LOS ANGELES — Illumination Entertainment has tapped famed director Lars von Trier to direct their sequel to 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets.
Von Trier is an unexpected choice; he frequently focuses on themes of depression, existential despair and humanity’s predilection for darkness — themes that until now were not heavily explored by Illumination’s oeuvre. Additionally, the Palme D’Or winner has been accused of antisemitism, misogyny and celebrating cruelty.
In keeping with his stance on press conferences, von Trier did not respond to requests for an interview. In his stead, Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri happily expanded on his studio’s collaboration with the controversial Dane.
“Max, Snowball, Gidget and the gang will all be back,” he elaborated. “But this time they’ll enter a dreamlike, surrealsitc world. Here their domestic experiences will clash with their animal urges. They’ll be forced to confront their true selves, and grapple with their conflicting household roles of both friend and property.”
The world itself will be represented by an unadorned, unanimated soundstage. Outlines and notes on the floor will denote things like tables, chairs, doorways, street signs, and a symbolically prevalent weeping willow. Frequent von Trier collaborator Charlotte Gainsbourg has been cast as the film’s only human. Unlike the rest of the cast, she reportedly will not be animated.
Art Director Colin Stimpson expressed delight at this latest project and has begun animation well ahead of schedule. “I’ve never animated anything like this before,” he gushed. “So many things glisten, so many things spurt. Parents will be absolutely blown away by this film.” Stimpson promptly returned to polishing a clip of a fox intended for promotional use. In it, a fox is shown in close-up, giving the camera a minute long blank stare before uttering “chaos…reigns” in a transfixingly low voice.
Meledandri expressed confidence that this film will be a major boon for his company. “I see Pixar’s Coco, their Incredibles 2, their ART! I see and I raise! I raise and go ALL IN! YAAAAAH!” he hyped, mostly to himself. When asked if the film will follow the comedic tone of its predecessor, Meledandri was dismissive: “It will definitely be as funny as our other films.”