Stars of Sundance: Jack Kilmer

Stars of Sundance: Jack Kilmer

The 22-year-old star gets pushed to his limits in the Sundance black-metal biopic 'Lords of Chaos.'

The 22-year-old star gets pushed to his limits in the Sundance black-metal biopic 'Lords of Chaos.'

Photography: Sharif Hamza

Styling: Andrew Mukamal

Text: Devin Barrett

This interview appears in the pages of V113, The Music Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

“I am normally pretty thick-skinned, but let’s just say this movie pushed me to my limit,” says Jack Kilmer of his lurid role in Jonas Åkerlund’s dark, disturbing black-metal biopic Lords of Chaos. The film details the rise and fall of the band Mayhem, through its co-founder “Euronymous” (played by Rory Culkin). “It’s really all in the music,” says Kilmer of getting into character. “The music is so violent and abrasive that you can’t help but want to bang your head against a wall. I had a lot of fun, but was also taken to some dark places. Luckily, I had my amazing cast and crew support me through the more challenging days.”

His character, Dead, the band’s first singer, had an affinity for spraying the crowd with his own blood and killing cats; his dedication to the world of black metal is ultimately what led to his “early demise,” as illustrated in the film. “[Jonas] even made me a perfume and candle that smelled of “death” because [Dead] wanted to achieve the same thing. I had never played a real person before so I wanted to make sure that I did as much research as possible so I would not shame him.”

Preparation for the challenging role included speaking with Dead’s brother in Stockholm, who helped him “sculpt the character,” and lessons with black- metal band “Bornholm.” Part of his research, however, did come naturally: “I was attracted to black metal in my early teens because it’s so extreme. I was a rebellious teenager. On a deeper level, black metal has a spiritual, ethereal quality that I find really interesting. Imagine the music echoing through the forest in Norway. It is quite a visceral experience to listen to.” Despite its hyper-melancholic material, Kilmer hopes Lords of Chaos can help viewers be “creative rather than self-destructive. There’s a lot about this film that is morally ambiguous, but this movie has heart and should be looked at as a cautionary tale.”

JACK KILMER WEARS JACK AND PANTS PRADA, TOP GUESS

Credits: MAKEUP CIARA O’SHEA (LGA) HAIR RUBI JONES (JULIAN WATSON) PRODUCER ASHLEY HERSON LOCAL PRODUCER KATE HOLLAND DIGITAL TECHNICIAN CASEY RICHARDSON PHOTO ASSISTANTS TIM HOFFMAN, SHEN WILLIAMS-COHEN STYLIST ASSISTANT JERMAINE DALEY HAIR ASSISTANT MEGAN GORLEY PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS TOM O’MEARA, RIQUE CARROLL RETOUCHING HEMPSTEAD MAY LOCATION PARK CITY PEAKS HOTEL

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