OCTOBER 2006 NEWS:
GHOSTS will have the first of its three Spanish premieres on
Tuesday evening. The screening will take place at the Palacio de la
Música in Madrid at 9 pm. In a recent phone interview, director Milos
Forman indicated he was feeling a bit nervous about how his film about
the Spanish painter will go over in the great master's homeland. He
admits, "I'm afraid I might disappoint the Spanish people." However, he
did say that no matter how the movie does at the box office or how it is
received by critics and whether they think the film is credible and
realistic, the camaraderie and "lovely ambience" of its making leave it
marked in his own mind as "the best professional experience of my
career." He adds, "I never in my life worked with more pleasant,
well-disposed and enthusiastic people."
the Kodak web site, there's a feature called "The Intrigue of Goya's
Ghosts" in which cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe gives his thoughts
about the film - "Serenity, sensitivity and truth came to mind when I
first considered the film's visual creation... I took special care with
portraits of the characters which I hope will bring to mind the
masterpieces of the great Spanish painters... It was an immense pleasure
to work with Milos who shared his greatness of heart and sense of humour
with the whole crew... The making of 'Goya's Ghosts' was an
unforgettable experience for me and one in which we enjoyed a great
shared understanding. It was the one film in which I was a
cinematographer in the broadest sense of the word." The small photo to
the right shows Aguirresarobe seting up an over-the-shoulder
insert shot with Stellan.
The Exberliner, Berlin's monthly magazine (in English), had a review
of the film in its latest issue. - "The director of 'One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Amadeus' has produced another quite old-fashioned
film which is a grand spectacle, admirably acted, but ultimately a
little tired. The dramatic story twists and turns really say nothing
more than what comes up, must come down, and none of the characters'
fates are really involving." They were obviously not bubbling over with
enthusiasum, but hopefully we'll read better reviews in the weeks ahead.
eldest son, Alexander, made some news last weekend in the fashion world,
no less. He was a guest at a palatial Bel-Air mansion on Friday evening
where designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren held a party.
Apparently the Dutch duo have collaborated with Sweden's hip retail
emporium, H&M, for an exclusive collection. He was among several
celebrities including Carmen Electra, Chloe Sevigny, Izabella Scorupco,
Johnny Lee Miller, Lara Flynn Boyle and Mia Maestro. What a handsome
is still no word on a US release date for
GOYA'S GHOSTS. A few reviews have surfaced on some German cinema
sites and they are positive. However, there appears to be some
disappointment that the film isn't purely a biopic on the life of Goya.
If you've read the storyline, you'll understand that the drama centers
on the Spanish Inquisition involving one of its cunning members, Brother
Lorenzo (Bardem) and the character of Ines (Portman), Goya's muse who is
accused of heresy. Apparently some critics would have preferred fact
over fiction with the artist as the central figure in the story. The
Scottish Daily News recently announced the film stating it starred
"Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, who starred in the original European
version of INSOMNIA, as Goya." That's
so refreshing! Journalists in the US repeatedly use
GOOD WILL HUNTING and I wish more
audiences were aware of his excellent work in the 1997 Norwegian
Here's a great link to producer
Saul Zaentz's web site
featuring the entire history of the
GOYA'S GHOSTS production from how the idea was conceived to casting
to film locations. Many thanks to Sharon Smithline for this good
information! So how did Stellan get this role? Director Milos Forman
decided that the actor playing Goya should be unrecognizable. Zaentz
relates how he and the director were on a plane watching EXORCIST: THE
BEGINNING when Forman turned to him and said, "There’s our Goya." Zaentz
knew Stellan since he had produced AN UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING and
he responded, "Skarsgård is the kind of actor you remember not as
Stellan Skarsgård, but as the character he plays in each particular
film. He’s a marvelous actor."
Of course, Stellan was
delighted to be approached for the part. He describes his role as Goya -
"I’m physically different from Goya. But, of course, it’s not Goya as he
was in real life that we’re depicting. This is fiction film. Let me tell
you, I spent an incredible amount of time researching Goya himself.
Actually all of us involved in the film immersed themselves in the
essence of who and what Goya was, and how he worked and lived. We went
so far in this direction that for some of those scenes in the studio we
followed his formula for etchings and probably could have produced some.
We know the formulas he used for color and the paints he particularly
liked. We were even able to re-create the sketchbooks he used. He
carried them with him wherever he went, something he learned about in
Italy and brought home with him."
The verisimilitude of the
setting and the atmosphere on set helped Stellan to embody Goya as a
living, breathing human being. Stellan adds, "But understanding his soul
from inside, the soul of the character that Milos Forman and Jean Claude
Carriere have created, is the goal. I work from seeing him as they
created him. The character as written is very interesting because he has
compassion towards everything he paints. Yet he’s someone who stands
apart as some artists must do. He certainly doesn’t want to get in the
way of the powers of the Inquisition and he certainly respects his young
muse Ines, though in some way he’s obviously in love with her. Whenever
he paints angels in a church or whenever he needs the face of a lovely
young woman in a painting, it’s her face he uses. She’s constantly alive
in his mind."
Bardem stands in awe of his
Swedish co-star - "To see how Stellan, this man from the north of
Europe, creates this character who is the soul of Spain is something of
a miracle. To work with Stellan is to slide on silk. You have an amazing
actor there." Forman joins in the praise. "Subtlety, subtlety is the
key. It’s a danger to make artistic geniuses like Goya bigger than life,
different from ordinary people in the manner, in the way they live.
Stellan is so subtle. I believe every word he says, every gesture he
makes." And what does Stellan think of his director? "He is, of course,
a fantastic director but he is so funny. Between takes, we don’t sit
around talking shop but just chat and laugh because he makes such fun of
himself. It makes a great atmosphere, an intensely creative atmosphere
has informed me that he will be going to Spain in November to attend all
three premieres for GOYA'S GHOSTS.
Yes, three! Madrid on 11/7, Zaragoza on 11/8 and Valencia on 11/9. He
adds, "It will be interesting to learn how the Spanish cope with having
their national icon portrayed by a Swede. Of course, I do not pretend to
show how or who Goya was. It’s just a suggestion of what he might have
been like, and subordinate to the needs of the film." I think we are all
quite anxious to have this portrait revealed and soon!
a much improved trailer now featured at a
German cinema site for GOYA'S GHOSTS. However, it's
dreadfully dubbed in German, so if you want to hear Stellan's
wonderful voice, head over to
for an English version.
Saturday evening the New Yorker Festival featured Milos Forman in
a discussion with David Denby. According to Sharon Smithline who
attended the event, Forman showed a few clips from some of his films and
then showed the trailer for GOYA'S GHOSTS.
It's apparently longer than the Spanish version now online, and in
English. Forman admitted that the film has been having difficulty
obtaining a US distributor but he is hopeful that the film will open in
January. He mentioned the lack of a happy ending as presenting an
obstacle in making money at the box office, but that's strange coming
from a man who gave us Amadeus.
have a great find - an interview from 1968 when Stellan was only 16
years old! I purchased it a few months ago at Tradera Auctions and
finally gave it over to our friend, Robin Solsjö Höglund,
for his translation. It comes from Bild
magazine that featured Stellan when he starred in the Swedish TV
mini-series called BOMBI BITT OCH JAG. Fristiof Nilsson Piraten
had authored stories about an adventuresome boy named Bombi Bitt, akin
to Huckleberry Finn. When Stellan showed interest in auditioning for the
role, his brother Kettil made sure his sibling's acting career got
launched. The series was highly popular and Stellan became a teenage
star in his country. Looking back on this young stardom, Stellan says, "I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. Fortunately, my parents were very
sane people, so very early on, I realized the shallowness of fame and
the frightening gap between the public image of you and who you really
are." Of course, we know that in some ways Stellan hasn't changed
much - he's still a rascal.