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LaBeouf to Star in Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac”

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Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf – Image from – Wikipedia

According to THR, Shia LaBeouf is in negotiations to join Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier’s two-part erotic drama Nymphomaniac, slated to start production in September. Trier is mostly known for his thought-provoking indie films, like last year’s end-of-the-world drama Melancholia and 2009’s erotic horror film Antichrist. Trier’s films tend to be dark, complex, and in some ways “anti-Hollywood,” so it would be interesting to see LaBeouf tackle such a project since many still see him as “the kid” from the Transformers flicks and Disney Channel television shows (like Even Stevens). However, LaBeouf has recently proven that he can be a decent actor, if given the opportunity — his performance in Oliver Stone’s 2010 drama Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps as the tender and ambitious Jacob Moore was quite convincing.

It seems like LaBeouf has realized that since he appears to be more interested in doing low-budget indie productions as opposed to mindless blockbusters. “I’ve made a lot of movies about plot and device,” says the young actor. “Now, I find myself being attracted to — and being allowed to make — more movies about people and characters.” He has recently starred in John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era gangster film Lawless, scheduled for a release at the end of August, and Robert Redford’s political thriller The Company You Keep, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival. LaBeouf will also star in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, another indie film, which recently wrapped production. Lawless has already premiered at Cannes, and according to The Huffington Post, LaBeouf’s performance has left a very positive impression on many viewers and critics alike. So, it may not be long before LaBeouf will be recognized as the talented actor he may very well be.

Now that does not mean that starring in Trier’s Nymphomaniac will be a breeze for the young actor. Trier’s films tend to delve deep into human psychology and thus require quite a bit of preparation from the actors. Kirsten Dunst, for instance, took several weeks to prepare for her role as the depressed bride Justine in Melancholia, studying the character’s every decision inside out. Like Dunst, LaBeouf is the sort of actor who does his homework and does it well. According to The LA Times, he took months to learn the “ins and outs of the financial world” and even earned a broker’s license in preparation for his role in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

It is yet unclear what LaBeouf’s role will be in Nymphomaniac since the lead male will be played by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard. The film will follow sexual adventures of a woman named Joe who will be portrayed by French-English actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (who also appeared in Melancholia and Antichrist). Skarsgard is set to play Joe’s husband.

Trier also plans to shoot two versions of the film — one softer and one more explicit. The Danish filmmaker has proven with Antichrist that he is utterly unafraid to feature graphic sex scenes in his films, which means that the explicit version of Nymphomaniac would likely be filled with borderline-pornographic imagery. And with Shia LaBeouf on board, the film may garner more attention than Trier’s previous efforts and become even more controversial than Antichrist. I for one cannot wait for this film to go into production.

By: Taras Trofimov