Real Sex With Shia LaBeouf Is Too Expensive for ‘Nymphomaniac’ Producers

Sure, Shia LaBeouf claims to be excited about doin’ it for real in the upcoming Lars Von Trier film The Nymphomaniac. I mean, it’s Shia LaBeouf. Have you seen him lately? Dude must get excited as hell for any opportunity to bone someone. I can’t imagine it happens often, is what I’m saying. Anyway, the producers of the film are saying that it’s highly unlikely that Von Trier will get his actors to have sex with each other IRL on account of it being too expensive.

The Toronto Star reports, by way of Danish newspaper Politiken (100 points to the Danish-speaking Star staffer!), that the PR firm repping the film has already released a statement about the sexual content of the film:

A press release from Hammer PR, the publicist for Nymphomaniac, makes it clear that, “Because of censorship, the film will be distributed in different versions. Also, it has to be said that the sex scenes in the film will be performed by body doubles and by various visual effects.”

Von Trier’s movie is the story of a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who tells the story of her life. Politiken mentions the possibility that Nymphomaniac will become two films, one dealing with childhood and youth and one dealing with the main character’s life until the age of 50. This would, of course, mean that four different movies would be the end result: Two soft-core and two hard-core. Usually watching one von Trier movie is exhausting enough.

Bummer, guys. Bummer for anyone who missed LaBeouf’s penis in that Sigur Ros video and also bummer for anyone who still doesn’t know what a penis looks like. And bummer for sad Shia LaBeouf. Who knows when he’ll get laid again.

John Hillcoat Travels Back to the ‘Lawless’ Franklin County, Virginia

“For me, cinema in the late ‘60s and ‘70s—that was the renaissance of film,” says acclaimed director John Hillcoat, whose newest film, Lawless, harkens back to dusty outlaw tales of Bonnie and Clyde while taking the the conventional gangster genre and burying it deep in the backwoods. Based on the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bonderant, the film was written and scored by Hillcoat’s longtime collaborator and friend, Nick Cave, bringing together not only their shared passion for American folklore but their unique brand of storytelling.

The film tells the story of three bootlegging brothers: Jack, Forrest, and Howard (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke, respectively) in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, during the prohibition. After FBI Special Agent Charlie Rakes (played by Guy Pearce) is sent into town to bring hell into their lives, the film follows down the beloved Hillcoat trajectory of a violent, male-driven tale of people living in extreme worlds with extreme consequences. It’s through the characters of Maggie and Bertha (played by Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska) and their strong female presence, however, that we’re presented with a real-life tale that’s more about battling for survival and protection than just machismo. We caught up with Hillcoat to chat about going back in time to find the story, the complexities of alpha male characters, and being on the fringe of American cinema.

How did you come across the novel? Were you looking for something like this?
I was looking for a gangster film. I love being transported into other worlds and extreme worlds. When I say extreme worlds, I mean where the stakes are high therefore there’s real conflict. And being transported into other worlds has always been something that I’ve loved about cinema since I was a kid. There’s something to me about the Great American films; the gangster films and the westerns were certainly two very distinct worlds you get caught up in, and I’d been looking for a gangster film but, to be honest, it was very hard to find a new take on that genre, especially in the wake after Goodfellas. It’s kind of hard, where do go from there? So I went back in time. What I found interesting [in Lawless] was that it was the people in the backwoods, and that story, I don’t think, has ever been told. I guess it’s also where the western ends and the gangster film begins, and the western outlaws in the backwoods now are introduced to guns and modern technology. It was quite an upheaval.

What attracts you to these sort of extreme worlds and moral situations?
It just always interested me because I think it just reveals a lot about ourselves. It’s in extreme situations that we see the best and the worst of ourselves. I’m always intrigued by what really lurks under.

There are a lot of gangster films that come out but don’t have a strong staying power like Goodfellas because they lack the character and heart, but these characters were so developed—they all had their own strong backstories and you could empathize with them. Is that something you grasped from the novel?
Matt Bondurant, who wrote the novel, he was at his father’s place, and he saw hanging on the wall, a pair of brass knuckles and he said, “What the hell are those?” His father said, “Oh, that was your great Uncle Forrest.” So it was actually that moment that he went right into the whole research of that world, discovering his family history. Also just as a writer, his ear for dialogue; I love the way he talked about Maggie and Forrest and that they’re both damaged people that find each other and it’s a very unusual but moving kind of love story and they hide it from everyone. Forrest can’t describe his emotions, so it’s this secret awkward love affair. And then the sweetness and innocence of the first love of Jack and Bertha. Because no matter how extreme a world, I’m more interested in trying to find the humanity than just making the two-dimensional. That’s sometimes a challenge when you’re dealing with such familiar genres. Although, that being said, these gangsters and westerns are still filled with flawed characters with moral dilemmas.

You don’t necessarily like the characters all of the time, but you still want it to work out for them because you’ve set up that humility in all of them.
Exactly. And their own tragic flaws are always compelling, I think. In this case, what also was very attractive—that Nick Cave who adapted it, and I both loved was that traditionally, the genre with gangsters—you’re used to seeing them punished for their sins and so they’re all taken out in a blaze of glory. But in this case, I don’t want to give away too much, but there was a real transformation and to really engage in everyday life. We thought that was actually a refreshing thing to see. And the one guy who was always a misfit in life and kind of the most haunted finally finds peace and you think he’ll always survive. So, for us, in the true story, there were a lot of rich ingredients and it’s still tapped into archetypes of that world that I’ve always been fascinated in. Floyd Banner is just that colorful kind of gangster, the gangster for all of us, someone we’re all scared of and thrilled by, so he was a really interesting character as well and I really tried to get that irony of the way Jack was like all of us.

You’re attracted to these male-driven, violent stories. They’re not violent for the sake of it, but just because they are it’s necessary for their survival. Is that something that you’re cognizant of when developing an idea?
Actually, what I thought was so great about what Tom  brought to Forrest was actually quite a vulnerable, feminine side.

He was like the mother of the family.
And when he lashes out he is absolutely terrifying and probably all the more for it. But because of the contradictions and complexities, I am fascinated by the sort of flip side to those archetypes and also the vulnerabilities. To me, it’s always more interesting to see, a sort of powerful alpha male vulnerable than just pure alpha male. Having said that, and this what I love about the Maggie and Bertha, I do love a little respite in there. It’s hard to find, often in most of these stories, to find strong female characters and so I’m always actively seeking that. And in actual fact, I’m actually specifically looking for female-driven leading characters. I love these kind of genres and these generic, almost like ancient kind of dilemmas and conflicts. Often the written scripts for leading female characters tend to be not in these kind of robust genres and I would love to find that, I’m always looking for that material. I’m saying, I would like a classic genre film in extreme situations but the character is a woman. That’s hard to find.

It was refreshing to see these women that were really strong and could hold their own against these men. Even Bertha, even though she’s so innocent, but she had a strength.
I’m glad you noticed! And Maggie is actually stronger than all those brothers, even Forrest.

I love that she had to be the one to do something first because he’s so strong but was completely incapable of expressing himself.
Yes and she had to bare this terrible truth and hide and then eventually reveals that she had to take care of him. Then she had to bare the real truth that he couldn’t deal with. She had to battle it and that makes her all the more stronger that she can handle it whereas she knew he couldn’t.

How did you go about casting?
First came Shia; he was always involved from the get go. In all his films, he was always strong in them and compelling and there was something about him. And he was itching to get his teeth into real characters and he had qualities that Jack had. The film had come through various incarnations because initially when we were trying to make it, it was a studio film and then the global economy shook everything up and all the studios went into a spiral and decided they couldn’t make these sort of films anymore. So we went back and reconstructed it. Shia independently had contacted Tom because he loved his performance in Bronson. I actually had been aware of Tom independently and met Tom after he had just done Inception and knew he was someone I wanted to find something to do and this was perfect material. And Jessica, I met her actually before Tom. I was looking for a strong, intelligent woman who was charismatic and also had real gravitas and depth to her and real emotion. So then when I met her it was a combination of things I had heard from other filmmakers that I trust and then meeting her and then seeing a couple scenes from the film. Mia I met before she did Alice and she, at that stage, had only done a couple of smaller films and again, she had this wonderful quality and just struck me as having a great face for it. When you look at different periods and different times, there are certain faces that look suitable for those times and also for that kind of closed religious communities so something about her look. The Mennonites, a lot of them came from an eastern European background so there was several qualities and also a real sweetness and edging with her. She was so young and clearly so talented and also a completely different energy to Jessica.

It was a perfect pairing between Jessica and Tom and then Shia and Mia. They all had such great chemistry.
And that something I’m always looking for, especially with an ensemble, that kind of different energies and contrasts.

You have an ongoing relationship and collaboration with Nick Cave as a writer and composer. Can you tell me about that? He always does such fascinating work.
We have an Australian connection. I’ve known him since I was a teenager and I did his music stuff and he worked on my film stuff. There’s something about him… I love music and I’ve been involved in music my whole career and Nick loves movies. He watches more movies than me and I listen to more music than him. So it’s a weird connection there, we love collaborating and we’re always planning and working on the next thing.

So do you work together as he’s writing it, do you sort of build it together?
There’s a period where I’m more just a bouncing board for stuff he writes and I talk about ideas that I’ll have that he’ll play with, so it’s very much an organic back-and-forth. And to have him write at the very beginning and then end the whole thing with the music gives it a really added cohesion that I don’t think I would get otherwise.

Because he knows what the tone is supposed to be because he set it.
Exactly. And actually, there’s something very musical in the rhythms of films and the way people speak and the whole tone of things, so I’m very lucky.

This is sort of a very rural American Dream type of film. As someone not from here, do you have your own very predisposed image of what you image this time to be like and American history?
Well, I actually grew up in America as a young kid and I grew up in Canada from when I was 4 years old to 17 and I’ve travelled a lot through the country but I definitely have an outsiders perspective. It’s strange, it’s an outsiders perspective and in that sense, that sometimes can be a big advantage.

Did you have any sort of cinematic touchstones that you looked back on when making the film for inspiration? Gangster movies or westerns?
Oh, yeah. The big one for me, particularly, was White Heat with Jimmy Cagney, which has a kind of restless energy and flamboyance, that was something in that period I talked a lot to Guy Pierce about when he played Rakes. And, of course, Bonnie and Clyde. The films of the ’70s—they’ve always been a profound influence on my work and an inspiration. But there’s old black-and-white films, the classic gangsters as well. And the original Scarface

Shia LaBeouf ‘Doing It For Real’ in Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’

Real actors having real sex in real non-"adult" films is not a new phenomenon. From exploitation-skewering classics like Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, in which Melvin Van Peebles’ scenes actually led to him contracting an STD and coining the tagline, "rated X by an all-white jury," and John Waters’ Pink Flamingos; to hardcore colossal flops like Caligula and Cannes-panned The Brown Bunny to some rare gems like Shortbus and Intimacy, real sex, like any other directorial tactic, sometimes works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it still can create an insane amount of buzz around a film. 

Lars Von Trier is no stranger to directing actors in unsimulated sex scenes — there are brief moments in his Palme d’Or-nominated film The Idiots and body doubles for Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe are used for scenes in the gut-wrenching Antichrist. And according to Shia LaBeouf, the star of his next film, The Nymphomaniac, about a woman’s erotic journey of self-actualization, all the sex scenes will be real. 

"For instance, there’s a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says, ‘We’re all gonna be doing it for real,’" LaBeouf told MTV News. "Everything that is ‘illegal,’ we’ll shoot in blurred images, but other than that, everything is happening." Well, LaBeouf wanted to challenge himself as an actor, and that’s certainly not the kind of thing he’d be doing for Michael Bay. 

 

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The Nymphomaniac will be released sometime in 2013 and also stars Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard and the Antichrist power couple of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe. For a potential preview of what this all might look like, here’s LaBeouf in Sigur Ros’ freaky (NSFW) video for the exquisite "Fjögur Piano." If you need a minute to consider what this video would like if directed by Lars Von Trier, we’ll give you a minute to recover. It’s gonna be okay. 

What To Watch At Cannes

Today the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival kicks off, meaning gorgeous people are spending time watching movies and frolicking on French beaches while you sit in the office and read about it. Glamorous, no?

Say what you will about the celebrity industrial complex, but at least the Cannes fest does feature some excellent films—and is always good for an unscripted moment—that will eventually make their way to a cineplex near you. But what to watch?

Cosmopolis: How could a Don DeLillo book turned into a David Cronenberg movie go wrong? Starring an increasingly serious Robert Pattinson as a Wall Streeter whose world collapses on a drive across Manhattan, the movie is giving us shades of American Psycho but with something like the Batmobile. Sold!

On The Road: The Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Salles takes on Jack Kerouac’s legendary book with the help of, uh, Kristen Stewart. Sure it’ll probably glamorize the Beats and have some sort of moral, but all of this naked driving looks worth the price of admission.

Rise of the Guardians: One of the festival’s opening pictures, Dreamworks’ Guardians is about an Avengers-like team of Santa, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman and The Easter Bunny who team up to save the planet from evil. The movie will be released stateside around the holidays and is sure to grace every plastic soft drink cup you purchase toward the end of 2012.

Rust and Bone: From the director of 2009’s big-deal film A Prophet, this French flick delves into the bond between a homeless man and a whale trainer played by Marion Cotillard.

Lawless: Guy Pearce, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Shia LaBeouf star in this Prohibition-era tale about schemers, bootleggers and lawmen during the Great Depression.

The Dictator: There’s also Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest, The Dictator, for which he reportedly paraded a camel down one of Cannes main streets as a publicity stunt. It might not be brilliant, or even close to as funny as some of his older work, but there will be a laugh or two. And you might as well embrace it, avoiding this will be difficult.

Nick Cave and Some Aussies Made a Movie About America

On the surface, Lawless, the forthcoming Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, and Guy Pearce Prohibition flick, looks like a stretched-out episode of Boardwalk Empire. Are there bootleggers? Old-timey dress appropriate only for pompous mixologist types? Bad-ass lawmen intent on bringing order back to town? Yes, yes and yes. But there’s something more to the film that appeals to those of us who might night race to the theater for every shoot-’em-up that gets projected: this movie was written by none other than Nick Cave. 

Indeed that Nick Cave; he of the Birthday Party and Bad Seeds. But music isn’t Cave’s only forte. In addition to putting out generally stellar records for the past 40 years or so, Cave has been involved with making movie soundtracks (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Road), writing books (the latest being 2009’s The Death of Bunny Munro) and, wouldn’t you know it, writing screenplays.

And suddenly this movie, based on The Wettest County in the World, a historical novel by Matt Bondurant which blends his family history with fiction, becomes more than another hillbilly-bootleggers-gone-wild two hours, it turns into something that actually seemed important to see. At least to the Cave fans among us. And if that doesn’t convince you, well, the trailer premiered just this week, watch below and see if it doesn’t leave you wanting more.

Michael Bay Returning for LaBeouf-less ‘Transformers 4’

Because this is America, and because cash rules everything around us, of course there will be another Transformers movie. Director Michael Bay, who helmed the previous three robot orgies, said as much when he announced his two new projects: Pain & Gain, a bro-fest starring Mark Wahlberg and The Rock, and Transformers 4, which will be tentatively due in Summer 2014. In an interview with MTV, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said that a new film will follow in the established continuity of the Transformers universe, but without any of its principal stars. That means no Shia LaBeouf, no Josh Duhamel, and no Rosie Whitley-something-or-other to continue the gripping Autobot saga.

Maybe it’s a blessing? Without the perpetual anchor of LaBeouf and his dumb family, Transformers 4 could cut the fat and be somewhat special: better characters, brisker pace, deeper mythology, nuaned emotional gravitas. Haha, nah, it’ll be like three hours of tits and lasers and flags, as always. I’ve already uncovered the movie’s subtitle: Transformers 4: Fuck Osama bin Laden. I can’t wait.

Shia LaBeouf: Justin Bieber Is ‘Like Buddha’

Shia LaBeouf appeared on Jimmy Kimmel last night and had a lot to say about Justin Bieber. He’s “the bomb! He’s like a 16-year-old Frank Sinatra.” He even “has a presence like Buddha, like a young prince… I went up to him, I wanted to say hi. Security was ready to take me down. Bieber does this two-finger wave thing like, ‘He’s OK.” The topic came up because of that super-adorable video Selena Gomez posted on YouTube of her meeting LaBeouf and freaking out because he’s “soooo cute.” Did Justin have a problem with that? Click through for video of LaBeouf’s interview.

Later, LaBeouf also said (jokingly?) that Transformers 3 is “crap.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Vs. Megan Fox: Who Wins in the End?

Megan Fox has taken quite the public relations beating in the run-up to tomorrow’s release of Michael Bay’s coked-up CG rampage, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. But it’s not like she couldn’t see it coming. The Ballad of Michael and Megan—in which Michael fires Megan for publicly bashing Michael—is actually the most entertaining thing about the Transformers franchise, especially when unfiltered loudmouths (not a bad thing) like Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf are the ones doing all the talking.

First, there was Shia’s interview with the LA Times, where he spoke of Fox’s “Spice Girl strength” and her subsequent rejection of the way Bay films women (i.e., like sports cars). Then came GQ‘s oral history of Bay’s career, the major takeaway being that not only was Fox fired from Transformers for talking shit about Bay, but it was Steven Spielberg himself who spearheaded the motion for dismissal. It’s revelations like that for which the phrase “you’ll never work in this town again” were invented. The deathblow, however, came today, when things got personal with the release of Details‘ cover story on LaBeouf, where the actor admitted to hooking up with Fox on the set of the first film, while ambiguously hinting that she may have been dating now-husband Brian Austin Green at the time—a revelation not even she could have anticipated.

All of this brings us to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who, as every review of the film will remind you, was the girl plucked from Victoria’s Secret semi-obscurity to replace Fox in the thankless role of girlfriend to LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky. For the 24-year-old, scoring the role was a first-class ticket from runway to multiplex; the teenage boys who’ll make up the majority of the Transformers audience will no doubt recognize her from their mother’s stolen catalogues. But until tomorrow, those horny teens — or anyone, really — won’t be able to tell you what Huntington-Whiteley’s voice sounds like, much less about her skills as an actress. Let’s have a look at some reactions to her performance thus far, while remembering that when it comes to a Michael Bay production, the word ‘actress’ doesn’t mean all that much.

Miami Herald: Bay casts his actresses based on their looks, not talents, and the tall, statuesque Huntington-Whiteley comes off as a Playboy bunny with a perpetually dazed look. When she’s standing next to LaBeouf, she appears to be a high-priced call girl who has been hired by a dork.

NY Daily News: “As for Huntington-Whiteley, she makes an excellent case for the return of Megan Fox in the next installment.”

Time Out London: “But he’s Laurence Olivier next to Huntington-Whiteley, whose blank, pouty turn as Sam’s new squeeze makes one long for the good old days of Megan Fox.”

Empire: “You’ll believe a robot can fly, but you won’t believe a Huntington-Whiteley can talk.”

Devin Faraci: “He has a new love interest this time around, Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and she made me miss Megan Fox throughout. The character feels like a poorly considered course correction from Fox, replacing a bad girl character who dominated Sam in a sexy way with a boring, empty submissive girl who is completely sexless.”

So, not that great! Megan Fox, however, is actually missed by some of these reviewers, a sentiment that only last week seemed impossible. The lesson here is that Michael Bay can either make or break your career, sometimes even at the same time.

Shia Labeouf on Hooking Up with Megan Fox & Fighting on Set

Shia LeBeouf is on a very eventful press run this week. Over the course of three interviews, the Transformers star has come clean about hooking up with former co-star Megan Fox, detailed a blowout fight with Michael Bay over playing Feist’s music on the set of Dark of the Moon, and admitted to feeling like Cameron Crowe while directing Kid Cudi’s “Marijuana” video in Amsterdam.

On fighting with Michael Bay Over Feist’s “Brandy Alexander”: “Yeah, it’s a little feminine, but it touches me,” LaBeouf told the LA Times about listening to the track on set. “I feel something when I hear it. … But Mike doesn’t want to listen to ‘Brandy Alexander’ under the rocket with 50 military dudes around. I take him aside, I’m like, ‘Mike, this is the most important moment in the movie for me. The crux of my whole character, my whole arc. That doesn’t work for me, dude.’ … Now it’s two dudes ready to kill each other. … Spit’s flying.”

On Directing Kid Cudi’s “Marijuana” Video in Amsterdam: “While we were finishing up the effects on it, [Cudi] told me he was going to Amsterdam for the Cannabis Cup… ‘It’s as big as Spielberg,’ he told MTV. ‘It is for a 25-year-old male who has all these crazy fantasies about Amsterdam, which every male my age has, there’s that college trip you always want to take. And to do that with Cudi when he’s a judge, and I get to roll with him with my 8mm camera [like] an ‘Easy Rider’ documentarian, I felt like Cameron Crowe or something.'”

On Hooking Up With Married Co-Star Megan Fox: “Look, you’re on the set or six months, with someone who’s rooting to be attracted to you, and you’re rooting to be attracted to them,” he told Details. “I never understood the separation of work and life in that situation. But the time I spent with Megan was our own thing, and I think you can see the chemistry onscreen.”

And Again, on Hooking Up With Married Co-Star Megan Fox: “I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know….It was what it was.”

Photo: Matthais Vriens-McGrath/Details