(Norwegian newspaper) - May 15, 2009

Tell us about your role in ANGELS & DEMONS.

SS: I play the head of the Swiss Guard, which is very interesting. It continues ever since over the Middle Ages, when the guards were recruited among Catholic believers. I tried to understand how it works, tried to understand its world view.

Last fall your religious views were quoted in a Stockholm newspaper.

SS: Yes, I believe Nissen and God are equally credible. Sweden is very secular. If there is any country in the world where you can say you're an atheist without being stoned, it is there. It is very satisfying and suggests a high cultural development. It is not difficult to play a believer as a non-believer than it is to play a Nazi.

[Note: Nissen are part of Scandinavian folklore and are described as small humanlike creatures, not exactly an elf or dwarf. The farm nisse dwelt mostly in barns, caring for both people and animals. It was important to be on good terms with one, lest strange incidents could occur on the farm]

The last time Stellan played a Nazi sympathizer on film was in "Torte Bluma" (2005). He has characteristically mixed domestic with international roles with "Mamma Mia!" and "Arn"  among the highlights. When it comes to what's happening in front of the camera, the actor says there is no big difference.

SS: If it is a good bunch, it works equally well on a big production. "Pirates of the Caribbean", for example, felt like a small European film.

One difference is that Stellan uses an accent coach looking to sharpen his lines.

SS: English means that I work much more with the text. I always work for a couple of months with a coach but rarely uses a coach on the set. Then it is too late.

Stellan recently worked once more with Hans Peter Moland in "Regnskap" in Norway.

SS: Hans Peter is an amazing director. We trigger each other and work together well.  I have long said that I have done three of my best films in Norway - "Zero Kelvin", "Aberdeen" and "Insomnia".

What happened to your directing ambitions?

SS: I do not think I have the patience. An organized project takes time. "Goya's Ghosts" took eight years. It's fun to be an actor since you can do three to four projects a year.

You're not winding down as you approach 58?

SS: No, I feel quite a spike. I wake up at 4 or 5 am in the morning and work all day, so I keep myself pretty good. And I'm not wasting away energy on training.

Some of "Angels & Demons" was filmed in Los Angeles.

SS: LA is not my kind of town. It is the "City of Fear", you know, where the career is everything and everyone is afraid of everything.

You seemed to thrive when you did "Entourage".

SS: Ha-ha. It was fun. It was a pure stroke of luck. I had a three-week break in LA. That was very grateful material, and a cool bunch. You noticed almost no difference on whether or not the camera rolled.

How do you feel about your sons taking after you?

SS: It's great, although I have not encouraged them to be actors. They are making their own life. I'm glad. They are really good. It is luck.