SINCE JUNE 2004 -
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
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
[Watch a Berlinale interview with
In re: Norwegian writer/director Maria Sødahl's film
Håp (Hope) -
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."
re: Dune -
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."
re: The Painted Bird -
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
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."
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."
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
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.
to see Stellan's portrait in the Stockholm Metro.
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
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."
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
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)
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!"
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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'".
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
OTHER COYMOON CREATIONS:
The Vincent Perez
The Sam Shepard Web
Peter Coyote Official Web Site