MARCH 2012:

03.21.12

Stellan's son Bill has been cast in the gothic horror series "Hemlock Grove," the latest foray into original programming from Netflix. Eli Roth is the director and executive producer for the series, which will be available to Netflix subscribers in early 2013. There will be 13 one-hour episodes with the storyline based on Brian McGreevy's novel about the murder of a young girl in a Pennsylvania steel town. The book will be published on March 27th. The Netflix folks call it a blend of J.D. Salinger and Mary Shelley, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Described as a gripping tale of murder, mystery and monsters, "Hemlock Grove" starts with the discovery of a mangled and murdered body of a young girl. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a biotech facility owned by the former steel magnates. Others believe the killer could be Peter, a 17-year-old Gypsy kid from the wrong side of the tracks, who tells his classmates he’s a werewolf. Or it could be Roman (Skarsgård), the arrogant Godfrey scion, whose sister Shelley is disturbingly deformed and whose mother, Olivia (Famke Janssen), is the otherworldly beautiful and controlling grand dame of Hemlock Grove. As the crime goes unsolved and outlandish rumors mount, Peter and Roman decide to find the killer themselves, confronting unspeakable truths about themselves and Hemlock Grove as the mystery unfolds. Some of the book's reviews refer to Roman as a closet vampire so it appears that Bill might be following in his big brother's footsteps. By the way, did you know FX's "American Horror Story" will premiere its second season this fall? You gotta watch it for at least Jessica Lange's performance!

03.18.12

Our "True Blood" star joined "Battleship" co-star Brooklyn Decker and director Peter Berg for a panel discussion yesterday at WonderCon 2012 held in Anaheim, CA. Universal Pictures released some new footage from the film and the trio picked up their microphones and answered a ton of questions. Promoting the upcoming blockbuster, based on Hasbro's classic naval combat game, Alexander commented on the physicality required for the action scenes. He shared a funny story about a scene where he's supposed to react to being hit by an incoming soundwave, which resulted in his taking a blast to the face from a 25-foot-long air cannon! According to Berg, Kevin Costner contacted the director to warn him about the perils of shooting on the open ocean and his advice turned out to be extremely helpful. Berg went on to explain that much of this film was inspired by the Stephen Hawkings documentary about Goldilocks planets and the attempts that our planet is making to contact them, which would explain the alien invasion theme of "Battleship". Ultimately Berg described his creation as "a fun, kick-ass, intense, emotional-at-times, summer popcorn madness movie".  It sounds like something I'd rather skip..... like "Waterworld" though I did love Dennis Hopper...

03.15.12

Yesterday Director Marius Holst and Stellan attended the premiere of KING OF DEVIL'S ISLAND at the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, Germany. The critically acclaimed film originally opened in Norway on December 17, 2010, and gradually opened in several other countries over the  next 15 months. It will open in German theaters on March 29th and finally in Japan on April 28th. Check out the photo gallery.

Have you ever wondered what language Stellan uses in these Norwegian films? Well, he delivers his lines in Swedish. He says, "The Norwegians understand Swedish so well, it's no problem to them. They accept me as a sort of honorary Norwegian - there's not that much difference."

It happens that this indie film is quite near and dear to our Swede. In an interview back in January, Stellan explained, "I like the film, I like to talk about it. Norway is a small country, about half the size of Sweden, but it has a very good film climate because they have municipal cinemas, so even in the smallest towns you have a cinema that shows art house films from all over the world. Norwegian kids grow up well educated in film. They have a lot of good directors there." Stellan said a major reason he wanted to do the film was that director Marius Holst cast nonactors from troubled backgrounds as the inmates, working with them for more than a year. Stellan assisted Holst and his crew in shepherding the boys through the difficult shoot in rural, snowy Estonia. One of the cast members, Trond Nilssen, said it was the first thing he had ever completed. Stellan said, "It was such a thrill to work with them because their lives were difficult, and you could see it in their eyes, that kind of combined hardness amd vulnerability in their eyes. Benjamin Helstad is now in the Theater Academy in Norway and Nilssen has done something like three more films since then - so his life has changed. He was a petty criminal before. Now he's got a life."

Stellan gave further insight into his role as the school's headmaster - "By the standards of his day, my character was extremely soft and liberal – his ambition was to run a good place for the boy. But the society of that time was not what it is today, and the authorities’ views on punishment and how children should be treated is very different from today. The kids had a horrible time there. The governor is actually a coward – he’s in charge of the island but can’t admit what is happening around him."

03.06.12

Here are a few more photos of Stellan taken in Dublin last month:

Naturally being the mother or wife of one of Sweden's most famous celebrities can make them a person of interest as well. Back in December, Swedish radio host, Katarina Hahr, interviewed My, Stellan's ex-wife, to discuss her struggle with alcoholism, but back in 2010, Ms. Hahr also interviewed Stellan's 82-year-old mother, Gudrun.  I love her attitude - "I’ve done my share, and I can do what I want the rest of my life." Good for her! I'll be 69 this year and I'm beginning to feel the same way. You can read Gudrun's interview from Sveriges Radio with a translation from an extinct Alexander Skarsgård fan site. Yup, another one bites the dust... FYI, Stellan Online is nearly 8 years old!

Eldest son Alexander will be starring in a summer blockbuster targeted for the young male crowd. It's called "Battleship", produced and directed by Peter Berg. It's an epic action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Yes, I did say young male crowd. Based on Hasbro's classic naval combat game, "Battleship" stars Taylor Kitsch as naval officer Lt. Alex Hopper with Alexander as his older brother, Commanding Officer Stone.

I saved the best part for last - Liam Neeson stars as their superior, Admiral Shane. Love that man - seen over 25 of his films. Favorite role? Schindler, of course. So disappointed he didn't take home the Oscar.... Anyway, "Battleship" opens in US theaters on May 13th. Internationally, the opening date for most countries is in April.

Second eldest son Gustaf has his own Scandinavian blockbuster this summer. He stars in "Kon-Tiki", which will open the 40th Norwegian International Film Festival on August 18th. Directed by the team of Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, the film is a dramatization of actual events in 1947, when Thor Heyerdahl embarked on an adventurous and fatal expedition across the Pacific to prove his scientific theory that the Polynesian people originally came from Peru in South America. Gustaf plays the role of the onboard photographer, the Swedish ethnographer Bengt Danielsson. Other cast members include Pål Sverre Hagen, Agnes Kittelsen, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann, Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Jakob Oftebro. The film will have a theatrical release in Norway on August 24th.

On February 25th, two of the handsome Skarsgård brothers attended the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. Gustaf is also slated this year for the upcoming indie film, "Autumn Blood", which stars Peter Stommare. FYI, the "Fargo" actor happens to be Gustaf's Godfather.