June 22, the 19-minute documentary, "Our Need for Consolation"
(aka Vårt behov av tröst) was
shown at the Palm Springs Int'l ShortFest (see June 10th update). The
short film, with an on-screen narration by Stellan, is based on a text
by acclaimed Swedish author and journalist Stig Dagerman. In February
2010, producer Philip Hammarström was pleased to have Stellan on
board - "He wants to do it because it's just Stig Dagerman involved. If
everything goes without a hitch with the timing and schedule, he's set
to do it." When the film premiered at the Gothenburg Int'l Film Festival
in January this year, Swedish newspaper Gefle Dagblad stated, "It is a
deeply poignant, focused little work of art about life and life's
responsibilities and of man as human being. It has the potential to be a
classic...The staging is conventional, but at the same time razor-sharp,
especially Stellan Skarsgård's reading." The film was produced in both
Swedish and English. Stellan appears in a white shirt, sitting on a
chair reading the text while sequences in a slide show fade into each
other. Personally, I found Stellan's voice far too gravelly and I can
only assume that he was directed to speak in that tone. You can watch
the trailer and decide for yourself
at this link.
posted the ROMEO AND JULIET film page
and will add to it as more information is available. When Stellan was
asked about his role in the film, he responded, "Well I can’t tell you
much as I only had a couple of days in it but the reason that I took it
was I wanted to see if I, as a Swede, could master Shakespeare - I don’t
think I managed (laughs). It’s not Shakespeare as it is some fakespeare
as well since it is partly re-written by Julian Fellows. I think you
will see an extremely beautiful film with a fantastic setting and clothes
and you will see Hailee Steinfeld shine." Absolutely! Hailee will dazzle
us with her talent as she did as Mattie Ross in "True Grit" two years
ago. She's a born actress!
some photos I just came across that were taken on April 12th when
Stellan was staying at the Chateau Marmont in LA -
Very shortly filming will wrap up in Australia on THE RAILWAY MAN though
Stellan's scenes were completed earlier this month. Producer/screenwriter Andy Paterson describes the film as "part emotional
thriller, part war story and part love story". Here are several
on-location photos of Stellan. You'll note a harbour welcome sign that
adds a bit of humor to the scene - "Visitors to the harbour do so at
their own risk. Please be safe." Obviously, it won't be visible in the
recently spoke to Aftonbladet about his busy schedule. For the past
year, he has been working non-stop. In addition to the premiere of the 5th season of "Ture Blood", he is involved in four films - "What Maisie
Knew", "The East", "Disconnect" and the
upcoming "Hidden", which will be shot in
Vancouver. First he hopes to get a little taste of the Swedish summer.
He reports, "I'll be gong to my mother's summer house in the
archipelago, meet up with friends and my siblings. I've got a brother
who's three and when you're gone for eight months, it's a long time.
Megan, Dad's wife, is pregnant, so there's another on the way. He's
running hard, the old man."
public appearances, Alexander will participate in the "True Blood"
panel at the San Diego Comic-Con 2012 on Saturday, July 14th. Here are
some photos from an HBO press
conference last Sunday.
webchat, sponsored by The Guardian, and interviews in conjunction with
the opening of THE KING OF DEVIL'S ISLAND in the UK on Friday,
Stellan has given us some new info about himself but generally, he
offers the same pat answers, which ultimately protects his privacy.
In this site's press section, you'll find scores of interviews over the
past 30 years. If you haven't read them, you're in for a real treat!
Many of them had to be purchased from Sweden and then translated by
generous fans. I've extracted below some of the new and
interesting tidbits that Stellan has shared in the past week.
Hollywood remaking successful foreign films:
If they do it well, I don't mind it.
It is unfortunately hard to get people in many countries to read
subtitles. Probably a problem with their educational system. What is
silly is if they take an arthouse film made by a wonderful auteur, strip
the story of anything controversial and hand it to a generic director.
Though I'd like to see the Hollywood remake of Ingmar Bergman's
"The Seventh Seal."
"Breaking the Waves":
"Breaking the Waves"
is important to me not just because the material was beautiful. And
Emily Watson and Katrin Cartlidge were wonderful. But it was also the
first time I worked with Lars von Trier. And it was the first time I was
free to do anything I wanted. I mean, anything, in every take. I got
We're planning to start shooting in late August. The only actors that I
know are cast are me and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It will be two films:
Nymphomania 1 and 2 and both in two versions, one soft for the faint of
heart and a hardcore one for the rest of us.
freeze hummus? (Love this question!)
I don't know. I think you should try it. There is of course a risk
that the emulsion between the sesame seed paste and the lemon juice will
separate. But you could solve that with a little slop of tehina in a
bowl and gradually whip in the separated hummus. You have to take food
children's favorite role:
If they have
a favorite role of mine, I think it's probably Randbaek in "Zero
Kelvin". [It ranks high among Stellan's favorites and mine as well]
make him cry?:
I rarely blubber at the cinema, especially not when I'm on screen
myself. I wince. But a film where the end actually makes me blubber - or
maybe a less strong word - is the end of Chaplin's "City Lights".
have a favorite soccer team?
If I have any team, it's Hammarby and I did appreciate seeing the French
lose to a team that hasn't shown much talent in a while.
Well, sooner or later they will force me, but it's nothing I'm looking
forward to. And I'm not sure I'm the most successful man in the world
but I'm probably one of the luckiest.
following video features Stellan talking with Oliver Hayes about the
making of "The King of Devil's Island". In several previous interviews,
Stellan has also stressed the fact that these young boys were actually
petty criminals before being cast and this whole experience seemed to
have a profound effect on both them as well as the professional cast and
crew. It's hard to imagine this happening in Hollywood. I don't believe
it would even be a possibility. But hats off to the Nords who are
willing to take a risk and create an inspiring story both on screen and
off screen. Many of these boys have been able to turn their life around.
Click on this photo for the interview from Fancarpet.com.
fascinating video interview has Stellan, not only discussing his work
with director Marius Holst, but also giving an expansive dialogue on
working with two other Scandinavian directors - Lars von Trier and
Ingmar Bergman. In April Stellan spoke with The Guardian about his
disdain for Sweden's most famous director and again, he reiterates his
opinion to the newspaper. He doesn't believe Bergman was a nice person
but salutes him as a great artist and director. Stellan describes him as
a control freak, wanting command over people's lives as well as Sweden's
film industry. He was powerful enough to crush and destroy people's
lives. Plus there was fear in his presence creating an unsettling
environment for those who worked with him. In the end, Stellan kept his
distance. He says, "I didn't want him near my life." So what's your
favorite Bergman film? For me, it's a toss-up between "Cries and
Whispers" and "Scenes from a Marriage" but then again, I'm always
partial to films with the beautiful Liv Ullmann. Therefore, I highly
recommend a little film called THE OX in
which Stellan stars with the Norwegian actress. It's a gem! Click on the
photo below for the interview from The Guardian.
the 8th anniversary of the creation of STELLAN ONLINE. Building a
comprehensive and informative celebrity web site is not always easy and
goes much further than just cutting and pasting news and images from
other web sites. It
demands historical content as well as commentary and reflection. I thank Stellan fans
throughout the world who have appreciated that intent and my efforts and supported me through the years
volunteering to do translations and passing along wonderful old photos
also marks Stellan's 61st birthday. Grattis på födelsedagen!
the 323 shorts selected for the upcoming Palm Springs International
ShortFest (June 19-25) is a 19-minute documentary called "OUR
NEED FOR CONSOLATION" (Vårt
behov av tröst) featuring Stellan.
Recorded in both English and Swedish, Stellan gives an on-screen
performance reading excerpts from "Our Need for Consolation is
Insatiable" by Stig Dagerman. The film, which premiered at the
Gothenburg International Film Festival in January, uses dramatization
and documentary imagery to give insight into Dagerman's widely known
autobiographical essay in which he describes his desperate struggle with
writer's block and thoughts of suicide and where he charts out a route
toward transcendence and freedom. The brief text, written in September
1951, has captivated readers in Sweden and abroad, where it has been
translated and published in pocket-sized editions. It continues to
inspire artists in theater, film, music, the visual arts and dance.
Blood" star has become the face of Encounter, the new fragrance
for men from Calvin Klein. Shot by photographer Steven Klein, the
campaign has a mysterious allure, thanks to its deep blue hues that add
that "film noir" appeal to an intimate moment between Alexander and
model Lara Stone. A spokesperson for the campaign said, "Alexander
perfectly reflects the Encounter Calvin Klein attitude - modern, stylish
and unapologetically masculine." The new fragrance will hit shelves in
projects for Stellan! It looks like a busy year for our Swede. He's been
cast in the medieval period drama, THE PHYSICIAN, based on the
best-selling novel by Noah Gordon about a healer traveling across Europe
in the 11the century. Tom Payne will star as the physician Rob Cole, who
searches for the scientific truth of illness and healing in a medieval
world dominated by religion and superstition. Ben Kingsley will star as
Ibn Sina, the so-called doctor of all doctors. Stellan will play Barber,
Rob Cole's first mentor, who not only teaches the boy some simple
medicines, but also shows him how to draw a crowd with juggling,
storytelling and drawing characters. It seems a warm character for which
Stellan should be a great fit. French actor Olivier Martinez has also signed
up to play the Shah Ala ad-Daula. German director Philipp Stoelzl will
direct with Jan Berger's screenplay. Filming will take place in Morocco
and Germany beginning next month.
also joined Nastassja Kinski for Balint Kenyeres' debut feature, HIER.
Filming on the $3.2 million existential thriller is due to commence in
Morocco and Hungary in the fall. It will be co-produced by Films de
L'Apres-midi, Hungary's Cameo Film and Sweden's Bob Film.
first photo of Stellan as the Prince of Verona in the recently-filmed
ROMEO AND JULIET. Scriptwriter Julian Fellowes, of "Downton Abbey"
and "Gosford Park" fame, explains that it’s a long time since a
romantic, traditional rendition has graced the screen. “People have
made 'Romeo and Juliet' – and some very good ones – but they were
set in modern Ohio, or whatever. This isn’t that. This is the romantic
medieval love story as conceived by Shakespeare. We felt that what we needed was just to make it slightly more accessible
to today’s generation.” There is much to look forward to when the
film is released in 2013, in particular Oscar-winning designer
Milena Canonero’s costumes. "Romeo and Juliet" promises to be a feast
for the eyes, as well as food for the soul.
AVENGERS, riding stellar reviews and a tsunami of Twitter love,
piled up $200.3 million at theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to
an estimate from Disney. That total, which beat the $169.2-million
record set during the opening weekend of 2011's "Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows - Part 2," was turbocharged by pricier IMAX and 3-D
tickets. About 52% of those who saw the movie opted to shell out a few
extra bucks to watch it in 3-D. IMAX theaters even ran out of seats to
sell to moviegoers. The North American box office total added to an
already unfolding global success story; playing in 52 international
markets, the movie collected $151.5 million this weekend, raising its
tally abroad to $441.5 million. That means that after just two weeks in
release, "The Avengers" already has sold $641.8-million worth of
tickets, jumping past "The Hunger Games" on the ranking of top-grossing
2012 releases worldwide.
As if the news weren't already positive enough for Marvel and parent
company Disney, moviegoers loved the film, assigning it a perfect
average grade of A+, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That
score indicates that the movie will generate excellent word of mouth in
the weeks to come, helping to propel the movie into the billion-dollar
club at the worldwide box office - an elite group comprising just 11
films, led by James Cameron's "Avatar" and "Titanic." It also reached a
rating of 93% on the Tomatometer after 239 reviews.
2 is set for release on November 15 next year and will see the
return of Stellan as Prof. Erik Selvig as well as Chris Hemsworth, Tom
Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander
and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Stellan says, "They hope to start shooting in
the fall. They have me on contract so... And I'd love to work with those
guys again. I'm having fun in the Marvel films." He admitted that he had
a good experience working with 'Thor' helmer Kenneth Branagh - "He's an
actor so he understands completely what you need and what your fears
are. He loves actors and I had a lot of fun working with him. I'd
definitely work with him again." For THOR 2, Stellan will be working
with director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones). Asked about his role in
"The Avengers", he says, "It's the same character as in the first THOR
film, although something happens in "The Avengers" which changes him and
which gave me the pleasure of playing something different."
THE KING OF DEVIL'S ISLAND opened in
Australia, an interview with Stellan appeared in The Age, in which
Stellan gives his pronounciation of his last name. He says, ''In Sweden
it's 'Skars-gord', but usually people say 'Skars-guard'. Anything is
fine." In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he admits the
transition between his life in Stockholm and the red carpet in LA is not
quite as seamless as it appears. He discusses working as an
international actor - "You have to adapt to different corporate
cultures. That took me some time to get used to. The first time I did a
big American film, I was surprised by all the different financiers who
came to the set and told the director what to do. In Europe, the
director is the king - it's his vision. When suddenly you see directors
reduced to just mechanics, well, I found that upsetting to begin with.
Unfortunately, they try to make artistic decisions and it's not the same
job, really, to be a filmmaker and a banker. But of course I go back and
forth between those big Hollywood productions and small independent
films like 'The King Of Devil's Island', which I helped finance myself,
because when the budget is lower, the freedom of the director is
bigger." Stellan also believes climate is one of the major reasons why
Scandinavian cinema is so often bleak. He explains, "Maybe lack of light
in the winter, and isolation. I don't feel very gloomy myself; I'm
really a pretty cheerful person. But at the same time, I take the dark
side of life seriously, too."
Queensferry Gazette has reported that filming for THE RAILWAY MAN
has been taking place this past week at Kinneil Railway and Bo'ness, a
coastal town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. It was noted that
Stellan, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth were all there with fans eager to
get photos. The film could be hitting the silver screens in late 2013,
and should cast and crew opt to unveil the finished work at the town’s
Hippodrome cinema, they are assured of a warm welcome.
film festivals this month will feature Bill Skarsgård's
film, "Simon and the Oaks", which captured 13 Swedish Oscar
nominations. The epic drama will be screened on May 19th at the Seattle
International Film Festival and on May 13th at the Toronto Jewish Film
Festival. Bill takes on the lead role as Simon Larsson, who learns that
he's an adopted child who has a Jewish father from Germany. After WW II,
Simon travels to explore his roots - a journey that leads to the basic
mysteries of human life. The screenplay is based on the bestselling
novel by Marianne Frederiksson. The photos below show Bill at the
November 30th premiere of the film.