Ruben Östlund Says His Next "Air Rage" Film Stars Woody Harrelson & Is Called, 'The Entertainment System Is Down'

Swedish director Ruben Östlund‘s already won one Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival; in 2017 for “The Square.” And while he’s back in Cannes again this year with “Triangle Of Sadness” to try and win another, he already has his next film in mind, with Woody Harrelson set to star for him again.

READ MORE: ‘Triangle Of Sadness’ Review: Ruben Östland’s Falters In This Broad Class Satire [Cannes]

In an interview with Variety, Östlund gave details about the new project, including its title and premise. “The Entertainment System Is Down” will star Harrelson as the pilot of a long-haul flight whose crew realizes their entertainment system isn’t working shortly after takeoff. Stuck on the 15-hour flight without any screens or digital diversions, the passengers soon begin to unravel, leading to a mid-flight meltdown. Sounds like another provocative social satire from the Swedish filmmaker.

So, what’s ‘Entertainment System’ about beyond the digitally insulated lives of modern human beings? In a phrase, air rage, and how the systemic inequality of society frustrates and provokes that rage. Östlund explained as such, saying “Yes, air rage is a term that is used when a passenger becomes so violent that they have to proceed with an emergency landing of a flight. I read a study about it and they found out that when economy passengers are boarding through business class or first class, the risk of average is increased by four times.” Östlund continued, “it’s [a] super interesting fact because it says so much about something that is true, that inequality is provoking us, inequality is making us frustrated. And if we see if you are confronted with inequality, I think also there’s a risk in our society that it will provoke rages.”  

Violent class conflict on commuter transportation: is this Ruben Östlund’s “Snowpiercer?” Unfortunately, we won’t have an answer to that question for a while, as Östland plans to write the project’s script and shop it around after Cannes. Harrelson will be back, though, as will much of the same team that worked on “Triangle Of Sadness,” including producer and Platform Produktion co-founder Erik Hemmendorff.  

In the meantime, “Triangle Of Sadness” had its world premiere at Cannes on May 21 and received an eight-minute standing ovation (read our review of it here). The satire follows a pair of models on a luxury cruise whose voyage soon turns catastrophic. Harrelson plays the ship’s alcoholic, Marxist captain. The film also stars Harry Dickinson, Charlbi Dean Kriek, and Dolly DeLeon.  

We won’t find out if Östlund’s latest will win him another Palme d’Or until this weekend. However, now fans know that “The Entertainment System Is Down” comes next for the director, and it’s very much in style with Östlund’s usual concerns; a winning strategy for him so far.