Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac' Will Use Digital Body Swaps for Its Celebrity Sex Scenes

Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac' Will Use Digital Body Swaps for Its Celebrity Sex Scenes

May 21, 2013

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Lars von Trier's sex opus Nymphomaniac is currently in postproduction. The Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård and Shia LaBeouf film did not make it to Cannes this year, but festival organizers have expressed that it wasn't due to the controversial director's Nazi faux pas from last year. He simply missed the deadline. Therefore, anticipation has been building to see how the Danish filmmaker plans on exploring the sexual life of one woman — a self-professed nymphomaniac. We already know that von Trier is filming two versions — soft-core and hard-core — and it turns out the movie's complex visual effects are the reason the production wasn't previewed at Cannes. THR recently spoke to producer Louise Vesth to find out more:

"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. So above the waist it will be the star and the below the waist it will be the doubles."

The same interview explains that the film employs other experimental techniques, "using double exposures and imposing words and symbols over the action as part of his storytelling." One buyer who screened Nymphomaniac early called it "groundbreaking." It also seems the director has followed a similar path in terms of content. "Lars has thrown everything in this one. It’s about religion, about God, about philosophy," Vesth revealed.

A lot of people are carrying on about how weird the sex scenes sound, cracking jokes, and comparing it to celebrity porn (the kind where online pervs superimpose an actress or actor's head onto a porn star), but I don't really see how von Trier's approach is any weirder than something like Avatar. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana wearing sci-fi-esque gear and interacting with a green screen so they could transform into blue humanoids is far goofier. I do wish von Trier would have chosen stars willing to go the full monty during the sex scenes, but that complicates distribution and other matters. Weigh in with your thoughts on the director's effects decisions, below.

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