Daily, the filmmaker will touch down for a masterclass at the Cinemathique Francaise. He will give a two-hour lesson on filmmaking, compered by the cinemathique’s director of programming Jean-Francois Rauger and Arte France Cinema’s chief Olivier Pere.
We also reported last year that von Trier was working on a horror movie set in Detroit (maybe he actually ghost-directed Lost River?), but so far progress on the purported film seems to have stalled. After a brief jaunt into acting with his cameo in the viral video Too Many Cooks, von Trier seems to be willing to branch out into new areas—hopefully he brings that von Trier verve to television screens everywhere soon.