JULY/AUGUST 2016 NEWS

08.13.16

Early last week Stellan was in the Big Apple with director Hans Petter Moland to promote the US release of IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE. The film will debut in NY and LA on August 26. Our Swede gives an excellent interview with Anthem magazine this month. The magazine describes the film as "altogether absurdist. As the bodycount climbs evern higher, the film slowly transitions from revenge thriller to dark comedy, which is bound to tickle fervent Coen Brothers and Tarantino fans." I know I will love this film! I've been curious about Stellan's thoughts on Liam Neeson taking over the lead role in an American version of the film. He shared, "It's understandable because there are so many people out there who hate reading subtitles. If it’s a good story, why not make it accessible to more people? But what I don’t like is when you remake something and clip the wings off the original, like sanitize it or do something stupid with it. 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' was a great remake. If Hans is doing the 'In Order of Disappearance' remake, which is what the rumors say or he’s been offered to at least, then I know it’s going to be interesting."

On Monday, Stellan and Hans were at the Scandinavia House for a screening followed by a Q&A with film critic John Anderson. In discussing his role, Stellan commented, "Most of the time, I’m saying one-liners and punching people in the face. To me, it’s such a pleasure to work without dialogue because film is not like theater; it’s not a literary art form. So, for me, it’s a pleasure to work with a director that is an expert in telling a story without having the actors have to tell it. It’s like the end scene of this film, which I like very much, with the wonderful Bruno Ganz. We don’t say anything, but it’s still a scene."

In another interview the following day at AOL Build Presents, the father of eight commented on his actor sons. He thinks they are talented but it's more important to him that they're "nice people."

"If I would hear that my kids misbehaved and treated people badly on the set that would be much more upsetting than if their films bombed or they got humiliated because of a bad performance."

As far as his own career, he said, "I love my work, I need to work. It is fantastic and I have a lot of fun doing it, but life is more important, in general. I don’t work that much. I’ve made so many films, but I’m probably at home changing diapers or cooking, vacuum cleaning and doing real stuff more than half the year, which has created a rather healthy environment." He added: "I don’t know what I have done. I don’t think I am a very good father, but something is right."

Here are some photos from that event:

08.02.16

Stellan has confirmed his role in Terry Gilliam's THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE. The Monty Python legend has been working on his adaptation of the Cervantes classic since 1998. Poor planning and a startling variety of bad luck delayed the project repeatedly. Despite this, Gilliam continued to struggle and remained positive through the years. Other cast members include Adam Driver, Michael Palin, Olga Kurylenko and Willem Dafoe.

Working with Monty Python's Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin will be an interesting experience for Stellan. He says he looks forward to working with them and adds, "The role is not so damn fancy, but to get to hang out and work with this gang will be fun. I met Terry a couple of times, but I know him mainly through his life's work."

When asked if there seemed to be a curse over the project, he replied, "You are superstitious, not me. Things can go and not go. It happens all the time in this business. Projects go bust and then they come up again. This is funded now and that's why they hired me."

Production has entered its early day. While principal photography won’t commence until October 4, the director is location-scouting throughout Madrid and Portugal. The story concerns Toby Grisoni (Adam Driver), a 21st-century man brought back to the time and place of Miguel de Cervantes’ text and the presence of Don Quixote (Michael Palin), who mistakes him for Sancho Panza.

Eldest son Alexander was joined by some of his family at the Stockholm premiere of "The Legend of Tarzan" on July 11. He told the press, "I'll be watching it sitting next to my Dad. I'm sure it will be a very memorable experience unless I pass out because I'm too nervous. My biggest fear would be that my Dad didn't like the movie."  Stellan was quoted, "This beats Johnny Weissmuller with horse lengths. I am very happy." In the photos below are Alex's girlfriend, Alexa Chung, his father and stepmom amd brother Gustaf and his girlfriend.

07.07.16

The very successful "In Order of Disappearance" (Kraftidioten) continues to have a life on the big screen. [Just last month I indicated that Liam Neeson will be doing an American re-make.] Since its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 10, 2014, the Norwegian version has been screened at several film festivals in the US in Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, Denver, Palm Springs, Cleveland and Minneapolis. It will now have a limited theatrical release in NYC on August 26, 2016, so I'm pleased to see that the original still lives on. Along with this new screening comes a new poster.

This past weekend OUR KIND OF TRAITOR opened in US theaters giving rise to much praise for Stellan's performance as the exuberant and charismatic Dima, an expert money launderer who works on behalf of the Russian mafia. "Usually I underplay every character, so this gave me a chance to go a little over the top and wear a great wig!" he told the press. His role in this John le Carre film also enabled him to meet a boyhood idol. Since reading "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" when he was 13, he has loved the author. Stellan explains, "When we shot this, I got a chance to meet him finally, so I actually went out and bought a first edition copy of 'Spy' and had him sign it for me. I don't usually do that, but when it comes to John, I can't help myself. He's not a young man, but in his mind, he's very contemporary and he's very much aware of what's going on in the world. You could say it's a cynical world that he depicts, but he's not a cynical writer. Like [Raymond] Chandler, he depicts a cynical world with compassion, and just like Chandler, there's this sadness and darkness to his stories."

After reading tons of reviews this week, I can't help but think of Mighty Mouse. I've never seen Stellan get so much praise for a film that many critics found less thrilling than expected. Our Swede's performance truly saves this film.

"The major reason for seeing the film may be the tour de force performance by Stellan Skarsgård."

 "It is Skarsgård’s dynamic performance which saves the day."

 "'Our Kind of Traitor' is essentially redeemed by Skarsgård’s outstanding and quite revealing performance."

"The only thing that brings the film to life is Skarsgård's fantastic performance."

"The committed performance from Skarsgård  is what manages to save the film from completely failing, with the talented actor exuding a boisterous presence and charisma that is hard to deny."

"Skarsgård locates his performance in that odd zone where appealing meets scary, and he’s by far the most interesting thing in the movie."

"You’ll never be blown away, yet certain segments do raise an eyebrow or two thanks to Stellan Skarsgård’s lovably Soviet Don personality."

"Skarsgård’s turn as an overbearing, open-collared Russian stereotype proves to be the film’s strongest asset."

"The film’s one bright spot is Stellan Skarsgård as Dima."

"It’s Skarsgård who energizes the film with his broad, oversized turn as the wily Russian crook turned against his confederates."

"It's Skarsgård who owns 'Our Kind of Traitor,' making Dima seem larger than life but also vulnerable."

"'Traitor' would be totally lost without Skarsgård's gregarious presence."

Another Skarsgård film opened this past weekend. Oldest son Alexander plays the title role in the action-adventure film,  "The Legend of Tarzan". The production photo to the left shows him with director David Yates. Manolha Dargis of the NY Times writes, "The casting of Mr. Skarsgård indicates that the filmmakers understand a primal part of Tarzan’s allure. This isn’t strictly a question of Mr. Skarsgård’s considerable physical charms, though these are central to the character.  Mr. Skarsgård is also a fine actor with an enigmatic melancholy, a quality that has been put to expressive use in small roles in movies like 'What Maisie Knew' and that here suggests Tarzan carries a profound burden that makes him more complex than the usual beefcake in loincloth."

It's certainly a role that he was "super-excited" about playing. He describes how his father is the biggest Tarzan fan ever and how they would watch the old Johnny Weissmuller movies when he was a kid. Due to his strict diet and exercise regime during film production, he looked forward to the final wrap. He said, "My dad was shooting a Netflix mini-series ["River"] in London, so I went straight to his house and spent four days on the couch being fed. He loves to cook so we had rich pastas, bone marrow, mozzarella, red wine. I was in heaven." And I'm thinking it would be heavenly to have Stellan cook me a meal! Alexander continues, "Almost all my siblings live within a four-block radius and every night my dad will cook for whoever swings by. There's a big dinner party almost every night of the week."

In the current issue of German magazine Nido, Stellan discusses his large family. The article headline to the left captures his thinking - "Life should be loud and turbulent." The actor has eight children from two marriages. He thinks there is nothing more beautiful than to see all his children together. With three sons also actors, it has become more difficult to all gather for daily dinner because some of them may be on the road working. He figures he spends about five months a year doing films and the rest of the time he enjoys his role as "Papa". He jokes that he has no interest in playing golf in his free time. He thinks his young children keep him young. Being alone does not attract the family man. Stellan says, "Children need other children. They learn from each other. I myself have four siblings and have never had the feeling of being neglected."