SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER NEWS 2009:

12.22.09:

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 Stellan is set to become the voice in the audio guide accompanying visitors at the upcoming exhibition ABBAWORLD that opens its doors for the very first time in London on January 27th. Our Swede seems a likely choice considering he starred in the successful film, "Mamma Mia!" and also helped host the BBC's ABBA tribute concert in Hyde Park in September. Stellan comments, "People might think I am an ABBA groupie, but I am actually trying to become the fifth member of the group and have their name changed to ABBAS. I'm really looking forward to it."

Magnus Danielsson, president of Touring Exhibitions, the company behind ABBAWORLD, is excited about Skarsgård becoming the voice of the audio guide. "Stellan adds character and off-beat humour to the guide, and his voice is well known all over the world," says Danielsson. "We are very happy indeed that he is participating in ABBAWORLD." The script for the audio guide is written by ABBA biographer, Carl Magnus Palm. According to Mats Daleskog, senior director of production, the audio guide is a highly integrated and important feature of the exhibition. "Much more so than in many other exhibitions," he says. "Not only is it about giving information to the visitors about objects and locations in the exhibition, but we want the audio guide to be an experience in itself and both the voice and the script are critical for its appeal."

11.25.09:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)According to Production Weekly, Marvel Studios will begin principal photography on the Kenneth Branagh-directed THOR in Los Angeles in mid-January. The production will then move to Santa Fe, New Mexico from March until late-April. Anthony Hopkins has now joined the cast. Based on previous casting news, various sources say that most of the movie will be set on Earth. Some rumors indicate that Natalie Portman will play Jane Foster, who is a nurse in the comics, but in the movie is a PhD cosmology student under the guidance of her Norwegian professor, played by Stellan. This, of course, is not confirmed.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Last month BOOGIE WOOGIE was screened at France's Dinard Festival of British Cinema. It was previously shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June and UK's Cambridge Film Festival in September. It was also featured at the American Film Market earlier this month but there's no word yet as to whether the film attracted a distributor. Stellan plays voracious art collector Bob Maccelstone, whose wife Jean is played by Gillian Anderson. However, from this photo, it's obvious that Bob is canoodling with the Heather Graham character.

10.11.09:

On September 13th, Stellan took part in a BBC Radio 2 event (broadcast live, with a television recording to follow soon), called "A celebration of the music of Abba" and was in effect one big karaoke evening. Each performer sang one of Sweden’s best export’s hits and the audience played their part, singing along word perfect to every number. Follow this link for photos from that evening. The event was introduced by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans (bewigged and dressed in what looked like a Bacofoil '70s retro homage suit). "SOS" was introduced by Stellan, who supplied the background to a couple of songs and introduced a rather touching segment of Swedish folk music and an orchestral piece.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)METROPIA, the ambitious animated feature from Swedish film-maker Tarik Saleh, has been making the film festival circuit over the past few weeks. On September 3rd, it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, followed by screenings at the Helsinki Int'l Film Festival on September 20th, the Sitges Int'l Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia on October 5th, and the Warsaw Film Festival and Pusan Int'l Film Festival on October 9th. It will make its theatrical debut in Sweden on November 27th. Screen Daily describes the film as "visually fascinating and full of inventiveness" but cautions that it never takes off dramatically. Made in 2D using photomontage and Animation Cut Out technique, the film's images blend real footage with Saleh’s quirky characters to create a visual look that borders on the trippy. It will certainly have its fans, especially the sci-fi and fantasy crowd who will respond to its futuristic fiction. Jette Kernion of Cinematical cites Stellan's voice as carrying a tone of dry malice as Trexx security head Ralph Parker. Other voices include Stellan's son Alexander, Vincent Gallo, Juliette Lewis and Udo Kier. You can view more photos of Stellan at this link.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Stellan has joined the cast of THOR, Marvel Studios’ upcoming adaptation of the long-running comic book hero. Other cast members include Chris Hemsworth as the Norse god of thunder, exiled to Earth, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the Norse god of mischief, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Thor’s mortal love interest, and Brian Blessed as Odin, king of the gods. Stellan isn't able to reveal who’s he playing, other than it is apparently a villain. Due to Marvel’s insistence on keeping plot details secret, he relates how they wanted him to sign without reading the script - "That I refused to do. Then they sent one to me that was so coded that I could only print one copy.” Ironically, Stellan's son, Alexander, was considered a leading candidate to play the title role of Thor until Hemsworth was cast in the role. Alexander confirmed that he was so close as to have tried on the costume, and was one of the last contenders cut before director Kenneth Branagh chose Chris Hemsworth. The film is due to commence principal photography early next year with Paramount eying a May 20, 2011 release. The epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

09.28.09:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)According to Norway's Aftenposten, Stellan has accepted a role in another Norwegian independent film called  KONGEN AV BASTØY, to be directed by Marius Holst. Producer Karin Julsrud announced, "We have had a dialogue with Stellan since the summer but had not dared to believe he would accept. He was supposed to make an American movie, but for various reasons, he said 'yes' to us.  He is our international anchor. This was what we wanted and hoped. That it worked is incredible."

In the role of the school headmaster, Stellan will play a complex person, who primarily believes in the strict system, but circumstances will eventually produce an ongoing power struggle. Benjamin Helstad and Kristoffer Joner will co-star. Ms. Julsrud calls the threesome a dream team and adds, "We have just begun to test the actors against each other so we know the dynamics work well." Filming will begin in November.