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Manderlay in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Manderlay

Bryce Dallas Howard • Danny Glover • Willem Dafoe
DIRECTOR: Lars Von Trier

Do times really change…? THE CONCEPT:
Alabama around 1933: Grace and her father stop their car in front of a large gated home called 'Manderlay'. A young black girl rushes out for help, and inside is a group of people living as if slavery had never been abolished.

U.S. RELEASE: February 3 2006, Limited • Rated: tba


You’re playing the same role as Nicole Kidman did in the first movie, did you watch her performance, or did you avoid it so that you could create this character yourself?

“I thought I would watch Dogville [the first of the trilogy of which this is the second] once so that I knew what it was, but I didn’t want it to affect anything. But after I watched it once, I was like, ‘I have to watch it again.’ I loved that film, and I have a tendency to watch films ten or fifteen times if I like them. I never had the opportunity to speak with Nicole about it, for no reason in particular, but Lars did make it clear that he wanted to create a completely different character. So there really wouldn’t have been any point.”

How hard was it to do the whole movie on a practically barren stage?

“I wasn’t nervous about it because I had trained in drama school for theatre, and I had done a production of Our Town. I was really excited about exploring that aesthetic. As far as playing it big or small, that was entirely up to Lars because the way he shoots, on DV, it will run an hour until it cuts. So he’ll ask you to do it a variety of different ways, and then he picks out the versions that he likes.”

You do an explicit nude scene in it, did that scare you?

“It seemed a bit dangerous. In my life, I don’t like to take any risks ever. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol, because God forbid something happens when I’m slightly drunk. I’m literally that controlling. I’m that fearful of consequence, and so in my work it’s something entirely different. Although in some ways, because of my own ridiculous inhibitions, it was challenging to do a scene like that.”

Has your father (Ron Howard) seen the picture and if so what did he think about that scene?

“He felt from the beginning that he was really excited about me working with Lars, because he’s such a bold film maker. He said, ‘In this business, you don’t know how long your career is going to last, and if you have an opportunity to work with a film maker like that, why would you ever turn that down for the sake of your inhibitions?’ I’m really grateful for that advice, and that he gave me the okay. When he saw it I know that it was difficult for him as a parent, but he knows that it was an important scene and he knows that it was an amazing scene.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Manderlay site
Images above © IFC Films
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #667, March 2006 cover

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