Stellan might be in "ARN" - Afltonbladet (Swedish newspaper)

January 30, 2007

He's done roughly thirty Hollywood-movies since his last Swedish film. But now Stellan Skarsgård, 55, is being considered for "Arn".

"I'm not excluding anything. But first I want to read the latest script," he says.

The greatest international star in the country finally has nothing on his scheduele. That's why he's hanging around the Gothenburg Film Festival this week. Holding a Master Class about acting in front of an audience tonight. Doing press with director Milos Forman for "Goya's Ghosts" later this week. Meeting friends and spending time with actor son Alexander, also on location in Gothenburg.

How do you look upon this journey with the career abroad? What has been right and wrong?

"Ten percent is really good, ten percent of the movies is crap, and the rest are sliding around in the middle. But I don't regret anything. Even the things that turned out bad can prove to be a learning experience."

Is it true you turned down two of the great masterpieces in motion picture history, "Star Wars" and "Lord Of The Rings"?

"Well, it was mostly about them asking. For "Star Wars" they wanted me committed several years beforehand, and it doesn't work like that for me. And for "Lord Of The Rings" my agent asked me if I could imagine spending the next two years in New Zealand. I couldn't..."

Haven't you ever considered moving abroad?

"Nah, I'm one of those people who enjoy a solidary society. I don't mind paying a lot of taxes. I stand firmly against things like the current privatization of hospital care."

Why no Swedish films during the past ten years?

"A few projects have been very interesting. I would've liked working with Björn Runge, but that clashed with other jobs. And if I'm doing a normal action film, I'd rather do it in America and get paid a whole lot more.

It's been speculated a lot lately about you and "Arn".

"Sometimes it seemed that the whole Skarsgård family would star in it. I declined early when the script wasn't very good. Now I won't exclude doing a part if the new manuscript has been improved. I'm waiting for it."

"Goya's Ghosts" is a historical drama that takes place in Spain during the late 17th and early 18th century. Stellan plays the artist Francisco de Goya (1746 - 1828).

"It was the whole package - a good script, director and co-stars (Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman) - that got me to do it. Milos Forman knows what he's talking about. He doesn't intellectualize in vain. We talked more about where we'd grab some dinner at the evenings."

While shooting in Madrid Stellan gained nearly 22 pounds.

"The studio had great food. I didn't have to wear the fat suit for more than the beginning of the shoot.

When we're about to split up after an hour, Stellan says (with a bit of pride), "Did you notice something about me? I don't smoke anymore."

After three packs a day he finally quit for good a month ago.

"Now I use snuff. It's too hard when smoking isn't allowed anywhere. And they told me it's dangerous too..."


[Kindly translated by Robin Solsjö Höglund]