Though the Norwegian comedy, EN GANSKE SNILL MANN (A Somewhat Gentle Man), did not win the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival, it was awarded the Berliner Morgenpost Audience Prize. That comes as no surprise as the film was well received with much laughter and then great applause and cheers when it ended. Aftonbladet's Jens Peterson described the film as "Norway from a slightly different angle - almost like a Tarantino-Oslo." Film report Kim Kastrup from Danish Ekstra Bladet thought it was a fantastic film - "Extreme fun while it also touched me. I liked the mix of comedy and seriousness. Fantastic actors, good direction and, of course, a good script from Danish Kim Fupz Aakeson."  Variety Nordic correspondent Gunnar Rehlin says he gives the film five out of six stars. And in the words of Stellan - "This is a stupid, tragic, funny film because it's the way humans are."

Norway's Bergansavisen had nothing but praise in their review:

This is the third time Hans Petter Moland has worked with Stellan Skarsgård, and the excellent link between director and actor contributes to this film simply being the best Norwegian comedy in recent times... Moland presents a movie landscape that is reminiscent of the Coen brothers, and that has similarities with the Aki Kaurismäkis "Man Without a Past". But Moland goes deeper, creating an overwhelming fun atmosphere in which vulnerability and longing ooze forth between the hard times that life has brought this loosely interwoven gang. Skarsgård plays Ulrik with a myriad of shades, and his relaxed sobriety gives the film a natural center of gravity. In the beginning he's uncommitted against everything he is offered, but when he discovers that his now adult son and his girlfriend are expecting a child, it begins to change something in him. On one level this is also a movie about how to treat each other and how short the road is between intimacy and rejection.

A female Canadian journalist praised the director for having made the funniest sex scenes on film ever. She is referring to some of the scenes between the 66-year-old Norwegian actress Jorunn Kjellsby and Stellan. Moland claims they are "two of the bravest people I know" acknowledging that there was much laughter when the scenes were recorded. Stellan describes those scenes as easy, confirming that Jorunn is a damn good actress and that the pair had much fun.  He adds, "It was very cool to do them, but with the required precision. The idea is that they will be grotesque and touching at once. The Polish television program in the background helped to get the right mood (chuckling)." He also heaps praise on Moland - "He is one of the world's best directors, and has a knack for getting confidence in the people he works with."

Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "An oddball comedy with criminal undertones." He writes, "Played for laughs drawn from characters rather than funny lines, the Norwegian film is a charmer with Stellan Skarsgård in a role worthy of his attention... It's the kind of film that sneaks up on you and leaves a warm smile. It should do very well in international markets and festivals will line up to offer applause... Skarsgård, who uses his heavy body and seen-it-all eyes to portray a man whose acceptance of the way the wind blows can give way to sudden and matter-of-fact brutality. His face also lights up in delighted bemusement when he realizes now and then that he really hasn't seen it all."


There is much to report about the Berlin Film Festival yesterday. I'm amazed that Stellan flew in on the same day of the photo call, press conference and premiere of EN GANSKE SNILL MANN (A Somewhat Gentle Man). What an exhausting but thrilling day for him! And how was this black comedy received? Well, fear not! The discerning festival audience giggled and laughed through Stellan's many trials as Ulrich, the freed jailbird. Film critic Stephen Schaefer of the Boston Herald wrote:  "It’s unlikely any American film would serve Skarsgård as well as the Norwegian competition entry in the current Berlin film festival... Dryly comic and absolutely on target every step of the way, “Gentle Man” follows Skarsgård’s entry after a dozen years behind bars back into society... Like Jeff Bridges’ low-key work in 'Crazy Heart.' Skarsrd doesn’t so much as play the character but inhabit this 'Somewhat Gentle Man' - and never was a title more accurate. Funny? Very. Absorbing and so satisfying, in the casting, performances and direction, 'A Somewhat Gentle Man' might never be seen in the U.S. – and that would be sad indeed." Click here for the photo gallery - plenty of pics as Stellan presented all the Shooting Stars awards.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)While Stellan was in Oslo last week getting a "sneak peek" at his new gangster comedy, he spoke with news publication VG Nett - "We were here for two months last year to work on this film so my wife gave birth at Ullevål Hospital in Oslo in April. A Norwegian film and a Norwegian child!" Stellan explains it's not such a big difference between acting in Hollywood films and Norwegian films. He says the difference lies with the directors. "I am used to doing small independent films in between all the Hollywood movies. It's just that Hollywood movies seem a lot better because they have hundreds of millions in PR money." And although many of his films are shot in Los Angeles, he still lives in Sweden. He explains, "Scandinavia is so good. No starving. Everyone has access to education and free medical attention. It is a good system." And does Stellan enjoy a glamorous Hollywood life? He replies, "I only live the glamorous life in LA when I'm working there. I've been staying at the same hotel for 25 years but if I'm there for a longer period, I rent a house so the family can join me.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Attention, European fans - BOOGIE WOOGIE will become available on DVD (Region 2 format) on April 19th.


The Norwegian film, Regnskap (Bad Accounting), has been retitled EN GANSKE SNILL MANN (A Somewhat Gentle Man) and is headed to the Berlin International Film Festival next week. Both director Hans Petter Moland and Stellan will be in attendance. The film will be competing for the Golden Bear, the grand prix of the festival, which runs from February 11-21. It's been 15 years since a Norwegian film was chosen to compete so there's obviously much excitement. This is Moland's first comedy. Stellan Skarsgård stars as main character Ulrik, who is released from prison after serving 12 years for killing his wife's lover. Thus begins the trials of Ulrik as he tries to re-enter society. Stellan  refers to the film as "an unglamorous comedy with lots of eating and lots of sex." Yes, you will view his bare arse once more! The cast also includes Bjørn Floberg, Jannike Kruse Jåtog, Jan Gunnar Røise, Jorunn Kjellsby, Aksel Hennie, Gard B. Eidsvold, Kjersti Holmen, and Bjørn Sundquist. The film opens in Norwegian cinemas on March 19th.

In a recent interview with Norway's NRK, Stellan admitted he should still be in LA shooting THOR, but he was able to speed up his scenes so he could be released earlier.  Our Swede speaks highly of his director with whom he has worked with on two previous films. "He is outrageous and incredibly intelligent. He doesn't tell the actors what to do but rather what the scene should contain. It allows enormous freedom within that framework to choose your own expression, and it enriches the actors."

For trailers, film clips and interviews, check out these links:



button_box.gif (205 bytes)On Wednesday evening Stellan attended the premiere of the Swedish film, "Snabba Cash" (Fast Cash) at the Rigoletto Theatre in Stockholm. He was photographed with his two sons, Gustaf and Bill, as well as Gustaf's guest, Hanna Zellekke-Colin. Click here for the premiere photos.