After so many years, against all 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."


WHERE IS MERYL? The final trailer has arrived for the "MAMMA MIA" sequel 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."

Chris 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?"


The 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.      

Son 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.


Stellan 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.


A 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.


Stellan 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.


TrustNordisk 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.


Stellan, 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.


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The 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".


More photos from Monday night:


I 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.

In 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."



Last 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!

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Prince 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.


The 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.


Last 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 terrors!

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 experience."

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."

Here's a nice photo of Stellan's 22-year-old son Valter with his mom.


In 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 own lives."

Melinda 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."

This 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 Ossian.



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