Aftonbladet (Swedish newspaper) - January 2, 1998
Stellan Skarsgård talks about movies, Paris and his father's illness.
Busiest at the movies? Actor Stellan Skarsgård is currently bringing us
six new movies. Right now he is in Paris shooting the movie Ronin.
PARIS. Today is the world premiere of Glasblåsarns barn. Stellan
Skarsgård has five new movies, and is the busiest man at the Gothenburg
film festival. He’s here in France doing his next big role in the
thriller Ronin with Robert De Niro.
He can give a lot of thanks to Breaking the waves. Its success has given
Stellan Skarsgård new roles as did the Norwegian Zero Kelvin and
Insomnia. Now we’ll see him in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, in Good Will
Hunting with Robin Williams and the British film,
My Son The Fanatic. And also
Did you work extra hard the last few years?
"Last year I made three and a half movies... But the Gothenburg Film
Festival is showing what I did during the last three years"
Even so, he hasn’t been able to do every movie that he wanted to.
"I’ve lost a lot of good roles by the financers not
believing in me. Wayne Wang wanted me in Chinese Box, but the
financers settled on Jeremy Irons. They are familiar with him...
Stellan Skarsgård has been in France since October to shoot in mostly
Paris, but also the Riviera.
What’s the best thing about living in Paris for a few months?
"The food, although it’s a damn shame that you can’t cook yourself. When
we were in Nice, we had a house. I had the family with me, and you could
When he's at home in Stockholm, it’s the house and six children that
"Cook and change diapers. I can be at the stove for
four hours a day..."
Do you listen to music?
"No, we’ve got three CDs playing at the same time at home, plus my wife
listens to P1 (a Swedish radio station). If I could put on a record of
anything, it would be silence."
What’s the most common misconception about big Hollywood sets?
"That it’s so glamorous. It’s very practical.
They spoil the hell out of
the actors with trailers and chauffeurs, but the actual work is just
grinding for twelve hours when it’s cold and messy. It’s tough."
You’ve done 50 pictures. Are you still impressed by working with people
such as Robert De Niro?
"I don’t look at it that way. Of course, I’m aware of what an icon he is,
but I know he’s just as nervous as anyone else. He’s a terrific actor,
but there are many terrific actors that nobody knows about. From a pure
actor's standpoint, it isn’t more of a big deal to work with De Niro than
with Pernilla August. She’s just as good. Shooting involves a lot of
waiting and long breaks."
"Paris is an amazing city. When I’m off, I can walk around for five
hours straight. But I have a hard time being a tourist alone. For each
experience, I want to turn to a familiar and loved face, look into
someone’s eyes and nod agreeably. If I don’t have someone to share the
experience with, I’m very bad at enjoying it."
If you see something cool, but nobody else sees it, it’s like it doesn’t
"Exactly. Then it doesn’t exist. It’s a handicap. I’ve never learned to
You seem to have a close connection to your family. You have six
children and spend a lot of time with your siblings.
"Yes, I do. I often speak with my siblings and they visit me on the
sets. Both mine and my wife’s siblings, who are my childhood friends. My
Your father died recently.
"Yes, at 77 years old. It’s also an odd experience. Memories you have with
someone. If that person dies, they disappear. He was an amazing father even if we argued. And we had a lot in
common. Every time I came up with a new meal, I told him."
Did he also enjoy cooking?
"Yes, to the very end. He stopped eating, drank only wine, smoked and
weighed 99 pounds when he died, although he was six feet tall. But until
the very end, he read books about cooking. He knew what it would taste
like even if he couldn’t taste it himself. He had ideas and came with
"I thought his time had come, but you can’t be sure how to react in
advance. It was fast. He had a second stroke after being in a wheelchair
for six years, and it was over in a few hours. He never woke up.
I thought it would be easier. It shifted between crying like hell and
a weird humour. It was a rollercoaster of emotions."
You’ve worked with many different directors.
"Bo Widerberg is the one who taught me most about making films.
He was an amazing director. He had sort of an absolute demand
Stellan Skarsgård on:
by Robin Solsjö Höglund
with our sincere thanks]