NOVEMBER/DECEMBER NEWS 2008:

12.22.08:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Here are some photos of Stellan and Halle Berry as they prepare for  their garden scenes in FRANKIE AND ALICE. These pictures were taken on the Vancouver set on Thanksgiving Day. The shooting schedule for the thriller began October 27th and will continue through December 17th. Both leads are being coached with their dialects - Stellan for an American accent while Halle needs multiple accents for her role.

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An interview with Stellan has been published this month  in a new book called "Personligt" by Swedish writer Christer Sturmark. From politicians to researchers and entertainers, Sturmark interviews several interesting personalities in his country. Together they examine the human condition. Stellan discusses faith, or more explicitly, his lack of faith. He apparently has had no personal experience of God's presence in his life, and that fact is amazing. That would have been a far more interesting interview if he had. You can read a google translation here, as it appeared in Swedish newspapers. Note the rather strange photo used in the book.

MAMMA MIA! was released on DVD in the US today. The special edition double-disc set includes some nice extras, such as "The Name of the Game", a number cut from the film, a featurette presenting the three guys during the Waterloo finale, as well as several deleted scenes. The movie can also be played in the "sing-along" mode, with on-screen lyrics for all 22 musical numbers. The DVD went on sale last month in the UK and apparently has danced its way into the record books, becoming the fastest-selling DVD of all time after a day's trading and it has finally surpassed "Titanic" to become the highest grossing film of all time in the UK as well. On a budget of $52 million, this movie raked in $143 million here in the States, but more impressive is the $425 million international box office gross! We're talking big bucks here. As a major Meryl Streep fan for 30 years, I was thrilled to see her capture the Golden Globe nomination for her energizing performance as Donna. Now cinemagoers have the chance to be equally mesmerized by her new role as Sister Aloysius Beauvier in "Doubt".

For ABBA and Mamma Mia! fans, you might be interested in the newest edition of the book, "Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You?" which hit the UK bookshelves on November 13, 2008. Through first person recollections from ABBA founding members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and MAMMA MIA! global producer and creator Judy Craymer, this book explores the fascinating inside story of ABBA's songs and the worldwide number 1 smash hit musical and film those songs inspired. This paperback edition features fascinating interviews with those involved, plus tons of great photos from the set.  For more information, visit this link.

In a UK publication, Stellan discussed his role in the film. He admitted that the prospect of singing and dancing on screen was "seriously scary." But when the call first came asking if he would join a cast headed by Meryl Streep, he just had to accept. He recalls, "I didn't hesitate at all. My agent called me and said, 'Stellan, can you sing?' and I said, 'no', and then he said, 'because they are making a movie out of 'Mamma Mia!' with Meryl Streep. I said, 'I can sing!' I would probably have said yes even if she wasn't in it, but you know Meryl wouldn't do a thing like this unless she had a very good idea about how to do it. It's guaranteed that with someone like Meryl in it, something interesting will happen. Also, you want to work with good actors - and she is a very good actor. It was a surprise to be asked. But what I liked about it is that I was doing something that I'd never done before and I was really scared. I try to become a better actor all the time and it did help me. Not because I will become a great singer and dancer - I doubt that! I tried to lose control a lot when I did this film. My kind of acting is usually quite measured - even if it is alive, even if I do react to what is happening on the set, it has a certain control to it. In this film I just threw everything away. I stopped thinking about acting and just had fun and I wanted to see what happened. It was great fun.

Stellan calls his character "a bit of a bimbo". He explains, "This was written by a woman, directed by a woman, produced by a woman, the three main characters are women. It’s the absolute reversal of a normal film which means the men in this film are portrayed like women normally are – that’s why they are bimbos. I don’t mind that. It’s very relaxing to be the bimbo – you have no responsibility whatsoever. You just have to walk around, show your buttocks and be cute!” For the full interview, click here.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Here's a photo of Stellan with Sweden's MTG Radio crew back in April when WAZ (aka "The Killing Gene") was released in Sweden.

11.03.08:

button_box.gif (205 bytes)Stellan began a new film project in Vancouver last Monday. He stars with the film's producer, Halle Berry, in FRANKIE AND ALICE, directed by Geoffrey Sax. Described as a thriller, the film is about a woman battling a multiple personality disorder. Stellan, who will play her doctor, had these comments about his new film - "Director Geoffrey Sax has previously worked mainly in theatre. My agent says he has a very good reputation in the industry. And the script is very good." Filming will continue through the end of December.

As predicted, Stellan was awesome playing a wacky movie director on HBO's ENTOURAGE last night. Yes, he plays Verner in an obvious homage to real life "tough as nails" director, Werner Herzog. He has a wonderful introduction in the show by flying in a helicopter (think Francis Ford Coppola) directing huge explosions. The Swedish press asked him about his TV role and he replied, "I play a somewhat overstrained German, Oscar-winning director, who will make an action film with Vince called 'Smokejumpers'. It was great fun and very different from making feature films." And he adds, "It's  frightening close to reality in Los Angeles".