Lars Von Trier's MELANCHOLIA will compete for the Palme d'Or at the 64th Cannes Film Festival next month and will be released in the UK on September 30th. Recently, the director was interviewed by Empire magazine and offered these comments on his psychological drama: "As you can see in the trailer, Melancholia, which is the name of the planet, is ten times bigger than the Earth, and I liked the idea of being ‘swallowed’ by Melancholia. I thought that was quite nice. And then I read that it's actually one of the virtues of romanticism – willingly being purified by dying. In fact, the film contains maybe more of the original idea of romanticism. I’m just saying that with a lot of films today, their interpretation of romanticism is… quite boring, I think.”

Few details are known about the story aside from Von Trier’s announcement that there will be “no more happy endings!” Cheating the audience of any apocalyptic suspense to the proceedings, "Melancholia" reportedly starts with the destruction of the world only to work backwards and show characters on the eve of their inevitable demise. Said to be a cold war fears revision of the filmmakers’ own childhood anxieties, this bleak entry into the doomsday canon is sure to be as uncompromising as his previous film, "Antichrist". We do know that the film centers on a wedding between Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) and during the celebration, the guests notice a red star which turns out to be the planet Melancholia, previously hiding behind the sun. Justine and her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) then begin to wonder what will happen when the world comes to an end.

The images released are mainly of Kirsten Dunst but watching the trailer gives you a stronger sense of the film though Dunst seems unintelligible as she mumbles through her lines. Perhaps it's just the poor quality of the online trailer. Let's hope....

Check out a new music video, directed by Tarik Saleh, with Swedish singer Lykke Li and Stellan! The seven-minute video for "Sadness is a Blessing" features the singer as a daughter who drunkenly embarrasses her father. The opus, which begins in silence with Lykke Li slinging back shots while a somber Stellan and an  uncomfortable restaurant crowd looks on. After getting properly soused, Lykke Li begins to dance around this European formal dining establishment in a diaphanous white frock before her father delicately intervenes. Although Stellan's character could be construed as a much-older love, Li cleared up any ambiquity writing in her blog, "Father, I know I broke your heart, it was never my intention, all I ever wanted was to dance." This was not the first time our Swede appeared in a music video. Some of you may recall that in 1991 he was featured in a music video with Swedish singer Eva Dahlgreen.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)The Film Society of Lincoln Center presented "The Far Side of Paradise: New Films from Norway" last night. The opening film was KONGEN AV BASTØY (aka King of Devil's Island) with both director Marius Holst and Stellan attending a Q&A session following the screening. Film Movement has just nabbed the North American distribution rights with plans to release the film theatrically. "We couldn't be more delighted to continue supporting the fresh and diverse cinema from (Norway)," Film Movement VP of acquisitions and distribution Rebeca Cognet said in a statement. "Stellan Skarsgard's acting is as powerful as ever, but the real treat is the ferociously raw performances by the mostly non-professional teens."


button_box.gif (205 bytes)During the Kosmorama International Film Festival this week, the Norwegian film industry announced their Kanon Awards. Stellan received a Kanon in the Best Actor category for A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN. He also scooped up an Amanda - Norway's national film prize for his performance. In the photos below Stellan is seen kissing his director's wife, Maria Sødahl, because Hans Petter Moland's spouse happens to be a film artist and was honored for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for her feature debut, "Limbo". Best Cinematography was awarded to Stellan's other Norwegian film, KONGEN AV BASTØY (aka King of Devil's Island).  


Stellan has joined the cast of the Marvel Studios film, THE AVENGERS. The superhero blockbuster is currently in pre-production with shooting beginning April 1st through late July. It will be directed by Joss Whedon with a script by Zak Penn. The cast includes Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and Stellan as Professor Erik Selvig. The highly anticipated movie will be released on May 4, 2012. The photo above shows most of the cast at Comic-Con last July.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures has announced that they have pre-bought North American rights to MELANCHOLIA, the eagerly awaited new film from legendary filmmaker and provocateur Lars Von Trier. According to Cineuropa, the film will show at the 64th Cannes Film Festival (May 11-22, 2011). The photo to the right was taken on February 7th when Stellan was at the Chateau Marmont in LA. Apparently Alexander and girlfriend Kate Bosworth had just taken off and a fan quickly got Stellan to pose for a snapshot.


Magnolia Pictures has picked up the North American distribution rights to Lars Von Trier's upcoming movie MELANCHOLIA in a seven-figure deal with Trust Nordisk. The rights were bought as the film by the Danish director is still in post-production. Besides Stellan, the cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, and Udo Kier. A promo for the film was shown this weekend in Berlin, and Twitch.net reported the following: "In short, it is gorgeous – instantly recognizable as Von Trier’s work and very likely the most commercial iteration of his talent that we have seen yet. This in no way implies that he has dumbed things down, just that the wild transgressions of Antichrist are not present here – where they would be entirely inappropriate – and that the imagery is so beautiful that this is a film that you could clearly cut one hell of a trailer for…Though firmly grounded in reality there are a lot of special effects in this and they are integrated seamlessly, shots of static electricity arcing off skin and dead birds falling from the sky in super slow motion being particularly effective."

Von Trier has already revealed that some of the most explosive moments in the film, the physical ones, at least, come right at the beginning. He explains, "In ‘Melancholia’ I start with the end. Because what is interesting is not what happens but how it happens! So we begin by seeing the world being crushed, then we can tell the story afterwards… In this way you don’t have to sit and form theories about what will happen, but can delve down into some other levels and become interested in the pictures and the universe – that’s what I imagine."


button_box.gif (205 bytes)February 7th turned out to be a family affair for some of the Skarsrd men. Pictured below is Stellan with his two oldest sons, Alexander and Gustaf, at the Audi's award season party for "The King's Speech." The event was held at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)I've added an interview which took place during the Rotterdam Film Festival, which screened Stellan's latest film, KONGEN AV BASTØY (aka King of Devil's Island/King of Bastøy). After his Dutch visit, he was returning to Sweden to continue shooting "The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" with David Fincher. Stellan describes the director as "not at all anal. He just wants to try different things, which is great for an actor." However, the shoot has been longer than expected. Stellan reports, "Originally I was scheduled to end in April. Then it got pushed to May, then June, then July – and now they’re calling to ask me if I’m free in August!”