begin in Scotland on Monday for THE RAILWAY MAN, Stellan's latest
project, which was reported here on the 4/5 update. A press conference
was held yesterday in Edinburgh's Waverley Gate building with Stellan
joined by Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, screenwriter Andy
Paterson, producer Bill Curbishley and director Jonathan Teplitzky. The
World War II movie tells the life story of Scot Eric Lomax (played by
Firth), who was captured and tortured by Japanese soldiers. Stellan
plays Lomax's best friend who accompanies him back to the scene of his
torture. Hiroyuki Sanada ("Revenge" TV series) has joined the cast and
will play a Japanese officer from the prison camp. Teplitzky said, "We
are all captured by the story and Eric’s journey. With Eric being from
this part of the world, it just seemed like a great place to start the
journey." Filming will take place in Edinburgh and North Berwick in East
Lothian before the cast and crew move to Thailand in late May and
Queensland, Australia, in early June.
unaware, "The Railway Man" is a true story adapted from Eric Lomax’s
best-selling book. According to the official blurb, "Eric Lomax (Firth)
was one of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the
construction of the Thai/Burma railway during World War II. Years later,
still haunted by memories of brutality and torture, he met a beautiful
woman on a train named Patti (Kidman), who was determined to rid Eric of
his demons. With the help of a wartime colleague, she set up a mission
back to the Bridge on the River Kwai where Eric would confront his
tormentor, Nagase Takashi."
press conference, Firth called the film a story about mental trauma
following the atrocities of war describing his character as "someone who
is searching for a way home." Kidman, who replaced Rachel Weisz at the
last minute, claimed that she was still polishing her English accent
while Stellan added, "I'm struggling to play English. We'll see how it
book-to-screen translation is screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce (A Cock
And Bull Story, 24 Hour Party People) and producer-come-co-scripter Andy
Paterson. “It’s one of those stories that once you’ve read it you can
never let it go” stressed Paterson, saying that the movie is both a “big
production” and an “emotional thriller”.
The film is an Australia/U.K. co-production, with Lionsgate U.K. taking
worldwide rights. The film has been pre-sold to Metropolitan in France,
eOne in Benelux, West in Russia, Spentzos in Greece, Ascot Elite in
Switzerland, Gussi in Latin America, Mislabel in Scandinavia and Forum
Hollywood Reporter has provided more details on Stellan's upcoming film
project with Danish director, Lars von Trier. Charlotte Gainsbourg
has signed up to co-star in the pornographic drama, "Nymphomaniac".
The synopsis reads as follows: "Nymphomaniac" is the light and poetic
story of a woman's erotic journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by
the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe (Charlotte). On
a cold winter's evening Seligman (Stellan), an old bachelor, finds Joe
semi-unconscious and beaten up in an alleyway. After bringing her to his
flat, he sees to her wounds while trying to understand how things could
have gone so wrong for her. He listens intently as she recounts the lush
and multi-faceted story of her life, rich in associations and
interjecting incidents. Structurally, the film will be divided into
eight chapters with titles, such as "The Little Organ School". Despite
its pornographic title and expected content, it reportedly will be
largely dialogue-driven. The film's producer, and von Trier's business
partner, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, said the film will be "very erotic but
also very funny."
actress has previously worked with the controversial director in two
previous films - "Antichrist" and "Melancholia". She is the daughter of
English actress Jane Birkin and French singer-songwriter Serge
Gainsbourg. Von Trier plans to shoot both a soft and hardcore version of
the English-language feature, with the latter expected to include
graphic depictions of penetration. Funding is coming from The NRW Film
Foundation of Germany with $1.6 million in production subsidies. The
film will be shot entirely in the German state of North-Rhein Westphalia
with production set to begin this summer. Of course, the big question is
whether or not the film will ever be submitted to the Cannes Film
Festival after last year's fiasco.
month UK's Guardian asked Stellan how Lars von Trier compared to Ingmar
Bergman. He replied, "Bergman was hyper-intelligent but I never liked
him as a person. He was not a good man. All directors are control freaks
but he was extreme. He did things to people that were not kosher. He
didn't destroy people to make them better actors: he destroyed them to
utilize his power." Bergman directed Stellan on television in
"Hustruskolan" and on stage in "A Dream Play."
is asked if he's actually a calming influence on a von Trier set, he
reveals his good humor - "I have the feeling that Lars uses me like they
use those castrated bulls in Pamplona: they send in a couple of them to
calm down the others. That's me: a castrated bull."
particular interview takes place in Stellan's office in Stockholm and
he's feeling quite happy. He says, "I just got here after seeing my
eighth child on an ultrasound, so I'm in a good mood. It's beautiful: an
energetic little skeleton." When asked why he's viewed as one of the
nicest guys in the acting business, he says, "My father would tell me:
'Remember no one's worth more than you, and no one's worth less than
you.' I treat everyone as equals. I can't work if I'm not having fun,
and I can't have fun if everyone isn't happy."
MovieZine, Stellan's 17-year-old son, Valter, has been cast in
the upcoming film, IRL, directed by Erik Leijonborg. Valter will
co-star with Alba August and Happy Jankell, who also happen to be
children of famous Swedish thespians. The film is described as a
"cross-border adventure of evil among teenagers in the world of social
media." Shooting will begin shortly with a spring 2013 release date.
step into the world of cinema was in 2003 when he starred in the film, "Att döda
ett barn" (To Kill a Child), co-directed and co-written by older brother
Alexander and Björne Larson
(pictured below). Stellan provided the narration for the short 8-minute
film, which went on to capture the Grand Prix (Euro 3,500 and statuette)
at the Odense Film Festival in Denmark. Here's a production photo
showing the sweet, tow-headed child posing for his scene. Yes, that's
Stellan laying at the other end of the boat.
year Valter was cast in "Detaljer" and then in 2008, he co-starred
alongside his father and brother Bill in "Arn: The Kingdom at Road's
Expressen interview, it is noted that Stellan has obviously secured the future of
Sweden's acting business through his sons. He kiddingly says, "I'm
jealous. They've already surpassed me. Now I'm left behind and can take
Back in August 2001,
Aftonbladet announced that Alexander had taken
his father's place on the women's list of sexy
men. Cafe magazine gave the 25-year-old the top
slot as the man that Swedish women would most
like to have sex with. I added the color photos
of Stellan plus Alexander in a couple shots from
his modeling days with Guess Jeans.
is questioned about "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" not
receiving a film or director Oscar nomination, he admits he's annoyed
and responds, "It is an amazing film and Fincher did a great job. I
think there were many films that were much better than 'The Artist'".
He gives high marks for co-star Rooney Mara - "She is intelligent and
friendly and a very good actress. She gives such a fantastic
performance. It’s rare to see an American million-dollar movie where the
heroine has no vanity at all. Not doing anything to be liked. Not doing
anything to be stylish. Therefore, we love her. It would be fun to work
with her again."
repeats his praise for his co-star in an interview posted today with
Digital Spy - "She's probably the greatest film heroine in many,
many decades. It's a combination. On one level, she's vulnerable and
abused but she gets back at her tormentors, and especially as Rooney
Mara plays her, there's nothing in her that would make you like her
really. Her exterior is not very appealing and she's not very charming,
but she's smart and skilled and then after a while, you can't help but
start to love her. That's the strange magic about it and Rooney's
incredible. How many big American films do you see where the heroine has
no vanity whatsoever? She doesn't smile and she doesn't try to look
sexy, and she's ten times more powerful because of that." IMHO, Rooney
Mara can't hold a match to Noomi Repace. In a mesmerizing performance,
the Swedish actress takes on the 'soul' of Lisbeth Salander, not
just the piercings and tattoos. She is downright scary.
also asked about the current fascination with all things Scandinavian at
the moment, such as the Danish crime TV series, "The Killing" and the
film adaption of Jo Nesbo's book, "Headhunters". He answers,
"Scandinavia has been producing very good crime novels for decades and
it's funny because it's one of the most peaceful societies in the world;
we have a very low crime rate and there are very few serial killers and
rapes going on, but obviously we like writing about it. People like
crime stories and commercially they do well, so that must be the
reason." On a personal note, I highly recommend Jo Nesbo's book, "The
Snowman" - it's one of those can't-put-down novels.
his film projects, Stellan mentions he has just finished shooting "Romeo
and Juliet" in Italy and later this summer he's going to work with Lars
Von Trier in "Nymphomaniac". But before that, he'll do "The Railway
Man". He says he might be making an American film in the fall, but
nothing has been signed yet so he's not at liberty to discuss it. Asked
again about Swedish film projects, he replies, "It would be nice." He
doesn't believe he's viewed as unreachable because of his star status.
He explains, "Not at all, because I do get offers. It's just that they want me to
play the bad guy in low-budget movies. And those can't compete with the
bad guy parts I'm offered on the other side of the ocean."
appears that Stellan will have a busy year, especially in the fall with
Megan expecting in early September. On becoming a father for the eighth
time, Stellan says, "It's just as exciting and as fun as the first time
but now it's easier. I have more time to spend with my children than
years ago when I was going out to conquer the world".
lives: Söder district of Stockholm
Last book read: "I hope I haven't read my last book"
Music: Coldplay, Beethoven, Ella Fitzgerald
Dessert: "I don't eat desserts"
As far as
our "True Blood" star, he's been quite the traveler lately,
promoting his new movie, "Battleship", due out in theaters next month.
Alexander tells Damernas Värld
magazine, "I’ve been traveling and living in hotels for six months. I
made two movies in New York. After that I went to Sweden for a few days
to see my family, went to Rio de Janeiro where my Dad was filming, flew
to Louisiana to another set, visited a couple of film festivals and came
back here to LA about a month ago. It’s stressful to travel like that
but I like it. Right now we are filming season five of 'True
Blood'. He jokes, "In two years, Swedes will be out of fashion and I
will be unemployed." I highly doubt it! Here's one of the photos from
helped solve the problem of traveling to various filming locations by
inviting family and friends to come along with him on his global trots.
I once asked Stellan what it was like to take his family to
Cambodia when he was filming, "City of Ghosts" and he responded, "In the
beginning of the shoot we lived in a brand new luxury hotel in Phnom
Penh which was absurd and felt almost sickening considering the enormous
poverty on the street outside our walls. My children also felt very bad
about it and also a little scared by the attention they got as nobody
was used to seeing such small blond people. Later we moved to a small
town near the sea, Kampot, and there we lived in a house and mixed with
the people. My children found friends and suddenly the poverty got a
human face and became less scary to them even if the unfairness in our
unequal conditions still upset them."
Well, I was
wrong when I assumed Stellan would not attend the premiere of
THE AVENGERS last night. How could I
forget that Alexander is an LA guy now and what better person to
bring along! The paparazzi know where to aim their camera and who among
the "Avengers" crowd is going to turn more heads than a natural
beauty like the "True Blood" handsome Swede. The premiere was held
at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood with director Joss Whedon and
several of his cast members in attendance.
Check out the photo gallery. The
superheroes action film will open in US theaters on May 4th.
Australian Sunday edition of the Herald Sun magazine section
featured Alexander on April 8th. You can read the article by
clicking on the images. Alexander reiterates what he told the E!
interviewer in the above video as to being protective of his privacy.
Just as his grandparents had given good advice to his father when he
suddenly became a teenage TV star, Stellan passed the words of wisdom
down to his children. For maintaining your privacy and even sanity, it's
also healthy to understand the difference between how the public
perceives you and the "real" you. I remember several years ago I gave
Stellan a set of questions and there were some he chose not to answer. I
had indicated that I was a parent of six children as well and, like him,
our family had spent summers by the sea at the same cottage for many
years. He chose not to answer what his summer home meant to him
and his family. I'm sure there are cherished memories, but they are not
about to be shared with the world.
I've previously shared my
long-time admiration for actor Liam Neeson and it appears he also
has advice for Alexander according to Sweden's Aftonbladet. Liam can be
seen in the upcoming "Battleship" and he told his young co-star
not to stay too long in LA. He advised getting a place outside of a town
consumed by the film industry, where it can sometimes become really
depressing. And Liam was not slow to offer praise, saying "I have
always admired his father. He is legendary. And the apple does not fall
far from the tree." In fact, Liam and Natasha Richardson, who died
tragically in a skiing accident three years ago, lived with their two
boys in a quiet upstate New York town not far from my home. I would
frequent a restaurant whose owner adored his visits. Isn't it refreshing
to see actors maintaining their integrity rather than watching the
sordid lives of so many celebrities continually splashed across the
tabloids? Think Lindsay Lohan....
Tuesday this week, the Blu-ray edition and DVD of
KING OF DEVIL'S ISLAND was released by Film
Movement in the US and Canada. The Norwegian film received high honors
in its homeland, winning the equivalent of the Oscar for Best Film and
Best Actor for Stellan as the head of the institution for wayward boys.
For further insight into the film, you can
watch a Skype interview with Stellan (in English) from his home
in Sweden where he talks with Thom Ernst, the host of "Saturday Night at
the Movies". Norwegian film critic Thor willy Bakke writes,
has never participated in a Norwegian film without raising the
number of notches. Here he plays an outwardly strong character
who is weak, cowardly and pathetic - but with a thin, hard steel
wire of morality and righteousness deep inside him. It is a
complex and interesting character, and the tour of a refined
talent that we do not have anything like in the whole Nordic
region." I can't wait to see it!
to Aftonbladet, Stellan's next project will be THE RAILWAY MAN,
an Australian-UK production based on the experiences of former WW II
prisoner Eric Lomax, who was captured by the Japanese and forced to work
on Burma's Death Railway. Stellan's co-stars are very familiar to him -
Nicole Kidman, who he met in Lars von Trier's "Dogville" and Colin Firth
who sang with him in "Mamma Mia". Colin will play the lead role of
Lomax with Nicole as his wife, Patricia Wallace. Stellan will play a
prisoner who is forced to build the railway between Bangkok and Rangoon.
He says the film is based on a true story and it cuts between these
people's past and back to when they were prisoners of war under the
Japanese. It's about people who cannot get over the trauma they have
gone through. Filming will begin in Scotland for a duration of
three weeks and then the production, directed by Jonathan
Teplitzky, will move on to Australia's Gold Coast. Stellan says he looks
forward to having fun and refers to Nicole and Colin as "wonderful
actors". When asked for his opinion about the possibility of "Dragon
Tattoo" sequels, he replied positively though it's unclear whether David
Fincher would direct. He said, "They've taken in more than $100 million
in the US so if they can make money on the second and third film,
they'll do them."
Wright of Indiewire had an interesting article today on Alexander's
career that I wanted to comment on. Wright noted that the "young
offspring of the well-respected acting talent Stellan Skarsgård,
hasn’t quite carved his niche out for himself just yet in the film
world. Outside of women everywhere with HBO subscriptions who DVR every
episode of horror soap “True Blood” to watch his ripped physique, his
excellent spots in Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia,” the HBO mini-series
“Generation Kill,” and even his performance in the unnecessary Rod Lurie
remake of Sam Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs” have seemed to go unnoticed
despite being praiseworthy." My thoughts exactly! Sometimes good looks
can get in the way of an actor being taken seriously. Consider Alex's
younger brother, Gustaf, who is possibly more talented, but he doesn't
have the body and face that young girls fantasize about plus he doesn't
suck blood! It's going to be an uphill battle for Gustaf to achieve the
success of his older brother or father, especially if he resists
Hollywood. According to Wright, Alexander may start to be noticed by the
general public with his upcoming line-up of impressive films,
namely "Battleship" and "The East". Variety is now reporting that
he's about to hop aboard the Warner Bros. horror thriller, "Hidden".
We'll also be able to check him out in "What Maisie Knew" with Julianne
Moore, along with Alex Rubin's film, "Disconnect". I'm very curious to
see whether Mr. Good Looking can transcend from TV vampire to big-screen
box office star. By the way, the fifth season of "True Blood" will
premiere on June 10th.
the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) announced that Marvel's
THE AVENGERS will close its 11th edition
on Saturday, April 28. Honoring the spirit of the festival, the
screening will celebrate everyday heroes from police agencies, fire
departments, first responders and various branches of the U.S. military.
These local heroes will have an opportunity to attend the screening and
meet the cast. I'll take a guess that Stellan will not be attending.
with Stellan was aired on a German radio show last week. The
translation was disastrous but here is one tidbit. "I've probably made
one movie in the last 15 years in Sweden. The offers I get are not
very attractive. I do not care where the offers come from. I've shot
five or six films in Norway, and they were the best roles I've ever had.
In Denmark I work with Lars von Trier. In Sweden, I don't think the
"Wallander police TV series is very exciting. If I want to do police
stuff, I would go to America and get paid ten times more."
Peter Berg and his "Battleship" cast are currently in Japan
promoting the film. The press conference was held yesterday aboard the
USS George Washington, an American nuclear-powered submarine stationed
in Yokosuka. Today the premiere was held at the International Yoyogi
first gymnasium in Tokyo. Alexander has learned from his famous
father that becoming a Hollywood actor makes for interesting travel.
The 35-year-old also admits his
celebrity status is not a problem when his privacy is regularly invaded
by fans. Really? Alex explains, "It's great. People are so very
friendly and nice to me. It really means so much to me and I am very
flattered that they want me to sign autographs or take pictures with me. It means a lot to me that they watch the show
(HBO's "True Blood") and go to the films so I really don’t mind
it when they come up to me." How gracious!