Nossiter's post-apocalyptic film
LAST WORDS opened in France on October 21. Conceived as
an allegory on the impact of the climate crisis, "Last Words"
unfolds in a planet that has been ravaged. Set in 2086, Europe
is a vast desert and its population has been decimated by a
virus. (prophetic?) Survivors are living isolated while nature
has perished and culture has disappeared from the world. It will
take a young African refugee to bring joy and a sense of
togetherness into people’s lives thanks to movies.
Though it was
a selection at the 2020 Cannes Film
Festival and the Deauville American Film
Festival, the French critics were not too impressed.
However, several of them
appreciated its tribute to cinema. French
film critic Jacky Bornet wrote, "Rarely has a film imaged such
an ode to cinema." And
wrote, "The Greek temples which populate the backgrounds testify
less to the greatness of an ancient civilization than to its
simple disappearance. To come face to face with them means to
contemplate what will never come back - and it is this look at
death that lies at the heart of 'Last Words'".
of the film's cast members joined director Nossiter in another
film twenty years ago - Stellan and Charlotte Rampling in "Signs
& Wonders". These two actors have now starred together in
six films. I believe I've seen Ms. Rampling in over 25 films and
she remains high on my list of outstanding actresses.
announced in my post yesterday, Norwegian film
HOPE will premiere in Stellan's
homeland on November 6th. The Swedish media reports that unlike
most other Norwegian films that come to Sweden, this film will
get a wide launch in a number of cinemas across the country. It
has also been retitled, "Living on Hope", which both Stellan and
director Maria Sødahl are dissatisfied with.
recent interview with the pair in Stockholm, Stellan
remarked, "There is a theme in it that is seriously
international. You can absorb it in all cultures." He states
that it is not so common for Swedish cinemas to show Norwegian
films. He continues, "If they are set up in Sweden at all, it is
usually in a single cinema. There is a fear among Swedish
distributors of showing Norwegian films. It's incomprehensible."
Maria adds, "It is fantastic that it will premiere in Sweden at
When asked about casting
Stellan and Andrea Braein
Hovig, Maria replied, "I knew I had two great actors and
I was sure they would be good together. It was a bit like an
arranged marriage: they had to adjust to each other, they had no
choice. I trusted them so much and in my decision that I dared
to risk that. I wasn’t afraid things wouldn’t work, but I was
very interested in how their energies would interact. It’s funny
that at first they’re a bit comical next to each other as
Stellan is very tall while Andrea is a tiny, short woman, but I
liked that they’re a weird couple you don’t necessarily imagine
next to each other. It is precisely what makes them believable
that they are not a perfect couple."
Maria also admits that in
making this film, she was against the idea of doing a kind of
self-therapy. Stellan shares, "I’ve never tried to process my
own personal traumas with filmmaking, but filming still has a
therapeutic effect for me in the sense that it’s good for me to
be able to hide in other people’s skin from time to time. It’s a
wonderful thing to be able to do things I would never do in real
life by hiding behind a role. It frees me to be able to play a
role. However, if I’m just struggling with a specific problem in
my private life, I’m never looking for a solution in filming."
At the world premiere of
the film, Stellan described his role as easy because he only had
to react to his wife Andrea. He explains, "I didn’t have big
monologues. I didn’t have to show any big things about myself. I
just sat there and reacted to what she said or did. One wants
the character to be three-dimensional even if there is not too
much text. At such times, I have to focus on the little nuances,
which obviously requires attention and concentration, but from
that, most of my business was to react to Andrea."
Stellan continues, "I hate
monologues. I love acting between the lines. If you observe how
I play, you can see that I just throw in the text and the
emotions are visible on me before or after the text. For me,
that’s what movie acting means. Television is different,
everything is full of dialogues, all information comes through.
The situation is similar in theater. In the cinema, the
information is in the picture. It’s the kind of acting game I
love. I hate it when a character has to talk about how they feel
or have a long dissertation about what’s going on in the film.
In a good movie, you don’t have to hear it, you have to see it.
Questioned about acting in
"Chernobyl", he answered, "There, too, I was able to work with
inter-line acting. It also shows how great director Johan Renck
directed the episodes. I have a beautiful arc to my relationship
with the character of Jared Harris, and you won’t find that
relationship in the dialogues. It evolved from the way we
reacted to each other, the way we looked at each other and the
way we moved. Johan saw this and trusted us so much to build our
series relationship on this. He could have paid attention only
to the dialogues, but he saw that was not the right direction
Ewan McGregor spoke about the upcoming "Star Wars" series
for Disney Plus on a Zoom call for BBC's "The Graham Norton
Show". He revealed that production on the series, which Stellan
will star in, is set to start in March 2021. The series was
announced in 2019 with hopes that production would begin in
2020. However, things were delayed because of Covid-19. With how
quick Disney and Lucasfilm are able to get these projects out,
we might be seeing this premiere in 2022. One thing we know for
certain at this point is that the series will follow Obi-Wan
Kenobi. The series will be set between "Star Wars Episode III:
Revenge of the Sith" and "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."
winning the European Cinemas Label Award at this year's Berlin
Film Festival, HOPE (HÅP)
has been released in several European countries. It had
its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in
September 2019 and two months later was released in Norwegian
theaters on November 22nd. It was screened earlier this year in
the U.S. at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It
will open in Sweden on November 6th. We anxiously await here in
the states to have the chance to see it on one of our streaming
heartfelt drama starring Stellan has been pre-selected for the
European Film Awards and picked up two nods at this year’s
Amanda Awards in Norway, including the best actress award for
Stellan's co-star Andrea Braein
Hovig. On the heels of its critical acclaim, the movie was sold
by TrustNordisk to the U.S., Germany, Austria, Poland, Estonia,
former Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Israel.
is an autobiographically-inspired film by Maria Sødahl, wife of
director Hans Petter Moland. It is based on
Maria's experiences as a working woman
in a blended family whose life is forever changed when her
cancer is no longer in remission. Over the period of a week,
the couple prepare for the worst and
hope for the best.
Stellan explains, "This film is an accurate reflection of what
Maria went through, but I decided from the start that I am not
playing Hans Petter Moland. That responsibility would be too
great for me. It is also impossible to perfectly portray an
existing person. It will always be an imagination. Anja and
Tomas, the characters from the film, are therefore not the real
Maria and Hans Petter."
Stellan was first approached by Maria for the role, he didn't
know what to make of it. He thought "Oh no, not another cancer
movie! Or does she see this as a way of self-therapy?" Stellan
continues, "I didn't feel like doing that at all. Then she sent
me a summary of a page or two, and it was damn funny! The main
character was bizarre and strange and completely stoned most of
the time, and actually not very pleasant. It was then that I
realized that Maria could distance herself enough to deal with
that period in her life. I immediately said yes."
Admitting that the film
doesn't necessarily paint a very positive portrait of his old
friend, Stellan agrees, "That's true. But he has shown himself
very generous. He thinks this is Maria's version of the facts.
She tells things as she experienced them. On the other hand, she
has turned it into a beautiful love story. That also means a
lot... Hans Pet feels a bit bad because he thinks the film does
not paint a fair picture of him. He is concerned about what
people in Norway will think of him now. But I told him that
after this movie he will have a much better reputation than
In the film, the husband
seems distant because of his work and Stellan was asked if he
was like his character. He replied, "Not at all. Ever since I
graduated from the acting academy, I’ve been following a rule.
Four months of work a year, the rest of the time belongs to the
family. I never changed that."
When asked if it helped to
know the couple, Stellan replied, "I tried to stick to the
script as much as possible. Hans Pet's life is completely
different from mine. For example, he works much harder than I
do. (laugh) What I could identify with is the feeling you have
as a partner of someone who has cancer. My first wife once had
that diagnosis too. Suddenly everything revolves around that
sick person, and as a partner you feel totally helpless. There
is nothing you can do. You can't even support your loved one
properly, because she is full of agony and that overshadows
everything. I threw myself into all the practical worries. We
had six children, and I made sure that the whole household
machine kept running and that the children had everything they
Since "Hope" is mainly the
story of a relationship and a family, Stellan was asked what
kind of father he was in real life. He replied, "Hard to say. I
try to make my children feel that they have their own worth and
that we love them. And I never lie to them. That's a sacred
principle to me. I've never told a lie to my kids. Even if they
ask for something very difficult or personal, you have to tell
the truth. Or you say you are too embarrassed to answer."
animated film APSTJÄRNAN (The Ape Star) will premiere on
December 18th in Sweden and during next spring in Norway and
Denmark. The story is based on Frida Nilsson's award-winning
book and the film adaptation was written by Janne Vierth with
Linda Hambäck directing.
Stellan provided one of the
as well as actors Pernilla August, Rebecca Gerstmann and Melinda
Kinnaman. The synopsis reads - "There is nothing the orphan
Jonna wants more than a mother. The feisty young orphan girl
dearly wants to be adopted. Jonna will accept anyone, really, so
long as her new parent loves Jonna… and only Jonna. But when her
potential new mom drives up to the orphanage in an old car, she
gets a big shock when the car door opens and a gorilla steps
out! Jonna is not sure she wants to leave with the big, clumsy
primate at first, but ape and girl quickly overcome their
physical differences. But can their newfound domestic bliss
survive the scheming of a local bully who's out to separate the
two?" Stellan has previously worked with director Linda
Hambäck on the children's animated film
"Gordon & Paddy" (2017).
time for Stellan to enter the STAR WARS world. The other
day he was in London to try on clothes and a wig. In four weeks
he will return to start filming an as yet unbaptized TV series
that will be shown on Disney Plus. About ten years ago, he
admits turning down a role in a "Star Wars" movie. He explains,
"They were interested in me, but I was not interested. It was a
boring role, although it would get bigger in the next film. I
don't even remember what movie it was."
As always when it comes to
"Star Wars", most things are kept secret, but Stellan dares to
lift the veil a bit. He tells the Swedish press, "The
script is written by Tony Gilroy, who wrote 'Rogue one', which
is the best film in the series. It's a very good script, and it
does not contain very many white plastic men running around and
shooting. Instead, you get to see what it looks like in people's
homes and workplaces, and that's not so common in 'Star Wars'."
The main role in the new series is played by Diego Luna, whose
character died in "Rogue one". Consequently, the new series
takes place before that movie. Stellan comments, "It is
sometimes difficult to keep apart all the 'Star War' universes".
He refers to his role as "interesting and contradictory" and
concedes that there is "an option for the possibility that there
will be two more seasons."
Since Stellan is not a
"sci-fi guy", he was asked why he recently chose two giant
science fiction stories. He replied, "'Dune' is for me more of a
Denis Villeneuve film. I really like him. He creates a kind of
thick atmosphere in his films and is also damn nice to work
with. And 'Star Wars'... every fucking birthday, it's some kid
who has wanted a costume or Darth Vader mask or spaceship, so
I'm well versed in that fascinating fairytale world. This is
probably the first time that all my children, from 8 to 44 years
old, are happy with a role I will play (laughs)."
a recent interview Stellan again commented on the
pandemic saying, "I’m extremely privileged. In Sweden we didn't
have total lockdown. We had social distancing and it just worked
very well here, so you could go shop and there would be no lack
of produce in shops and you could go to a restaurant and you had
to sit 2 metres away from everybody... It makes you feel guilty
for all those people in third world countries and America who
don’t have healthcare and they don’t have any protection if they
lose their jobs. I am so privileged, I feel ashamed."
At times the Skarsgård
family gathered on Ljusterö in the Stockholm archipelago. This
included eight children, wife, ex-wife, the children's husbands
and girlfriends and grandchildren. The first to start working was Valter who went to Iceland at the end of May to film the first
Icelandic Netflix series "Katla". Then Alexander left for
Northern Ireland to join the cast of "The Northman" in
which he will again be co-starring with Nicole Kidman. Directed
by Robert Eggers, the film is a Viking-era revenge tale. Eggers
previously directed "The Lighthouse" (2019), which I highly
in June I reported that son Bill has been set to play
Swedish criminal Clark Olofsson in a six-part Netflix series
called CLARK, directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The series is a
Swedish language adaptation of Olofsson’s autobiography in which
the convicted drug trafficker and bank robber reflects on his
criminal escapades which began in the 1960s. Olofsson gave rise
to the term “Stockholm syndrome,” in which hostages forge an
affinity with their captor.
Bill talked about his
role, "I accept this challenge with delight, mingled with terror
and think that with Jonas and Netflix in the back, we can tell a
groundbreaking story with a pace and madness we may not have
seen on TV before. Clark's life and history is so incredible and
screwed that it would even make Scorsese blush."
Stellan adds, "I have read the script.
It is a sad story but Clark is an
interesting person. He does cruel things and has no morals. One
should beware of romanticizing culprits, even if they look good.
But if we were only to portray those who have done good for
humanity, there would not be much film made. He also announced
that his youngest son, eight-year-old
Kolbjörn, will make his debut in the series as the
younger Clark. Stellan laughing says that his son takes it very
seriously. So is another Skarsgård son on his way to an acting
career! Love this adorable little face!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, DUNE, previously set
for a December 2020 release date, is among a slew of films
impacted by the ongoing pandemic. Sources say it will be moved
to October 2021. The Denis Villeneuve film includes Stellan in
its cast as the villainous Baron Harkonnen.
had the chance to see OUT STEALING
HORSES and I would highly recommend a viewing by any
lover of Nordic drama or Stellan fan. This is the fifth
collaboration between our Swede and Norwegian director Hans
Petter Moland. Anthony Francis of Screen Comment writes that the
pair "seem to have found that rare magic that
perfectly pairs actor and director on interesting cinematic
The film was screened in
competition at last year's film festival in Berlin, where it was
awarded the Silver Bear for "outstanding artistic contribution".
It also received several Amanda Awards given out at the
Norwegian International Film Festival - Best Film, Director (Moland),
Cinematography (Rasmus Videbæk), Music
(Kaspar Kaae) and Supporting Actor (Bjørn Floberg).
The basis for the script
is Per Petterson's international bestseller from 2003, which has
been translated into fifty languages and been awarded a number
of prizes. When it was released in the US in 2017, both
the New York Times and Time magazine named the novel one of the
top five of the year.
Several foreign newspapers
praised the film adaptation -
beautiful and well-made film" - Dagens Nyheter
"Engaging drama that does the Norwegian hit book justice" - Aftonbladet
"Skarsgård impresses" - Expressen
"A film you like to watch several times" - Kulturbloggen
"Suggestive and magnificent" - Moviezine
"Beautiful, with fine acting" - SVT Kultur
"A masterpiece!" - Berliner Zeitling
"Emotional, masterful and uniquely beautiful" - Dagsavisen
Stellan plays a
67-year-old widower looking back on his life from the threshold
of the new millennium. It begins in November 1999 with Stellan's
character, Trond Sander, remembering the summer of 1948. The
film, while essentially a poem about memory, is nevertheless an
eventful narrative, involving a shocking childhood shooting,
Nazis and the Resistance, marital infidelity and parental
This tale of love and
loss, disappointment and guilt, was filmed in the breathtaking
landscape of mountains and rivers between Norway and Sweden.
Award-winning cinematographer Rasmus Videbaek captures moments
of Malick-esque beauty fueled by deep-rooted emotion. Over and
over again, reviewers mentioned the film's resemblance to the
poetic visuals of famed director Terrence Malick.
In the flashbacks to 1948,
Trond's woodcutter father, played by Norwegian actor Tobias
Santelmann, is strongly and ruggedly handsome as if he's made
out of sinew and oak. And the lush photography of fields of
wheat, wild horses and torrential downpours have never looked
Sam Allard of the
Cleveland Scene writes, "For a story as concerned with a single character's interior life, an
expressive actor is necessary to communicate the depth and range of
emotion without a ton of dialogue to work with. Skarsgård
is adept at conveying much — grief, regret, whimsy — with subtle
movements of his eyes."
The film is now available via
streaming at Amazon.com.