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Lars von Trier is certainly no stranger to controversial film subjects (uh, Antichrist, anyone?), but even he recognizes that his next project, Nymphomaniac — which will show the sexual evolution of a woman from birth to age 50 — might be a tough sell. The 55-year-old filmmaker confirmed that the potentially explicit material (which he is currently writing and hoping to shoot next summer) might need to have two versions — a hardcore cut and a more mainstream-friendly one. “It depends a little bit on how it’s financed,” he says. “As a cultural radical I can’t make a film about the sexual evolution of a woman from zero to 50 without showing penetration. I know it’s something very European,” he laughs. However, “that doesn’t mean it will be a porn film, “he says. “It principally it is a film with a lot of sex in it and also a lot of philosophy.”

The Danish director is currently promoting the moody and beautiful Melancholia, which first premiered at Cannes (EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum called it a “moving masterpiece,” noting that it’s, “a movie acutely attuned to feelings of despair that nevertheless leaves the viewer in a state of ecstasy.”). Kirsten Dunst took home the prize for best actress, but the film’s accolades were overshadowed by the press conference where von Trier’s Nazi comments had him declared “persona non grata” by the festival.

“I find it very difficult to be a politician or a diplomat,” von Trier says, who issued an immediate apology, and who compares himself to the character Clumsy Hans by Hans Christian Andersen (“a very Danish character”). “In my real life I always say far too much and have to say I’m sorry to people. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s not and this was not funny.”

Another unfunny subject are reports that Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who killed 77 people on July 22, listed von Trier’s 2003 film Dogville as one of his favorites. “That was quite scary,” he says. “It’s very easy to see the parallel of what happened on that island and the last scene of Dogville. No film is worth 77 lives.”

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  • Lars von Trier