SINCE JUNE 2004 -
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?"
film page for THE PAINTED BIRD has
been posted along with several new production photos, some featuring
co-stars Harvey Keitel and Julian Sands. The black & white WW II drama
will be released next year. Here's a photo of Stellan taken last year in
the Czech Republic outside the Lowenstein Hotel where he stayed.
Bill has just been cast in "Villains", a darkly comedic
thriller, written and to be directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. The
film follows a pair of amateur criminals who, after breaking into a
suburban home, stumble upon a dark secret and two sadistic homeowners
who will do anything to keep it from getting out. The cast also includes
Maika Monroe. No release date has been announced.
and Emily Watson have been cast in HBO’s miniseries CHERNOBYL, a
co-production between HBO and Sky to be directed by Johan Renck. Written
by Craig Mazin, the five-part miniseries dramatizes the true story of
one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history — the April 26, 1986
explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in then-Ukrainian Soviet
Socialist Republic — and tells of the brave men and women who sacrificed
to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.
Skarsgård will play Boris Shcherbina, the Deputy Chairman of the Council
of Ministers and head of the Bureau for Fuel and Energy of the USSR. A
relatively minor figure in the Kremlin, he is assigned to lead the
government commission on Chernobyl in the early hours following the
accident, when the government was still unaware the reactor had
exploded. As the ranking official in charge of the effort to confront an
unprecedented disaster, Shcherbina finds himself trapped between the
realities of the political system he serves… and the brutal human costs
of battling an escalating nuclear nightmare.
Watson will portray Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed
to solving the scientific mystery of what led to the disaster at
Chernobyl, so that it can be prevented from ever happening again. Her
efforts put her on a collision course with those who have buried a
terrible secret, and she must risk her freedom… and her life… to see
that the truth is told, and justice is done.
Jared Harris plays Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the
Kremlin to investigate the accident.
The series will reunite Stellan
and Emma who starred together in "Breaking the Waves". Stellan told the
press, "Nobody would see it as a privilege to spend five months in a
dilapidated nuclear plant, unless it was to play in a script like this
by Craig Mazin, work with a director like Johan Renck, collaborate with
a producer like Jane Featherstone, jam with an actor like Jared Harris
and finally be at the feet of Emily Watson whom I have been missing for
some twenty years."
Emma said, "This is a significant piece of work and I’m honored to be
part of it. I can’t wait to get started with this amazing group of
people, and am especially excited to be working with Stellan again."
Filming will begin in Lithuania
this spring. It will air on HBO in the US, on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in
the UK and Ireland, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany and Austria.
Berlinale interview just
appeared online with Stellan discussing several subjects - the
importance of taking children to the cinema, the positive messages
in "Gordon & Paddy", why he never looks back across his illustrious
career and why he doesn't like America. Of course, he continues to show
how naive he is when he rejects the idea of good guys and bad guys. I'm
not talking about the fictional bad guys in Hollywood movies. The real
bad guys live among us and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to
recognize evil. But Stellan is an actor so we'll give him some slack.
There's a second interview from
Filmink in Australia where "Return to Montauk" is playing. We, in
the States, are still awaiting its arrival either at the cinema or on
DVD. Stellan says he often gets the question - "Are there any films you
made that you regret?" He responds, "I made quite a few really, really
bad films, but I do not regret them, because…I’m the sum of all the
mistakes I’ve made, as well as I’m the sum of all the good decisions
I’ve made. Looking over his filmography for bad films, I would certainly
point to Waz, Dogville, Time Code, Passion of
Mind, Deep Blue Sea, Frankie and Alice and Boogie
Woogie. At the top of the list for best films, I would select
Oxen, Zero Kelvin, Kongen av Bastøy, Breaking the Waves,
Aberdeen, God afton, Herr Wallenberg and Den Enfaldige
mördaren. As a rule, I much prefer Stellan in foreign films and
rarely in American films except for Ronin.
was back at the Berlinale, the 68th edition, as the voice of a
frog in the children’s animation film GORDON & PADDY, screening
in the Generation Section. In
this podcast, Stellan
describes how different and more natural it is to go back to acting in
his mother-tongue. Giving his voice to Gordon the detective frog gave
him the opportunity of working with two women he had successfully and
happily worked with before: director Linda Hamback and actress Melinda
Kinnaman. Stellan also talks about how it was to go back to the "Mamma
Mia!" set after 10 years and the fun they all had in continuing this
film’s journey. He ends with comments on the #Metoo movement, its
positive effects and its negative sides.
have acquired sales rights to OUT STEALING HORSES
from writer/director Hans Petter Moland with Stellan
in the lead role. Bjørn Floberg
and Anders Baasmo have also been cast.
Based on Per Petterson’s novel of the same name,
the film has Stellan
playing 67-year-old Trond, who must recall
difficult experiences affter meeting a face from the past. Petterson’s
book was named one of the New York Times’ Five
Best Fiction Books" in 2007.
Shooting begins on February 19th, with the final shooting phase
in June or July.
along with actress Alicia Vikander, joined Swedish and English royalty on
Tuesday evening at a black-tie dinner at the home of the British
Ambassador. This marked the first day of a four-day tour of Sweden and
Norway by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Joined by Swedish
politicians, businessmen and a television host, the guests dined on a
starter of Scottish smoked salmon with quail egg, horseradish cream on a
bed of salad, followed by guinea fowl with stir-fried vegetables and
mashed potatoes. For dessert, they enjoyed blackberry soufflé with
chocolate ganache, before a selection of British cheeses.
At the table, the Duchess was
placed between the ambassador, David Cairns, and Stellan while the Duke
was entertained by Alicia and the ambassador's wife, Sharon Cairns.
* * * * *
Skarsgård family was well
represented at the Sundance Film Festival last week with both
Bill and Valter in attendance for their respective premieres. Bill
was in the cast of "Assassination Nation" and Valter for
"Lords of Chaos".
photos from Monday night:
also came across a couple photos taken on October 15, 2017 at the BFI
London Film Festival. Stellan and wife Megan attended the after
party for the UK premiere & Closing Night Gala for "Three Billboards
Outside Ebbing, Missouri". They're shown talking with the film's
director Martin McDonagh.
an interview this week, Stellan addressed the Hollywood sex scandals
saying he had never witnessed these assaults. He said, "To me, it
was a shock when I read all these stories. I have not seen any of
this happen. This must lead to change." Stellan has made a couple of
films with Harvey Weinstein. He told the press, "The rumors I heard
were mostly about how cruel he was against directors and how many
directors he had destroyed. I had no idea of this sexual stuff."
TAKES HOME A GULDBAGGE!
night Stellan attended the Guldbagge Awards after being nominated for
Best Supporting Actor for his role as Lennart "Labbe" Bergelin in BORG/MCENROE.
Stellan was apparently astonished claiming, "I did not think I would
win. I had such tough competition." He has previously won the Swedish
award for Best Actor for Täcknamn Coq Rouge (1989) and Den
enfaldige mördaren (1982). He told the press, "It's the first
Swedish film I've done in 20 years, so it's been fun to be back and work
with Swedish actors and to speak my own language." He also shared that
he is totally uninterested in the subject matter of the film - "I'm not
interested in sports, not even interested in sports movies, but this
movie goes beyond all that. It's about people in a very nice way."
Yup, he won the SAG Award for
"Big Little Lies"!! Congratulations, Alex!
* * * * *
William and Kate will meet two of Sweden's biggest Hollywood stars
during their forthcoming visit to the country. The royal couple will
touch down in Stockholm on January 30th and spend two days there before
moving on to Norway on February 1st as part of a four-day official tour
of Scandinavia. On Tuesday evening the royals will attend a black tie
dinner alongside PM Stefan Löfven at the Residence of the British
Ambassador in the Swedish capital. Attending the event will be Stellan
and Alicia Vikander.
2018 Sundance Film Festival has announced its lineup of feature films
and LORDS OF CHAOS is an official selection for the Midnight
program. I'm reporting this because 22-year-old Valter Skarsgård
is among the cast, which also includes Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack
Kilmer and Sky Ferreira. The film, directed by Swedish director Jonas
Åkerlund, tells the story of Mayhem,
a Norwegian black metal band involved in a spate of highly publicized
church burnings whose infighting eventually leads to a murder. It is
based on the novel by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind. The
festival will run from January 18-28 in Park City, Utah.
summer Stellan was filming THE PAINTED BIRD, directed by Vaclav
Marhoul. Here is the first poster as well as several portraits of
Stellan on location. The latest news is that the film will not be
released until 2019. Although the novel by Jerzy Kosiński. has been
perceived as highly controversial since its publication in 1965, it has
won global recognition and several prestigious literary awards. It is a
deeply dramatic story examining the immediate relationship between
terror and cruelty on one side and innocence and love on the other. It
also stars Julian Sands and Harvey Keitel as a Catholic priest! Holy
In an interview in September with
the Czech Republic media, Stellan spoke about this film project - "It's
a great book that excited me years ago when I read it for the first
time. I met Vaclav Marhoul, the director of the adaptation, years ago.
His sister was married to one of my friends. I didn't hear from him for
a long time and he turned to me with this bizarre project a few years
ago. My role cannot really be called a role. I only have two filming
days, but I wanted to do this film. In addition, I love filming in
Prague. I spent a lot of time here during the shooting of Borg/McEnroe.
I very much appreciate the Czech film traditions and professionalism in
which local people approach their craft."
He also explained how moviemaking
has changed over the years. - "When I started working for the studio in
the 1980s, the American market meant everything. Big money was made by
the film industry exclusively behind the ocean. The United States is so
xenophobic that there could only be a villain from a foreigner with an
accent. Nowadays, it is mainly about the global market, so actors from
all over the world are getting the chance."
Stellan continues, "From a
professional and artistic point of view, low cost films are usually more
interesting. You do not have expensive backdrops, special effects or
costumes, so you have to tighten the whole movie with your personality.
And that's just a challenge. In addition, the director's word is far
more weightful, which is not ideal for me, but usually good for the
final result... I hate listening to orders and instructions. I respect
the directors, but I will give my own take. So it sometimes gets a
little heated. On the other hand, I admit that the film is and must be
theirs. There are actors who are trying to take over the whole movie,
which is wrong. Every good film is primarily a reflection of his
director's personal vision - that's a rule... You do not have anything
like that on big productions. There, everything follows a clearly
defined equation of success. And you feel like a little kid playing in a
silly, colorful environment. It does not have much to do with acting."
"Medium-sized productions, around
which the best directors, screenwriters and actors have turned, no
longer exist... On the one hand, you have movies with budgets that are
well over a quarter of a billion dollars. They sell all the popcorn. On
the other hand, there are two million films for fans of art
cinematography. But in the middle of the past years it has been empty.
Medium-sized productions, usually directed by the best directors,
screenwriters and actors, no longer exist. They disappeared.
Fortunately, everyone has returned to television and enjoys the newly
found freedoms. Suddenly, they have a story that they had to tell in the
ninety minutes, ten, twenty, thirty hours. I experienced it myself
during the recording of River and I tell you it was a great
And he admits, "Every day I
struggle with fear. Once I sign the contract, I get nervous. I'm
terribly nervous. And do you know what's worse? It does not improve by
age or experience."
nice photo of Stellan's 22-year-old son Valter with his mom.
regard to the premiere of his animated film, GORDON & PADDY,
Stellan gave an interview declaring how he loves Swedish children's
culture. "To speak of national pride, I am very proud of Sweden and the
Nordic countries in the field of children's literature, which I love...
In many other countries, children are often treated as very valuable
belongings to be protected at all costs, adorned, but do not have their
Kinnaman, who does the voice of Paddy, says, "It's so wonderful that you
do not overcome the kids with effects and fast clips. Through this, the
children will be allowed to reflect and use their own imagination,"
Stellan agrees: "I like the low-key and thoughtful pace. Our children
are rushed today with animated productions that shout at them all the
time... They come out after watching a movie with a sort of 'sugar
rush'... To me, movies are just like literature and music. It is
important to keep the brain open to other angles and ways to look at
reality. The culture triggers empathy and helps us understand. It does
not make us automatically good people, but it is unmistakable: if we
stop being cultural goods, we stop being civilized. It is therefore
important that the children have access to it."
month has been a good one for eldest son Alexander as he picked
up both a Golden Globe and a Critics' Choice Award for his work on the
HBO series "Big Little Lies.". He has been nominated for a SAG for
"Lies" as well so this Sunday we'll see if he's honored once more.
Remember he won an Emmy back in September. If you watched the Globes,
you'll know that Alex gave a shout-out to his 8-year-old half-brother
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