JANUARY 2011:

01.14.11:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Norwegian director Marius Holst's KONGEN AV BASTØY (aka King of Devil's Island/King of Bastøy) will open the Goteborg Film Festival, Sweden's largest film event, on January 28. Holst's fourth feature, which receives its international premiere at the festival, was released in Norway in mid-December and is one of eight competing for the Dragon Award for Nordic film, which comes with a cash prize worth nearly $150,000.

Another Skarsgård shines brightly! Stellan's son Bill may be picking up a Guldbagge, Sweden's version of the Oscars. His role in "Simple Simon" has earned him a Best Actor nomination. The film has also received a Best Film nomination and is Sweden's official entry for the 2011 Academy Awards. Bill has had a breakthrough year and is quickly becoming a critical darling in his own right. The film tells the story of 18 year-old Simon, a boy with Asperger’s syndrome whose life is turned upside-down when his brother Sam is dumped by his girlfriend. To make his life work, Simon needs structure. He needs things to follow a certain pattern - with the same schedule. But with Sam depressed over the breakup with his girlfriend, everything changes and Simon’s world turns into chaos. Wanting things to get back to normal, Simon gives himself one mission - to find Sam a new girlfriend. Unfortunately Simon knows nothing about love and doesn’t understand emotions - but he has a scientifically foolproof plan. Below are a couple papparazzi photos taken of Stellan and Bill on January 7th outside the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. In a recent interview, Stellan comments, "I’ve been staying at the Chateau Marmont for 20 years when I come here. I like the staff."

 

button_box.gif (205 bytes)"W" magazine has featured actress Rooney Mara on the cover of their February 2011 issue. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO star certainly has made a dramatic change to her appearance and as you can see, she clearly embodies the strange and anti-social heroine Lisbeth Salander. Rooney, the offspring of two football dynasties, "may be a trust-fund baby", says director David Fincher, "but she's levelheaded and hardworking." To prepare for the role, Rooney had her eyebrows bleached, her hair chopped, and her lip, brow, nose and nipple pierced all in one very intense day. To achieve Salander's signature look, Fincher analyzed every detail from her temporary tattoos to her essence. Fincher's film will depart dramatically from the book: Michael Blomkist is more gentlemanly, Salander is more aggressive and the ending has been completely altered. Oh no!

button_box.gif (205 bytes)I've added several new interviews in the press section regarding Stellan's film, A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN" plus you can click here for a podcast interview in English, for a change! Today the Norwegian dark comedy has a limited US opening, which usually means NY and LA theaters. Film critic Marshall Fine wonderfully describes Stellan's performance:

The film sits squarely on Skarsgård's slumped shoulders. The camera regularly examines his lumpish figure, his potato-like face, his small and porcine eyes. Skarsgård gives little away at first, beyond the occasional raised eyebrow at the madness around him that others seem to take for granted. Skarsgård makes him guarded and controlled, someone used to the regimen of prison and unaccustomed to the freedom of being back in the world. He's not averse to varying his routine; he just doesn't trust it much. Yet he gradually lets the light back in. Skarsgård shows us the slowly reawakened feelings that Ulrik initially distrusts, then begins to enjoy. But he also captures the moment when Ulrik remembers why he blocked out his emotions before: because feelings - pleasure, hope, joy - can be hurt, crushed, broken. "A Somewhat Gentle Man" is a Scandinavian treat: a movie that reveals itself slowly, then goes places you didn't think it dared. Skarsgård, mostly a character actor in American films, proves once again that, in fact, he's a leading man of depth and nuance.

In a recent interview,  Hans Peter Moland had this to say about Stellan's participation in his film - "When it came to casting, I suggested Stellan. I gave it to him and he read it the next day and said he liked it and wanted to do it. He had one limitation which was that his wife was giving birth in six months so we had to do it before she went into the hospital to have the child. So that put the pressure on to finance it quickly. It was easier to finance with Stellan and to a certain extent with me as well. It made the project real and because I was so fresh into it, I think we could really take it in some new directions. It was put together in record time. We closed the financing this time of year and started shooting in March sometime. It was a very quick process. Stellan certainly helped. He’s a big star anywhere but he’s really one of the most highly regarded actors in Europe... It’s a great compliment to Stellan for his ability to convey the humanity of that man. He’s not a nice guy. He’s a loser, a murderer."

Here are some kind words from a Green Cine movie reviewer:

What a presence has Stellan Skarsgård! Choose from any movie in which he deigns to appear. This unusual actor - he of the firmly under-stated performance and increasingly jowly visage - has, to my knowledge, never given a bad performance, even in crappy movies. The fellow turns 60 this year and has 109 roles to his credit, but I doubt that he has ever been better than he is in this film. By any standard, this is a good movie, but Skarsgård gooses it to near-greatness. You can't - you don't want to - take your eyes off him. For every moment he's onscreen (which is most of the movie), each tiny expression and bit of feeling he unearths is so right and meaningful that you would be marveling, were his work not so un-showy. As the movie proceeds, you realize he's good; after the fact, upon some reflection, you know he's great.

At the Hawaii International Film Festival in October, the Eurocinema Hawaii 2010 award for Best Actor went to Stellan for his performance in a 'Gentle Man". Stellan was not able to attend so Nina Fasi, Norwegian Consul in Hawaii, accepted the award on his behalf. Movieline praised Stellan's performance with "Ulrik is plucky and bemused; he’s played these knowing victims about to be rolled by the rear axle of Fate before and knows how to wring a few deft notes out of it. You’ll appreciate his professionalism - and the film’s, too." Screen Daily writes, " Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland and Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard are a match made in cinema heaven, and in this criminal comedy they achieve a cool, deceptively simple minimalism which is both perfectly timed and brilliantly pared-down. I personally look forward to seeing this film either in our local arthouse or on DVD, hopefully very soon! Sounds like a winner! I count the two other Moland/Skarsgård ventures - "Zero Kelvin" and "Aberdeen" among my favorite films.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)As many of you are well aware, Alexander has obtained celebrity status in the US these days and can be found at various Hollywood events as well as in pictorial layouts in fashion magazines. This is, by far, my favorite photo of him. After scouting the Web for serious places of information on Stellan's sons and not finding anything substantial, I'm seriously contemplating another web site featuring all of the Skarsgård actors. Stay tuned....