Tomorrow the Oscar nominations will be announced and we're all rooting for Director/writer Maria Sødahl's HOPE to be among them. In a recent interview, Maria was asked about casting Stellan as her husband. She explained, "I try not to have anyone in mind while writing. And, quite soon, I realized there was only one guy who could do Thomas’s part…In a sense, his part is more challenging, than hers. Because to be that character who’s not 'acting,' has to have very small things, body language, and have this inner life that you can read. That needed a great actor. And, of course, I wanted my husband to know a great actor would portray him. (laughs) …I know Stellan. I know that he’s had similar experiences from his own life. He’s got a blended family of eight. I have a blended family of six…and he’s also had a wife who had cancer. He has been in Thomas’s shoes. So he could make his own character. He wasn’t going to play my husband; he was going to portray his Thomas. So I didn’t think of anybody else for his part."

3/15/21 UPDATE:  So disappointed that "Hope" did not make the final Oscar nomination list today. However, Danish director Thomas Vinterberg received two nominations for "Another Round" - Best International Feature and Best Director. This is a terrific film and Mads Mikkelsen gives another awesome performance. Check it out!

In an interview last year, Stellan commented on Indian cinema. Personally, I'm not a huge fan but I do favor UK films about the colonization of India by the British, such as "Heat and Dust" (1983). Stellan said that the impact of Indian cinema as popular entertainment stretches from the west of India to the Mediterranean countries such as Morocco and covering all those countries of the Middle East. Having traveled to many film locations around the world, he remarks, "All over the eastern part of the world, there is a Hindi film playing."

He believes, "There is no American star who is as loved as an Indian star is." Stellan recalled the time when he was filming "My Son the Fanatic" with the late Indian actor Om Puri, who was mobbed with fans in England - "Walking through Bradford (in Western Yorkshire where they were shooting) with him was insane!"

He added, "I made one Indian film called "The Perfect Murder" many years ago with Naseeruddin Shah. It was a very interesting experience, but the film didn’t turn out well. However, I had the chance to meet a lot of Indian actors."


Last week Stellan did an interview via Zoom with UK's Eye for Film from his London hotel room. He started off by saying he had been out to the studio ("Andor" production) that day to do some tests though they weren't shooting. He added, "I'm really tired of hotel rooms."

In discussing HOPE, which is shortlisted for the Oscars, Stellan was asked about acting opposite real doctors and health professionals in the film. He responded, "Film I think is very different from stage acting. Stage acting is so much technique to make it even visible twenty meters away or audible twenty meters away. Also, on stage you are in the same room as the audience which means it is real, even if it’s stylized, even if it’s a heightened reality. But on film, the camera is so revealing. It tells if you’re just relying on your tools. It can tell immediately that you’re lying. That’s why sometimes amateurs are brilliant in front of the camera. I mean, when Björk won the prize in Cannes as best actress [for "Dancer In The Dark"], she’s never acted before. But her presence in front of the camera was so vivid. And those  doctors we had here knew exactly what they were doing. They were not trying to portray anything. They weren’t trying to do anything strange or displaying a whole character in many dimensions. They were doing what they were doing every day. And they were alive in front of the camera and it was fantastic to see. And they’re all different. Different characters that sort of stand out. Beautiful."

And did the film change any of Stellan's ideas on death?

He replied, "Well, I thought about death when I was three years old and realized that I had to deal with it. And I haven’t thought about it since. Because I was fine with it. I can’t say that this project taught me more about death. But it reminded me of life and the importance of life. And even the family that we had in this film, which so much resembled in many ways my family and with all the kids and the big apartment and with all of this life - it emphasized the thing that I already knew. That this was the most important thing in my life."

I've added two more pages to Stellan's theatre history. The first is FJÄRILSLEK (The Years of the Butterfly), which was staged at Dramaten in 1978. If this photo looks somewhat silly, it may be because the play reflected absurdism.

The second play is an earlier one in 1969 that was staged at Malmö Stadsteater. Titled ALLA HAR TRÄDGÅRD in Swedish, its English title is "Everything in the Garden" and it was written by Edward Albee. The photo below shows a scene with a very young Stellan with actor Bengt Brunskog, who plays his father.


Whatever you call it, Scandinavian Noir or Scaninoir or Nordic Noir, it's a crime thriller from one of the five Scandinavian countries. It is typically a dimly lit aesthetic with a mix of bleak naturalism and desolate locations. Add some melancholy to that mix as well. Often the settings are snowy and the police detectives seem rather morose. When commenting on this subject, Stellan said, "Nordic Noir got a great push from the 'Millennium Triology'. That is a really mediocre crime story but it has really interesting characters." You may remember that he played the bad guy in the American version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".

Stellan admits, "I don't even know what Scandinoir is. I probably did one of the first - "Insomnia" - many years ago but now almost anything that comes out of Scandinavia is Scandinoir, which is sad."

Here's an old NYC ad for the movie;

As a seasoned cinephile (at 77 years old), if you're into Nordic Noir, I highly recommend the Icelandic thriller "A White, White, Day" (2019) starring Ingvar Sigurdsson. That name may be familiar to die-hard Skarsgård fans because he was Stellan's co-star in "Beowulf & Grendel". Yes, he played the monstrous creature Grendel.

To our current family knowledge of Stellan, he plays grandfather to two children. Sam, the doctor, and his wife Sanna have a seven-year-old son and Bill (30 yrs.) has a daughter (28 mos.) named Miracle (is that really true?), whose mother is Swedish TV actress Alida Morberg (36 yrs). The pair have not gone through the formality of a marriage for whatever reason. Bill is very private about his personal life, but Alida is fond of social media and thus posted this photo of mother and daughter on Instagram. Perhaps this child may have inherited her daddy's beautiful eyes.

Bill's acting career continues to soar with these upcoming films - "Naked Singularity", "Emperor" and "Gilded Rage". He will also be starring in Netflix's "Clark" series. Netflix has not announced a release date yet.