Udo Kier talks about his seven new film and TV roles, including playing a wedding planner in Lars von Trier’s Cannes competitor Melancholia.
The indefatigable Udo Kier was in Istanbul last week, as a guest of the festival and promoting his role as Hungarian composer Bela Bartok in the Turkish film Unseen directed by Ali Ozgenturk. Kier had been on the international jury in Istanbul four years ago and spent the week here after a period of intense work that has seen him complete no fewer than seven new film and TV roles.
The veteran Kier, who has nearly 200 credits to his name, works all over the world all the time. He started the current run of seven roles in China working with Xiaolu Guo (She A Chinese) on the film of her novel UFO In Her Eyes, playing the mayor of a US city and the only English speaker in the film which was shot in Guilin near Beijing.
From there, he stepped onto the new Guy Maddin movie Keyhole in which he co-stars with Isabella Rossellini and Jason Patric. Kier and Maddin also worked on a new series of 100 silent shorts which will debut on the internet. “We have done about 10 or 15 so far,” Kier told me. “I play everything from a drunken sailor to the Tsar of Russia to Faust.”
After Canada, it was back to Sweden for the latest Lars Von Trier opus Melancholia, in which he plays the fastidious wedding planner at the wedding of the characters played by Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgaard. “I am hired by Kirsten’s sister played by Charlotte Gainsbourg to organise it and I am losing my mind as everything goes wrong at the wedding,” he said.
Moving on from Von Trier, he worked with Oliver Hirschbiegl among others on the new European miniseries of The Borgias – not to be confused with the Showtime/Neil Jordan version – in which he played Pope Innocent VIII, killed in 1492 by Rodrigo Borgia.
Bela Bartok in Unseen was next, then to Berlin for The Berlin Project directed by Ivo Trajkov and then the crowd-sourcing-financed ‘Nazis on the moon’ epic Iron Sky which is a German/Finnish/Australian co-production shot in Frankfurt and Brisbane. Kier is not surprisingly planning to take it easy for a month or two before making any more filming commitments.
While we were in Istanbul, the Cannes lineup was announced and he could confirm that he will be on the Croisette for the Melancholia screening.
Kier has worked with Von Trier since Epidemic in 1987 and has appeared in all his English language films except one – Antichrist, which was a two hander between Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
“When I saw it, I couldn’t believe that he didn’t cast me as the voice of the fox,” he said with a mischevious smile.