Director Maria Sodahl's Norwegian film HOPE, starring Andrea Braein Hovig and Stellan, has proven to be quite successful around the world, having been sold to over 40 countries. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 and was screened at Berlinale this year. Besides being nominated for two European Film Awards, the film received the Grand Prize at this year’s Skip City International D-Cinema Festival in Japan, which took place virtually and wrapped on October 4.

"Hope" is now a strong contender for a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film by the Golden Globe Awards. It is among a dozen Berlinale films that have been submitted. Those nominations will be announced on February 3 with the ceremony on February 28. "Hope" also has a chance to be nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars. Those nominations will be announced on March 15 with the ceremony on April 25. Word has it that the Oscars have opted out of a virtual ceremony and intend to have an in-person telecast though there may be changes such as reducing the audience. Producers of the Golden Globe Awards have not yet decided whether it will go the virtual route or stick with the usual red carpet event. It's probably a long shot that "Hope" will be nominated for either award but the fact that it's being considered is very rewarding for all involved in its production.

"I’m not a solo actor, anything I do is a reaction to the actors I work with. Most of the actors I love think about our work like me. The point is to be able to present real human relationships, whether you’re playing with spouses, lovers, colleagues, or just best friends. Good actors find out very quickly how to present real relationships in front of cameras. This is not a technique, just a form of communication."  

Stellan's comments brought to mind his relationship with actress Nicola Walker in the 2015 BBC detective series RIVER. So much chemistry. Do you remember that episode with the surreal scene of an ecstatic unhinged River dancing in the street with Stevie (Nicola) to the disco lyrics - "Oh I love to love…but my baby just loves to dance, he wants to dance, he loves to dance, he’s got to dance…" That scene was truly magical. It makes me smile remembering it. The Daily Telegraph critic Michael Hogan wrote, "Stellan Skarsgård delivered a powerhouse performance: sad and soulful in one scene, sardonically spiky and manically energetic in the next."


Here's a French poster of Stellan's character from "Dune".

Stephen King's "The Stand" premiered on Thursday via CBS All Access with Alexander among its huge cast. The nine hour-long episodes in this mini-series calls for a deep commitment from its audience to become familiar with its many characters and storylines in this underwhelming adaptation of King's post-pandemic allegory about good and evil. The reviews are a mixed bag and it's presently scoring 55% on the Tomato Meter with less by viewers. Yes, this is a pun, but one thing is certain - Alexander is a "Stand" out!

Rolling Stone calls the series "an improvement on the original ABC version, thanks to several strong lead performances, particularly Alexander Skarsgård as the Devil-ish villain, Randall Flagg." Collider declares, "Skarsgård is the real horrific highlight as Flagg, introduced with the soft tap of boot heels on wood and the whistle of Billy Joel's 'The Stranger.'" They also love the way his sheer tallness is used in the way he often crouches over or stoops and his line delivery is suitably bizarre like the sound of the devil whispering in someone's ear. Collider sums up the series with "It's effective TV horror, it's a recognizable dystopia story, but almost nothing hits as hard as it could."

Jo Blo's Movie Network points out that Alex does for Randall Flagg what his brother Bill did for Pennywise saying, "This Flagg is more than a monster but a true force of evil." The Hollywood Reporter describes Alex's performances "much more interesting as a figure of looming menace" while Variety thrills over  "the dull thud of Flagg’s boots as he approaches, the way he appeals to people’s basic instincts, his immense attractiveness to men and women both." And the fact that he has chemistry with everyone with whom he shares a scene.

Vulture writes that Flagg sports what appears to be Conan O'Brien's old haircut (definitely!) and he emits "an authoritative, sensual smarminess."

Co-star Amber Heard told the press, "Alex is so incredibly charming and easy-going about that charm, it doesn't feel put on. He has a way about carrying himself and speaking and interacting that makes it natural and easy, so easy that it's natural for us to want to follow him and want to listen to him or like him. And that's what makes him the best devil ever."

Finally, Mashable India writes, "Alexander Skarsgård is as deliciously dark as fans are hoping he’ll be. The show manages to put his appearances, even his tall frame and skills to good use as he goes about his evil business with a devilish smile. Watching him whisper into characters’ ears is just about enough to confirm all theories that like his brother Bill Skarsgård who played Pennywise in 'IT' and 'IT: Chapter Two', he belongs in Stephen King’s universe."

I couldn't resist posting this artistic creation of Alex celebrating the holidays. Very cleverly done!


The 33rd European Film Awards were held on Saturday in Berlin with more than 40 filmmakers and talent joining the virtual ceremony from afar due to the pandemic.

"The Painted Bird" had been nominated for Best Film and "Hope" received nominations for Best Director and Best Actress. However, there were no winners for these two Stellan films. The evening marked the last for Wim Wenders as longtime EFA President and Marion Doring as EFA Director as they both retired from their posts. Heartfelt messages were relayed by video to the pair from European filmmakers and actors, which included Stellan.