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Exclusive: behind the scenes of The Neon Demon

‘I'd done a lot of movies about violent men. It was time to try something different’ – watch Nicolas Winding Refn and Elle Fanning on the set of the controversial fashion-world horror

King of cinematic ultraviolence Nicolas Winding Refn might not be the first director that comes to mind when you think of on-screen beauty. But, as he reveals in an exclusive film shot for Dazed on the set of his upcoming The Neon Demon last year, the current age’s obsession with youth and beauty offers a direct path to bloodletting extremes.

“A lot of it narrows down to something that I find very interesting, which is this: (a) the obsession with beauty, and (b) the value of it – the currency,” he says, discussing his starting-point for the film, which premiered at Cannes last month. “It wasn't really until I decided to cast Elle that it became clear what the film was going to be.”

In this behind-the-scenes film on set last year, Winding Refn and his model protagonist, Elle Fanning, discuss the making and inspirations behind the movie – which included tapping the experiences of Dazed cover star and Fanning's sinister co-star, Abbey Lee. You can see Lee’s Torbjørn Rødland-lensed spring/summer issue cover story in full here.

“I'd done a lot of movies about violent men. It was time to try something different”, describes Refn of what is, after all, his first female-centric film. Cannibalistic supermodels? Different to say the least.

The Neon Demon is out in UK cinemas July 8