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John Hurt talks working with Lars Von Trier

30 September 2011

Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland). Meanwhile, the planet, Melancholia, is heading towards Earth… MELANCHOLIA is a psychological disaster movie from director Lars von Trier.

The Fan Carpet were lucky enough to attend the UK premiere of Melancholia and were extremely thrilled to have the chance to speak to John Hurt, who plays Justine’s dad Dexter in the film…


Do you feel like you’ve come into your own with your career?

To be perfectly honest, I’m not quite interested in what it is for me, I’m just happy doing what I’m  doing, I don’t spend a lot of time going ‘wow, I’m coming into my own now’ I’ve been very lucky, I’m very pleased that Lars saw fit to ask me to play Dexter, I’m very pleased I was asked to be in Tinker Tailor. I have no control over this, I never had control over this.


What gets you attracted to the role, is it the subject matter or director or both?

I only have one criteria when taking a project and that’s that it should stand the chance of succeeding on the level it is intended to succeed on. You take on a Lars Von Trier project and those boundaries are already accepted, you take on a Lars Von Trier film and that’s it.
Tinker Tailor I thought had every possibility of succeeding on the level it was intended, absolutely had it, right from the very beginning.



Did Lars Von Trier have to convince you much to be in the film?

No, if you’re asking to be convinced by Lars then you’d be barking up the wrong tree, if Lars asks you to be in a film with him you say yes, when, where.

What did you make of the moral outrage about his comment at Cannes?

Oh, that was hopelessly misunderstood, well it’s there, you can see it. He was asked a question and he had had a huge success the whole press conference with humour, and I think he just tried to make a humorous take on that. Sad thing is , that is a subject that is still totally and completely and utterly taboo and you can’t. Really what he should’ve done was said ‘unfair question, sorry, can’t answer that’ because he needed more time, it’s like being accused of being a sex offender, and saying it wasn’t me, but he dung a whole and couldn’t get out of it. The idea that Lars is a nazi sympathiser, you’ve got to be kidding me, what he said in fact was that he had some understanding, a little understanding, but it was an impossible situation and was unfortunately took the wrong way.


What would you say if a planet was coming our way to north London?

You know, I don’t think I’d have a lot to say about it.

John Hurt Photos | Melancholia Film Page