NEWS: JUNE 2020

06.21.20:

There haven't been any movie stills of Stellan in his role as Baron Harkonnen in the upcoming DUNE, but perhaps he'll be seen in the first footage about to released next month. Christopher Nolan's "Inception" will return to theaters on July 17 in celebration of its 10th anniversary. The "Dune" footage will be screened before the movie and I'm assuming that would be a coming attraction feature. Before shooting began last year, Stellan was asked about his character and he replied, "I'm going to spend a lot of time in the makeup chair. It says in the script that the Baron weighs 300 pounds, and I can't gain that much weight and survive, so they're creating a body that they will have to glue on me. It will be prosthetics all over."

I wish there were more roles in which Stellan wore glasses. He looks both sexy and scholarly!

Covid-19 has caused many film and TV recordings around the world to shut down, but at Dockhus Animation in Trollhättan, it is full speed as usual. As reported a year ago, Stellan teamed up with producer/director Linda Hambäck for the third time in creating another animated feature. This time it's APSTJÄRNAN (The Ape Star), based on the book by Frida Nilsson. Besides Stellan as the municipality's strong man, the lead roles are voiced by Pernilla August as Gorillan, Rebecca Gerstmann as Jonna and Melinda Kinnaman as the orphanage manager Gerd. The film is still in production and will result in 72 minutes of cartooning with a premiere later this year. Hambäck says, "72 minutes is not a very long feature film, but our target group at five-to-eight- year olds can only sit that long." The film has already presold to France and Benelux.

06.17.20:

Stellan's last appearance on the Dramaten stage was in the play MÄSTER OLOF, which premiered on February 27, 1988 with 36 performances in total. The play is a historical drama in five acts about the reformer Olaus Petri's struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. First written in 1872, Strindberg rewrote it many times in both prose and verse. Stellan had the title role with Max Von Sydow playing opposite him. You may remember that Sydow passed away this past March after a 70-year career. It's surprising that these two legendary Swedish actors only appeared together in one film - "Oxen" and this one play. You have to consider they were a generation apart but still, you would think they would have collaborated more often. The second row of images are production photos. Of theater, Stellan has been quoted as saying - "The contact with the audience is priceless."

 

The Party Film Sales will be negotiating deals for four films bearing the Cannes 73 Official Selection label. The Italian-French production LAST WORDS by US director Jonathan Nossiter will be pre-sold without any images available to back it up, as the movie is still in the final stages of post-production. [See June 5 update]

Stellan was asked by Porter & Sail’s destination guides to comment on Stockholm and its cuisine. He happens to be a total foodie, and when not on set, he's more than likely to be found at a fine dining establishment in town.

"Stockholm is, to me, the most beautiful city in the world - at least in the summer. But even during the dark months, when it cuddles up to survive the winter, it has its charm. The city is built on an island where the Baltic Sea meets the lake of Mälaren and everywhere there's water and a beautiful view."

"Scandinavian cuisine has in the last few years risen to international fame. We have become famous for being able to serve even moss and bark in a more than edible way. You can find fantastic food of all schools in the three capitals of Scandinavia. The common idea is to give a lot of care to local, organic produce and then compliment it by stealing shamelessly from other cuisines."

"One of my favorite chefs in the world is Mathias Dahlgren, with his unpretentious and precise way of making the simplest ingredient reveal its unknown beauty. He has a two-star restaurant beside Grand Hotel, which is fantastic, but since I'm always hungry and need immediate satisfaction, I usually turn to his one-star restaurant next door, Matbaren, which serves medium-size dishes of wonderful food at the pace you want. Two of Mathias' brilliant young chefs, Adam Dahlberg and Albin Wessman, have now, after a few years of hard work, opened their own place - Adam/Albin, which shows the genius of their palates. For extremely delectable beef, you should experience Göran Svartengren's rustic yet precise cooking at Svartengrens, where you can indulge in perfectly handled meats from old dairy breeds that give a richness of flavor you seldom experience. And I would suggest you drink at Kvarnen, one of the oldest pubs in the city."

In another article, Stellan discusses some of his favorite foods and one very unfavorite food.

Meatballs - "I've never had Ikea meatballs, but I make my own. Thanks to Ikea, it’s considered very Swedish, but in Italy you have polpetti, and you have the Albondigas in Spain, and you have them in Morocco - you find them everywhere."

Crayfish - "The Crayfish Party is a very Swedish tradition... You have to say cheers with aquavit snaps and beer very often, so those parties tend to get out of hand after a couple of hours."

Semla - "I'm not very much of a dessert man, but this traditional dessert is something you eat before Lent... You can buy it everywhere in Stockholm from February to Easter."

Baltic Herring - "I love all the pickled herrings, and the Baltic herring is a fantastic fish... Just have it fried, with mashed potatoes and a little vinegar on the fish; it's amazing."

Surströmming - "Avoid at all costs! I have this idea that I should try everything. And there are a lot of things that you can learn to eat. I hated coriander the first time I tasted it - it tasted like soap - and then after having it several times, suddenly I loved it. I thought it would be the same with this fermented fish, and it never happened. It is basically rotten fish. I mean, fermented fish can turn into something lovely, like Vietnamese fish sauce. But Surströmming, the rotten fish from Sweden, I don't like it. The entire block stinks when you open a can of it, and you have to open it underwater because there's so much pressure from the fermentation inside. My American wife was invited to a party where they had that fish, and she had never experienced it before, and she just started laughing when this stinking fish came in. She couldn't stop laughing and everybody was very offended. It is just f**king disgusting."

06.15.20:

Last month Entertainment Weekly did an article on the Skarsgård men. It began with - Picture your favorite Skarsgård with that Swedish complexion and towering frame. Are you thinking of Alexander Skarsgård? Are you thinking of Stellan Skarsgård, Alexander's father who's been making movies since the early 1970s? Are you thinking of one of the more underrated Skarsgårds?

Know your Skarsgårds! Certainly, one thing they have in common is their height. Stellan's sons are all 6'4", one inch taller than their Dad. I've added my own favorite photo of each of these attractive men.

ALEXANDER
Where you've seen him: HBO's "Big Little Lies" and "True Blood",  and films, such as "Legend of Tarzan, "What Maisie Knew" and "Straw Dogs".
To be seen:  "Godzilla vs. Kong", "The Northman" and CBS All Access' "The Stand" series.

GUSTAF:
Where you've seen him: Delos' captain in season 2 of HBO's "Westworld" and boat-builder Floki in History's "Vikings".
To be seen: As Merlin in Netflix's "Cursed" series.

BILL:
Where you've seen him: Netflix's "Hemlock Grove", "Hulu's "Castle Rock" and as Pennywise, the alien demon clown, in "It" and "It" Chapter Two".
To be seen: Opposite Tom Holland in "The Devil All the Time" and opposite his brother Alexander in "The Northman".

VALTER:
Where you've seen him: As Lippi in the Scandinavian thriller series "Black Lake", and in the film "Lords of Chaos".
To be seen: Netflix's Icelandic series "Katla" and the thriller film, "Don't Click".

Stellan discusses his acting sons:

"Alexander for years didn’t want to deal with it at all because he did something in television when he was quite young and he got a lot of attention and he did not want that attention. But then he came back to it later. And Gustaf wanted to be an actor from when he was two and a half, I think. Bill was not sure. At that time he had two brothers who were actors already and he wasn’t sure so he finished school properly with high grades and stuff and was thinking of taking a trip on the trans-Siberian railroad when he got a couple of really great roles in Swedish films and then he was f**ked. And the fourth son, he just quit school, got a couple of jobs, and he likes acting. I haven’t opened any doors. I haven’t helped them with anything because they have to do it on their own. I haven’t encouraged them to become actors or discouraged them. It’s their lives, they have to fix it!"

06.13.20:

I thought this Scandinavian viking birthday greeting was perfect for our Swede! Yes, today Stellan Skarsgård turns 69 years old and it also marks the 16th anniversary of Stellan Online and during all these years, there's never been another comprehensive web site devoted exclusively to him. Just before this web site was launched, there was an official web site but the web developer became lax in updates and eventually went offline. This was the home page photo -

At that time Stellan told me he was no longer interested in having an official site. Of course, eventually those scrolling tumblr and instagram accounts emerged but without any serious commentary or aesthetics or accessible archive. How does one learn about the life and career of a famous person with just a bunch of photos? And how about the zillion animated screen caps! Don't get me started... I suppose that satisfies the fandom engaged in teenage-like crushes on movie stars. What Stellan has is Nordic magnetism, intelligence and stage and screen presence.  This was my original home page photo -

Several years ago, I asked Stellan about his unique last name and he responded, "I'm related to all Skarsgårds in Sweden, none in Norway. My grandfather changed the name on his three sons at a time when everybody in Sweden were Nilssons, Larssons, Olssons and Anderssons." When Stellan Online was created, Alex was just beginning to be noticed and he actually managed his own web site.

Today when you google "Skarsgård", you're likely to bring up any one of his four acting sons, but it doesn't appear that they'll replace their father's notoriety anytime soon. Stellan has said he would continue acting as long as he received "interesting offers" and didn't "become tired". Certainly the energy he exhibits doesn't look as if he's anywhere near the end of his career. So, Happy Birthday, dear Stellan - may you continue to entertain us with good health and good fun as always.

When Stellan began appearing in the Marvel films, he was asked - If you could actually be a superhero, what superpowers would you imagine? His reply was indicative of who he is -

 06.11.20:

I've added several new images to the 1987 HIP HIP HURRA! film page. I saw this movie many years ago and I think what most impressed me was the cinematography, which was awarded the Golden Osella at the 1987 Venice Film Festival. The film portrays the life and times of a Scandinavian artist colony who lived in Skagen on the Danish coast during the 1890s. The painters became famous for the way they used the light in their work. Stellan plays the Danish painter Soren Krøyer, whose paintings are pure delight especially if you're fond of the sea and turn-of-the-century finery! I've always thought I was born 50 years too late.

Though it is essentially a Swedish production directed by a Swedish director,  several Danish directors had originally planned a film with this famous artist colony as the subject. In the end, the Danish Film Institute suffered some criticism when they decided on a screenplay by Swedish director Kjell Grede. 

The film's language was both in Swedish and Danish and the film had to be shot mainly at the Kandestedene a little south of Skagen where there were not so many tourists. It did not receive particularly good reviews in either Denmark or Sweden. Most critics called it lifeless and dull. However, there was agreement that the photography of Sten Holmberg beautifully captured Skagen's special light. This is one of  Krøyer's most famous paintings and one of my favorites.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is preparing to present the awards for the best in British television of 2019. The 2020 BAFTA TV Awards ceremony was initially scheduled to be held in the spring of 2020 but the event was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the ceremony will be held on July 31 with its sister ceremony, the BAFTA TV Craft Awards set to be held two weeks prior, on July 17. Both events shall be conducted in closed studios with shows following social distancing and the nominees have been invited to collect their awards virtually instead of appearing in person.

This year, the HBO and Sky drama CHERNOBYL is the leading contender in terms of the number of nominations across both TV Awards and TV Craft Awards. Stellan has been nominated in the "Supporting Actor" category while co-star Jared Harris has been nominated for "Leading Actor". "Chernobyl" has also picked up nominations in the following categories - "Mini-series", "Costume Design", "Director: Fiction", "Editing: Fiction", "Make Up & Hair Design", "Original Music", "Photograph & Lighting: Fiction", "Production Design", "Scripted Casting", "Sound: Fiction", "Special Visual & Graphic Effects", and "Writer: Drama".

The smash-hit romantic comedy MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN will be available for UK and Ireland Netflix users for the very first time starting Friday, June 26, 2020. Here are some new pics of Stellan with co-star Colin Firth. Favorite Colin Firth film? Definitely, "The English Patient" especially when he sings "Yes! We Have No Bananas".

06.07.20:

I love this picture! And the cool shirt! It was taken at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019 when Stellan was there for the premiere of "Hope". The Moet and Chandon bottle was autographed by several celebrities and TIFF auctioned it with proceeds benefitting their "Share Her Journey" initiative supporting women behind and in front of the camera.

These are some new photos that were taken at the Stockholm premiere of "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" on July 11, 2018. The first one is Stellan hamming it up with actor Josh Dylan, who plays the younger Bill in the film.

And this one was taken of another "Mamma Mia" co-star at the Golden Globes. Great photo of two very handsome men happy to be together for a special evening.

06.05.20:

The Cannes Film Festival was scheduled to run May 12-23 but was canceled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, 56 films have made the cut for the Official Selection, including one of Stellan's films - LAST WORDS. Selected films will be branded with an official Cannes 2020 label that they can take to additional festivals later this year and use when they open in theaters.

As reported here in January 2019, the Italian-French production was shot in Italy, France and Morocco through the autumn of 2018. Directed by Jonathan Nossiter, the film's cast also includes Nick Nolte, Charlotte Rampling, David di Donatello and Alba Rohrwacher. Based on a Santiago Amigorena's novel, the synopsis is as follows: In the year 2085, the world as we know it no longer exists because of climate change. Very few people have survived. A young man embarks on a long voyage in search of the last remaining community of humans.

This is the second time that Nossiter has teamed with Charlotte Rampling and Stellan. Exactly 20 years ago "Signs and Wonders" was nominated for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Stellan has worked with Charlotte in four other films - "Aberdeen", "Boogie Woogie", "Melancholia" and the upcoming "Dune". I have seen this exceptionally-gifted actress in over 25 films starting with the 1966 comedy "Georgy Girl". Always sensuous, always beautiful and I respect her for aging without the usual cosmetic surgery of Hollywood stars.

I have a couple more photos from Stellan's theatre work at the Dramaten. Swedish writer and playwright Hjalmar Bergman's play ETT EXPERIMENT premiered November 10, 1984 and had 40 performances. The comedy in three acts was directed by Hans Alfredson with Stellan in the lead role as Herr Severin. The first photo shows him with Irene Lindh and the second with Ewa Fröling.

Stellan co-starred with Ewa Fröling on the cinema screen as well, most memorably as his wife in the 1992 Oscar-nominated OXEN for Best Foreign Film. Check out the film page for newly added photos and posters. I would certainly put "Oxen" in my list of top ten favorite films with Stellan. I've seen it several times. Who can resist performances from Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as well!

And who can't love the smile on this man!

06.04.20:

Among Stellan's early films were a handful that focused on erotica, which is not a surprise because we know that the Scandinavians are known to be sexually liberated. I would say that Strandhugg i somras (1972), Anita - švédská nymfička (1974), and Inkräktarna (1974) fall into this category. Today I've posted the film page for ANITA - SWEDISH NYMPHET. It was advertised as a typical 70s soft porn movie starring Christina Lindberg and Stellan. In the past Stellan has told the press, "I’m not ashamed at all for making it. I needed the money. But I didn’t waste two hours to watch it, because I know it didn’t turn out good... Nothing was shown in that film that isn’t shown in any normal R-rated Hollywood films these days. It was sexploitation. The director  was very ambitious and wanted to do a psychological film about a nymphomaniac while all the producer wanted to do was show some tits and ass."

"Anita" was directed by Sweden's then-reigning erotic auteur, Torgny Wickman. It was a co-production between Swedish Filmproduction and Alpha France. The French company stipulated that hard-core inserts using a body double for Lindberg be filmed for all of the movie's sex scenes so the movie could be booked in their chain of hardcore theaters in France. In 1975, independent U.S. distributor Less Hessel's Cambist Films released the hardcore version into American theaters.

The film is about a young woman named Anita who suffers from psychological problems and sexual promiscuity due to her troubled childhood and uncaring parents. She meets Erik, a psychology student at the local university, and he begins to help her by analyzing her as she details her sexual encounters. That description could easily apply to Stellan's role in Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" forty years later.

You can find several film clips of "Anita' at youtube.com, and while you're there, check out a couple of music videos of Stellan if you haven't already. One is with Eva Dahlgren and the other with Lykke Li as seen below.

Here are a couple photos taken 25 years ago of Stellan with his "Harry and Sonja" co-star Viveka Seldahl.

06.02.20:

The first photo of Alexander Skarsgård has just been released from the CBS All Access mini-series "The Stand", a fresh adaptation of Stephen King's pandemic-apocalypse novel. Ironically, the production wrapped in March as the real-life global crisis began with the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The ten-hour series also stars Whoopi Goldberg, Heather Graham, James Marsden and Greg Kinnear. The CBS streaming service has not announced the date of its release but it's expected to premiere later this year. As Randall Flagg, Alex appears to have added more hair and a full beard as seen in the above photo. CBS describes the role, "Flagg is so beautiful, he is absolutely a lion-like God figure. With perfect hair and … and also, there’s a softness to Alex’s performance that I think is fascinating. Alex just plays it where you feel not only sympathy for this character, but you hopefully understand why it’s so easy for people to gravitate towards him. He’s just magnetic, he’s just absolutely fascinating to watch. He’s galvanizing as a leader."

In the past week Netflix announced a new project called "Clark", a six-episode series about the Swedish criminal Clark Olofsson, to be portrayed by Bill Skarsgård. The Swedish-language series is based on Olofsson's autobiography and will chart his early years until present day. Referred to as a "celebrity gangster", Clark started his criminal career in the 1960s and became one of the most controversial personalities in contemporary Swedish history. "Clark" is set to be directed by Jonas Åkerlund and will launch exclusively on Netflix.

Also coming up on Netflix is its first Icelandic series called "Katla", which has begun filming. The series was created by award-winning director Baltasar Kormákur and its cast includes Valter Skarsgård. The sci-fi series will consist of eight episodes. The storyline reads: "One year after the volcanic eruption of Katla, the calm of the small town of Vík suddenly ceases when it turns out that the volcano is still active. The ice around the volcano has started to melt and now mysterious elements, which have long been deeply frozen in the glacier, suddenly begin to emerge and have consequences that no one could have ever anticipated." Though filming has begun, there is no premiere date yet.

06.01.20:

"Stellan Skarsgård is a movie star, but there are no rivalries here. He is a full-blooded professional who arrives on time for both photography sessions and interviews, shakes hands and presents himself by his first name. He is cooperative and surprisingly down to earth considering his international stardom."  ...Damernas World
 

Another film page added! KVINNORNA PÅ TAKET ("The Women on the Roof") is a 1989 Swedish film written and directed by Carl-Gustav Nykvist, who happens to be the son of famous cinematographer Sven Nykvist. As many of you know, Sven collaborated with Ingmar Bergman on many occasions so that fact has an obvious influence on this film. It  was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. It was screened in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 42nd Cannes Film Festival but did not win. However, the film's cinematographers Jörgen Persson & Ulf Brantås won an award for their work at the 1989 European Film Awards. The film also won the Audience Award at the Rouen Nordic Film Festival in 1990. And, most importantly, Stellan won his second Guldbagge for Best Actor. Strangely, in the same year he also won the Best Actor Guldbagge for "Täcknamn Coq Rouge". He had previously won in 1982 for "The Simple-Minded Murderer" and won Best Supporting Actor in 2017 for "Borg/McEnroe".


With Viveka Seldahl

This first feature from the younger Nykvist takes place in Stockholm in 1914 while the threat of World War I hovers in the background. Anna is a sophisticated, tempestuous photographer with a mysterious history and the innocent and timid Linnea gradually falls under Anna's spell. They form a relationship based on mutual attraction; soon they are lovers. However, their situation eventually becomes complicated when Anna's sailor-boyfriend Willy (played by Stellan) returns and puts a strain on their relationship.

Our sailor definitely sported a different look with the dark hair and mustache, similar to his 'Tyrone' in the 2002 film "No Good Deed".

Film critic Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "'The Women on the Roof' is no 'Persona.' (Bergman's brilliant 1966 film). It is heavier on atmosphere, mood and plot than on psychological interest. It is like a Polaroid picture after the shutter has been snapped, though, as one watches, the details of the image slowly fade away instead of coming into sharp focus."

 

   

 

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