Lars von Trier Will Get Inside the Mind of Matt Dillon’s Serial Killer in ‘The House That Jack Built’
Lars von Trier has made a career out of exploring the darkest elements of the human psyche. From the internal chaos of depression, the self-loathing of grief and guilt, and the aching desires of sexual dependency, the Danish filmmaker never hesitates to dive into some of the most disturbing and agonizing crevices of the human condition in an attempt to understand them. It makes sense then that von Trier’s next project will look inside the disturbed mind of a serial killer.
After a three-year gap following his Nymphomaniac two-parter, and a whole lot of controversy in between, von Trier’s next film will follow the serial killer in The House that Jack Built, due out in 2018. Deadline revealed Matt Dillon will lead the film as the titular murderer, but what caught my eye about the report was the description of the film. Any movie about a serial killer is enough to pique my interest (hey Scorsese, I’m still waiting on your Leonardo DiCaprio-H.H. Holmes movie). But von Trier’s film seems most interested on gaining the serial killer’s perspective, and will show Jack’s P.O.V. as he plans his “artwork” of murders across 12 years.
That description immediately made me think of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, a series that was fantastic for how it put us into the mind of a killer, especially for exploring the perspective of the maniac-killer-as-artist. And similar to von Trier’s style, that show used stunning visuals to make gruesome violence look incredibly beautiful. As grisly as the Danish director can be (you know the Antichrist scene I’m talking about), he still manages to paint them with an elegance, finding both tragedy and beauty in the most disturbing imagery. If any filmmaker’s going to portray murders as pieces of an artwork, I trust von Trier to do it.
Making this project even more exciting, Bruno Ganz will co-star alongside Dillon as a character named Verge who has a conversation with Jack about his murder philosophy. There will also be four female roles that have yet to be cast. The film was originally planned to be von Trier’s first foray into television as an eight-part TV series, which would’ve been interesting to see now that we’ve hit peak true-crime series. Regardless, I’m in for another psychologically damaging von Trier movie.
Update: This post incorrectly stated Dillon was playing Jack the Ripper and has since been corrected.