The urban decay and otherworldiness of America’s once booming Detroit is currently inspiring/being exploited by a litany of filmmakers and being utilized in everything from advertisements to a slate of genre pictures in various states of completion. For instance, we’ve many of us just seen Jim Jarmusch’s fantastic ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, while this month’s Cannes will host the premiere of Ryan Gosling’s curious and highly anticipated LOST RIVER. Now, word comes that the great Lars von Trier will return to horror (following EPIDEMIC, THE KINGDOM and ANTICHRIST) with the developing DETROIT.
In order of fruition, find two new images from LOST RIVER, below, as well as Gosling’s Director’s Statement for Cannes, which finds the actor revealing directors Derek Cianfrance and Nicolas Winding Refn (BRONSON, ONLY GOD FORGIVES), as well as the city of Detroit as inspirations for the film. Described as something of a horror-fantasy-noir, LOST RIVER stars Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith and Barbara Steele. The film follows Billy (Hendricks), a single mother of two, swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while Bones, her eighteen-year-old son, discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town. Both Billy and Bones must dive deep into the mystery, if their family is to survive.
Both the Statement and images come from fansite Ryan Gosling Addicted:
This film was, in a lot ways, a gift from the directors I’ve been working with over the last few years. I’ve gone between acting in films completely based in reality with Derek Cianfrance to the fevered dreams of Nicolas Winding Refn. I think I’ve vacillated between these two extremes because my own sensibilities as a filmmaker lay somewhere in-between.
It’s not until I had the opportunity to work on The Ides of March that I was introduced to Detroit, a place that is currently living on the border of those two realities. Although I was only there for a few days I couldn’t help but be affected by the city. It was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. There were forty miles of abandoned neighborhoods and, within pockets of those neighborhoods, there were parents trying to raise their children on streets where houses were being burned and torn down around them. Detroit was the birthplace of the Model T, Motown and the middle class. It was, at one time, a postcard for the American Dream but now, for the families in these neighborhoods, the dream has become a nightmare. Having said that, there is still a lot of hope there. There is something very inspiring about the consciousness in Detroit. What it once was and will be again is still very much alive. I knew I had to make something there.
I kept returning over the following year, trying to document some of these neighborhoods before they were torn down or destroyed and I began to think of a story that took place not in Detroit, but in Lost River, an imagined city with an imagined past. As the elements of the story began to emerge; a family losing their home, a mysterious secret beneath the surface, I drew from the 80’s family fantasy films that I grew up with and filtered them through the sensibilities about film I’ve acquired since. With that, Lost River began to take shape for me in the form of a dark fairy tale with the city itself as the damsel in distress and the characters as broken pieces of a dream, trying to put themselves back together.
Meanwhile, Indiewire has translated an interview with filmmaker Kristian Levring, whose Mads Mikkelsen-starring western THE SALVATION is also premiering at Cannes this month. He told Soundvenue that his enthusiasm for a hypothetical “real horror movie” from Lars von Trier has resulted in von Trier writing it. “I’ve always thought that Lars would be able to do a fantastic horror movie. And I’ve told him so many times throughout the years, and in the end he said: ‘I want you to stop talking about it, so I’ll write it for you instead.'”
While still quite early yet, Levring explains, “It takes place in Detroit, and then there is the wordplay between Detroit and ‘destroyed.’ It’s about a man fighting his inner demons. That doesn’t tell that much, but that’s because we haven’t gotten any further so far. It’s real horror. Of course, there is a psychological aspect, but it’s a real horror movie. That’s what we’re aiming for, at least.”Read more »