Today I have added the film page for the 2000 Showtime drama HARLAN COUNTY WAR, a story that's based on one of the most contentious labor disputes of the 1970s. In 1973, many of the men of Harlan County, Kentucky, were employed by Brookside Mining, who operated a number of coal mines. Stellan plays Warren Jakopovich, a former miner born in Poland, and now an organizer for the United Mine Workers Association. He encourages Brookside's workers to join the union and go on strike for fair wages and better working conditions. Holly Hunter, in the lead role as Ruby Kincaid, activist wife of one of the mine workers, earned a Golden Globe nomination for her superb performance. The film was based on the same strike portrayed in the Academy Award-winning documentary "Harlan County USA". Stellan praised his co-star saying, "I love her as a person and actress. She has a fantastic combination of strength and vulnerability, intelligence and absolute truthfulness….and taste..."

This is a photo of Stellan and Holly at the Stockholm International Film Festival on November 20, 2010.

Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) was honored that evening at the Skandia Theatre. After a Q&A with the director, jury president Holly and hometown hero Stellan presented him with the Visionary Award, the Bronze Horse. Sant then slapped Stellan in the face, who returned the slap. They explained that the gesture came from a drinking game Stellan had invented late one night in a Boston bar when they were all hammered. Funny! You can watch the award presentation at this youtube link.


There's so little entertainment news these days with the coronavirus and with being so isolated at home, I decided to work on completing some of the film pages on several of my web sites. Stellan Online now has a film page for AMISTAD and THE PERFECT MURDER.

THE PERFECT MURDER, which premiered in New York at the Angelika Film Center in March 1990, was released under the auspices of Merchant Ivory Productions. But although Merchant is credited as its executive producer, having helped to arrange financing and distribution, he had little part in the actual shooting of the film. In the late 1980s, Merchant became interested in organizing an independent film unit in Bombay that would provide an opportunity for local film people to make modestly budgeted films for distribution in the West. "The Perfect Murder", the first in a prospective series of films by this group, is a detective story with more than a small amount of humor, based on the British writer H. R. F. Keating's novel about Inspector Ghote who, with a Swedish criminologist (played by Stellan) studying Indian police methods, unravels a diamond-smuggling caper.

Spielberg's AMISTAD (1997) certainly had an all-star cast but opened to mixed reviews. Some praised the realism of the mutiny scene. Others disliked the long courtroom scenes and Spielberg's handling of the legal developments. The film did not win an Academy Award, but it received four nominations - Anthony Hopkins for best supporting actor, Janusz Kaminski for best cinematography, Ruth E. Carter for best costume design and John Williams for best original score.

Historians argue that the movie focused more on former President John Quincy Adams (played by Anthony Hopkins) than on abolitionist and merchant Lewis Tappan, who was played by Stellan. Tappan was actually the person most responsible for assembling the defense team and overseeing the care and education of the Africans while in the US. He spearheaded the fundraising efforts for their return home, and made personal sacrifices in order to do so, none of which is conveyed. Thus, Stellan's role was quite diminished with Hopkins taking center stage.

Here are some new additions. They're from a photo shoot in 2010 at the Berlin International Film Festival.