Christian Slater has joined the cast of Lars von Trier's controversial "Nymphomaniac." The provocative drama began filming in Cologne, Germany last month and has been generating a great deal of buzz.
"Nymphomaniac" tells the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a promiscuous woman who is cared for by Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) after she is beaten and left in an alley. Over the course of the film (which will be released in two parts), Joe recalls her life of promiscuity. British model Stacy Martin will portray Joe in flashbacks sequences. Slater is set to star as the young Joe's father.
Slater, who attained heartthrob status in the late 80's, seems an unlikely casting choice for this heavy art-house fare. Over the last few years, he has guest starred on a number of sitcoms, including "The Office," "Breaking In," and "Entourage." His next film, "Bullet to the Head," starring Sylvester Stallone, is set to be released in 2013.
"Nymphomaniac" also stars Nicolas Bro, Jesper Christensen, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen, and Shia LaBeouf.
In a recent interview with MTV, LaBeouf claimed that the film's sex scenes would be un-simulated.
"It is Lars von Trier, making a movie about what he's making. For instance, there's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says we're doing it for real," said the actor. "Everything that is illegal, we'll shoot in blurred images. Other than that, everything is happening."
The 26-year-old later told talk show host Chelsea Handler that he was cast in the role after sending a sex tape to von Trier. "I sent him videotapes of me and my girlfriend having sex, and that's how I got the job," he said.
We are curious to learn how bad-boys La Beouf and Slater will work with von Trier, who is notorious for alienating his actors. After Bjork collaborated with him for the film "Dancer in the Dark," the Icelandic singer took to her blog to express her disdain for the filmmaker.
"[von Trier] needs a female to provide his work soul. And he envies them and hates them for it," she said. "So he has to destroy them during the filming. And hide the evidence. What saves him as an artist though is that he is so painfully honest that even though he will manage to cover up his crime in the 'real' world (he is a genius to set things up that everybody thinks it is just his female-actress-at-the-moment imagination, that she is just hysterical or pre-menstrual) his films become a documentation of this 'soul-robbery.'"
Bjork's experience with "Dancer in the Dark" was so traumatic that she swore off acting altogether - and has kept her promise so far. And she's not the only actor who does not have fond memories of working with vonTrier. In a 2004 interview with The Guardian, Paul Bettany complained that von Trier refused to hire him a dialect coach for the film "Dogville." The film starred Nicole Kidman, who according to the Telegraph, often clashed with von Trier on set.
"I don't think I tortured Nicole on Dogville, but I know she said I was tough," von Trier later told the outlet.
There working relationship couldn't have been too tempestuous, According to Movieline, Kidman has signed on to play a small role in "Nymphomaniac."
The director has also been at the center of a media firestorm on more than one occasion.
His shocker, "Antichrist," starring Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe, also featured graphic sex scenes. Controversy erupted after the film, which featuring genital mutilation, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. (This will mark Gainsbourg's third collaboration with the director, more than any other actor.)
"For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew," he said. "But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler...I sympathize with him a bit."
He later apologized for his comments.
"If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize," he said in a statement. "I am not anti-Semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi."
"Nymphomaniac" marks the Danish filmmaker's follow-up to the harrowing end-of-the-world drama.