APRIL - JUNE 2008:


button_box.gif (205 bytes)Film production began this month in Rome on ANGELS & DEMONS. Here are some on-location photos taken last Thursday and this Monday. You'll recognize Tom Hanks and that's director Ron Howard in the hat.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)It's only a month away before theatergoers can enjoy MAMMA MIA! At last there's a summer blockbuster for folks over 40! There will be two star-studded premieres for the film. The first will take place in London on June 30 at the Odeon Leicester Square. Attending the event will be Prince Charles and wife Cornelia. The US premiere will be held in NYC on July 16, two days before its opening date. The film's music soundtrack will be released on CD on July 8. For an exclusive look at the movie, visit this ET link.


I have some DVD news today. Vertigo Films and Contender Home Entertainment have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of WAZ on June 16.  The film premiered in UK cinemas on February 22. In the US distributor Genius Products has just announced the film's Region 1 DVD release for August 12. Be aware that it has been renamed - THE KILLING GENE.  The disc will include 3 deleted scenes, a Making of featurette, a Torture featurette, and an in-depth interview with the director, producer and screenwriter. It should retail for around $19.97. Look for an on-set visit in Fangoria's  #275 issue on sale in July.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)Screenwriter Akiva Goldman, who adapted Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, has written a screenplay based on another of Brown's books called ANGELS & DEMONS. Upon publication back in 2000, The San Francisco Chronicle called the book, A Breathless Real-Time Adventure. Exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ. Sources indicate that the Vatican City thriller, produced by Sony/Columbia pictures, is a actually a prequel to The Da Vinci Code, but has been restructured to serve as a sequel. Despite being generally panned by critics, the 2006 film became a worldwide megahit earning over $750 million at the box office. The sequel will again be directed by Ron Howard with Tom Hanks reprising his role as Dr. Robert Langdon. Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer (Munich) had landed the female lead opposite Hanks. Ewan McGregor will take on the role of Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, the Pope's closest aide, who helps Langdon with his investigation. In an interview with Aftonbladet, Stellan says, "I will be playing a captain of the Swiss Guard in a fairly large role." Production will begin in Rome in June before heading to Los Angeles. The film is set to open on May 15, 2009.

According to Britfilms TV Limited, director Tom Shankland says getting WAZ's leading star on board didn't take the usual sort of methods. He relates his casting of Stellan as Eddie Argo, the cop with a hidden past. - "Well, you just have to get down beg him and drink a bit. Stellan always loved the second half of the script. For the first 30 pages he thought it was just the usual thing. Cops killers, the usual. Then he suddenly realized that this is actually a sort of twisted love story, so for him it suddenly became a European movie and not an American one. But he obviously wanted to know who this schmuck of a director who hed never heard of was, so we went out to meet him. It was at this meeting that Tom was asked some very important questions by the well respected thesp. One of the big questions from Stellan was whether I drank or not, I told him I liked the occasional glass of wine and he said, okay, Ill do it. We were in seventh heaven when he committed to it.. Hes just one of those actors that have something epic about his face, and the type of feature that shows that hes kind of haunted by something, you just dont know what it is yet. He can just convey acres of thought, and it comes across so well. And ain't that the truth!!

button_box.gif (205 bytes)The countdown is ten more weeks until MAMMA MIA! hits US screens this summer. Expectations are high for the film's success. There will be some changes though. Three songs from the stage show  have been dropped - Thank You For The Music, Under Attack and Knowing Me, Knowing You - although the movie introduces another ABBA number, When All Is Said And Done. The film version will also focus more on Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan than the young lovers and there'll be a higher tempo with everything taking place within 24 hours. Before he began filming last summer at Pinewood Studios, Stellan jokingly talked about his co-star - "Meryl Streep isn't totally without talent, right? I haven't met her yet, but there surely isn't anyone who'd not like her as an actor." Continuing to be the comic, he relates how he got the role. "My agent called and said, 'Stellan, can you sing?' No, I said, what kind of role it is? His agent responded, 'They will film ABBA's Mamma Mia!' Yes, then I can sing, I said. Because I thought that in film everything can be fixed afterwards in the studio. Folks can fly in a film. So my agent said that I can sing."

Being at the recording studio was highly enjoyable according to our Swede who said working with his peers always went well. "Imagine me, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth in the studio singing together about romantic walks in Paris!  It was unbelievably great fun.  I was happy like a child as I've never taken part in a musical before." He admits, "It was incredibly cool to sing Voulez-Vous." And what does he think of his voice - "My voice is.... well, some sort of...." But when ABBA's Beeny Andersson was asked how well the three men could sing, he responded, "They can sing. All three. Better than they think. Stellan thinks he can't sing, but he can. He has good timing and a good voice." Firth is keeping his fingers crossed that their voices won't kill the movie. He says, "They didn't auditon me to sing. They didn't audition Pierce Brosnan to sing. Or Stellan Skarsgrd. So they get whatever they deserve as far as I'm concerned." Despite being Swedish, Stellan claims he missed out on ABBA the first time around. "Of course, I was aware of them. The thing was to try and avoid them. But then I did the film and I realized that the music was more intricate than you think. You can listen to the songs over and over and hear new things all the time."

I came across an undated article from Nordic Reach magazine that came out sometime during the release of his Exorcist films. It put forth the question why Stellan Skarsgrd has succeeded in America while so many others have failed. Only a handful of  Scandinavian actors have made a comparable name for themselves in Hollywood. Stellan responded, "I don`t know. I guess I`ve been lucky to make a couple of films that got international attention. The first was DEN ENFALDIGE MRDAREN (1982), directed by Hans Alfredsson, which won a Silver Bear in Berlin. That brought me out to the States for the first time, and I got an agent in the USA."  Stellan has no illusions that all of his films are diamonds: "Ten or 15 percent are really good, 10-15 percent are really bad, and the rest are normal films," he estimates. He then relates how his sister came to Rome to visit him while he was on location. Apparently, she was so impressed that his dressing room had once been part of an apartment where the legendary film director Felini lived that she hugged the toilet where the great man once sat! As to whether or not Stellan would sit in the director's chair, he replies, ""It would be interesting to direct at some point, but only if I find a story I feel I have to tell."

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Here are some production drawings & photos from BBC's GOD ON TRIAL, set to air later this year.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)According to Swedish sources, Stellan has just been cast in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code sequel, ANGELS AND DEMONS. More detailed updates tomorrow.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)Last Tuesday Stellan was out in the Big Apple once more with his new love interest at his side. They attended a screening of "The Life Before Her Eyes" at the IFC Center. Swedish papers report that Miss Everett is 32 years old, works in the film industry and hails from Ireland. Could he have met her while he was filming WAZ in Belfast during the spring of 2006?


On Monday evening Stellan, accompanied by Megan Everett, attended the 35th Annual Film Society of Lincoln Center Gala Tribute to Meryl Streep. Among the guests were Christopher Walken, Robert Redford, Uma Thurman, Stanley Tucci, Amy Adams, Mike Nicholas, Jonathan Demme, and Glenn Close. Someone asked Stellan if he had any Meryl Streep anecdotes whereupon he replied, "No. I'm afraid I'm not very good at that kind of thing." Here are the photos: