MAY/JUNE 2007 NEWS:

6.28.07:

The official web site for ARN - THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR has been launched. Last month Svensk Filmindustri had a presence in Cannes offering distributors a chance to view a promo-reel of one of the most expensive projects ever made in Scandinavia with a budget of over $30 million. Distributors reacted positively to the first 10 minutes of the epic movie. SF, who shares sales with Telepool, said deals were closed with Thailand and Vietnam while negotiations were continuing with Korea, Brazil, China and Benelux. The “Swedish Braveheart” should be ready for Toronto or the RomeFilmFest according to Ann-Kristin Westerberg, SF’s head of international sales. Here are a few more Cannes photos as well as some of Stellan's scenes.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)According to Abba news, in In three weeks, Stellan will start his first day in front of cameras working on the movie MAMMA MIA! Shooting of the movie started on Monday in Pinewood studios outside London, though. Stellan says, "I won´t begin with the film before July 15th. I´ve used the last weeks for rehearsing - singing and dancing. I think I sing fine, but they have machines which can make it perfect." He also spent some time in Morocco in the town of Marrakech, and was training driving a motorcycle. He just returned to Sweden  and will have some time off before he starts working on the film. Stellan He announces, "Now I am going to Öland and have holidays!"

MAMMA MIA! is tentatively scheduled for a July 18, 2008 release with a NYC premiere. The cast has been in rehearsals for the past month and filming will begin shortly at Pinewood Studios in England.

The trades are reporting that just as the Cannes festival was closing, the Weinsteins made a couple of last-minute deals, and one of them was to pick up North American home video rights to Tom Shankland's British thriller WAZ. The film will be released through the Genius home video label, although when hasn't been specified. Other territories sold include Sweden (Svensk), Benelux (Filmworks), German-speaking countries (Square One), Portugal (Lusomundo), Poland (Best Film) and Spain (Vertigo).One description of this bone-chilling story states that the killer tries to prove altruism does exist by constructing worst-case victimization scenarios. Strapped naked to a chair and tortured in horrifying ways, the victims are given the choice to die painfully or kill the one they love most by electrocution. It's SAW by way of SEVEN, shot in raw documentary style. Stellan and Aussie actress Melissa George play the cops caught up in the sleazy murders. The film will also be released in the UK by Vertigo Films in Autumn 2007.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)According to Leslie Brokaw of The Boston Globe, a  a pre-release screening of Milos Forman's GOYA'S GHOSTS will be shown at the city's Museum of Fine Arts on Sunday, July 1, at 7 pm. The film was also screened last night at the Getty Center in LA and earlier this month it was shown at the Seattle International Film Festival. Brian Miller of the Seattle Weekly certainly didn't rave about it, complaining that in its occasional lucid moments, it played like a crumpled-up draft novel by Alexandre Dumas. Film critic Emanuel Levy writes, "At once ambitious and vacuous, Goya's Ghosts fails to illuminate any of its three thematic strands: Goya as a unique painter, the oppression of the Inquisition, and a portrait of Spain at the end of the eighteenth century." More negative reviews abound. Such a disappointment.... The film will have a limited released in the US on July 20.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END has become the fastest film to pass the $500 million mark at the international box-office. The sequel raked in the amount in just 20 days, beating the previous record, set by recent blockbuster Spider-Man 3, by a week. It is the 15th movie to make more than $500 million at the box-office.

5.24.07:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)The premiere of the third PIRATES blockbuster took place at Disneyland on May 19th but both Keira Knightley and Stellan were in abstentia. But that's okay because Stellan had more important places to be - the Cannes Film Festival! Here are a couple photos of him, coffee cup and all. These pics were taken at a photo call at the Majestic Hotel on May 22 promoting ARN - THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR. From left to right, that's Joakim Natterqvist, Sofia Hellin and Vincent Perez. It just so happens that I've been managing The Vincent Perez Archives for the past eight years, so it's great to see these two charismatic actors in the same movie.

5.06.07:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)In an interview by Jonathan Dean of Total Film, Stellan gave some insight into playing the Spanish master painter. When asked if he were a fan of Goya, he replied, "Oh, very much so. The first time I was in Madrid, I went to the Prado Museum and got stuck half a day in front of Goya. He’s an amazing painter, especially when you look at how he progressed from his early, pretty naïve paintings to the more modern ones that were like 100 years ahead of their time." Was that Stellan actually painting? He answers, "All the times you see my hand doing a painting, it's a real painter. I'm just not good enough. The guy who instructed me told me it would take ten years to get the brush working in an appropriate way, so I gave that up." What was it like working with Forman? "He doesn't say much. He keeps very quiet, then talks about where to eat in the evening. Occasionally he shouts - 'That's bad acting Stellan! Why are you acting so bad!'" And what about the Pirate films - "It was fun once I got on set, but with so many hours of make-up beforehand, it was kind of hard." And what does the future bring? "I've made about 65 films and I'm not bored yet, partly thanks to always trying something different. I have a varied diet and I'm happy about that." Certainly, MAMMA MIA! is a new venture for our Swede with the chance to show off his vocal chords. There's also a video interview with Stellan at Empire Magazine regarding the filming of GOYA'S GHOSTS. Many thanks to Victoria Edwards for sending along this link!

The Milos Forman film opened in the UK on Friday and it comes as no surprise that the reviews continue to be universally critical. At least the Czech director has told us that no matter how the movie does at the box office or how it is received by critics, the camaraderie and "lovely ambience" of its making leave it marked in his own mind as "the best professional experience of my career." 

5.01.07:

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END will open three weeks from tomorrow - that's Wednesday, May 25. In the follow-up to the record-breaking smash 2006 hit, DEAD MAN’S CHEST, we find our heroes Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) allied with Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) in a desperate quest to free Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from his mind-bending trap in Davy Jones’ locker while the terrifying ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, wreaks havoc across the Seven Seas. Navigating through treachery, betrayal and wild waters, they must forge their way to exotic Singapore and confront the cunning Chinese pirate Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat). Now headed beyond the very ends of the Earth, each must ultimately choose a side in a final, titanic battle - as not only their lives and fortunes but the entire future of the freedom-loving Pirate way hangs in the balance. Here are a couple photos of Stellan returning as Will's father, Bootstrap Bill, and one scene with Depp, Rush and Yun-Fat. Thanks to Robin Solsjö Höglund for the pics of Stellan!

The Walt Disney Company is helping to make wishes come true for children all over the world by donating proceeds from the highly anticipated world premiere of the film to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and Make-A-Wish® International. The event will take place on May 19th at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, with all of the film’s stars expected to participate. This gala celebration for the third installment of the enormously popular “Pirates” saga will raise $3 million for Make-A-Wish efforts, with Disney providing an initial donation in excess of $1 million to the charities, in addition to underwriting the entire cost of the premiere. This is the first time that the public has been invited to participate in a “Pirates” premiere. Individual tickets were priced at $1,500 and were quickly sold out. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and Make-A-Wish International are dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in order to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)It appears that most of us in the US will have to wait to see GOYA'S GHOSTS on DVD as the film will have a limited release on July 20. Very disappointing. That typically indicates that only NYC and LA theatres will be screening it. There's a chance it might be picked up later by arthouses depending on the reception it receives. In the UK it was originally scheduled to go directly to DVD in April, but apparently it will open in theatres on Friday with a new DVD release date of September 30. Spain released the DVD on March 27 and Germany will follow on June 25. Last month it premiered in Italian cinemas to mediocre reviews as L'ULTIMO INQUISITORE (The Last Inquisitor), perhaps a better title to settle the confusion that it is not a biopic on the artist. You'll note that Goya isn't even shown on the Italian poster nor on the one supposedly for US audiences. I've added two new interviews for Swedish fans from Moviezine and Cine regarding the film's opening last month. If anyone would enjoy doing the translations, please do!