Lars Von Trier was forced to take his hunt for black actors to Britain,
because hordes of African-American stars refused to play slaves.
MANDERLAY - Von Trier's tale of slavery in the cotton fields of southern
America in the 1930s - only attracted three US actors, who he discovered are
generally terrified of dredging up a past the superpower would rather
However, the Danish director was relieved the British attitude to the film
was far more open-minded - he managed to find nine of his 12 black slaves in
the film in the UK.
Von Trier says, "We tried several (Americans) who thought it was a good
thing that the films was being made and that it was interesting. But they
didn't take part in it because it's explosive stuff in the USA. It's a shame
for the coloured
(sic) actors if they're only allowed to play heroes. If they aren't allowed to
be human too.
"The English actors are completely relaxed about it, and they said 'yes
massa' to me every morning. They had a laugh."
And LETHAL WEAPON star DANNY GLOVER - one of three black Americans to
commit to the project - echoes Von Trier's frustrations, and has urged the US
to stop ignoring a period of its history.
He adds, "It would be extraordinary for (the American) film culture to
unravel (slavery) but it doesn't. People are afraid to deal with it."
Manderlay is in contention to win the coveted Palme D'Or at the CANNES
FILM FESTIVAL this weekend (21-22MAY05).