In more news that cross-references dead animals and European filmmakers, Danish director Lars Von Trier announced yesterday that he'll cut all shots of a deceased donkey from his upcoming slavery drama, Manderlay. American actor John C. Reily quit the film early in its production, due to his concerns over Von Trier's execution of the animal for the purposes of the film. Now, complaints from animal rights activists are prompting the director to excise the donkey's role in its entirety from the finished picture.
Von Trier announced the move in a letter on his production company Zentropa's website. Addressed "Dear animal lovers," the letter states that "the donkey in the film was put down as compassionately as possible," and yet, the director chose to cut those scenes because whilst "having the dead donkey on screen would have been an important artistic statement … in my view the political and social content of the film is so imporant that it would be sad if it could be rejected or ignored merely by referring to the 'donkey problem'".
Manderlay is the second in a trilogy of films Von Trier plans to make, to be called USA - Land of Opportunity (question mark implied). The first in the series, last year's Dogville, starred Nicole Kidman, who will be replaced in Manderlay and the subsequent finale by Bryce Dallas Howard (yes, daughter of Ron). Manderlay will be released in most European territories this summer.