When it was first announced that Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac would run more than five hours, many wondered whether that could possibly be enough time to contain the director’s artistic vision without sacrificing at least a little penetration. Alas, those concerns only seem likely to swell, like the celebrity genitalia you’ll now see decidedly less of, as Danish magazine Filmmagasinet Ekko (via The Hollywood Reporter) says that Von Trier has given up final cut for the first time in his career, submitting in a way that would be very, very erotic if it were, say, split-screened with a scene of a leopard eating a deer.
But such decisions are well out of Von Trier’s hands now, as he’s agreed to a relatively shorter, four-hour version of Nymphomaniac to unspool in Norway—where it will be divided into two, two-hour features—followed by the rest of the world, signing off on the truncated version unseen and “against [his] own will.” Indeed, it seems that, for once, it’s Lars von Trier who’s being forced to do something he’s uncomfortable with for the good of a Lars von Trier movie.
Nevertheless, Von Trier’s producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen says the director finally accepted that Nymphomaniac was just too long for investors to swallow—only, not in so many words, because clearly Jensen has hang-ups about sex that five-and-a-half hours of watching celebrities do it might cure. Instead he said, “Five and a half hours is so extreme that it reduces market value so radically that investors would have felt they had bought a pig in a poke,” when instead they were buying Shia LaBeouf in a poke.
And while it was initially believed that poking would happen in both hardcore and softcore versions, now there will just be one “hardcore” version released, leaving it up to each nation’s distributors to “blur whichever elements they find unacceptable.” So, it’s possible Americans won’t even know Shia LaBeouf is in this at all.