In a recent interview Stellan commented on several of his projects.

In re: Out Stealing Horses -

"I can’t understand how  he  [his character Trond] lives because I can’t stand being alone. That kind of personality has to do with the long distances and the dark winters that affect social behavior... Always in this film it was 30 minus (Celsius) and indoors it was 20 minus. It was also 30 minus in In Order of Disappearance. Hans Petter loves it. He is that kind of person. It’s not me. I have a winter coat that Canada Goose handed out. I’ve never bought any winter clothes, ever. I prefer no clothes. And I can do that all winter. I walk naked in my home and it’s nice and comfortable."

In re: In Order of Disappearance and American version Cold Pursuit, both directed by Hans Petter Moland -

"Our version did very well but I hope that every film Hans Petter does should enable him to do another one. That’s the problem: you have to bring in some money or you can’t make films any more. Out Stealing Horses was really hard to finance. If you send it to a banker they say, 'There is not a gun, not a chase, nothing.'"

[Watch a Berlinale interview with Stellan at this link.]

In re: Norwegian writer/director Maria Sødahl's film Håp (Hope) -

A couple of years ago at Christmas she (Maria) got lung cancer that got cured and then the next Christmas she got a brain tumor that was stemming from that. She’s written a film about a Christmas with six children when you’re told you’re going to die. So basically I’m playing Hans Petter in that film. But I’m not playing him—he’s so slow it would be too boring." Asked if it were funny, Stellan replied, "Sometimes. But with a death sentence, there are some limitations to the fun."

In re: Dune -

"It’s like The Avengers. It’s a delicious cast. I’ve just got the book and am going to read it now. I’m playing a small but important role. Most of all I wanted to work with Denis Villeneuve."

In re: The Painted Bird -

"It’s finished. It's based on the novel by Jerzy Kosinski and is about a young boy who meets different people on the road. Harvey Keitel is one and I’m another. Udo Kier is in it too. It’s one of the darkest books ever written and you want to shoot it in black and white and not in English. And you want to shoot it over two or three years. There’s no way you’re going to get a dime back. So that’s why it was important that it got made." Asked where it will premiere, Stellan answered, "Maybe in Cannes."

In re: Chernobyl -

"It's a five-hour HBO mini-series that comes out in May. I think it will be good. It’s very well written. It’s with Emily Watson who I haven’t worked with since Breaking the Waves. We don’t fuck in this one though! There’s no market for it any more. Jared Harris is playing the main role and he’s fantastic."

"I play the Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina who had the responsibility to take care of the 1986 Chernobyl accident and the clean up. Jared plays a Soviet scientist who Shcherbina brings in because he knows about nuclear reactors and Shcherbina doesn’t. What’s interesting about it is not the catastrophe itself but what makes or creates a catastrophe like that. It’s because it’s a system, an infallible system. The Soviet system was infallible, that was the ideology. It’s like any religion. It could be nationalism that goes too far. You think your nation is infallible–we’ve seen examples of that. What happens then is that you have to adjust reality to fit this image of infallibility. So there were flaws in those reactors that were hidden even from the people running them because it couldn’t be that they had bad reactors in the Soviet Union. Why don’t we immediately say we have a catastrophe and we need all the help we can get? No they said nothing happened; they said it’s all fine. Then of course that wasn’t correct."

A long-awaited film will screen in theaters one night only this April. Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year and will screen in select theates for one night only - April 10th. A complete list of participating theaters is available via Fathom Events, where tickets can be purchased as well. Besides Stellan, the film stars Jonathan Pryce, Adam Driver, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Molla. Driver stars as Toby, an advertising director working on a Don Quixote-based project who gets sucked into the delusions of a cobbler – played by Jonathan Pryce – who’s convinced he’s the real Don Quixote. In an attempt to make amends for an earlier project that altered the fortunes of a small Spanish village, Toby accepts his role as Sancho Panza and joins Don Quixote on his journey.

Gilliam has famously been working on his Don Quixote film for over two decades. The project began in the late Nineties – with Johnny Depp cast as Toby and Jean Rochefort as Quixote – but a variety of mishaps derailed the project, as chronicled in the 2002 documentary, Lost in La Mancha. Gilliam made numerous attempts to revive the project over the next decade until he finally began production again in spring 2017.

Here's a link to an 11-minute interview with Stellan and Olga Kurylenko discussing the film. Click here to view interview.

Nice to see Stellan's portrait in the Stockholm Metro.


OUT STEALING HORSES has won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for its cinematography at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Director/writer Hans Petter Moland is immensely grateful for the prestigious award, as he comments: "After a week of getting fantastic response from the audience, press and critics, to get an award in Berlin, in competition with the elite of international films, is the very top of it all."

Cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk expressed his excitement about the award in the following comment: "Getting recognition for the cinematography on this movie means a lot to me. Not only is it based on my favorite book of all times, but working with Hans Petter Moland on turning that book into cinema, was such a great experience."

In an interview during the festival, Stellan described his relationship with Moland - "I push him to be more creative and he pushes me to be better, I believe. With him I may risk more than working with other directors. We have been good friends since all of these great years since I played in his movie "Zero Kelvin" (1995). The first two Hans Peter's films in which I played were dark, arthouse films. That was followed by two comedies, so I'm glad that he returned to more serious filmmaking. I am also glad that he began to explore his more tragic side and his own attitude towards nature because he is very attached to the Norwegian wilderness."

Asked about the lack of humor in the film, Stellan responded, "There are some comic moments in the film, especially as far as my relationship with neighbor Lars is concerned, but no more than that. There were scenes that were much funnier, but Hans Petter cut them out, which was probably intended to maintain a certain tension and melancholy in the film."

Stellan was asked if he was at all like his character Trond and he replied, "No. Hans Petter is the one that is more an outward type of man. We are very different. I like the pulse of the city. Hans Petter is the type of man who finds the skis; he goes on a mountain for two days, kills the deer with his own hands, tears it with his teeth, then goes back home and puts food on the table. I do not do this. (Laughter.) For me, he is a real man."


I've added more photos taken at the Berlinale premiere of OUT STEALING HORSES that took place on Saturday.  According to producer Turid Overseen, the novel by Per Petterson is the most popular, international Norwegian book ever. Of course, adapting a book to the screen doesn't always work as we saw with another Norwegian bestseller - "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbø. Stellan told the press, "'Out Stealing Horses' is a fantastic book, but I thought they can't make a film out of this one. But then Hans Petter Moland got involved and I knew he was the right man for it. His relationship to Norwegian nature is unparalleled". Petterson's novel was published in 2003 and has been awarded several literary prizes in Norway and in Europe. A Norwegian production company bought the book's film rights in 2008, but the filming did not start for another decade.

The international reviews that followed the festival premiere are very positive. The following critique from Italy is what I believe to be an accurate account of its possible flaws - "Moland is not able to maintain a continuous drama tension throughout the long film life, often using visual shortcuts and taking advantage of temporal jumps to deceive the audience. But there are two aspects that, in some way, save Moland's film. The first is the interpretation of Skarsgård, which gives a certain senile melancholy to his character, being able to communicate more with the silences and the looks than with words. The second is the sequences where in the foreground there is the wild nature of the woods of the Scandinavian peninsula, the shooting of the cuts of the trees, the sound of the wind among the grass stems, the movement of nature, photographed in a hyper-realistic way, bordering sometimes a Malickian feeling of setting up the landscape that thus becomes a real character."

Have you noticed that Stellan most often wears black (or navy blue)? Over the past 15 years, it's been more difficult for me to identify undated photos. If you're reading this Stellan - more variety needed! (laughing)

Do you remember how Stellan played his overweight brother in the Mamma Mia sequel? Here are some photos showing him wearing a multi-piece silicone prosthetic. The makeup folks said, "He was a joy to work with - a beautiful man!"

Here are some new premiere photos taken last year. The first two show Stellan with Megan and their boys Ossian and Kolbjörn at the Halvdan Viking premiere in October. The last one was taken at the Gräns premiere in August.


Today OUT STEALING HORSES was featured at the Berlin International Film Festival and included a photocall, press conference and evening premiere. Representing the Norwegian film at the festival were director Hans Petter Moland, Stellan and his co-stars Bjorn Floberg, Tobias Santelmann, Danica Curcic and Jon Ranes plus novelist Per Petterson. During the press conference, Moland spoke about the challenge of adapting the book - "I loved the atmosphere and the tone of the book. I love the ability of certain works to highlight the deeper aspects of humanity, which in the book are treated in an engaging way. It is not easy to describe the plot in a nutshell, but reading the book was an incredible experience so I decided to turn it into a movie."

Stellan adds, "I had read the script years ago, but I knew the book that is fantastic. Many people tried to adapt it but Hans Petter succeeded where others had failed. He managed to relate to the story, which does not surprise me. Hans is a man of the wilderness. He drags me into snow at twenty degrees below zero and we have fun."

Exceptional work on the image and sound, both conveyed Norwegian nature on the big screen. Moland explains that he tried to paint the tactile consistency of the forest by working with light and shadow: "In the film there is very little sky, I wanted the mystery and intimacy of the forest...  We wanted the sound of the forest to be fundamental, we did not want music to anticipate the vision or convey the feelings."

I often find soundtracks can be too overwhelming and can sometimes be detrimental to the storyline. These days they're even infusing this overly dramatic music during true crime shows on television. It gets ridiculous. I love natural sound in film, especially the sound of the ocean or birdsong or crickets.

Moland  has repeatedly demonstrated that he loves being surrounded by trusted collaborators. "Calling Stellan all the time is a limit to my originality" the Scandinavian filmmaker jokes. "Every director who feels good with a cast dreams of working together again, exploring new characters. This is an uncertain craft, looking for the company of the people you trust, with whom you know you can work well together. I feel privileged to have this connection with Stellan. Having people around you that make you feel courageous is the greatest gift for a director." Regarding the preparation of the role, Stellan adds ironically: "Three months before I started to have a bad neck, then moved to the stomach, a month before I was cold and cold, all as usual".

As to why Stellan makes the perfect Trond in his film, Moland replies, "He carries a soulfulness that he doesn’t flaunt. He can play a reserved character and remain very interesting. That’s his gift as a human being and as an actor. He doesn’t rely on dialogue. Then, when we work, we enjoy making ourselves as brave as we can to make the movie as good as possible. He’s a generous and fine human being, wonderful with his colleagues and crew. It makes the working part easier. Stellan hasn’t much in common with his character Trond, as he’s a city slicker and the only time he gets close to nature is perhaps when he works with me! But he’s keenly interested in portraying people who are different than himself and does that with great skills."

In reviewing the film, Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter writes, "Skarsgård makes a thoughtful, reassuring first-person narrator. His mobile features react to the people and things around him but he never over-plays his hand... One of the pleasures of this extremely sensual film is the way it elicits physical sensations in the viewer through expressive camerawork, cutting and sound effects. Dramatic moments are signaled by a low rumbling like an avalanche arriving. While the ever-changing spectacle of nature filmed by cinematographer Rasmus Videbaek enchants the eye, it is intensified by Klaus Kaae’s sweetly original score."

Moland was also questioned about the comments Liam Neeson made when promoting the director's "Cold Pursuit", an American version of "In Order of Disappearance." Evidently Neeson told Britain's Independent newspaper last week that 40 years ago, upon hearing that a friend was allegedly raped by a black attacker, he wanted to "unleash physical violence" and walked the streets hoping to kill some "black bastard." In the wake of his remarks, Tuesday’s red carpet at the New York premiere of Moland’s revenge drama was canceled just hours before guests were to arrive.

Speaking today in Berlin, Stellan said: "I find it disturbing and frightening to live in a world where people get punished not only for their deeds, but they get punished also for what you say. You can get punished for what you think. But most of all you get punished for what people think you think." Moland said audiences should read Neeson's quotes in context rather than "listening to what is said on Twitter." He added: "I made a film about the futility of revenge. It makes fun of all the gangster stereotypes, all of the other kind of stereotypes you can think of. It’s a cautionary tale about revenge, and I’d like people to see it for that."

For all the photos from today's events, check out the Berlin gallery.


In an interview at the Berlin Film Festival today, Stellan admits his time at the famous European festival will be limited because he is presently filming in Trollhättan in Norwegian writer/director Maria Sødahl's film HÅP ("Hope"). Filming began on February 1. Maria happens to be the wife of Hans Petter Moland! She is shown on the left in the above photo with her two leads. Andrea Bræn Hovig plays Anja who comes back home for Christmas after an international tour with her dance company. Her life companion Tomas (Stellan), their three children, along with three older children from previous relationships, are all gathered in the pre-Christmas celebration when Anja suddenly finds out that she has a life-threatening brain metastasis. She and Tomas have a shaky relationship which is put to the test as both go through an emotional rollercoaster while looking for medical miracles.

The film is based on Maria's own experiences of being first affected by lung cancer and a year later by a brain tumor. Stellan emphasizes that this is not a documentary and not a portrait of Hans Petter Moland. He admits, "I wouldn't be able to play Hans Petter. He speaks so slowly." The film is set to premiere in October.

Tomorrow is the premiere of OUT STEALING HORSES at BIFF. This is the fourth film that Hans Petter Moland and Stellan have done together. Stellan often complains and jokes that Moland forces him to film when it is icy and it was the same this time. He indicates that the guy who plays his younger version lucked out with his scenes filmed in the summer while Stellan's scenes were done in the winter when he was freezing his ass off. Of course, Stellan is a veteran at Berlin's festival. He says, "We are just as old, and the first time I was here, it was my first film festival and I won the actor award for 'Den Enfaldige mördaren'".

Because an English-language remake of "In Order of Disappearance", renamed "Cold Pursuit" with Liam Neeson opens widely in theaters this weekend, Netflix has now made the original available. The story is quirky and often dryly amusing, recalling both the Coen brothers’ "Fargo" and Quentin Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction". It’s chatty for a gangster picture, and while camera movements and framing are fairly non-flashy, the locations occasionally provide an extra comic kick. The film is filled with familiar faces from European cinema, including "Game of Thrones" Kristofer Hivju as an ill-fated mob henchman, Peter Andersson as Nils’ shady brother, and Bruno Ganz as a Serbian crime lord who swoops into town and escalates the shooting war. Personally, I loved the film so if you haven't seen it yet, give it a try!

It has just been announced that CHERNOBYL, the five-part mini-series about the catastrophic 1986 nuclear disaster, will be shown in May on Sky Atlantic in the UK and HBO in the US. Here is the first shot of Stellan in his role as  Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina, who is assigned by the Kremlin to lead the government commission on Chernobyl in the hours immediately following the accident. His hair makes him look Russian and very distinguished.

Alexander's upcoming film, "The Aftermath" will be premiering in the UK on March 1 and in the US on March 15th. Directed by James Kent, the love story is based on the novel of the same name. The film is set in postwar Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

I try to avoid Keira Knightley films though I couldn't pass up the "Pirates" series and perhaps I'll give in to this one because of Alexander's presence. Ms. Knightley's continued struggle with anorexia greatly damages her believability in her roles and causes too much distraction to the story. The Telegraph once wrote that several critics believe she is often miscast - "It's hard to listen to what she's saying when all you want to do is feed her chips." [laughing] So true!

Here is an Italian poster of the film featuring just Alex. Yummy!

And I came across this photo shoot that I particularly like that was taken in Stockholm a couple years ago.

"The Hummingbird Project" will also debut on March 15th. The plot reads, "Cousins Vincent and Anton are players in the high-stakes game of high-frequency trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their dream is to build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey, making them millions, but nothing is straightforward for this flawed pair. Anton is the brains, Vincent is the hustler, and together they push each other and everyone around them to the breaking point with their daring adventure."


A film project that went unnoticed last fall has surfaced. Once more, Stellan has starred in a film with his "Signs & Wonders" director and co-star - Jonathan Nossiter and the lovely Charlotte Rampling, one of my favorite actresses. The film is called LAST WORDS, a French-Italian co-production. The sci-fi pre-apocalyptic drama has a cast that also includes Nick Nolte, Valeria Golino and Alba Rohrwacher. Co-written by French-Argentinean author Santiago Amigorena (who also wrote the novel upon which this is based), the year is 2085 and no human babies have been born in over a decade. A group of disparate survivors respond to a call to meet in Athens, where the film’s narrator Jo, a boy of African descent, aims to make the world’s last film. Shot in Italy, France and Morocco through the autumn of 2018, a return to Cannes could be possible. Here are some on-location shots:


The story behind this photo

The story is about a film that was never made. The photo was taken in 1984 with director/actor Hans Alfredson who wanted to film a famous Swedish novel by Frans G. Bengtsson referred to as "The Long Ships" or "Red Orm". The narrative is set in the late 10th century and follows the adventures of the Viking Röde Orm - called "Red" for his hair and his temper. There were plans for a large scale Swedish screen adaptation to be directed by Hans Alfredson and star Stellan as Orm. The project was cancelled for financial reasons, but Alfredson's script was reworked into radio theatre which was broadcast in 1990.

During the press conference of Swedish film company Film i Väst at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Danish film producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen from Danish film company Zentropa, said that he was going to produce an adaptation of the novel. Aalbæk said that he had Stellan Skarsgård in mind as playing the old Röde Orm and his acting sons Alexander, Gustaf, Bill and Valter playing Röde Orm at various stages in his life. This adaptation was to be split into two films and also as a TV-series in four parts. Sounds a lot like what happened with "Arn". Hans Petter Moland from Norway would direct. Stellan expressed interest in acting in the film if the script was good. Filming was expected to start in Västra Götaland in 2016; however Film i Väst decided to end their collaboration with Zentropa and the film project was cancelled.



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