By Catherina Shoard / The Guardian



Exclusive: The Danish director´s The House That Jack Built ‘celebrates the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the Homo trumpus - the rat king´


Lars von Trier, the Danish auteur whose films have rarely shied from controversy, is to make a film inspired in part by new US president Donald Trump. The previously announced The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dillon in the title role as a “highly intelligent” man we follow over 12 years. The film “introduces the murders that define [his] development as a serial killer”. 


Speaking on 13 February, Von Trier explained the project´s origins further: “The House That Jack Built celebrates the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the Homo trumpus - the rat king.” 


Last week, Von Trier shared a photo to promote the film: of himself, in period costume, with scythe, tolling a bell. He described the picture as “an evocative image with a cinematic reference” - apparently to fellow Dane Carl Theodore Dreyer´s 1937 horror Vampyr.


The director has largely refrained from commenting on his films since he was declared “persona non grata” at the Cannes film festival after making a joke about Hitler at a press conference for the film Melancholia in 2011.


His next film, Nymphomaniac (2014), premiered in two halves at the Berlin film festival. A hardcore odyssey featuring real sex, it starred regular collaborator Charlotte Gainsbourg alongside the likes of Uma Thurman and Shia LaBeouf. LaBeouf´s co-star in American Honey, Riley Keough, will also feature in The House That Jack Built, alongside The Killing´s Sofie Gråbøl.


Von Trier has never been to the US, but many of his films are set there, including 2009´s Antichrist, in which Gainsbourg takes sharp implements to her and husband Willem Dafoe´s genitals and Dogville (2003), a Brechtian epic that sees visiting Nicole Kidman enslaved by local townsfolk. The end credits of that film involved stills of various atrocities committed pre-emancipation, to the sound of David Bowie´s Young Americans.

The House That Jack Built begins shooting in Sweden in March, before moving to Copenhagen in May. It will be released in 2018.