Publicity Stunt Or Not, Human Centipede III Can’t Lose Villain Dieter Laser Over A Lawsuit

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Dieter Laser The Human Centipede III lawsuit publicity stunt Dr. HeiterThe Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) is in trouble, and not because director Tom Six wants to make a 500-person ‘pede. Producer Ilona Six has issued a statement declaring that they will sue star Dieter Laser — he played the utterly twisted Dr. Heiter in the first film — for dropping out of the production. Ilona told Bloody Disgusting that while there would be a delay in shooting, the production would not fall apart. Here's her side of the conflict with Laser:

Because of the success of The Human Centipede, it seems that Mr. Dieter Laser's ego has grown to laughably big proportions. First signing the contract and rating the THC3 script as fantastic, and then demanding his own unacceptable script changes, and now refusing to play the part only seven weeks prior to shooting.

But then Laser came forward with a statement of his own, from German site Screen Read:

It’s very simple: I loved the story when it was told, got the contract and the promise to have the script in 4 to 6 weeks. When it arrived – half a year later and only after the official announcement – I didn’t like the realization at all, couldn’t identify with the character the way it was written and developed immediately and enthusiastically in a day and night marathon a version full of concrete and practical suggestions which would enable me to play the lead full throttle – same procedure as with Dr. Heiter – but this time it also would have had some unavoidable effects to the dramatic structure. That was too much for Tom and since he couldn’t live with my suggestions and I as a method actor couldn’t identify with his version, I told him that I couldn’t see any other way than that he would have to ‘change horses’. That’s it.

These reports all seemed to crop up in the space of an hour or two, which makes the situation seem more calculated than we initially suspected. IGN pointed out that it could be a publicity stunt to drum up more attention, especially considering that a real-life lawsuit would fit in with the “meta” plot of the third film. It's also bizarre that Ilona is issuing statements on Tom's behalf; not that she hasn't done this before, but the director is usually pretty open about the movies' updates via Twitter.

Before Laser explained his side of the story, I was ready to believe the publicity stunt angle. But his thoughtful and articulate response has me more on his side. It's hard to believe that he would risk all this for an ego boost; The Human Centipede is one of his few movies well-known in America, and the only role he's had since it came out in 2009 was a brief guest spot on a German TV show. It doesn't do him any good to get uppity. And look at him clowning around with a fan here! He takes this seriously.

The Human Centipede III lawsuit Dieter Laser Dr. Heiter Tom Six publicity stunt

Furthermore, his need to prepare for the character is spot-on. There's a lot more nuance to Dr. Heiter than most people would give him credit for. This is a man who revels in the creation of new lifeforms, much the way that Dr. Frankenstein did. As fucked-up as The Human Centipede was, the central plot was a man trying to replace a lost pet. And in that weird intersection of pain and sadism, you had a fascinating villain who was unable to level with his human victims and treated them like animals.

I wanted to find you guys a video that takes Dr. Heiter seriously, but instead I stumbled upon this remix of his vocals with an Aqua song. Ironically, it actually gives you a clearer sense of who he is than the official trailers: His horror-movie-throwback outfit, campy “obedience school” scenes with the centipede, and my favorite line of 2009, “Feed her!”