NEWS: MAY-JUNE 2019

06.10.19:

Director Martha Coolidge's film, "Music, War and Love" has been given a new title - I'LL FIND YOU and will premiere next month at the Taormini Film Festival in Italy on July 5th. Inspired by stories of Polish musicians from the thirties and forties, the film is an uncommon love story; its romantic heartbeat is sustained by the love of music that draws its characters together. Two young lovers, Robert, a Catholic opera singer and Rachel, a Jewish violin virtuoso, dream of one day performing together at legendary Carnegie Hall. When they’re torn apart by the German invasion of Poland, Robert vows to find Rachel, no matter what the war may bring. His search leads him on a life-threatening journey through the heart of Nazi Germany, to a reckoning that Rachel may be lost to him forever.

It appears from the photos that Stellan has the role of a conductor or singer named Benno Moser. It was filmed in Poland in the fall of 2015.

In February filming began in Trollhättan for Norwegian writer/director Maria Sødahl's film HÅP (Hope) starring Stellan and Andrea Bræin Hovig.

The first photo shows Stellan during an interview at Trollhättan. I believe the second photo is a scene from the film.

06.08.19:

The critics have given HBO's CHERNOBYL the highest marks claiming the mini-series to be hugely successful on all levels. Taylor Antrim of Vogue says, "It's the scariest thing I've seen on TV in ages." And I agree. Slashfilm.com writes:

"Creator Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck hold a magnifying glass up to one of the worst nuclear disasters in history with Chernobyl. Most adults are aware of the disaster, and likely know the basics. But Chernobyl digs beneath the radiated earth, pulling up alarming truths that often come across as depressingly timely.

Because Chernobyl isn’t just about a disaster on a technical level. It’s about how the stubbornness and willful ignorance of humanity can bring about terrifying results. The end result is not easy to watch – but it is a must-see.

Harris, a marvelous actor who seems to specialize in playing doomed characters, carries almost all the weight of the miniseries on his shoulders. But he’s matched by Watson and Skarsgård. Watson’s character is no-nonsense to the extreme, and often gets delegated to exposition duty. But the actress knows just how to make all of this work, delivering a grounded, honest performance in the process. Skarsgård is fantastic as the party man who slowly comes around to doing the right thing. His arc, as he goes from hard-nosed bureaucrat to heartbroken truth-teller, is a true highlight."

Swedish stars Pernilla August, Melinda Kinnaman and Stellan have joined the voice cast of The Ape Star, an upcoming animated feature from director Linda Hamback, who will reteam with her Gordon & Paddy screenwriter Janne Vierth. The film, an adaptation of Frida Nilsson’s award-winning novel, is set to start production next month and wrap in November 2020. The story is about an orphan girl named Jonna, who gets adopted by a mother gorilla.

Pernilla will voice the lead gorilla character. Stellan will play a local crook who tries to disrupt Jonna and her adoptive mother's newfound happiness. Linda plays Gerd, the matron of the orphanage. The role of Jonna is still being cast. The film has already presold to France (Les Films du Préau) and Benelux (In the Air).

Here's a collection of new photos I've amassed of Stellan's first wife My, mother of his first six children:

06.02.19:

Excerpts from a Philippine Star interview with Stellan about the HBO series Chernobyl:

"It was a very big production. The resources were great. You could see it with the amount of people involved — 104 actors and some of the greatest actors around. The clothes were specially made to look exactly like they did. My clothes were even made in original fabrics from that time, and with detail."

"We had five months to do five hours (of filming), which is like shooting a big movie. And the wonderful thing is when we shoot something like this, it would never be made this way as a film by a big Hollywood studio because there’s too much fear, too much compromise to make the financiers happy. It’s extremely courageous to make something wonderful and serious and spend a lot of money on it, and they don’t have to sell it like a pop thing, you know. It was such a pleasure to work with such big resources and so much talent, and doing something that meant something and not just entertainment."

"Of course, I fell in love with Emily Watson when we made Breaking the Waves and I wanted to work with her so bad again because she’s a fantastic actress and finally this opportunity came and it was just irresistible. The situation is quite different now, compared to Breaking the Waves, because for one we didn’t make love in this one (laughs). We kept our clothes on, but still it was great to work with her."

"I can’t grade the challenges of all the things that I’ve done. But you would think that, OK, you’ve done a hundred films, you should know how to do it now, but you don’t! Every film is unique, which means that the moment I say yes to a project, I panic because I really don’t know how to do it (laughs). And then I try to find a way to do it."

"I had to wear my first fake eyebrows in my entire career. I was very happy getting rid of them."

On his acting sons: "They’re all doing very well. But I’m proud of them because they’re really good people because how your career works in this world is a bit of a luxury. I’m happy that they’re good actors, but I’m most happy when I see them together and how they treat people. I’m just as happy when I hear people, who just worked with them, say that they’re wonderful people and generous and tolerant. That makes me happier than any awards that I get."

05.15.19:

Here are some excerpts from a Collider interview with Stellan regarding the HBO series Chernobyl:

Why he signed on: "First of all, it was a very well-written script, and it was not sentimentalizing the story. It was very true to the story, but also true to the people that were involved. It was not trying to put strength and sugar on everything. It’s very, very well written. But then, I also wanted to work with Emily Watson again, whom I haven’t worked with since we did Breaking the Waves, some 20 years ago. And I wanted to work with Jared Harris, who is a fantastic actor. I also knew the director, Johan Renck. We were supposed to do his first feature film together, many years ago, and it never happened, so I was looking forward to working with him, as well.

Working in Lithuania: "It’s very nice, and a very modern country. It’s just a really lovely place to shoot in. They have a good infrastructure, they have good crews, and the people are wonderful. Of course, there’s a very difficult history, having been a part of the Soviet Union. They also have a very spotted reputation for their actions towards the Jews during the war, but that is common for a lot of countries in the region. I had a wonderful time being there, and even though the material is very serious, that doesn’t mean that you’re extremely serious, yourself, when you’re doing it. You have a lot of fun doing it. And working with actors like Emily and Jared was really rewarding, fun and beautiful."

On his role as Baron Harkonnen in Dune:

"It’s a fun character to play. I don’t have to shoot that many days, but I have to spend six to eight hours a day in make-up. That makes it really hard, but interesting.  If you work with good prosthetics people, the main thing that’s important is that your eyes are free to express themselves, and also that the material you’re working with makes it possible for you to physically express yourself with your body.

"It’s a very long novel, and it’s really hard to compress into film because usually it’s short stories that are better to make films out of. So, some might be disappointed that some of their favorite things are no longer in the story, but I also think they will be fascinated by Villeneuve’s way of visualizing that world that they have had in their mind for so long. And there are a lot of good actors that can be very pleasant to watch."

05.07.19:

Stellan Skarsgård’s pulled off some fine villainous characters throughout his storied career. Just to name a few, he played a despicable monster in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and a real slimeball in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. He’ll embody the big bad in the upcoming Dune reboot, but Skarsgård’s Chernobyl role is a more decidedly nuanced one. Although his Soviet government official, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina, sits on the wrong side of the radioactive debate and makes some disastrous decisions, there’s much more at work, as viewers will discover. Skarsgård makes a compelling turn alongside Jared Harris as scientist Valery Legasov, and the duo helps HBO launch its post-Game of Thrones programming future. The miniseries is a sweeping one, written and executive produced by Craig Mazin, about one of the worst man-made disasters — the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in Ukraine, Soviet Union on April 26, 1986 – and all the radioactive and political fallout that follows. Here are some excerpts from a Chernobyl  review & interview with Stellan by uproxx.com:

Stellan: "I read a lot of historical materials, but I’m a nerd in the sense that I like to know what’s going on in the present world as much as what has led to the present world. What are the parallels between history and now? In that sense, I am. The last book I read is the beautiful book by John Williams, who wrote Stoner. He’s fantastic, and he wrote a book about Augustus, that emperor, so if you get a chance, you’ll have to look at it."

"I knew about the explosion, of course. I was living in Sweden in April 1986 when it happened. And we got a lot of radioactive downfall in Sweden, and we couldn’t eat berries or mushroom or reindeer for years. So I was very well aware, but I knew nothing about what led to the accident, not the technical side or of the problems with the Soviet system that led to it. [It] was handled very badly, and they were secretive because the West knew much more than the Soviets wanted the West to know at the time."

"I’m the kind of actor who loves working with other actors, which means that I hate monologues. And I have a long, technical speech, which is just explaining technical stuff in the court scene in the last episode. That’s a lot of words and technical stuff, and I don’t have any help from any other actors, so that is always the worst thing for me to do. It’s incredibly hard. And then after me came Jared, and he spoke for 45 minutes, and it seemed so easy for him, and I was very envious."

Of the three leads, The Atlantic writes, "All three actors are titans, and they manage to carry off dialogue that could be cumbersome in lesser hands. Skarsgård and Harris both exude weariness like perspiration, with Harris’s features stretched permanently into a grimace and Skarsgård so craggy, he seems carved out of granite. Watson has the quieter, subtler role, but there’s rarely a scene in which her presence doesn’t command attention. She plays Khomyuk with a gentle, semi-Slavic intonation that serves the character."

 

   

 

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