On Thursday evening, Nicolas Winding Refn showed The Neon Demon, his submission for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and on Friday morning he sat alongside actress Elle Fanning at a press conference to talk about the film, including the controversial sex scenes in the morgue:
“I wanted to do it in a real morgue in Los Angeles… It was so we could get the genuine atmosphere we needed. Those in charge asked us to sign papers to say that we would leave the premises immediately if any new dead came in.”
A reporter from Aftenposten then asked: “In several interviews in the past have you referred to yourself as the Sex Pistols of film. Do you have some kind of national competition with your fellow countryman Lars von Trier to see who can persuade his actresses to do the most extreme things on camera?”
Refn replied: “Well, you’re from Norway, so…” A response which was greeted with laughter from the audience.
“Lars, Lars, he has done a lot of drugs, he’s over the hill. So did you get the answer you wanted?”
“What was your question again?”
“The last thing I saw Lars do was trying to tell my wife he wanted to have sex with her. I told him to get lost. So he found some other harlot.”
“Regarding the Sex Pistols references. We are engaged in search and destroy tactics. Look at all the reactions to the film that you all have written about since the view last night. This is punk rock! We don’t give a damn about the establishment.”
The Neon Demon is Refn’s third entry at Cannes, having won Best Director for Drive in 2011, and returned in 2013 with Only God Forgives.