"If you think of me being cast as Goya, it's a pretty silly casting,
isn't it? This chubby little Spaniard and this high 6-foot-3 Swede.
I started out working with a little extra belly on me to make me a
little chubbier. But then the catering was so good, so I didn't have
to use it at all. I gained probably 10 kilos during that shoot. It
was fantastic Spanish catering. It's a lovely project. Milos Forman
is a great director who I've always admired. Jean-Claude Carrière
wrote the script, and he's a very intelligent scriptwriter. And I've
been able to work with two fantastic actors, Javier Bardem and
Natalie Portman. So it was a great shoot. It's not a biopic and it's
not about Goya. It's very much from Goya's perspective. It's a
fiction, a rather melodramatic fiction, but from Goya's perspective
during two periods in his life: right before the French invasion of
Spain and also 16 years after that."
"Skarsgard's honest face provides the perfect
canvas on which to draw his perplexity and bewilderment at the
ensuing confusion surrounding him." ...Natasha Hegde,
"Skarsgård overcomes his unusual
casting and delivers a sensitive and charismatic performance that
holds the film together." ...Matthew Turner
"Bardem is probably the biggest star in Spain, and to persuade him
to play a fictional priest and let Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård
play Goya no doubt took some doing - including the pretense that
Lorenzo is the star of the film. Whatever it took, it was worth it,
because both actors are brilliant, and with the fiery Bardem as
Goya, it would have been a different picture." ...Mike
LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
has a refreshing mischievousness about him, which one imagines Goya
possessing." ...Steffen Silvis, The Prague Post
"You never even believe that Stellan Skarsgård
as the incendiary artist Francisco de Goya, is Spanish. You go with
it, though, because Skarsgård
brings a cynical twinkle to the role of a subversive who is also a
worldly, connected man." ...Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment
makes Goya into a man with a wonderful smile, an affable manner, and
the confidence of an artist who stands outside the rules." ...Roger
"Skarsgård has always been an
acquired taste, the sort of actor about whom people will comment, 'Well,
he’s European…' But he’s really in his element here, and the film is
strongest when Skarsgård is at
work." ...Colin Boyd, Bigpictureradio.com
is a gifted actor who typically has no trouble mining darkness, he
plays Goya as a genial, wide-eyed innocent - a confusing choice that
is strikingly at odds with the artist's work." ...Elizabeth
Weitzman, NY Daily News
"Goya, as Skarsgård so convincingly depicts him
here, does a whole lot better than Leni Riefenstahl in evincing his
artist's neutrality and cluelessness amidst so much evil and social
injustice." ...Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International
"Skarsgård plays a fine Goya, although the role
feels oddly underwritten in order to enforce his outsider ranking."
...Eric Kohn, NY Press
"The actors mostly flail as they inhabit
underwritten characters, Skarsgård
being one exception even though his Goya has so little to do."
...Pam Grady, Reel.com
"Skarsgård's role is
underwritten, but the canny Swede who's gained an international
reputation invests it with such a wealth of detail that he's a joy
to watch. Unfortunately, it only serves to remind us of the flaws in
the structure. We keep wanting to see him play a more active role
than the predictable 'artist as recorder.'" ...BBC
Saul Zaentz's web site for a comprehensive history of the film's
production from how the idea was conceived to casting to film locations.
4/06: Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe - "The film will be
ready at the end of July and, almost certainly, will be released this
year. From what I've heard there are very good impressions and the
people who have seen the first cut are very enthusiastic. For me, this
movie has been very special because of the opportunity to work with
Milos Forman and because, in spite of being an American production, it
has been tremendously human in its production. It will be unforgettable.
Plus, now that I am in Prague, I'm remembering Amadeus and I have
Forman's cinema very present in my mind. What I'm really hoping is that
Goya's Ghosts turns out to be a wonderful film."
Colpisa - 10/13/05:
Javier Bardem interview in which he refers to the script by
Jean Claude Carriere and Milos Forman as very solid, attractive and
intelligent. He says the film has humor, historical background and
depicts an accurate portrait of Spanish society at that time. He goes on
to say he has thoroughly researched the role but in the end, "my work is
more creative than illustrative. I am an actor and I use my
Filming begins with
locations in Madrid, Salamanca, Toledo and Cuenca province in
Spain 1792 - the Catholic Church is at the height of
its powers. The revolution has sent neighbouring France into turmoil and
the Spanish church decides to restore order by bringing back the dreaded
Inquisition. Spearheading this movement is the enigmatic and cunning
priest Lorenzo, a man who seeks power above all.
Lorenzo's friend is Francisco Goya, Spain's most
famous artist and portraitist to kings and queens. When his beautiful
model Ines is unjustly imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition, their
friendship is put to a test as Goya begs Lorenzo to spare the poor
With the torture-ravaged Ines' life in
his hands, he rapes her and leaves her to rot in hidden dungeons.
Almost two decades later, just before the French armies invade Spain,
Goya is a different man. Having lost his hearing entirely, he has become
a dark, disturbed man, almost a ghost of himself. But it is not that he
has entered his most famous creative period.
Lorenzo, having been banished by the Spanish church,
fled to France, only to return in a new guise as chief prosecutor for
Napoleon's regime. Now he can take revenge on the very men that threw
him out of Spain - he relishes the opportunity to persecute his old
allies of the Spanish Inquisition.
When the French abolish the Inquisition, all its prisoners are set free.
Ines, the once beautiful figure of Goya's paintings and
dreams, emerges from prison not only having
lost her youth but also to find her once powerful family slaughtered in
their own home.
The only person she has left in this world is the mad, old Goya. He
becomes her protector and she reveals that she gave birth to a girl
during her imprisonment.
When Goya discovers Alicia, Ines' daughter, working as a prostitute, he
confronts Lorenzo who finally admits having raped Ines and being the
father of her child. But mother and daughter are still far from being
The power map of Europe continues its seismic changes as Spain is once
again thrown into chaos when Wellington's powerful army invades to
restore Spanish rule. Lorenzo finds himself in
desperate need of a new ally of faces a gruesome death sentence.
It is mayhem on the streets of Madrid and Goya continues his desperate
struggle to reunite mother and daughter. Lorenzo will stop at nothing to
save himself and keep secret the child that haunts him...