Björk Woke Up Really ‘Feeling Like She Killed a Man’ in ‘Dancer in the Dark’

Björk dug a little too deep into her performance for Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. She earned universal praise for her marvelous performance, but it certainly took a toll on her personal life. Björk woke up one day feeling like she actually killed a man while preparing for the role.

Björk played Selma in Lars von Trier’s ‘Dancer in the Dark’

Björk as Selma in 'Dancer in the Dark' wearing tan and green clothes looking up to the side
Björk as Selma | Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Dancer in the Dark follows Selma (Björk), who is a Czech immigrant and single mother working in a factory in rural America. She has a love and passion for singing, dancing, and classical Hollywood musicals. They bring her to a happier place, but behind that front is a very sad secret. Selma is progressively losing her eyesight and her son, Gene, will likely have the same issue as he grows up.

Selma decides to put away as much money as possible to pay for an expensive operation to allow him to avoid the same fate. A desperate neighbor accuses her of stealing his money, which causes her life to further fly off the rails. Björk won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her Dancer in the Dark performance.

The actor woke up thinking she really ‘killed a man’ while filming ‘Dancer in the Dark’

Björk talked about Dancer in the Dark in an interview via YouTube. She discussed the reason why she took the role in the first place and the importance of the character.

“It’s sort of the whole thing is for the love of Selma,” Björk said. “Which is funny because she doesn’t exist, but that’s kind of why. That’s why even why I finally accepted the role that Lars kept offering me. I’m a very stubborn person, so I would have said ‘no’ for another 10 years, easy. But, I kind of fell in love with her a little bit and felt like she needed defending.”

Additionally, Björk revealed the deep levels that she went to for the role of Selma. It impacted her so much that she believed she actually killed a man, similar to what she does in the movie.

“My cells just started changing one by one and I just became Selma,” Björk recalled. “I think I was her 24 hours and my friends would come and they wouldn’t recognize me being the most sort of idiosyncratic person they’ve ever met and suddenly I was moving different and doing little different things in my house, like little habits and stuff. That was something that took a long time, you know?”

Björk continued: “By the time I was acting, I wasn’t thinking about it at all. I was just Selma and I was just waking up and killing a man and feeling like I killed a man. To a certain degree, people could think as quite naive, but that was the only way I could do it.”

Björk asked Lars von Trier ‘where’s the love song?’

Dancer in the Dark has a variety of songs, which is where Björk felt more comfortable than she did with acting. She explained the song that lies at the core of the movie, but that also made her question why there isn’t a song about love in the movie.

“The heart of the whole film was ‘I’ve Seen It All,’ the train song,” Björk said. “When I asked Lars, ‘So, where’s the love song?’ He’s like, ‘There’s no love in this film.’ For a woman of that age, that must be her first standpoint, and the rest sort of falls in the place around there. The fact that she didn’t want love, she could have had it if she wanted it, but she didn’t want it. That has to be the core of her, as a woman.”

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