A couple days ago I read an excellent article from the Flickering Myth web site called "Brooding, Stark, Cold and Dark: The Beauty of Nordic Cinema". Journalist Tom Jolliffe writes that every cinematic nation tends to have a particular forte, or a period in time very distinct for creative output that sees them produce work unique to them. He continues, "In terms of Nordic cinema, each individual nation, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway certainly have unique eccentricities of their own, but there’s an overriding consistency between much of the best works of each. The region shares much of the same atmosphere and cold winters, so often a backdrop in the films (especially thrillers). Likewise, there’s a distinct leaning to introspective characters and oodles of repression."

One of the films Jolliffe discusses is "In Order of Disappearance" (Kraftidioten, 1994), starring Stellan and directed by Hans Petter Moland.

"The black comedic thriller has all those great traits. There are swathes of repression lingering between characters, or felt by them individually. Additionally, another specialty of many Nordic films is a uniquely macabre sense of humor that permeates this film particularly well. Skarsgård, like so many Nordic leads, is a character of few words, and has reached a point of explosive reactions as he dishes out revenge, one by one, working his way through the criminal organization who killed his son. Again, it’s a slow burn, very deliberate. The town, the conditions, the look of everything plays such a big part. The settings are so important in these films, as they create specific conditions for the character to exist within, and they shape the character and the story."

The film was remade last year  as "Cold Pursuit" for American audiences (who dislike subtitles) with Liam Neeson seeking revenge in Colorado. Rather than let Hollywood screw up this remake, Hans Petter Moland once more directed this story. On the Tomato Meter, it scored 69% versus the Norwegian version which rightfully deserved 86%. The director brought some of his regular collaborators with him on "Cold Pursuit", including cinematographer Philip Øgaard, his costume designer and a few stunt performers. But he relished the novelty of making things anew. Moland told the press, "The chance to work with Liam was interesting, and making the film for a whole different audience who hadn’t seen the original and transplant it to a new culture was fun."

Here's a beautiful new photo of Stellan and Megan taken at the London premiere of "Mamma Mia 2" on July 16, 2018.


There's an awesome site called "Pajiba" created by several established journalists who contribute on various subjects including film.  The other day Petr Knava wrote an article called, "1998's 'RONIN' is a Stone-Cold Classic and I Love Every Little Thing About It." Such a clever read! He starts off by saying, "'Ronin' is a masterpiece. A sorely underappreciated action gem from a time before CGI took over everything. And I love every little thing about it."

After describing the characters played by Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Natasha McElhone and Sean Bean, he states that the film also "features a beautifully sweaty and sinister Stellan Skarsgård as the man whose name everybody in the film just loves to pronounce: Gregor. Everyone in 'Ronin' gets a chance at saying 'Gregor' at least a few times. And they all have a whale of a time getting every possible permutation of feeling out of it. Gregor and Gregor! and Gregor?! and Gregorrr and Grregor and G R E G O R. Everyone just has a blast. I love every little thing about this damn film."

I totally agree with Knava's analysis including -

"I love all the market stalls that get destroyed in the crazy car chases through small French streets. A glorious cinematic tradition! I love the French sirens during the chases. I love the fact that it ends as it begins, with De Niro wandering through the dark, vertiginous streets of Montmartre... I love every little thing about 'Ronin.'"

You can read the whole article at this link. Enjoy!

Last week Broadway World announced that Stellan would be a guest voice on Fox's "The Simpsons" on the 11/15 episode. True, the show has remained one of the most groundbreaking entertainment franchises, recognizable throughout the world, but I am proud to say that over the past 30 years, I have never seen even one episode. I don't know if this is supposed to be Stellan's character but it looks like his nose.

On the second Sunday in November, Swedes celebrate Father's Day. So, how does Stellan rate himself as a father. In a recent interview, he replied, "You should probably ask my children. [laughs]. When they were young, I shared my ex-wife's house chores. In the intervals between films, I bathed & changed the children, prepared meals, played with them, put them to sleep. I have been both father and mother. And I loved it. I didn't think it was a chore. And today, when my sons are adults, I like to just sit with them in front of the TV and watch a good football match or some sporting event. I think that above all I always gave my children a lot of freedom. Because this is their life, not mine. These are their choices, their decisions. I have never been a perfect father and I still am not. I did not hide my faults from them. They saw that sometimes I was angry with something, that I was wrong, that I was unjust. I did not always have time for them. However, I never deliberately cheated them. I did not lie. The most important thing in all this is mutual respect of parents and children. I respected their opinions, also those with which I disagreed, and thanks to that they also accepted what I was saying, not as a compulsion to do something, but as advice that they could accept or reject. I just asked them to think about what I was saying. I never expected self-respect just because I'm a parent."

So Stellan, hope you enjoyed a glad fars dag!


In regard to the 2021 Oscars, the annual ceremony has been postponed and will take place in Los Angeles on April 25th. As reported last week, HOPE will battle films from around the world to be included on the shortlist of ten films and then hopefully become one of the five nominees. Most recently, 92 films were submitted.

I've added new material today. The film page for the 1993 film KÅDISBELLAN (THE SLINGSHOT) has now been completed. This coming-of-age tale was written by Swedish inventor Roland Schutt in 1989. Not until his late 70s did Schutt sit down to write his vivid memories of childhood during the 1920s in Stockholm. His novel took Sweden by storm and became a best seller. The book also captured the imagination of filmmaker Åke Sandgren, who adapted it for the screen and ultimately directed the film. Sandgren said, "Schutt's novel is brimming with ideas. The movie is my interpretation of what I felt when I read the book. That's always the way it is - a direct translation isn't possible. The world described in the book appeals to me... There is a terrific vitality in this story and an undertone of absurdity that really turned me on. The existential questions we formulate during prepubescence are important throughout our lives."

It opened to positive reviews in the U.S. in April 1994. Film critic James Berardinelli called it "a wonderful mix of tragedy, humor, and triumph." while AllMovie critic Clarke Fountain described it as an "affectionate, richly detailed portrait". At the 29th Guldbagge Awards the film won the award for Best Film. Åke Sandgren was nominated for both Best Director and Best Screenplay, while Basia Frydman was nominated for Best Actress. The film was the Swedish submission to the 66th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, but did not receive a nomination. Here's a photo from the film's publicity shoot with Basia and Stellan.

It was somewhat of a coincidence that on April 23, 1989, at the Södra Teatern in Stockholm, Norstedt publishers featured six new books with readings by their authors. Stellan stood in and read poems for Maria Larsson who couldn't attend. Also present was 76-year-old Roland Schutt, who read from his book "Kadisbellan". Who would guess that three years later Stellan would be cast in the screen adaptation of that book!

Here's a photo of Stellan with his makeup artist.


Tom Hardy is to lead an all-star cast of the Vietnam War movie "The Things They Carried", which also includes Tye Sheridan, Stephan James, Bill Skarsgård, Pete Davidson and Ashton Sanders. Rupert Sanders is directing the feature that is based on Tim O'Brien's acclaimed collection of stories about a group of young soldiers and their experience on the front line during the Vietnam War. Rupert says, "I am so excited about the cast we have put together – we have not seen this many young stars from different backgrounds sharing the screen since the days of 'Platoon' and 'The Outsiders'."

The Norwegian Film Institute has selected Maria Sødahl's cancer drama HOPE to represent them for the Oscar nominations. Norway has been perpetually overshadowed by Sweden and Denmark in terms of the cinema so this is exciting news.


The nominations for the 33rd European Film Awards have just been announced and they include two films with Stellan. THE PAINTED BIRD was nominated for Best Film and HOPE received two nominations - one for Maria Sødahl as Best Director and one for Andrea Braein Hovig as Best Actress. The ceremony was scheduled to be presented in Reykjavík, Iceland on December 12, 2020. However, due to the pandemic, there will be a virtual ceremony without an audience, broadcast and streamed from Berlin on that date.

When "Hope" was released in Sweden last Friday, it was renamed "Living on Hope" (Leva på hoppet), which both Stellan and the director disliked. It appears that the film was well received. Here are a couple reviews. Rasmus Torstensson of writes, "Just like with the best directors, it is clear that Sødahl has something important to say with the film, that there is something beautiful. In addition, she also manages to get the most out of her actors. Stellan Skarsgård and Andrea Bræin Honvig completely excel. There is incredibly credible chemistry between them. Skarsgård has the more toned-down role where he portrays every little nuance in Tomas with bravura."

And Sofia Olsson, writes, "At the center of these well-designed scenes is always an almost alchemical reaction between the main characters Andrea Braein Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård. They are good individually, together they are unbearably captivating. This does not necessarily mean cheering them on as a romantic couple, but as human beings. Lost, kind-hearted and imperfect. In the film's best scene, time stops when these two just look at each other for a long time, bravely and completely silently. It is the film's blackest hole and most shining star at the same time."


The Atlantic published an article the other day called "Why British Police Shows are Better". Journalist Christopher Orr believes the British detective story is enjoying a golden age unparalleled since the days of Agatha Christie or perhaps even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He writes, "When you take away guns and shootings, you have more time to explore grief, guilt, and the psychological complexity of crime. While American viewers shake off the hangover from our long bender of forensic TV franchises, Britain has been doing a booming export business in tidy, ruminative detective series."

One such series in RIVER. Orr continues, "At times, British crime shows can seem quaint to an American viewer. The tragic incident that kicks off the excellent miniseries 'River' starring the magnificent Stellan Skarsgård and, as his partner, 'Unforgotten’s' Walker would hardly cause a stir on a show on this side of the Atlantic; on 'River', it creates a use-of-force issue. Skarsgård, on foot and unarmed, chases a suspect who makes an unsuccessful leap from a balcony and falls to his death. This will be treated not only as a police scandal, but as a genuine ethical quandary. Did the cop really have to chase this suspect? Couldn’t he have waited for backup?"

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to G-Hey Kim’s horror film "Don’t Click" starring Valter Skarsgård. The feature premiered in August at the U.K.'s FrightFest. Valter plays 21-year-old Josh, who returns from a late night out to find college roommate Zane has gone missing. All that remains is his laptop with the screen flashing. As the flashing intensifies, Josh blacks out only to suddenly wake up beside Zane in a dank, surreal cellar with no apparent way out.

Director Kim was asked about casting Valter and if she had seen him in "Lords of Chaos". She replied, "I hadn't seen the film before his name was brought up during the casting meeting but after I had seen his work, I was convinced that he would be perfect for the role of Josh. We sent the script off to his agency and we were all incredibly pleased when word got back that he was interested. It was a huge relief because he was definitely the right person for the job."

The film, which also stars Mark Koufos and Catherine Howard, will be released in select theaters and on demand on December 11, 2020.


About 16 years ago, I came across a September 2004 cover of SCANORAMA, an inflight courtesy magazine of Scandinavian Airlines. The title was ""Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård chilling in a limo on Lidingö outside Stockholm." It goes on to say that "he is as close as Sweden comes to an A-list Hollywood actor." The next two photos come from a 2006 issue. Stellan's leap in the air reminds me of his co-star Meryl Streep jumping on her bed in "Mamma Mia".

While I was googling "Scanorama" to find any other issues, I came across the Scanorama Film Festival in Lithuania. They were screening "In Order of Disappearance" last year in October.

Since the HBO series "Chernobyl" was partly filmed in Lithuania, Stellan is fondly remembered by those from Vilnius. From the Scanorama web site - "A pleasant, always good-natured, friendly, Swedish star actor without stellar pride has become a favorite of our city. He also does not spare good words when talking about our country, Lithuanian film professionals, with whom he had to work, and as a solid gourmet, he does not forget to praise good Vilnius restaurants.

Scanorama, which has shown all of Hans Petter Moland's films, invited both Stellan and Hans to attend the festival but their intense schedules prevented them from coming, so a long-distance phone call to Stellan was made. A well-known voice was heard from the screen at Scanorama's office on the agreed day and hour. This is some of their conversation:

Q: You are a world-renowned actor, often living on an airplane for professional employment. What does home mean to you? And where does Stellan Skarsgård feel at home?

SS: In fact, I travel three to four months a year. I spend the rest of my time at home with my family in Sweden, so the concept of home is pretty clear to me.

Q: Do you feel Swedish or do you consider yourself a global citizen in a global space? Is the concept of the Homeland as your country important to you?

SS: I feel both a citizen of the world and a Swede. These two identities coexist in me without experiencing much conflict. I grew up in Sweden, my family lives here, Swedish culture has grown into my blood. Cinema opens up a world and a wider horizon for me. I work with people of different nationalities. I travel to foreign countries. These experiences complement each other and provide depth.

Q: In H. P. Moland's latest film "Stealing Horses", your character hides from the world and only realizes the past and feels relief. Do you have this condition yourself?

SS: The main character in the film, Tronde, and I have nothing in common. He is haunted by a childhood trauma that I have not experienced. My childhood was very happy. Reflections on the past, however, are common to every aging person. It’s a way to perceive yourself and life.

Q: You film all over the world. You also filmed in Lithuania. What image of our country did you take away?

SS: I spent half the summer in Lithuania filming the series "Chernobyl". The creative team was very professional. I enjoyed the beautiful nature, great people and good restaurants - good food is very important to me.

Here's a super photo of Stellan and Megan at the Emmy Awards last year. Note the different earring in each ear on Megan. Is that fashionable these days?


UK's Independent announced that a new study has named the 2019 historical drama CHERNOBYL as the most addictive TV series of all time. A study conducted by Enders Analysis has named the top 20 TV shows that British viewers were most likely to watch from beginning to end. The five-part mini-series was a co-production between HBO and Sky UK.  Love this drawing of Stellan and Jared Harris.

I think "Breaking Bad" would have topped the U.S. list! 

Alexander graced the cover last month of Italy's L'oumo Vogue magazine and discussed his latest project - "The Northman", Robert Eggers’s highly anticipated third film, a "Viking revenge story" that Alex himself was crucial in bringing to production. When he met Eggers a few years ago, he discovered the director was a huge fan of Viking culture and of that historical era, so he immediately felt he would be the perfect guy to direct this movie. Together they found an author and poet in Iceland, Sjón, who came onboard to write the screenplay. Production in Northern Ireland began in August after being delayed for months due to the pandemic.

In the article, Alex is referred to as "a really, really nice man. A Swede through and through, Alexander, or Alex, is a very down-to-earth gentleman who could definitely act as more of a big shot, considering he is also one of the most interesting actors in Hollywood right now." The 43-year-old should make his father proud!