Stacy Martin Talks About Having Fake Sex with Shia LaBeouf in Lars von Trier’s New Film Nymphomaniac
Landing a role in the most infamous movie of the past decade—Lars von Trier’s four-hour epic, Nymphomaniac—isn’t a bad way to start your acting career. In her screen debut, 22-year-old British model Stacy Martin spends the majority of her time groaning, moaning, and doing weird things with a set square. Dark, depressing, and funny all at the same time, it follows the often brutal sexcapades of a woman (played by both Martin and Charlotte Gainsbourg) from birth to the age of 50.
I met Stacy in Soho, London, where we drank free coffee and spoke about sex addiction, porn doubles, and the awkwardness of shooting sex scenes with Shia LaBeouf.
The trailer for Nymphomaniac: Volume 1
VICE: What was your first reaction when you read the script for Nymphomaniac? Stacy Martin: I loved it! I read the script before I went to Copenhagen for a screen test, and I really fell in love with how dense it is and how there are so many different elements to the film—and the dark humor, which is very specific to Lars.
Shia LaBeouf said that, when he received the script, there was a note saying he had to send a picture of his dick to the production team. Did he?!
Yeah. I’m guessing it wasn’t the same kind of deal for you? No, I don’t have a penis[laughs], so I didn’t get that.
No weird requests? No, actually. I just got the script on its own in a little brown envelope—pretty standard.
How were your sex scenes worded in your contract? We had a nudity contract. Everything was set in stone before we did the film, so we all knew what we were doing. I was told that I would have a porn double—that I wouldn’t be doing anything sexual. We all agreed—and Lars agreed—that we would be using prosthetics and just stuff like that.
The blowjob scene in particular looks incredibly real. Yeah, it looks real. I mean, I’m convinced that it looks real—but no, it’s not real. It’s not a real penis… They made fake vaginas and fake penises and we used them for that.
Told in two volumes, Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac isn’t just a film, it’s an experience, and should be treated as such. When the first volume was finished, I decided to step away for a few hours before starting volume two. Mainly because I had some things I needed to do, but also to allow what I had been watching to firmly plant itself inside my head. Upon starting volume two, my brain was full of ideas. After finishing it, my brain was overloaded with them. The whip-smartness of this film and the ideas it produces are what people should be discussing, not how graphic its sexual content is.
Volume I: Sex isn’t used to titillate the audience, but to illustrate a point to them, which is that our male-dominated society always views women as sex objects instead of sexual beings who are capable of having their own desires. Von Trier puts the sexual appetites of young Joe, played to perfection by Stacy Martin, on full display and dares you not to look away. He wants you to feel uncomfortable. Then he wants you to ask yourself, “Would I feel as uncomfortable watching this if it were a man?”
Volume II: Von Trier no longer shows sex as an empowering thing, but takes us to the destructive force it can sometimes become. Our friendly neighborhood nymphomaniac’s urges have led her to a much darker place, a place where she’s lost all control. She must have her desires met and will do anything and everything to try and accomplish that. Charlotte Gainsbourg is fucking brilliant and fearless as fully grown Joe. There’s also a nice little reference to Antichrist in this part, which any fan of Von Trier’s will enjoy.
With this latest work, the mad Dane further cements himself as one of those directors people will either love or hate. I happen to be in total awe of Von Trier and fully appreciate his complicated and sometimes hard to watch films. He’s someone who knows how to both provoke and enlighten at the same time. I can’t wait to see where his superbly twisted brain goes next.
So my mom told me to record a song for her. She didn’t give specific instructions like what kind of song and she didn’t tell me not to fool around while singing, so there.. now’s my chance to do some impressions