UK's Sky Arts Channel has announced a new series of original comedy and drama productions to begin airing in April. Filming has been completed for THE MAN, starring Stellan, Stephen Fry, Hayley Atwell and Zoe Wanamaker. It was directed by Iain Softley with a script by Sandi Toksvig.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)In order to avoid confusion with the British series, "The Avengers", the new Marvel film will be retitled "The Avengers Assemble" for the UK theatrical release on April 26th. The US premiere date of THE AVENGERS is May 4th. Stellan fans will be greatly disappointed that his screen time is minimal. I haven't found one publicity shot of his character except for the production photos in Central Park last September. Stellan recently commented on the Marvel series saying, "It's not enough to have gigantic special effects. Marvel has understood this and cast very good actors in their superhero movies." Certainly, Jeremy Renner is top notch! Here's the latest poster released this week.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)This past weekend 21-year-old Bill Skarsgård became one of the 2012 Shooting Stars at the Berlin International Film Festival. Ten of the most promising young actors in European are chosen each year by a high-profile jury of film industry professionals. They come from a broad range of European countries, backgrounds and experiences. Over the last few day the chosen ten participated in photo-sessions, meetings with casting directors and filmmakers, a workshop with international agents, a press conference, and finally an award ceremony last night. Afterwards they celebrated with VIP's from the film industry at the China Club.

According to Swedish Film Institute’s Head of International Department Pia Lundberg EFP’s selection is both spot on and well-deserved: "The Swedish Film Institute is delighted to have Bill Skarsgård represent Sweden as a Shooting Star at the Berlinale. Starting at an early age he has already acted in twelve films, and at the age of 21 he has become one of Sweden’s most recognized stars. In commercial as well as artistic films he has sensitively portrayed a wide variety of young men and has achieved national and international acclaim for his performances. A bright future seems guaranteed!"

It seems like no time since Bill went from a child actor to a leading man. When I began this web site eight years ago, Bill had just become a teenager. Born in 1990, Bill Istvan Günther Skarsgård started acting at the age of 10, starring in the thriller, "White Water Fury". In 2010, his film "Behind Blue Skies" was selected for the Toronto International Film Festival and "Simple Simon and the Oaks" was selected as the Swedish Oscar contender for the Best Foreign Language Film nominations. The Berlinale jury focused on that role - "Skarsgård conveys depth, emotion and deep longing as a young man plunged into an identity crisis and desperate to know more about his family background. His acting feels like an exploration that we are lucky enough to witness."

And what does Bill think of all this stardom? Certainly, he has felt the pressure brought on by his family's fame, but he says, "I try not to think about it." He says he never liked the sound of being "the fourth Skarsgård" but nevertheless, fell in love with the profession. Earlier this month in an interview with Good Morning, Norway, Bill admitted he would like to work internationally even though he is still very young. He gets tips and advice of his notable family members, but is keen to stand on his own as an actor and not be known at the brother or son of Skarsgård. He says, "I have to trust myself and my talent."  Though he's performed in intimate scenes on the screen, he makes it clear, "To become a sex symbol is really not something I strive for." I guess we can leave that department to big brother Alexander!

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We finally get to see Stellan with his Volta award presented to him at the Dublin Int'l Film Festival earlier this  month. For more photos, check out the Dublin gallery.


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Here are some photos of Stellan shopping in Dublin this week with wife Megan and little Ossian, who is so adorable and the spitting image of his mom!


button_box.gif (205 bytes)I've just completed the film page for Stellan's Brazilian film, ROUGE BRESIL, which was reported here last fall when production began. Stellan was quoted as saying "I know Brazil by Carmen Miranda, Babenco, Walter Salles, 'City of God', and football. Now, I'm here to understand their origin."   It's fun to see him back in costume, complete with wild hair and beard.

The story behind the botched attempt by French forces led by Admiral Villegagnon to conquer Guanabara Bay in 1555 is the subject with the story adapted from the award-winning bestseller by Jean-Christophe Rufin. It was shot in Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro as a made-for-TV co-production between Brazil and France. Canadian director Sylvain Archambaut has used both Brazilian and Canadian actors. Stellan plays the protagonist, Villegagnon while Joaquim de Almeida plays the villain. He's awesome as the "bad guy" - I remember him in "Clear and Present Danger". According to Conspiração, the two ninety-minute episode series will be shown in France. However, in Brazil it will air as a five-episode miniseries and will have a theatrical version as well. The photos on the right show him with his make-up artist, Marlene Moura and in the left one, he poses with a couple of cast members. Be sure to visit the film page for more info & photos.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)The programme for the 10th anniversary edition of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival was unveiled in the capital today. Stellan joined celebrities at the newly reopened Light House Cinema to launch the festival programme. He was joined by Amy Huberman, who is in the Irish film "Stella Days" and voices some of the animation in "Death of a Superhero," both of which will be screened at the festival. Earlier in the day Irish producer Arthur Lappin honored Stellan with a Volta, the festival's career achievement honor. The ceremony was held at the Merrion  Hotel. Stellan said he would always be grateful to Dublin. He related how he had met his wife in the Irish city while shooting medieval blockbuster, "King Arthur" in 2003. "It was in the Horseshoe Bar in the Shelbourne Hotel. My wife Megan is American and had been living in Ireland for five or six years. We're back over again together this week so Dublin has so many wonderful memories for both of us," he said.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Speaking of Megan, while most of us know that Stellan delights in international cuisines and is quite the gourmet cook in his own kitchen, what we didn't know is that his wife has a passion for food as well. She happens to host the online web site - lovefoodshare.com where you will find videos of Megan cooking up various recipes, such as black bean soup. Apparently, the web site is a four-person endeavor and includes Stellan's younger brother, Kettil, who has a background in restaurant management.

"About Megan" includes the following description:  "She has spent the last ten years on a culinary journey. The woman didn’t know a leek from a shallot, but now has amassed over sixty cookbooks and the cooking skills to match. She started from scratch… and now cooks all meals from scratch. Her frequent travels have introduced her to a wide array of food cultures, which she embraces in her own recipes. Her palate is impeccable, and her ability to throw together a delicious gourmet meal for twenty is a thing of beauty. Among her many cooking talents, she has mastered the art of ice cream making, with bold and exciting flavors that will bring you to your knees." Megan was featured in Expressen's magazine section shown below.

Of course, the question that comes to my mind as far as the Skarsgård family is - who is the head chef  in their kitchen? Or do they cook together? So now we know a little bit more about Megan. I had assumed she was Irish but now it's revealed that she's from Cleveland, Ohio. On the cooking web site, there is also an interesting video of Megan enlightening us with some good basic knowledge in wines with Jörgen Gunnarsson. And if you're into Twitter, you can follow Megan's tweets about good food.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)The Hollywood Reporter has just announced that Stellan's next project is a screen adaptation of Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET. Filming began in Italy ten days ago helmed by Italian director Carlo Carlei with a script by Julian Fellowes. That name  should look very familiar these days because he wrote "Downton Abbey", which continues to be highly successful. The cast includes "True Grit" star Hailee Steinfeld (great choice!) as Juliet, Douglas Booth as Romeo, Paul Giametti as Friar Laurence, Kodi Smit-McPhee (another great choice!) as Benvolio, Ed Westwick as Tybalt, Natasha McElhone (beautiful!), Damian Lews as Lord Capulet, Christian Cooke as Mercutio, Tomas Arana as Lord Montague, Laura Morante as his wife, and Stellan as Prince of Verona. The Oscar-winning Fellowes ("Gosford Park") explains the new adaptation, "We felt that it had been quite a long time since there had been a romantic, traditional rendition of the piece. This is the romantic medieval love story as conceived by Shakespeare. We felt that really what we needed was just to make it slightly more accessible to today’s generation. That, I hope, is all we’ve done. My dream would be that you watch it and you think you’ve watched the whole thing written by Shakespeare."

Fellowes, who is currently writing the third season of "Downton Abbey", (yes!) is also producing along with Ileen Maisel and Lawrence Elman of Amber Entertainment, Simon Bosanquet of Generator Entertainment, Alexander Koll and Dimitra Tsingou of Swarovski Entertainment and Doug Mankoff and Andy Spaulding of Echo Lake Entertainment. Filming is taking place at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, and in the towns of Mantua and Siena.

Here's a little bit of trivia for die-hard Stellan fans. Can you name the two other films Stellan has starred in with Natasha McElhone?

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I've just added an interview with Moviefone and an article from The Playlist, both dated December 21, 2011. When asked if he was satisfied with "The Avengers", Stellan responded, "No. Not really. But I'm not one of the superheroes... It's a small role... I think the script worked. What it will be when it comes out, I can't tell."  When asked about a possible role in the "Thor" sequel, Stellan replied, "It's not decided because they haven’t got a script yet. They’re working on that. They’ve been talking about it but it could go the other way as well." In the US, "The Avengers" will premiere on May 4, 2012, but it will open throughout the world during the previous week.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)Here are a couple pics taken today in London. The third photo shows Stellan on January 13th at a Golden Globes party at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Stellan will be in Dublin on February 2nd to celebrate the program launch and 10th anniversary of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. He will be joined at the celebration by Irish actress Amy Huberman, as well as members of the Irish cinema industry. The event will take place at the newly re-opened Light House Cinema. In addition, Stellan will be honored earlier that day with a Volta, the festival Career Achievement Award at a reception attended by Irish filmmakers. The Festival presents the Volta awards annually to outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the world of film, and Stellan is being honoured for his work in both Scandinavian and English language films.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)In a recent interview, Stellan announced he would like to give the Best Director Oscar to David Fincher. He said, "He's amazing. I think he's such a great director, and he manages to do very expensive indie movies. He's actually skilled with his tools, like Lars von Trier. There's nothing he cannot do in film. He's not stuck with a technique. He often makes pretty complicated films with a forceful story, but he doesn't lose a single character when he does it. 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's' crime story is not very exceptional, but there are two fantastic characters in it, and he executes it with such incredible pace. One of the beauties of  'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' is the very delicate and strange relationship between the two main characters.

He adds, "I love having 30 shots of every scene. He's asked me to take the scene in a certain direction, and then he might say, 'Well, that was not so good.' And then I'd say, 'I know, I know, I know,' and we'd try something else. We were rehearsing in the basement right before we started shooting a scene in which Daniel Craig is tied up. Suddenly, Fincher put on that Enya song, and I screamed, 'Yes! It's perfect! Keep it, for fuck's sake!' I want the creative process to happen on the floor, not at home in my bedroom while I'm reading the script."

Stellan also thinks there should be a posthumous honor. He explains, "There was a Russian director named Elem Klimov, who did his films during the communist days. They were constantly struggling with the authorities and to be allowed to express themselves. But he did one of the best war movies I've ever seen — it's called "Come and See". Everybody who likes war movies should see it because it's really about what war is — it's horrible, and everybody's horrible in it."


button_box.gif (205 bytes)Happy news! Stellan and his wife Megan are expecting their second child later this year. They have a son, Ossian, who will turn three in April. This will be Stellan's 8th child with six children from his previous marriage to My Skarsgård. Here's a photo taken of all his children in 2010.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Eldest son Alexander has made the cover of another magazine. Evidently, August Man is a Singapore men's  magazine, aimed at the affluent cosmopolitan man, and has become "the intelligent man's read in Asia."

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Bill Skarsgård has been chosen by a jury as the Swedish SHOOTING STAR 2012. He will be introduced at the forthcoming 62nd Berlin International Film Festival to the international industry as one of Europe's best young actors. His latest project is a small role in the upcoming British drama, "Anna Karenina", directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson.