MAY/JUNE 2016 NEWS

06.15.16

I just came across another portrait from the RETURN TO MONTAUK shoot. It shows Stellan with co-stars Nina Hoss and Bronagh Gallagher and director Volker Schlöndorff.

06.13.16

Happy Birthday to our favorite Swede on his 65th birthday as
Stellan Online celebrates its 12th anniversary!

Ever wonder why the 2014 Norwegian thriller KRAFTIDIOTEN (aka "In Order of Disappearance") was never made available in this country? The DVD was released in a Non-USA format and it was also released by UK's Netflix. Well, it appears the makers of the film had something up their sleeve. Apparently, the film is going to be remade with Liam Nesson in the starring role in an English version for those audiences who wrinkle up their noses at subtitles! You have to wonder if Stellan was offered the role again. I can imagine his turning it down because who wants to do the same role over again? Well, truth be told, he did do exactly that several years ago! Remember his role as Father Merrin in the two versions of the Exorcist prequels?

The story of the man behind the plow is exactly the sort of material Neeson has been attracted to in his late career bloom, ever since "Taken" repositioned him as an action star: tough, violent thrillers with plenty of opportunity for him to look steely-eyed and a bit grumpy. Neeson will now play the snowplow driver whose son is murdered by a criminal gang. He will then seek bloody revenge, painting the snow red with victims to seek justice. The director is the same. Yes, Hans Petter Moland. Even some of the producers have returned - Finn Gjerdum and Stein Kvae. A new screenwriter was brought on board and the new version will take place in a snowy location, possibly in Colorado with a different set of ethnic rivals. Now, you have to wonder if we'll ever get to see the original Skarsgård film!

Here's a production portrait of the RETURN TO MONTAUK team. In the first row is Irish actress Bronagh Gallagher, director Volker Schlöndorff, German actress Nina Hoss and Stellan. Standing is funding expert Brigitta Manthey, producers Dr. Götz Schmedes and Regina Ziegler, film funding director Kirsten Niehuus, Wild Bunch German executive Christoph Liedke and producer Tom Zickler.

Filming ended on June 4th in Berlin. "I have rarely had so much joy in filming," enthused director  Schlöndorff.  He adds, "The actors were just great. Nina Hoss is a dream woman par excellence. Susanne Wolff will be a discovery for many and Stellan Skarsgård may have found the role of a lifetime even more than in 'River'."


 

Good news for 25-year-old son Bill Skarsgård. Considered to be one of the author’s finest works of horror, Stephen King's IT will be coming to the big screen with Bill starring as the iconic villain Pennywise the Clown. New Line is adapting the landmark novel, which will be told in two parts, with Andy Muschietti directing. The story follows a group of teens called the Losers Club who defeat a creature called "It". Years later, the creature returns, and the former club members, now adults, have to band together again even though they have no memory of the first battle. Bill was Roman Godfrey, Famke Janssen's son in Neflix's "Hemlock Groove" for its three seasons. But, since the Divergent series are such a hit, you may recognize the young Skarsgård as Matthew, from the latest "Allegiant". The final chapter of the series will be Ascendant, set to be released on June, 2017.

05.19.16

Stellan's next film project will be a tennis biopic called BORG/MCENROE. Hollywood bad boy Shia LaBeouf will play tennis bad boy John McEnroe and Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason will play Bjorn Borg with Stellan in the role of Borg's coach Lennart Bergelin. The film will trace the long-running battle for supremacy in the tennis world in the 1970s and 1980s between McEnroe and Borg. Danish director Janus Metz will direct from a screenplay by Ronnie Sandahl. Shooting is set to begin this fall in Sweden, London, Monaco and New York with a 2017 expected release date. Metz told the press, "This is a very powerful drama that plunges deep into the minds of two extremely interesting personalities living in an explosive era. I am very honored and excited to be at the reigns of it."

It just so happens that Stellan had a tennis scene in OUR KIND OF TRAITOR with co-star Ewan McGregor. He told Folkbladet that even though he had trained, he played terribly. He explains his ordeal - "It was really humiliating because Ewan was so much better than I was, and he also had much better looking hair. It ended up that they had put a digitally-created ball in all the scenes where I had missed the ball. They can fix anything with special effects nowadays."

The film's director, Susanna White, had also directed Alexander in the TV series, "Generation Kill". Stellan says, "She was very good. I felt as confident with her as I usually feel when I work with Lars von Trier. I felt that I could do whatever I wanted. I felt safe. And if I do not feel safe, than I'm not as good." Speaking of Von Trier, the eccentric Dane is preparing the filming of his serial killer thriller, "The House That Jack Built." Stellan adds, "I'll certainly be in it, but I do not know what I'm going to play. It might just be someone who will come and serve coffee."

There's a short Q&A with Stellan in the Financial Times in which he's asked "If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?" and he replies, "You sellout!" When I was 20, I was very pretentious and artistic, and the very idea of doing Hollywood blockbusters would have seemed like heresy." For the full interview, click here.

05.11.16

Filming "Rückkehr nach Montauk" (Return to Montauk) continued in NY during the past week. The photos below were taken on the steps of the New York Public Library. Volker Schlöndorff is directing but he also co-wrote the screenplay with Colm Tóibín. Volker says the script is inspired by Max Frisch's Montauk, but is also about his life and Colm's. Stellan plays a writer named Max Zorn, who comes to New York on a book tour where he once again meets the woman who inspired the novel he is presenting and whom he had an affair with 17 years ago. Was she perhaps the love of his life? Can they begin again where it ended in stormy Montauk many moons ago?

Berlingske, the Danish national daily newspaper, published these black & white portraits of Stellan last week. With OUR KIND OF TRAITOR about to open this weekend in the UK, publicity for the film is offered up in interviews with its cast members by several media outlets. First off, you can access a radio interview with Stellan and co-star Ewan McGregor at this link. In another interview, Ewan expounds humorously on working with our Swede - "We worked together on 'Angels & Demons' and we developed an unusual relationship after that. To build up to the angry scene, he’d come over beforehand and swear at me: 'McGregor you f**king piece of shit!' And I’d swear back at him. That made me laugh. We kept it going over the years – emails and texts where we’d insult each other. Months would go by and you’d be in a meeting, looking down at your phone: 'You mother-f**ker McGregor!” I’d piss myself laughing.'"

I no longer post full interviews because more often than not, it's information that's common knowledge or been repeated many times before. Occasionally there are some tidbits that provide new insights into the actor's life.  Here are some quotes from these recent interviews:

On choosing roles:

- It varies: sometimes it is the role, sometimes it is the script, sometimes it is the director, sometimes it is the cast, sometimes it is the location, and sometimes it is the pay. I like to work. In this case I liked the script, and I liked Ewan McGregor, who I have worked with before, and I liked the director (Susanna White) who had worked with my son, Alexander, on "Generation Kill". So I called my son and he recommended her. I enjoyed very much working with her because she is not only a lovely person, but she is very smart. "Generation Kill" is one of the more masculine projects you could imagine with actors and real marines in the desert in Africa for six months, so it is not a frail little flower that is thrown into the machinery. I really have respect for her. Every film has to come out of the brain of the director. It has to be subjective to be interesting, and I think she has done the film that she wanted to make.

On his character in "Our Kind of Traitor":

-Dima is shaped and rounded by an impoverished and criminally Soviet empire. His way of acting is primitive, brutal and vulgar. But his feelings are authentic, and he is simultaneously warm, humorous and vulnerable. It was important for me also to those sides. The most interesting thing about Dima's character is the importance of the culture we come from, and how much influence it has on our lives. The thing that more than anything separates us humans from each other is our culture.

- I'm quite a strong Scandinavian. A fairly robust and stable person. But it does not mean that I have avoided things that have been difficult and painful. There have been crises, and I also have some vulnerabilities... I've never had time to lie on a couch with a psychologist and contemplate my navel... There are people who are sick and need to go into therapy. But at some point I could not attend a dinner party without people constantly talking about themselves while they exchanged experiences from their therapy. It was damn too much. I thought: What the hell are you doing that for now? Should you not just talk to a good friend, a brother or a sister? Or maybe stop  concentrating so much on yourself? How about putting yourself a little on standby? One must practice how to handle the things that life also offers. One must learn to cope. I reflect on my actions and choices and what is happening around me, but I don't linger on it.

- I have my wife, My (ex-wife), many children and my siblings and we spend quite a lot of energy and time to keep abreast of what each of us are doing. In this way we can also take care of each other. It is incredibly important to me. In a family, there may be periods of imbalances, hard times where the family feels absolutely terrible.

- It is important to show children that the world is an unsafe place, and that you can never insure against anything. You never know when you might lose your job, become seriously ill, or a terrorist attack takes place, or a new war begins. The only thing you can do is make sure that your family feels loved and appreciated and that they will take this knowledge with them no matter what happens.

On living in London with his family for six months while filming "River":

- Children are not treated the same way in England as in Scandinavia. In England they talk down to children in a way that I cannot tolerate. There is a lack of equality between adults and children, and, in general, it seemed as if children were just annoying. At the same time, I experienced clear gender differences.

Stellan would not dream of living in England or the United States even though that's where he works most.

- I could never live in the USA, never ever. I do not mind being in the United States. There are a quite lot of amazing things with lots of interesting culture, writers, filmmakers and intellectual discussions. But I could never accept living in American society and the way it is built.

On Sweden:

- How can you not value a society where everyone, regardless of social background, is given the opportunity to come to the hospital when they are sick. Where children go to the same kinds of schools and subsequently have the opportunity to train at the university for free. And where women and men have the same rights from the day they are born. I earn a helluva lot of money and I gladly pay my taxes. We have managed to build up some tolerant and humanist communities in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, and I am incredibly proud of that. Scandinavia is not perfect, and there are problems and boring trends. But, basically, Scandinavia is one of the very few civilized places on the globe.

05.05.16

The London film premiere of OUR KIND OF TRAITOR was held tonight at the Curzon Mayfair. Cast members Damien Lewis and Naomie Harris were in attendance. The film will have its UK theatrical release on May 13 while the US will have a summer opening of July 1. However, it was screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival last Sunday. Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Skarsgård’s turn as an overbearing, open-collared Russian stereotype proves to be the film’s strongest asset... So many of Skarsgård’s past performances rely on his intellect that it’s a rare pleasure to see him slip into such a physical role, whether he’s puffing his chest to show off Russian prison tattoos or strangling one of the Prince’s thugs with his bare hands." Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily wrote, "While McGregor and Harris convincingly portray a couple in trouble, and Lewis’s odball spook is an uneasy fit, it is Skarsgård’s dynamic performance which saves the day. Forget Hiddlesbum: the sight of the beefy, long-haired actor emerging from a sauna in his heavily-tattooed birthday suit is not easily forgotten." And the San Francisco Film Society agrees - "Skarsgård steals every scene."

And it appears that Stellan has been a longtime fan of author John Le Carre's work. He admits that he's been reading his novels since his father gave him a copy of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" when he was 13 years old. You can access this recent interview in which Stellan discusses working on the film (in English!) at this Swedish link.

Stellan is presently on location in NY shooting Volker Schlöndorff's German drama "Rückkehr nach Montauk" (Return to Montauk). The German-French-Irish co-production stars Stellan as writer Max Zorn, Susanne Wolff as his wife Clara, and Nina Hoss as Rebecca. Filming will take place in New York and on Long Island. The interiors were created in Berlin. The film will be released in 2017 by Wild Bunch Germany.

In a recent Swedish article, Stellan spoke about his role as father to eight children. He said, "It's easier now. I'm much calmer. I'm not so worried about who I am and what I should do with my life anymore. There are so many things that you think are very important when you are 20 years old that do not feel as relevant when you're older. I begin to prioritize more and more what is important in life and that includes the kids. My children keep me grounded. My life is terribly normal." He has told his actor sons that their profession is exhausting and that Hollywood is not just glitz and glamor. There's no place like home, he argues. The photo below shows Stellan with youngest son Kolbjörn at the premiere of Cirkus Scott. The child is absolutely adorable and is the spitting image of his mother.