NEWS: APRIL 2020

04.30.20:

Here's a new group of photos taken by The Wrap in their interview with the cast of HOPE at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019. Stellan's shirt is not his usual style and it's great to see him break out from his norm.

Last September THE PAINTED BIRD premiered at the Venice Film Festival and a month later it screened at the London Film Festival. It will make its US debut on July 17, 2020 most likely in arthouse cinemas (if the pandemic crisis allows this). I have posted a new image gallery from the Venice event. The article below is from the February 2020 issue of Total Film magazine.

Naturally Stellan was aware that some of the filmgoers have headed for the exits to which he responds, "I have nothing against people who walk out because they can’t see it. But the thing is, you should see a film like this. First of all because it’s incredibly beautiful cinema - this film is not made for the smaller screens. The other reason is, it’s based on a fantastic book and the story is very dark…and it’s very important for us to be reminded of who we are, because we are also all those people. We’re all capable of doing those things."

Film critic Jack Blackwell writes, "A film like 'The Painted Bird' does not want to be 'liked'. It wants to shock, to disgust, to viscerally move, to make you reconsider just how civilized mankind really is. Seeking such reactions is a gamble but, for my money, 'The Painted Bird' succeeds, a repellent yet compelling and sledgehammer powerful anti-war fable.... Marhoul’s mastery is unquestionable on a technical level. His black and white photography is stunning, especially the bright eyes peeking out in dark rooms, and every war scene is pulled off with what looks like impossible confidence and logistical skill. Absolutely not for everyone, and very hard to outright recommend, but the film is a searing work of art that can be just as rewarding as it is harrowing."

With such grimness and depravity featured in this film, it's encouraging to see that there was still fun in the making of it. You know how Stellan loves to have fun on movie sets. And here he is being lifted in the air by his director Václav Marhoul.

More new photos:

04.28.20:

In 1980, Stellan performed on stage at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre in French playwright Molière's play HUSTRUSKOLAN (The School of Wives) and three years later re-enacted his role in the television version. Molière wrote this five-act theatrical comedy (L’École des femmes) in 1662 and it is considered by some critics to be one of his finest achievements. The script's summary is thus: the elderly Arnolphe has decided to marry a young woman, Agnes, whom he has fallen in love with. She is too young and innocent to realize what plans he has for her. But Agnes and Arnolphe's young friend, the dandy Horace (played by Stellan), have fallen in love with each other. Their love is a threat to Arnolphe's attempt at getting married. 

The original Swedish stage production was directed by Alf Sjoberg who died in a bicycle accident in April 1980 right before the premiere of the play on May 9th. Three years later, Ingmar Bergman, as a tribute to Sjoberg's last theatre production, transposed the play for television. A press conference was held at SR/TV on April 22, 1983 after the cast had rehearsed for ten days and were about to start a 12-day filming in a TV studio. The enthusiastic reviews pointed out Bergman's unique ability to cross-inseminate the theatre stage and television screen. In this TV production, he filmed the play from the point of view of a viewer in a theatre audience. In this way he retained Sjoberg's theatrical conception. The film was shown on Swedish television on Christmas Day 1983 and can be viewed in its entirety with English subtitles at this link.  Described as a "wickedly funny farce", the play is full of slapstick, absurdity and misunderstandings, although back in 1662, it caused a scandal because the patriarchal society did not like the idea of being mocked about their treatment of women.

Stellan co-starred with actor/director Allan Edwall (shown in the above photo) and was also directed by him in the 1984 film "Åke och hans Värld". Co-starring was son Alex making his film debut playing Ake's friend Kalle Nubb. Here is a photo of Alex with Martin Lindström and Gunnar Bergström being directed by Edwall.

Last summer Stellan's only daughter, 27-year-old Eija, married Zeke Tastas at a festive wedding at the Old National Archives in Stockholm. The pair have dated for several years and met through their mutual work in the nightclub business. Forty-four-year-old Zeke is from Buenos Aires and has also been involved in advertising. The wedding took place on August 25, 2019 with both My and Stellan in attendance. The last photo in the top row shows Eija with her brother Valter.

 

04.26.20:

Katherine Anne Porter's NOON WINE was adapted as a made-for-TV movie twice - once in 1966 by Sam Peckinpah starring Jason Robards, Olivia De Havilland and Theodore Bikel, and then almost twenty years later, it was presented on the PBS American Playhouse Series on January 21, 1985. This was Stellan's first American television experience. Michael Fields directed with a cast that included Fred Ward and Lise Hilboldt.  James Ivory and Ismail Merchant were the executive producers. The story is set in Texas in the late 1930s and centers on the Thompson family and their struggle for survival on the land. The catalyst for a huge change in their lives is a Swedish immigrant, Olaf (Stellan), an enthusiastic and personable young man who is taken on as a farmhand, but Olaf is not all that he seems. This haunting TV drama received great reviews. I'm not sure if Stellan actually played the harmonica. Good question to ask him sometime.

In a 2004 interview, Stellan explained how he entered the American acting scene - "It was quite a long process. I was very much unwilling in the beginning. It began when I won 'best actor' in Berlin for 'Den enfaldige mördaren', which I still think is very good, and it led to being offered a part in a TV-film 'Noon Wine' for the non-commercial channel PBS. Then I got an agent - you have to have one over there. And this agent started to pester that I should come over and meet people. So she wanted me to send pictures of myself and I didn't want that either, partly because I was a little snobbish and put myself on airs, but it was also that I found they could just watch my films - I look different in every film. She pestered me for five years. And nevertheless she found some who worked for me - and then I sent pictures and went over there. I did these bizarre rounds of handshaking with all casting directors. Then it just went on."

Flashback: At 27 years old, Stellan was a student at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. The photo below was taken on March 13, 1978, when these young theatre actors received a scholarship from  the famous Anders Sandrew Foundation. From left to right, is Jan Waldekrantz, Linda Krüger, Pontus Gustafsson, Stellan and Gunilla Olsson.

04.09.20:

I've added a new article in the "Press" section from Femina magazine. It's a February interview with Stellan just before he attended the Berlin International Film Festival. I like how he views receiving awards - "A prize is not a measure of my quality, but it is a sign of appreciation."  There are several images with the article. I especially like the photo below. It was taken during the recording of the Swedish TV drama, "The Tragic History and Hamlet - Prince of Denmark". I have no idea why Stellan and his co-star Dan Ekborg would be running around in just towels, but at least they're not butt naked!

The television page for this HAMLET production has now been posted. "Hamlet" has always been my favorite Shakespeare play and I was fortunate enough to see Richard Burton play the Danish prince in Boston back in 1964. What a riveting performance!

Stellan also performed in a Dramaten production of "Hamlet" in 1974 in the role of Fortinbras and his son Gustaf played Hamlet in 2010 at Stockholms stadsteater.

04.04.20:

I've been browsing through my inventory of old photos and am posting some new ones for Stellan Online. The first one is a wonderful publicity still from the 1998 film GLASBLASARNS BARN (The Glassblower's Children), a magical fairy tale based on the book by Maria Gripe. I love all Scandinavian films with Pernilla August!

This portrait was taken at the PKO Off Camera Festival in Krakow, Poland, in May 2015 when Stellan was honored for his important contributions to independent filmmaking. For more photos from this event, visit the image gallery.

Here's a new addition to the GOYA'S GHOST film page. Love it!

The Swedish film page for ORMENS VAG PÅ HALLERBERGET (The Serpent's Way) has been completed. This very somber tale was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and in competition at the 15th Moscow International Film Festival. At the 22nd Guldbagge Awards, Stina Ekblad won the award for Best Actress. The story was a challenging adaptation of a novel by Torgny Lindgren. When the author read the book on the radio, a record-breaking amount of listeners tuned in. Shortly after that, Bo Widerberg decided to make the film.

This drama objectively examines the quiet courage of impoverished people whose faith in God's word enables them to uncomplainingly endure the gross injustice inherent in their culture. Set in the 19th century in northern Sweden, the story centers on Tea, a young woman who is forced to submit to the sexual desires of her landlord. At that time it was considered a morally acceptable means of paying the rent in accordance with their interpretation of the Bible. If a woman refused to sleep with her landlord, she and her family would be evicted. Eventually the landowner dies and soon his son Karl Orsa (played by Stellan) comes to collect his rent. If you enjoy movies about women struggling against poverty, social injustice and the harshness of life, this one's for you!

Stellan had strong praise for Widerberg, who passed away in 1997 - "He was a brilliant director. He had this amazing ear for what was truth. He taught you not to concentrate on being brilliant yourself, but to concentrate on the other actors. More to react than act, and I still try to do that."

 

   

 

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