Lars von Trier Is Drinking Again, Blames Pressures of Filmmaking

By May Wilkerson 04/23/15

Despite proclaiming that his drinking was "dangerous and stupid," the Nymphomaniac director decided he needs alcohol to work.

Lars von Trier

Nymphomaniac director Lars von Trier is drinking again, according to a recent interview in The Guardian this week. Von Trier claims that he needs alcohol to work and not make "shitty" films.

The director says he was sober for six months, during which time he attended AA meetings every day. “We supported each other to keep sober. These people kind of become your family,” he said.

But it didn’t last. “I used all my strength to get sober,” he says. “Now I start to drink a little again, so that I can work. When you shoot a film, it’s hard work, and you tend to drink more.”

Von Trier, 58, explains that alcohol helps him “overcome some anxiety” on set and “get to work in the morning.” As far as his creative process, he has used other drugs to get his juices flowing. “I’ve taken other drugs that helped me a lot. That was kind of the way I worked.”

He says his anxiety traces back to childhood and is linked to hyper-sensitivity. “I have this theory: scientists say that 80% of our mental work is to stop the senses,” he says. “So we have filters to block useless information. But if you are sensitive, then it means these filters are a bit broken. At least that’s what I see at AA. Sensitivity gives you anxiety.”

Back in December, a newly sober Von Trier stirred controversy by claiming, “There is no creative expression of artistic value that has ever been produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug-addicts. Who the hell would bother with a Rolling Stones without booze or with a Jimi Hendrix without heroin?” He said he feared he would make “shitty movies” since quitting booze.

But though he romanticized the role of substances in art, he admitted his own substance abuse was “dangerous and stupid in every way” and said “[I don’t] recommend anyone to do the same.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.