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Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac' digitally stitches actors' faces to naked body doubles

Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac' digitally stitches actors' faces to naked body doubles


Controversial director pushes new boundaries in forthcoming double feature

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nymphomaniac lars von trier
nymphomaniac lars von trier

New details have emerged about the notoriously graphic sex scenes in Nymphomaniac — the upcoming double feature from Danish director Lars von Trier. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter this week, film producer Louise Vesth said Nymphomaniac's most explicit scenes will be shot using a technique that digitally combines its stars' faces with body doubles. According to Vesth, actors Shia LaBoeuf, Uma Thurman, and Charlotte Gainsbourg mimed the sex scenes onset, and then had their performances seamlessly stitched together with the doubles' pornographic shoots.

"We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex, and in [post-production] we will digital impose the two," Vesth said. "So above the waist it will be the star and... below the waist it will be the doubles."

"groundbreaking. like nothing I've ever seen."

Details on the precise tools used to combine the two remain unclear, but Vesth described the process as painstaking, listing it among the reasons that Nymphomaniac was pulled from this year's Cannes Film Festival at the last minute. Last week, the film's producers said they would skip the festival circuit altogether, choosing instead to premiere Nymphomaniac at a gala in Denmark ahead of its December 25th domestic release.

Very little is known about the film's scope or plot, and buyers who have seen early footage have revealed only vague details, citing confidentiality agreements. Von Trier, whose previous films include Dogville and Melancholia, has never been one to shy from controversy. His brutally violent film Antichrist sent shockwaves across theaters when it was released in 2009, as did the director's comments at the Cannes Film Festival that year, where he appeared to express empathy for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

According to those who have seen parts of the film, Nymphomaniac introduces an entirely different style of storytelling, superimposing words and symbols over live action. One buyer who caught a glimpse of it earlier this year told the Hollywood Reporter that the film is " nothing I've ever seen."