THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO opening in theaters today, most
film critics have lavished the film with much praise though differing
opinions are continually offered on Rooney Mara vs. Noomi Rapace. I'll
give my opinion once I see the film. Personally, there are two factors
in film that can prove highly annoying to me. They are wigs and accents.
If you're going to spend millions of dollars on a film, pul-leese do not
use a noticeably bad wig. Secondly, I am extremely sensitive to proper
accents. For instance, in the Tom Cruise film, "Valkyries", the cast
consists of British actors, some of whom play German generals, who
deliver lines that sound like, "Jolly good, let's have a spot of tea."
It's absolutely unwatchable! Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail, had this
interesting comment on accents and Stellan's character:
"The odd variety of strong, weak and non-existent
Swedish accents is only slightly distracting at first, and eventually,
the speech styles seem almost a reflection of character. Curiously, it
is the castís major Swedish actor, SkarsgŚrd,
who sounds the most American, which does nothing to undermine the power
of his performance. While fans may argue for years over the superiority
of Team Noomi or Team Rooney, the version of SkarsgŚrd's
Martin Vanger tops both the book and the previous adaptation. He
brings the story a much-needed sardonic zest for evil."
Since Stellan has been out and
about promoting 'DRAGON TATTOO', he gave several interviews. Here are some links to his interviews.
(Click on each photo) The first one is from this morning's Today Show
and the last link is the whole cast on
the Charlie Rose show, which aired on December 15th.
spoke with Stellan last week about the film.
Q: In general, how do you feel about
Stellan: I'm fine
with remakes if the remake is better. The problem usually with remakes
has been that some brilliant European auteur has made a movie, and then
some Hollywood executive says, "That was a great film - let's do it." So
they take away everything that's edgy, everything that's personal, and
then they hire a generic director to do it.
When it comes to this film, it's not like a remake of an Ingmar Bergman
movie - it's another movie based on the same book. And it's actually
made by an auteur. It's made by David Fincher, who's one of the greatest
directors in the world.
Q: Was it at all strange to shoot a
Hollywood movie in English in Sweden?
Stellan: I've filmed
in English in Sweden before, but that's been with [director] Lars Von
Trier and in another part of Sweden. But it's the first time in 20 years
I've been able to go straight from my own bed to work every morning, and
that was very, very pleasant.
Q: Since your sons Gustaf, Bill and
Alexander are all actors, when can we expect a SkarsgŚrd
Stellan: [Laughs] We
could do that. We could do that. I can bring in my mother, too, and we
can cast quite a crew.
a recent interview with the Irish Times, Stellan discusses his
upcoming projects and without mentioning the actual name of the film, he
reports that the project has been dropped due to financial problems. Stellan does mention the next
Marvel movie and working with Lars von Trier again. Here are some
comments from Stellan about von Trier from a recent interview with
Stellan explained that before "Melancholia,"
von Trier had been considering giving up filmmaking altogether, saying
"He had a six year depression, weíve been in touch all the time, and it
was really, really bad for a long while. When we started 'Melancholia' I
sat down and talked with him and he said, 'I donít think itís fun
anymore' and I said 'Well, you better, because you canít live without
it.'" Fortunately, and ironically, given the title of the film, his
apocalyptic drama seemed to find him reclaiming the joy of his
profession, according to his actor; "Eventually I think he started to
enjoy himself on 'Melancholia.' He had a very playful attitude on the
set... his depression is over now, and we are going to be doing a film
Stellan was actually the first actor on board the director's next
project, "The Nymphomaniac," which will co-star Charlotte
Gainsbourg in what promises to be another taboo-pushing piece of work.
Apparently, von Trier called and said, 'Stellan, I just want to book you
for next summer, so donít take anything else. Iím going to make a porno
film and I want you to play the male lead.' 'Yes of course, Lars,' I
said. 'But you will not get to fuck in the film.' I said okay, he said,
'But you will show your dick at the end, and it will be very floppy.'
'Okay Lars, I will be there, if thatís what youíre doing.' "
Did Stellan have any hesitations?
"None. Itís fun. If you make as many films as I do, the process of
making it is where you live. Itís not the release dates and the reviews
and rewards. My life is to be on set and I want to do interesting work.
Thatís why I want to work with interesting directors. I want to have
fun, thatís my problem." Given his reputation as a prankster, I'm sure
he'll have fun.
There are two new interviews
you can check out on the Press Page.
The Observer has a series
called "The film that changed my life" and today's edition
When I was about 11 years old,
my father stood me in front of the television at home and said:
"This is a film you have to see." It was "Les enfants du paradis",
directed by Marcel Carnť. Shot in Paris during the Nazi occupation,
it's about a troupe of mime artists and performers in the 1880s.
It's a very beautiful, epic
story, but what moved me the most was the scene where Jean-Louis
Barrault, who plays the mime artist Jean-Baptiste Debureau, is
performing a pantomime on stage, his face painted white. He looks
into the wings and sees the woman he loves with another man. You see
his face crack behind the mask. For me, that moment captured what
acting is all about Ė what is happening behind the mask.
The French actor Arletty, who
played the love interest Garance, aroused me as an 11-year-old boy.
It was her enormous sensuality Ė her way of moving, her way of
speaking, her way of looking. Another wonderful character was
Lacenaire, the murderer who goes around killing people for most of
the film. His aim is to be hanged for his crimes in Paris, not some
small-time town, and he eventually succeeds. It is beautifully
written, very poetic. Carnť worked with the writer Jacques Prťvert
on a couple of other beautiful films as well, and they were
extremely successful together.
Seeing "Les enfants du paradis" interested me in the idea of
becoming an actor, and I've used the "layers behind the mask idea"
in my work. I've told lots of people about it Ė it's Emily Watson's
favourite too, so I'm in good company. But I don't watch it often Ė
perhaps once every 10 years Ė because it's already had its impact on
me. There's no film I go back to more than a few times. There's too
much fresh work to see.
Columbia Pictures has announced
that the US opening of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON
TATTOO has been changed to December 20, one day ahead of its
previous announced debut. The film has earned raving reviews following
its London premiere on Monday. As of today, the Rottentomato meter is
registering 94% with 31 reviews. It's definitely going to be a huge winner at the box
office. The weather did not cooperate on Monday evening but the stars
bravely walked the red carpet in the bitter cold and rain. Rooney Mara showed up in a lace creation by
Givenchy Couture. She was joined by director David Fincher and co-stars
Daniel Craig, Joely Richardson, Geraldine James, Yorickk Van Wageninge,
and Stellan, who was accompanied by wife Megan, wearing a mini-dress -
she must have been shivering as well.
When questioned about the problem
of treading in the successful footsteps of the Swedish language version,
Stellan responded, "It doesn't matter. Any good film is good because it has
the personal view of the director that does it, and Fincher has a very
strong personal view in everything he does, so I think it will be
Here are some pics from the
world premiere in London:
Last night the film had its
Swedish premiere at the Sergel Theatre
in Stockholm. Stellan spoke to reporters and
explained that although the film explores a very fictional dark side
of society, its portrayal of feminine strength was particularly
Swedish. The country is known for its cradle-to-grave welfare system
and Ikea department stores. The film and books paint another
picture, more in tune with its bleak and cold winters and a dark
side found in a number of Swedish crime novels that have taken the
publishing world by storm in the last decade. Stellan said
foreigners, in general, did not know much about the small
Scandinavian country and hoped that Sweden would not be too
associated with the crime wave genre that has put Swedish Noir at
the top of the modern world's literary map.
"I hope they don't think that the way Sweden is portrayed in those
books and films is the way Sweden is, because it is still a very
peaceful and lovely and very nice country to live in," he said.
Stellan further commented on his concern that people would connect
the country to rape. Leave it to him to say, "I do not know anybody
who has been raped anally. You might not believe it but that's the
case, and I have never been raped anally." Yup, that's our man!
And then tonight, the New
York premiere was held at the Ziegfield Theater. Attending were
Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright, Christopher Plummer and
Stellan, again accompanied by wife Megan, wearing another
mini-dress. You've got to give a round of applause for those cast
members who traveled the publicity circuit this week to promote the
Be sure to visit the
"Dragon Tattoo" gallery for more photos from all these
Now let's have some praise from
the film critics:
"It moves like a mad dog, looks
like a hi-def dream and is deliciously cast from top to bottom. Go and
bask in the lushly photographed luridness." ...Keith
Uhlich, Timeout, New York
"Mr. Fincher also knows how to
bring out the fearlessness in actors. As James Bond, Mr. Craig is a
terrific mixture of sarcastic charm and sartorial splendor, in or out of
the sack, but when the role calls for something darker, heís equally
well equipped. Mr. SkarsgŚrd is especially scary because of the sheer
exploitation of power with which he manipulates people under the guise
of polite, amiable calm - making his later scenes from friendly to
ferocious doubly shocking. Ms. Mara is a damaged ferret, her eyes
darting, her tongue rubbing her stapled lips as she helps the mentally
distraught reporter try to make sense of a deepening mystery. It all
adds up to a noxious brew of teeth-grinding, knuckle-whitening
brutality." ...Rex Reed, The Observer
"Fincher teases out the full mythological grandeur of the material. He's
not just a great director - he's an artist
with the eyes of a voyeur, and he has made The Girl With the Dragon
Tattoo into an electrifying movie by turning the audience into addicts
of the forbidden, looking for the sick and twisted things we can't see."
...Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"A controlled, mesmerising,
beautiful thriller scarred by scenes of unshakeable brutality and
breathless tension." ...Jamie Graham, Total Film
"What is wonderful to see
is the grand severity of the northern Sweden landscapes. Cinematographer
Jeff Cronenweth captures the coldness of the climate and remoteness of
the countryside in a tactile fashion to complement the frosty and
distant nature of the characters." ...David
Germain, Associated Press
I'm always curious about a film's
soundtrack and this is what film critic Tony Macklin had to say - "What
distinguishes Fincher's film is its power, at times excruciating... The
soundtrack should win an Oscar. It's terrific... There's the crunch of
feet on snow, the whistle of the wind, the buzz of a floor cleaner, the
boom of a night club, the zoom of a motorcycle. The music by Atticus
Ross and Trent Reznor is the pulse of the film - throbbing, beating,
increasing tension, communicating horror."
"While the European take on this
guttural European tale was quite marvelous with its performances and
frosty execution, the Swedes didnít have David Fincher. With its
isolation, rage, and penetrative possibilities, the celebrated director
was practically born to helm this graphic murder mystery. "
...Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
"Adapting the story with his usual
flair for the dramatic and dark, David Fincher draws out themes and
ideas that were barely present in the novel, creating a film that's less
about the lugubrious story than the fascinating characters who inhabit
it. It's a vast improvement on the source material, a brooding and
gripping mystery that's captivating even if you know exactly how the
story turns out." ...Katey Rich, Cinema Blend
we have photos of Stellan attending last night's 24th annual European
Film Awards in Berlin.
And I am thrilled to report that
Lars von Trier's apocalyptic drama,
MELANCHOLIA, which had received eight nominations, garnered
trophies for Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Production Design!
The award for Best Director went to another very talented Danish
director, Susanne Bier. Von Trier's wife, Bente Froge, accepted the Best
Film prize on behalf of her husband, announcing that Lars had taken a
vow of silence after his Nazi remarks at Cannes "but he did ask that I
should wave to you in a kind and gentle way." The film's stars, Kirsten
Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, were both nominated for Best Actress but
lost to Tilda Swinton ("We Need to Talk About Kevin") and I'm not going
to complain about that choice. She's the indie's counterpart to Meryl
Streep. I highly recommend her performance in "Io sono l'amore"
(aka I am Love) where she speaks Italian with a Polish accent!
Stellan was on hand to give out the EFA Lifetime Achievement Award to
Mads Mikkelsen. You may remember that the pair starred together in "King
Arthur". According to the Hollywood Reporter, the biggest laughs
of the evening came when our Swede paid tribute to the Danish actor
turning his speech into a mini-roast.
"I don't admire you for your
looks, because you're not good looking," Stellan riffed. "You have
an 'interesting' face. I know you've been voted sexiest man in
Denmark like 6 times but those are by people who don't know you. And
we have to remember Denmark is a very small place." He ended on a
sweet note with, "Mads, everything you do has a clarity to it.
There's nothing fuzzy about what you do. You're acting is clean,
graceful and very poetic."
I have to agree that Mads is an A+
actor and his so-called "interesting" face has given him magnificent
screen presence such as the villain in "Casino Royale". However, my
favorite Mads film continues to be "Elsker dig for evigt" (aka
Open Hearts), which you can rent at Netflix.