MARCH 2014 NEWS

03.23.14

More names have been attached to the upcoming spy thriller, OUR KIND OF TRAITOR, based on John Le Carrťís novel. It was previously announced that Ewan McGregor would play the lead. Ralph Fiennes was lined up for the part of the shady oligarch but he dropped out and was replaced by Stellan. Now Naomie Harris and Damien Lewis have signed on. The film is being directed by Susanna White with a screenplay by Hossein Amini. White is already shooting non-acting scenes in a Finnish forest near the Arctic Circle, which is standing in for woodland near Moscow. Filming will take place in Morocco, London, Paris and the French Alps. The story is about an Oxford academic and his barrister wife who bump into a Russian money-laundering millionaire while on holiday. Soon they're embroiled in his plans to defect and end up caught between the Russian mafia and the British Secret Service.

During the week that Stellan was in NY promoting von Trier's latest film, he occasionally gave out some interesting tidbits, which I've posted below:

"I would say 10 percent of the films I've made are really, really good and 10 percent are really, really bad, and everything else is somewhere in between. I mean, I think I'm lucky to have made the 10 percent that are really good."

"I can never really enjoy seeing myself on the screen. I always think, ah, there's a little tension there that shouldn't be there. There's a lot of sort of acting stuff I think about while I'm watching myself, so I can't really enjoy it."

"I donít spend much time in my trailer. I like to be on the set because I like film crews and I like hanging out there. I donít feel like waiting much. And between takes you can actually work. You can work socially with the crew, or you can work on the scene. I canít read books or watch films when Iím on a film set. Iím on. My engine is at full speed all day. I donít feel like any time should be wasted."

[On Marvel films] "I've worked with Kenneth Branagh, I've worked with Joss Whedon, and those are great directors. And it's a big machine, and there's a lot of money involved, but Marvel itself is a very small company. It's a handful of producers, and they're very much involved, and if you have any problems with a scene, you can just pick up the phone and talk to them directly. It's not like working for a big studio, where you can't even reach the assistant of the head of the studio. So I don't feel that I'm walking into a machine that's chewing me up, but, of course, it's different material, and there are limits to how much you can experiment with a scene."

"If I ever lose a job because I've talked about being an atheist, then I don't want that job."

"I have a passion for absolutely useless knowledge. [Laughs] There's a German word, 'besserwiser,' [which translates as] 'the man who knows all,' or 'knowing better.' My family is very much like that. Any dinner with my family, with my kids or with my brothers and sisters involves someone saying a word or something, and somebody else saying, 'Where does that come from?' And then it's off to the books, or to the Internet nowadays."

"I've talked about religion, but I've talked about religion as an oppressor. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to have religious beliefs though. My grandmother was extremely religious, and she was married to an atheist, and it was a beautiful marriage. So I'm for tolerance. As long as you don't interfere with other people's lives because of Bronze Age theology, it's fine."

Now, a bit of gossip. After the NY premiere of "Nymphomaniac" on the evening of March 13th, a swank party, hosted by Interview magazine and Absolut Elyx, was held at Butter Midtown where everyone was treated to champagne, tater tots and complimentary bags of Jimmy Jane high-end sex toys. For more fun, a photo booth was set up where guests were encouraged to pose for their "O-face".  Oh, I wish I had been there! Absent was the film's director as well as star Shia LaBeouf, who is currently involved in some sort of Joaquin Phoenix-esque performance art anti-publicity campaign. A reporter was later reprimanded by the filmís publicist for asking too many questions about LaBeouf. For his part, Stellan declined to comment on his co-starís activities.

As an aside, if von Trier cares to better understand feminine sexuality, he should check out Director Abdellatif Kechiche's "Blue is the Warmest Color", a beautiful carnal film in which realism and passion reign. Winner of the 2013 Palme d'OR, it comes highly recommended by yours truly.

A couple days ago I noted some wonderful comments about Stellan from Ard Vijn of Twitch Film:

"While easily recognizable, few international stars can claim to be as average-looking as Stellan SkarsgŚrd does, and this quality makes him versatile. His acting prowess is formidable: he can radiate an icy cold or a soothing warmth at will. And he is always totally believable, whether he is a knowledgeable professor, a nice neighbour, a boorish laborer, an emotionless assassin, or an arrogant prick."

Since Stellan's wife Megan has become co-producer of Viken Productions in Sweden, she is now listed in the IMDB along with this photo. Viken is a Stockholm-based arts and media production company founded in 2009 by Megan and Amy Fee.

The 3D Tarzan movie starring oldest son Alexander is set to swing. The casting has now been confirmed, with Margot Robbie as Jane, Christoph Waltz as a Belgian soldier who tries to capture Tarzan in exchange for a ransom in diamonds, and Samuel L. Jackson as the US Ambassador to the Congo. David Yates, who made the last four Harry Potter movies, will direct. Filming will began later this year.

03.17.14

More photos - click here! Stellan landed in the Big Apple this week. On Wednesday he attended the screening of "Only Lovers Left Alive", hosted by The Cinema Society and W Magazine at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema. The next day he was on the red carpet at the NY premiere of "Nymphomaniac" held at the Musuem of Modern Art. Today he flew to the UK.

03.06.14

Part One of NYMPHOMANIAC is available beginning today in the US on most home viewing platforms. The Magnolia Pictures release, which opens in limited theatrical release on March 23, can be seen on video on demand for about $9.99 on most cable systems including Time Warner, Comcast, Cablevision and on Dish and Directv. It's available for streaming online through Amazon, FlixFling, Xbox Zune and Playstation 3.

After viewing the first volume today, it's a mystery why anyone would be interested in seeing the second part. Except for a humorous montage of some of the most unattractive male genitalia ever seen on celluloid, this latest endeavor of Von Trier cinema leaves many of us utterly bored! Of course, it doesn't help that I have a specific disdain for actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. Do check it out, however, for Stellan's stellar performance.

Guess I'm not alone in my opinion as others have echoed my sentiments regarding the Saga of Joe and Seligman:

"I wish I had some idea what von Trier was trying to get at with this yawning pile of nonsense. Teenage girls will prostitute themselves for as little as a bag of chocolate? Men are mindless fish? Four fucking hours of 'Nymphomaniac' - and four hours of fucking - and at the end of it, I don't know why I am supposed to have bothered. Movie charcters don't have to be likable, and Joe certainly is not, but they should at least be fascinating." ...Film critic Mary Ann Johanson

"'Nymphomaniac' is a peculiar, downbeat and decidedly male view of a woman's appetites, not an honest assessment of her multifarious desires. Seligman interjects with oddly intellectual commentary on subjects such as the wonders of Bach's fugues. Von Trier would like us to think he's attempting a serious examination of sexual voracity. But it seems like an exercise in pretension. If he's intent on probing the psyche, heart (or other organs) of a nymphomaniac, he fails to illuminate what fully drives Joe, and doesn't seem to have a solid grasp of female sexuality."  ...Claudia Puig, USA Today

The full line-up for this year's Tribeca Film Festival that kicks off April 16 has been announced. After revealing the competition slate, now the organizer has unveiled which films will be screened during the Spotlight, Midnight, and Special Screening sections. Good news! KRAFTIDIOTEN will be making its Northern American premiere in the Spotlight section.

03.02.14

Stellan has turned to television once more with his decision to take on the lead role in a British TV crime series called RIVER, which will be aired on BBC 1 in 2015. He will play John River, a brilliant cop whose genius and fault-line is the fragility of his mind Ė a man haunted by the murder victims whose cases he must lay to rest. A man who must walk a professional tightrope between a pathology so extreme he risks permanent dismissal, and a healthy state of mind that would cure him of his gift.

Emmy-winning Abi Morgan has initially written six episodes for the first season with the door open for another two seasons of six episodes each if the series is successful. Commenting on this new project, Stellan said, "It's incredibly flattering, so I hope that she (Morgan) will not be disappointed. I have no idea what other actors will be involved and it will be different directors for each episode." Filming will allow him to stay in London during the fall when the series will be recorded. Perhaps he can hang out with son Alexander, who will be filming "Tarzan" in the UK.

For reasons unknown, CINDERELLA will not be released in the US until March 13, 2015. Stellan told the Press Association he had fun playing a baddie role. He said, "I'm the man who actually runs the country, a very nasty guy. It's fun. I've done a lot of Disney films, but this is more traditional Disney and it's also not a new take on Cinderella. It's a story that has fascinated mankind for years and I like that it's not modernized. You do it as pure fairytale, which it is." The film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, boasts an all-star cast which includes Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden, Hayley Atwell and Derek Jacobi.

Here are some photos from February 22 when Stellan and "Nymphomaniac" co-star Stacy Martin participated in a Q&A at London's Curzon Chelsea Cinema

Stellan recently told the Irish Times, "My career has no beautiful turning point. Itís not like in 'A Star Is Born'. Itís more like the Brooklyn Bridge. You put it together brick by brick. The loveliest review I had was for a film called 'A Somewhat Gentle Man'. It said: 'Stellan SkarsgŚrd has a constantly forgettable face.' Well, if they donít know who I am, that means I can get many different roles." He also commented on his children saying, "I taught them as young children to like themselves and to be on time. I never interfered. I donít want all that shit. I am really happy they are so good. Gustaf is living in Dublin while shooting 'The Vikings'. I go there and visit him often. Do you know I met my wife in the Horseshoe Bar at the Shelbourne? That was a very good start to my relationship with Ireland."