With the lack of news in the cinema world these days, I continue to add more material to Stellan Online. Today we return to 1985 when FALSK SOM VATTEN (False as Water) premiered. Directed by Hans Alfredson, it is a black story about the blackest thing man has within him - jealousy. The title is a quote from Shakespeare's "Othello", but in the film, not least in its finale, it takes on a most literal meaning. The plot revolves around the publishing world. John (played by Sverre Anker Ousdal), a co-owner of a book publisher, has reached his forty-year crisis in marriage and is looking for new happiness together with Clara (played by Malin Ek), one of the publisher's young poets. But evil and cruel things begin to happen in their lives. Stellan plays Clara's jealous ex-boyfriend Stig.

The Hichkockian thriller premiered at midnight on a dark evening on November 8, 1985. Director Hans Alfredson gave a short introductory speech to the premiere audience and said, "Now I will scare you properly". The film was well received by the critics and Alfredson went on to win the award for Best Director and Malin Ek won Best Actress at the 21st Guldbagge Awards. It was screened in the U.S. in 1986 at the San Francisco International Film Festival.


I found another production photo from the 1985 Swedish TV production of HAMLET. I wasn't able to identify the actor Stellan is posing with. Love the hair!

For Swedish fans, Valter can be seen this year in the drama series "A Class Apart", an original production from the Nordic Entertainment Group's Viaplay streaming service. The eight-part series explores a hidden world of privilege, power and deadly secrets at an exclusive boarding school. Valter told the press, "This series  intrigued me because it gave me the chance to play a character who is as different from me as it gets, in terms of both personality and lifestyle. At the same time, the show portrays an interesting world in a smart way. This is more than a teenage drama; we're asking broader social questions." No release date has been scheduled yet.

If you're as old as I am, you most likely remember the 1971 beloved Swedish period drama called "The Emigrants". The film, starring Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann, received five Oscar nominations, including Best Foreign Language Film. The story was based on Vilhelm Moberg's classic novel about Swedish emigrants who journey to America seeking a better life. A remake was filmed this past fall starring Stellan's son Gustaf and Lisa Carlehed. My question is how in the world does one fill the shoes of Von Sydow and Ullmann! Director Erik Poppe told the press, "Jan Troell's 1971 adaptation is a masterpiece and I'm not trying to recreate his film. I want to re-interpret the story in a new way, through the eyes of Kristina." Though I usually despise remakes, I could understand an English version for those who can't tolerate subtitles but this film will again be in Swedish.

Initially, shooting was scheduled to take place in the Czech Republic, but was relocated to Sweden due to the pandemic. Filming took place from September to January and the premiere date in Sweden is scheduled for Christmas Day. Gustaf posted the following production photos.


I have added a theatre page for ETT DRÖMSPEL (A Dream Play), which was written in 1901 by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Stellan was cast in Dramaten's 1986 production, which was directed by Ingmar Bergman. In the photo below the play's ensemble listens to the famous director and it appears that most of the group looks rather bored, including Stellan!

The year before Stellan was cast in a Swedish TV mini-series titled STRINDBERG ETT LIV, based on the book by Per Olov Enquist. He appeared in the third episode called "Hjärnornas kamp" in which he played Vernet von Heidenstam, a Swedish poet, novelist and laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1916. This episode was aired on March 4, 1985. How distinguished Stellan looks in this photo!


Here are some photos of a very young Stellan taken in 1979 right outside the front door of Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten).

I've added individual theatre pages for Stiftelsen, En kall miljon, Brott och brott and John Gabriel Borkman.

It was 1987 and Malmo was hosting barn-och ungdomsfestivalen (BUFF), a children and youth film festival for the fourth year in a row. Though Stellan was born in Gothenburg, he was raised in both Helsingborg and Malmo. He had recently made his first children's film "Jim & piraterna Blom".


According to Boxoffice Pro France, DUNE will now have an international theatrical release on September 15, 2021. In the US, it was originally expected in cinemas on December 23rd last year. Warner Bros. has announced the film will be released on October 1, 2021 in U.S. theaters in IMAX and 3D as well as a month-long release on the HBO Max streaming service. In his dissatisfaction letter to Warner Bros., director Denis Villeneuve wrote, "My team and I have devoted more than three years of our lives to making it a unique experience to see on the big screen. The image and sound of our film were meticulously designed to be seen in movie theaters." [The following poster is not the studio's official one]

Several other films will be available for viewing on HBO Max for one month following their domestic releases. This includes Alexander's film "Godzilla vs. Kong". Warner Bros. told the press, "No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do. We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021." It sounds like a death knell for the cinema experience, which has already been hit hard by the  pandemic. Most major releases were pushed off the 2020 calendar with the hope that by 2021 theaters would be open again. Warner Bros. is framing this as a short-term plan, given that it's nearly impossible to predict the speed of the vaccine rollout and if audiences will feel safe returning to theaters.

Stellan revealed he worked on the film for two and a half weeks and didn't get a chance to work with much of the cast, filming most of his scenes alone with only brief exchanges with other characters. Though he had to spend seven hours a day in make-up, he said, "Working with Denis Villeneuve was fantastic. Being on his set is a great experience because everybody is nice, nobody is shouting and nobody is scared." Stellan  feels that Villeneuve's films, including 'Arrival' and 'Blade Runner 2049', are "extremely visual and sensual" which is something that has carried over to "Dune". He adds, "The sets were incredible and the way he shot was beautiful. And also the way he not only thinks but feels when he's watching. He's working with all of his senses when he shoots... It's really wonderful. He's such a great filmmaker, such a visual filmmaker."

The role of Baron Harkonnen was played by Kenneth McMillan in the 1984 David Lynch film and by Ian McNeice in the TV miniseries from 2000. Villeneuve told Vanity Fair that he thought the Baron in the books was "flirting very often with caricature" and that Skarsgård’s take would have "a bit more dimension".

The photo below was taken in 2019 on location at the Origo Film Studios in Budapest, Hungary. The woman was not identified.


This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their shortlist for Best International Feature Film. Films from 93 countries had been submitted and now 15 of them will advance to the next round of voting. Norway's HOPE is among these 15! Director/writer Maria Sødahl should be very proud as well as her cast. Currently, "Hope" is not available via streaming in the U.S. but two of these 15 films are available and I recommend both of them - Taiwan's "A Sun" and Denmark's "Another Round", which swept the European Film awards winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenwriter and Best Actor - Mads Mikkelsen. Stellan and Mads became buddies when they were both cast in "King Arthur" in 2004. Their comraderie off-screen is a delight to watch. Here's a youtube link to an interview with them on Skavlan, a Norwegian-Swedish TV talk show. There are closed captions in English.


About ten years ago, Stellan was featured in Under Dusken, the official student newspaper founded in 1914 in Trondheim, Norway.


When asked how he ended up in America, he responds, "I was tired of conservative theater productions, and decided to quit acting. Then I got in touch with an agent. She thought I had to get better at promoting myself, but I did not even want to send out a picture."

Skarsgård smiles, and judging by his eyes, it seems that he is a little proud of the rebellious attitudes he had as a young man. In 1990, however, he got his first role in a Hollywood production.

"I was supposed to be in a couple of scenes in the movie 'The Hunt For Red October'. Never before had I been so well paid for so little work."

He says that the big money that reigns in Hollywood often involves a hefty commercialization of the product. After a long time in the industry, directors are also something Stellan has a definite opinion about.

"Filmmakers are usually very weird people. Big kids still playing with Lego bricks."

He believes that some filmmakers do not manage to free themselves from their own fantasy world and thus forget to make people in front of the camera come alive.


Here's some artwork by German digital artist Julia Lange.

In his review this week of HOPE, Jay Weissburg of Variety only had praise. He writes, "Believe the accolades: Maria Sødahl’s perceptive, heartfelt 'Hope' richly deserves all the attention it’s gotten at festivals and award ceremonies since premiering in Toronto in 2019... the rewards here are great, not just for the multi-layered screenplay but the impeccable performances by Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård... Skarsgård is a wonder at conveying his bereft core with just minimal body language and eye movements, as if his insides have been chipped away... The camera is neither intrusive nor coldly distant, allowing us to feel even more engaged, and it beautifully captures the special softness of Scandinavian early winter light. Also to be commended is Jørgen Stangebye Larsen’s production design, as well as Sødahl’s gratifying use of Vivaldi’s richly expressive 'Vedrò con mio diletto.'"

This lovely indie film is obviously a Nordic gem! I can't wait to see it. As I've mentioned before, I dislike American remakes and the decision to turn this story into a television drama series starring Nicole Kidman will not work for me and perhaps for many others. Say goodbye to the "special softness of Scandinavian early winter light" and Vivaldi's "Vedro con mio diletto". Maybe they can get Liam Neeson to replace Stellan again (sighing)...

As previously reported, "Hope" opened in theaters in Spain on January 22 and Stellan believes "it is a film that deserves to be seen in theaters, not at home." Again, he comments on the healthcare system portrayed in the film because the story takes place around the Christmas holidays. He points out that there is no intention of making a great reproach, rather a friendly criticism - "We have wonderful healthcare that works very well, but we also have many employment rights. For example, in July there are very few doctors because they are all in their country homes or traveling. And at Christmas, the same. If you become ill, bad luck."

Flashback to 1996 in a new photo from HARRY & SONJA when Stellan becomes a hairdresser! (laughing)