SINCE JUNE 2004 -
has come to my attention that Stellan's wife Megan wrote a children's
book called "Utslängd från Zoo", which was published last year
and there may be another one in the future. The book was originally
written in English so the Swedish translation was done by Lotta Olsson
with illustrations by Maria Nilsson Thore. You can watch a youtube
at this link.
In an interview with Qanda
magazine last fall, Megan explained the background of the story - "I
have a big family home in the states and my niece Emma came over to stay
here with us in Sweden a few years ago. She was in her twenties then and
my thought was that she would come out and experience all that Europe
had to offer. I even dressed her in my leopard shirts and sent her to
parties with friends of my stepchildren. She was very patient with me
but that was not her thing. After she returned to the states, I started
to reflect a little, that maybe everyone doesn't have the same idea as
to how to live life. I wrote the book as a tribute to Emma and to admit
the absurdity of my behavior."
It certainly doesn't sound like a
theme that children would readily pick up on. When my six children were
young, I entertained them with the humorous books by
Swedish author Barbro Lindgren with darling illustrations by Eva
Eriksson. "The Wild Baby Goes to Sea" was one of our favorites. These
stories have also continued to delight my 18 grandchildren through the
* * * * *
In a recent interview, I found the
following comments from Stellan very interesting. In the late 1980s, he traveled to Budapest to
record Kjell Grede's film "Good evening Mr. Wallenberg", which was about
Raul Wallenberg and his work to save Jews from the Nazis. The film
became a turning point for Stellan.
He says, "People came to me, cried
openly and they just wanted to hug me. Not because they thought I was
Wallenberg, but for all that I symbolized. After that movie, I stopped
working for a while. I thought nothing was worth anything."
He read script after script with
the same reaction - why should I do this? He did not work for almost a
year, borrowed money to manage and found out that he was comfortable
with being at home with the family.
Stellan explains, "Eventually, I
felt that I might be able to work for fun instead - and then I became
less pretentious in my choices and started doing lighter material as
well. You do not have to do an immortal masterpiece every time, but
instead you can do a silly comedy and then a remarkable independent
movie that's totally innovative."
have been on holiday this month so I have some catching up to do since
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN had two premieres. The first one was in Stockholm on
July 11. Cast members, including Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried and
Stellan, joined Abba's Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson at the Grand
Hotel to reveal details about the follow-up film, which serves as both a
sequel and a prequel to the 2008 original. The new edition includes
younger versions of the key characters in the flashback scenes. Stellan
related that he met Josh Dylan, who plays a younger version of his
character Bill. "We met and he said, 'Is there anything I should do to
play you?' I said, 'Just have fun.' He sings better than me, he looks
better than me, he’s an improvement," joked Stellan, who added that he
was "not a natural dancer."
These photos are from the Stockholm premiere. The
last one shows that Stellan's children Valter and Eija also attended the
The following are photos from the
London premiere at the Hammersmith Apollo theater on July 16. For more
photos from both premieres, check out the
As suspected after various
trailers were released, Meryl Streep has just a cameo in the film as a
ghost since her character has died from unexplained causes. Obviously,
Meryl did not want to do the movie! The reviews have been favorable so
audiences seem to never tire of those ABBA songs. Stellan said he was
relieved to get to set and have significantly less dancing and singing
to do than he did in the first film. "On the first one, I remember
rehearsing for a month and a half dance steps for 'Voulez-Vous.' But
this time I just had a few pieces of 'Dancing Queen.' I worked hard on
those pieces." He also adds that his experiences recording with ABBA's
Benny Andersson likely reduced his singing responsibilities. "I looked
at him through the window and I could see the pain in his eyes. One week
later I got a new script and there wasn’t any song for me any more."
Priyanka Roy of India's edition of
The Telegraph recently spoke to Stellan over the phone for an interview.
Here are the more interesting excerpts:
"Honestly, I never look back at
what I’ve done. I just approach every project as if it’s my first and my
last. I don’t watch my own films very much. I really enjoy my work, but
I don’t see it as a "body" of work or anything that’s monumental by any
means. Though I have never been interested in a career, I have always
loved being an actor. When I work with other actors, I always look at
what they give me and what I can give them and what we can create
together. I am as happy as a child in a sandbox when that happens."
"The wonderful thing about working
with him [Lars Von Trier] is that he always makes films no one has seen
or attempted before. He doesn’t copy anyone… everything he does is
original. Whether you like his films or not, they all have a distinct
voice. Also, it’s the most relaxed set you can be on. He’s the
friendliest man and there’s no hierarchy on his set. Everybody is
allowed to say what they think. On his set, it’s like being with
siblings — good siblings — and you just enjoy the process. And I know
that I can always trust him with the final product."
"I went to India to do a film
("The Perfect Murder", 1987) with Naseeruddin Shah several years ago. I
come from a very secluded and unpopulated part of the world — Sweden —
and it was a shock to see the crowds in India. But I really loved it. I
met Madhur Jaffrey on that trip and she cooked some of her recipes. I
have those recipes and I cook them sometimes. India is not a country…
it’s a continent, and it’s fascinating."
In another interview, Stellan
looked back at the time when work brought him to India, and he saw a
world embracing diversity in its true sense.
"When I was working in Mumbai, it was in the 1980s... What I loved about
the city and India was that it was not very violent. You could walk in
the middle of the night and didn't have to fear of getting attacked or
robbed or anything. There were a multitude of different approaches of
religion and approaches of life and they were all tolerated."
He knows his political opinions
have created trouble for him in the past, but that doesn't deter him.
Recalling an incident, he said: "I always say what I have on my mind.
And it is not always appreciated. I did an American horror film and on
the premiere at the red carpet, somebody asked me 'What scares you?',
and it was at the time of George W. Bush. I said the reign of this
country scares me and that had repercussions... But you still have to
Personally, I would prefer Stellan
to keep his political opinions to himself. He embarrasses himself with
his naiveté. Voicing whatever is on
your mind is behavior that can lead to hostility and disharmony.
Here are some new recent photos:
the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's
birth around the corner, Stellan was asked how he sees the person who
for decades was Sweden's by far the most influential film maker. He
says, "I despised him as a person."
He continues, "I worked with
Bergman twice. The documentary, which premiered in Cannes, reflects very
much my view on him. It shows a fantastic creative man. But it also
shows a man who could be extremely brutal and behave in a way no one
should behave. Had it been today, I'm not sure that he would have been
able to get away with his behavior. However, I was very impressed with
him as a filmmaker."
With this interview was this photo
of Stellan with Aftonbladet's Magnus Sundholm.
DVD and Blu-ray release date for "Borg vs McEnroe"
is set for July 3, 2018. It became on Digital HD from Amazon Video and
iTunes on April 12. When asked about the two famous tennis players,
Stellan told the press, "They’re very much alike, actually. But they
handle their poor sportsmanship in different ways. Bjorn puts a lid on
it, partly thanks to his coach Lennart Bergelin, the part I’m playing.
McEnroe doesn’t. But Bjorn, when he was younger, behaved exactly the
same way as McEnroe did. It’s something. If winning is the most
important thing in your life, you become an anti-social person. In that
way, I think McEnroe and Borg are very much alike." You can watch a
video interview with Stellan at
this youtube link. The second photo below shows a make-up artist
working on Stellan for his role.
knows for sure if this is for real, but I came across a web site
that sells these sweatshirts with different celebrities
skateboarding. What next!
new indie film! Stellan will star in a Norwegian film called HOPE,
directed by Maria Sødahl. The film, which is based on a true story,
follows Anja, who comes home for Christmas after touring around the
world with her dance company. Her companion, Tomas, their three children
and other children from previous relationships are having a
pre-Christmas celebration. Anja suddenly finds out she has a
life-threatening brain metastasis. Her relationship with Tomas is put to
the test as both try to find medical miracles. Andrea Bræn Hovig will
play Anja while Stellan will play Tomas. TrustNordisk has picked up the
film for world sales. Filming is scheduled to begin in mid-January 2019
with a release date set for October 2019.
After so many years,
odds, Terry Gilliam ultimately succeeded in bringing
THE MAN WHO
KILLED DON QUIXOTE to the big screen. The film premiered at the
closing ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19th. Attending were
the director and cast members Jonathan Pryce, Jordi Molla, Rossy de
Palma, Adam Driver, Olga Kurylenko and Stellan. Typically the day
included a press conference, photo call and then the screening. Check
out the Cannes photo gallery.
Gilliam told the press, "I met
Stellan for the first time at the European Film Awards in Copenhagen. He
gave such a funny speech to Mads Mikkelsen that I immediately knew that
one day I would work with him." Stellan's comments included, "'Don
Quixote' is a fantastic book. I find it very human, understandable and
quite beautiful. I don't think it has aged that much. We constantly have
discussions about the importance of alternative realities and
alternative facts... The script was very Terry. Of course, I liked it. I
like Terry's universes. He makes films that don't look like anybody
else's. I would probably have taken the role even if I hadn't liked the
script, just because I wanted to work with Terry."
When Stellan returned from Cannes,
Aftonbladet asked him about how he landed this role and he replied, "I
do not remember if Terry rang or not. It was no remarkable role but I
have admired him ever since Monty Python. He is a f**king funny guy."
Aftonbladet also questioned about
an old friend in the movie business. At the time that 86-year-old Hans
Alfredson passed away last September, Stellan laid low but now he says
he can talk about Hasse commenting, "It's awful when funerals become
like red carpet funerals". How true! Stellan told the newspaper, "I met
him the last time on his 80th birthday. Even then he wanted to die. He
did not have fun anymore and he was one who had the need to have fun.
Hasse was very important to me. We made several movies together. And
wrote one together - 'Jim and
piraterna Blom'. And 'The
Simple-Minded Murderer' was the film that got me an agent and
started my international career."
Finally, Stellan recalled his
presence at Cannes through the years saying he'd gone "more than five
times, less than ten". He continued, "The first time was for 'Breaking
the Waves'. Emily Watson called up Lars von Trier so he could
hear the standing ovation on the phone as he had left before the gala
show ended. It's a nice memory."
IS MERYL? The final trailer has arrived for the "MAMMA MIA"
at this link. Scott Medelson of Forbes writes, "Meryl
Streep is still nowhere to be found in the 'present-tense' footage of
this new trailer. It’s a little ghoulish to consider that
Universal/Comcast Corp.’s marketing campaign is essentially using 'Is
Donna dead and how did she die?' as a kind of mystery to drive interest
in this musical sequel."
Evangelista of Slash Film writes, "Based on this trailer,
I’m assuming Meryl Streep’s character is dead, or possibly in the
witness protection program. Perhaps the actress was too busy to film a
full part... There’s
approximately .03 seconds of Ms. Streep, while the rest of the original
cast (and some new faces) dance their asses off. "
Finally, Yohana Desta of Vanity
Fair writes, "What’s going on with Meryl Streep’s character in 'Mamma
Mia! Here We Go Again?' This trailer focuses mostly on flashbacks to
Donna in her younger years as she first journeyed to the Greek isle of
Kalokairi... As the trailer flashes back and forth between the past and
present, we also get a look at certified daddy Andy Garcia, who’s
joining the sequel to play a character named Fernando. Though the
corresponding ABBA song “Fernando” is about two old friends reminiscing
about war and life on the battlefield, it seems like the film will remix
its meaning and turn it into a lovelorn ballad sung by Cher (who plays
Sophie’s domineering grandmother, Ruby). Fernando and Ruby also do a
sort of gentle two-step together as fireworks go off in the distance,
further evidence that something romantique is brewing between these two.
All in all, everyone is having the time of their life in this
trailer—except for Donna. Who’s definitely dead. Right?"
OTHER COYMOON CREATIONS:
The Vincent Perez
The Sam Shepard Web
Peter Coyote Official Web Site