The Playlist brings translated news from the filmmaker and his cast about Melancholia's characters and minor plot details. "It's about two sisters and a planet," Von Trier said at a press conference in Sweden, wishing to say as little as possible. Dunst is playing one of those siblings. Gainsbourg is the other. The planet is the film's title and it's coming closer and closer to Earth as the sisters are drifting apart. Early in the film Dunst marries the younger Skarsgard (while his real-life father, Stellan, plays his best man) but something happens to upset their marriage. John Hurt is also in the film as Dunst's dad.
All we learn about Sutherland's role is what the actor added at the press conference: "My character represents what is right, while Kirsten Dunst represents what is left. There is an important balance in the film." Both he and Dunst also talked about von Trier's rehearsal-free, improvisational style of the film, which they're unused to. Dunst noted that it's a challenge for her and mentioned something about there being "poetry in the way [Von Trier] tortures women..."
Von Trier additionally revealed that Melancholia won't look as good as Antichrist did, and that ugliness is by choice rather than the fault of cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro (Videocracy), who has apparently replaced Antichrist DP Anthony Dod Mantle. The film is expected to unveil in May or June of next year. I can't wait to see how it turns out.