A WEB SITE FOR THE DISCERNING SKARSGÅRD FAN SINCE JUNE 2004

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12.02.21

In an interview with Stellan this month in Total Film magazine, the reader is again treated to same old, same old that I won't bother repeating. Don't film journalists have more interesting questions to ask? Here are a couple new quotes:

On receiving invaluable advice: "I got a very good one from Ingmar Bergman, who said to me, 'Don't forget to breathe.'"(laughs)

On working on mini-series: "I've moved onto my first continuous series, for ANDOR, but they've promised to kill me whenever I want so I can get out of it. It's an interesting role with many faces. I was challenged and I got to play with Diego Luna, who I love. But I hope that the art of cinematic-telling doesn't die."

11.18.21

Congratulations to Stellan for becoming a grandpa once again! Son Gustaf  decided to make an announcement on his Instagram account indicating that he has a daughter, who was born on November 15, 2020. There is absolutely no mention of this baby's mother. This is Stellan's third grandchild with Sam and Bill already parents. Gustaf posted these sentiments  - "Eternal gratitude to the most high for bestowing upon me the greatest gift of my life: her life. One year ago tomorrow she came and brought a dimensional shift to my universe. Today is my first Father’s Day. Love is too futile a word."

11.14.21

News from Turku, Finland where WHAT REMAINS is being filmed:

He looks familiar when he walks briskly to the shopping center in the center of Turku. So half familiar, so that for a second you think about whether it is someone you should recognize and visit, or if it is someone you have often met, until you realize that it's the actor Stellan Skarsgård.

Swedish Yle's film editor Silja Sahlgren-Fodstad calls him an actor who blends in everywhere. He can be sympathetic, unsympathetic, macho, sensitive, insecure, smart, clumsy or agile, take up a lot of space or just support another character.

But who would have thought that he would show up in Turku?

Right now, the psychological crime drama "What Remains" is being filmed in Turku and the Turku area. The film is supposed to be about the dependence between doctor and patient, but most of the film has been kept secret. The main role as a patient is played by Gustaf Skarsgård, while Andrea Riseborough plays the female main role, the doctor. Stellan plays a minor role as a police officer.

The film team has lived in the Turku area for three weeks already, but due to the corona pandemic, no one is allowed to meet them. They are divided into four bubbles. Only the director and the film photographer are allowed to move between the bubbles, says Teija Raninen, who is the film commissioner in Western Finland and one of those who worked most intensively to attract the film team to Turku.

It all started more than two years ago, when Chinese director Ran Huang had googled pictures of Pemar sanatorium. He called Raninen and asked how quickly you could get permission to visit the place. The next day he flew to Finland, and immediately decided that the sanatorium would be the main location in the film.

Everything was ready for recording, but in February 2020, all plans were canceled just a week before the start. The corona pandemic struck in China, and although the situation at the time was not critical in Europe, the Chinese producers chose to suspend it.

But now it has succeeded. Filming has taken place in Pemar, Turku and Salo, among other places. On Friday, they filmed in Brobacka in Pargas, and next week they will also record in the capital region.

Director Huang is impressed by the professionalism and efficiency of the Finnish team - "In China, a film like this would have about 300 team members. Although our team is smaller than usual in a Chinese production, the professionalism and efficiency of the Finnish team guarantee that we’ll succeed."

Stellan and the other actors live in apartments in the center of Turku, but they follow the Screen Actors Guild's strict corona rules not to meet outsiders. They are not allowed to meet anyone, and no interviews are given.

It's an expensive movie, and if someone were to get Covid-19, the movie would be delayed and be even more expensive. In addition, it would affect the timetable for the next film project for both actors, filmmakers and director.

Fortunately, you can walk in the center of Turku without being recognized by everyone, so you do not have to stop for autographs or selfies with movie fans.

11.02.21

Today the news media picked up details on Stellan's upcoming film project - WHAT REMAINS. It was announced that 40-year-old British actress Andrea Riseborough ("Birdman") will star alongside Stellan and son Gustaf in this psychological crime drama. Filming will take place in Finland within the month. It will mark the feature directorial debut of Huang Ran, a mainland Chinese artist-turned-filmmaker. The English-language film is being produced by Film Service Finland and Huang through his production company Fake Action Truth, with financing from iQIYI, a leading video streaming platform in China. CAA Media Finance arranged the film’s financing and represents the North American distribution rights. The picture will be launched at this week’s virtual American Film Market (AFM).

10.15.21

From Mexico's La Prensa, 10/13/21 [edited]

Stellan Skarsgård is not concerned about leaving an acting legacy, as he only seeks to enjoy his work and his family. It is difficult to think that any movie fan, in America or Europe, has not seen on screen Stellan Skarsgård, one of the greatest actors of his generation. In Hollywood, for example, the 70-year-old Swedish interpreter has left memorable roles in both Oscar-winning films and musicals. On the other side of the Atlantic, his resume stands out as a fetish for one of the most prestigious, lauded, and reportedly complicated filmmakers to work with: Lars Von Trier.

Stellan dismisses, simply and quickly, the word "legend" applied to him, and incidentally assures that he has never thought about his acting legacy. "The legacy does not interest me. I will die and it will be too late. I always live in the present and love my life. I feel that I am one of the luckiest men there is. I work four months a year and I have an incredible time on the sets, because I work with brilliant people. With what I earn, I do charity work with children. Also, I have a fantastic family. That's all that matters to me,"

He has his reasons for calling his family "fantastic" - sons Alexander, Gustaf, Bill, and Valter. Stellan, great patriarch of Swedish entertainment, denies having pushed his offspring to adopt acting careers, much less instruct them in them. "They never ask me for acting advice and I don't give it to them... I can give lectures on acting, but I prefer not to,"

On a professional level, 2021 will be for Skarsgård the year in which he introduced to the world one of the most disturbing and fascinating villains in science fiction: Baron Harkonnen in Dune, the adaptation of Frank Herbert's acclaimed novel, the character is a great schemer of intrigues, as greedy and cruel as he is hedonistic. "Definitely, I was inspired by Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now. The previous story of him is not explained, nor are reasons given for his nastiness. It's a small role, but it's visually scary. He casts a shadow that spans the entire film." He is morbidly obese, so Stellan underwent, throughout the shoot, characterization sessions that lasted eight hours in placement, and one to remove it, in addition to training for mobility. "For the first time in my career I had a personal trainer to be able to express myself physically in that suit, which required a cooling system. You die of heat in it. Everyone is talking about the possible sequel now. I just met one of the writers and I said, 'Please give me a few scenes, not many,'" he jokes.

Behind the prosthetics, Stellan had to find room for a subtle and memorable performance, the kind that didn't need dialogue. "The type of acting I do is on the edges. The dialogues are already there and have their own message, but I always focus more on what is silent, on what is not said, on the eyes, on how he behaves. my body. Those are my tools."

10.01.21

It seems that every day more information is released on DUNE regarding the Baron's makeup. Today there's an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the villains were brought to life. This new video clip explores all of the makeup and prosthetic work that went into realizing these unique characters.

Director Denis Villeneuve comments on Stellan's character - "It was difficult, because I didn’t want the Baron to look like a caricature. I wanted to feel a menace of that massive human being and that weight. Stellan was quite frightening as the Baron, fantastic performance." And Stellan says, "I had long discussions with Denis about where I wanted to go with it, and that he looked different, that he had a presence that you hadn’t seen before...  People are hungry to see a fantastic, well-told, interesting story and I hope that they see something they didn’t expect to see."

09.30.21

While shooting DUNE for an intense two weeks, Stellan's only interaction with the production people was working with the director, makeup chief Donald Mowat and prosthetic designers Love Larson and Eva von Bahr. Stellan explains, "For an actor, that’s wonderful because you want the process on set to be as creative as possible. So Love and Eva created a clay figure, which was huge, but you could see the muscles underneath the fat, muscles starting to turn into fat. I thought it was great and Denis too. In the movie, the first time we see him he’s in a sauna and hidden by the steam and you only see a silhouette and parts of him, which is very atmospheric."

"Mentally I can do it because it’s fun to watch prosthetic artists work. But physically it’s very hard. You have to sit still for seven hours. They put layers and layers on me. The most important part was the face that required extremely delicate work. Then came the full body prosthesis, with a cooling vest underneath and sometimes a harness for the wired scenes. And they had to paint the spaces between the fake skin on the face and the hands and the suit. It was extremely complicated."

After 74 reviews, the Rotten Tomatoes Meter shows the film with a 91% rating.

09.29.21

Some of Stellan's comments about the film industry that he made at last year's Gotenburg Film Festival have surfaced online this week. He was responding to a piece by Martin Scorcese in the NY Times which claimed that Marvel movies aren't really art. With the debut of "Dune", in an interview director Denis Villeneuve accused Marvel movies of turning audiences into "zombies". Stellan argued, "The real problem isn't Marvel specifically, or relative upstarts like Netflix, but rather the fault is that we have for decades believed that the market should rule everything. And the rich get richer, and that is the root of it all."

In Stellan's opinion, many different distribution and cinema companies have been lost to monopolies throughout Hollywood, but the real damage to the industry has come as a result of new leadership that prioritizes profit over art. He explains,  "They’re run by big corporations that want to have 10% back on their invested capital, which means that as long as they sell popcorn, it’s fine, That’s why all the mid-range films, the films that are lower than $100 million dollar budget, and over $3 million dollars, they don’t exist anymore. It’s only $100 million dollar films and $3 million dollars, and nothing in between."

Stellan pointed to HBO, which is owned by AT&T, as an example of a studio's financial priorities getting in the way of art’s development. He continues, "What will happen eventually is that the diversity in terms of voices will end. HBO is now bought by AT&T, and they’ve already been told that you can’t do what you’ve been doing because what you’ve been doing is, yes, you’ve made money, but you’ve made quality stuff, which means you haven’t made that much money."

09.27.21

There's a very short interview with Stellan at comicbook.com. He's asked about his "Dune" makeup and costume. Evidently he was able to give his input into what the Baron should wear. He preferred wearing this silky gown to a bunch of armor.

09.26.21

When Stellan was asked about his eating habits, he responded, "I think everything I eat I should indulge in, so I have no guilt whatsoever. The closest I get to fast food is making my own hamburgers, but when I make a hamburger, I make it from very good meat, adding bone marrow like Richard Corrigan would to make it even fattier." For those unfamiliar with Corrigan, he's a well-known Irish chef. Stellan also admits to not eating desserts so that certainly helps him from becoming overweight.


 

As we all know from the many interviews Stellan has given, he is "not a singing and dancing man" - his own words. And it doesn't help when others point that out. About 20 years ago when he was in Mexico filming "Powder Keg", the short film from the BMW series, he went out one night to party with the film's director. The Oscar-winning Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu told Stellan flatly that he "danced like a German." Stellan said, "That wasn't nice to hear!" knowing though that he lacked that Latin vibe. Yeah, Iñárritu was right. Our Swede is right up there with Kate Gosselin when she appeared on "Dancing with the Stars". Her partner said dancing with her was like moving a refrigerator across the room. [laughing] Well,  you can't succeed in everything in life, Stellan!

If you haven't yet seen "Powder Keg", check it out at this youtube link.

Iñárritu's films are well known and respected and this short film has his signature mark on it. Among my favorites are "The Revenant", "Babel" and "21 Grams".

09.24.21

A lot has been said recently about Stellan's lengthy time in the makeup chair - up to six hours - for his Dune role as the greatly rotund Baron. When he did the "Pirates" films as Bootstrap Turner, he again had to endure hours of makeup. Stellan claims that director Gore Verbinski had promised that all of his special-effects makeup would be applied after the fact, via computer-generated imagery. Though Bill Nighy was granted this option, shooting his scenes in a sweatsuit covered with dots, every day Stellan sat patiently with two makeup artists applying all those barnacles and whatnot. However, he did admit, " I had the advantage of using my own face, but the disadvantage of spending four and a half hours in makeup."

I believe Stellan has great respect for the wonders that makeup artists perform. When he won his Golden Globe for "Chernobyl", he announced, "Hair, prosthetics, and makeup designer Daniel Parker, this trophy is dedicated to you!" And when he played his overweight brother in the "Mamma Mia" sequel, the makeup folks praised him with "He was a joy to work with - a beautiful man!".

And that praise was reiterated a couple days ago from the Swedish team that was assigned the task of designing the Baron. The team consisted of Love Larson, Eva von Bahr, Oskar Wallroth, Mattias Tobiasson and Hanna Holm.

Eva von Bahr explains, "Our assignment was to cover the entire Stellan Skarsgård, but you would still see that it was him. He would also be huge but still able to levitate." Stellan's upper lip and nose would be his own. Bahr continues,  "When we were asked to work with Dune, I just said,  'What is it?' But those we work with in the studio cheered and said, 'It's like doing Darth Vader'."

The request came from the head of the Dunes makeup department, Donald Mowat. From the beginning, he just wanted help with a little make-up and a tummy. But the mission grew rapidly.

"It was still completely crazy that we took on this, it was a huge job. When we were going to do the test make-up and it took six hours, I just thought, 'I can't stand it, just shoot myself, this is terrible'", says Eva von Bahr.

After seven months of hard work in the small room on Kommendörsgatan in Stockholm, it was time for filming in the summer of 2019. They had built a special oven the same size as Stellan to be able to burn molds for the suit. Love Larson drew and sculpted the figure and kept in touch with Denis Villeneuve.

"It was very complex. Harkonen's face consists of different parts in silicone and for the body we created a thin skin of foam latex. In the space between it and Stellan's body is a layer, which can be called a 'fat suit', which was sewn by seamstresses. Under the suit there was room for a cooling suit with a pump with coolant." says Love Larson.

"When Denis Villeneuve looked at Stellan after the first test make-up in Budapest and said, 'Oh my god, I do love this make up'", says Eva von Bahr and continues, "Then we received an order for six such suits. So when we sat on the plane home, we thought that that would be a success but also a disaster."

Love Larson continues, "It was difficult to admit that it was the world's largest filming. It was such a huge construction. There we stood, a small team of Swedes and did our thing. The funny thing about Stellan is that he is so fond of makeup. He was really involved and demanded a lot from us as well.. Oskar Wallroth adds, - "It's very fun to work with someone who is so knowledgeable"

All the body parts are presently being stored in a warehouse in Budapest until it is (possibly) time for part two of Dune.

Bill header of the day -

09.19.21

DUNE opened in Norwegian theatres this past Wednesday and Filmweb.no featured Stellan's role as Baron Vladimir Hakronnen with this photo. "Dune" author Frank Herbert described the Baron as "so violent and enormously fat that he requires anti-gravity equipment known as suspensions to carry the weight". Stellan comments, "The character should first and foremost be terrifying. The whole work consisted of giving him a physicality that was different and dangerous and threatening." In a recent interview with Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson, she was told that Stellan thinks she is brilliant in the film. She responded, "Oh, my God. He. Stellan's game. His appearance, he is grotesque, strangely sexual and beautiful. He's amazing!"

Today I have a couple new photos to post. The first one is a publicity photo for KVINNORNA PÅ TAKET ("The Women on the Roof") and was taken on August 31, 1988. He's not sporting the mustache his character wore so I assume it was probably fake. This is a role that won Stellan his second Guldbagge.

This second photo shows Stellan with one of his favorite colleagues, Holly Hunter, at the premiere of HARLAN COUNTY WAR in Los Angeles on June 6, 2000. They had the chance to appear together again the same year in "Timecode".

Alex banner of the day -

09.17.21

This week it seems as though every Skarsgård tumbler account has news of Stellan's music videos from 1991 and 2011. If you're a fan, you surely would have been aware of these videos with singers Lykke Li and Eva Dahlgren. I can't tell if it's just one crazed fan that uses multiple names or several with tumblr accounts who are obsessed with regurgitating old news. I believe it was February 2011 when I posted this info so it's been passed around for over ten years. I guess with the pandemic a lot of folks have decided to take that government check instead of work and have too much time on their hands.

09.16.21

In an article on Monday at LeftLion Ltd, journalist Hanna Flint was asked who has been her most interesting interviewee. She responded, "Stellan Skarsgård. I interviewed him for The Painted Bird. That movie is four hours of pain - I do not recommend it! But I really enjoyed speaking to him, because he had a really dirty sense of humor. I was laughing so much the whole time." Empire magazine published Ms. Flint's interview which you can read here. I never quoted her in the film's reviews as she reacted with a typical feminine response writing, "But even with its aestheticizing filter of black and white, The Painted Bird is a bleak marathon of torture porn that is exhausting to endure." For some reason the UK edition (partial page) used a picture of Stellan from one of his press conferences while the Australia/Asia edition used one from his "Hope" photo shoots. Ms. Flint posted that one on Twitter and chose to blur the page.

In this intervew, Stellan is asked if he's ever walked out of a film and he admits to having fallen asleep during "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" (1977), one of my favorite Diane Keaton films. Nominated for two Oscars, the film also boasts an awesome performance by a very young Richard Gere. In the 73 years I've been going to the movies, there was only one time I actually fell asleep - and that was during "The Avengers" (1998). I think I'm excused for a movie that only received 5% on the Rotten Tomato Meter.

09.15.21

Finally a film page for SAVIOR! Set in 1993, this war drama about the Bosnia conflict does not feature a major role for Stellan although he cuts a striking figure in his uniform and beret. After a few minutes into the film, he gets killed by a hand grenade and poor Natassja Kinski gets killed even quicker. Some critics questioned the throwaway roles for both Stellan and Natassja. Wasted talent! The film had a limited release in both Los Angeles and New York theaters in late 1998 in hopes of earning an  Oscar nomination for Dennis Quaid, who plays the starring role as a mercenary soldier. But the movie drew such little attention that it made its debut in the rest of the country on tape on April 20 the following year. Derek Elley of Variety wrote, "Onscreen virtually the whole time, and never once relaxing his features into the trademark grin, Quaid is immensely impressive as a man who has jettisoned everything in an attempt to erase the past and restart from zero; it’s not an easily likable performance, but it’s undoubtedly a career highlight." I haven't seen any of Quaid's films in the past 20 years, but he performed well in "The Big Easy" (1986) and especially as Jerry Lee Lewis in "Great Balls of Fire" (1989).

Among the many fan sites for Bill is billskarsgardsource.com - creative banner!

09.14.21

Alex banner of the day - "And all day and all night and everything he sees is just blue"   ...Eiffel 65

09.11.21

As previously reported, Stellan's next acting gig will be a minor role in the Ran Huang-directed film "What Remains", which starts production in Finland in November. He will play a policeman named Soren. The script has been co-written by his Ohio-born wife Megan and Chinese artist Huang, who has been described as a multidisciplinary artist, known for his painting, sculpture, drawing and film work. This film would mark his debut as a feature film director though he drew attention with a short film that was selected for the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2014. I found the poster seen below on a Chinese web site featuring recent news on Huang.

The film was supposed to have been shot last year, but plans were canceled after stakeholders from the Chinese film industry withdrew due to the pandemic. Stellan commented, "It is difficult to finance smaller films nowadays."

Megan's entrance as a screenwriter to the cinema universe has certainly been made possible through her marriage into the internationally famous Skarsgård family. She reminds me of Swiss actor/director/photographer Vincent Perez's wife Karine Silla. She too was able to fulfill her dreams of becoming a screenwriter, director and novelist. It helped that Karine was married to France's heartthrob, had a child by Gerard Depardieu and had a sister who married producer/writer/director Luc Besson, who could offer aid in financing her film projects, such as Un Baiser Papillon. In that case, in order to stay within budget limitations, Karine enlisted some of her family as actors in her film - her husband. two children and ex-lover Depardieu.

Megan has engaged both her husband and stepson Gustaf in "What Remains". It was originally announced that the female role would be played byVicky Krieps, who received her breakthrough in Phantom Thread; however, we'll have to wait to see if she will be available a year later.

You may remember that about ten years ago Megan  hosted a food and wine web site called LoveFoodShare and made several videos that you can still view at youtube.com. Reading through her CV, I noted that she began Viken Productions in 2009 when Stellan announced he would executive produce the English-language feature film adaptation of late journalist Stig Dagerman's "German Autumn". Viken Prods optioned the rights to the book from Dagerman's estate. Megan announced, "We are extremely proud to work with such an important collection of war journalism, and to take on the daunting talk of bringing the ideas of such a treasured Swedish writer to a larger international audience." There has been no follow-up as to why this project did not move forward.

In the past ten years Megan wrote two children's stories, which were translated into Swedish and published by Norstedts Förlag. Though she is credited with writing a screenplay for "Fisher of Souls" and as co-writer for "The Vault", "The Sport of Kings" and "Ringmen", all of these scripts remain in development. The latter project takes place in rodeo circles in the USA and expectations are that Hans Petter Moland would direct with Stellan, Gustaf and Bill among the cast. Perhaps someday...

"The Pensive Stellan"

09.10.21

Today I reworked the film page for JIM OCH PIRATERNA BLOM (1987) and added several more images. The film ended up being quite a family affair. First of all, it was co-written by Stellan with the film's director Hans Alfredson with the story based on a cartoon strip. Not only did both of them also star in it but Stellan gave his wife My and toddler son Sam cameo roles. You can watch the entire film (minus English captions) at this youtube link, but their cute scene is at the very beginning about 3 1/2 minutes into the film.

It's understandable why Stellan appears in the film as the ghost of Jim's dead father in full chef costume. Knowing what a foodie he is, it was probably his idea. You'll laugh watching him in the kitchen showing his son how to sharpen knives or chop up onions. Personally, I think this is one of Stellan's silliest performances and it's fun to watch his slapstick antics. In March of this year, Netflix offered it in several European countries so it's still considered a worthy film for both young and old audiences to enjoy.

I've come across several Skarsgård family headers created by fans. The one I'm sharing today of Alexander is aesthetically splendid! One of the best!

09.09.21

Father & son - Artwork by Duong Dam

Following in the footsteps of his father - It was 24 years ago when Stellan had a guest appearance in  director Lars Von Trier's Danish TV mini-series "Riget" (aka The Kingdom) playing advocate Stig Helmers. According to Swedish media, son Alexander has a minor role as an attorney in the final series called "Riget Exodus". Trier’s series about a haunted ultramodern hospital in Copenhagen ran from 1994 to 1997 with the two seasons consisting of a total of eight episodes. The Danish director would have liked to continue the story with a third season, but in the meantime several protagonists died, so Trier abandoned the plan. More than two decades later, however, the opportunity to continue arose again, and now Trier’s production company, Zentropa, has announced that the third, finishing season will be completed in five installments. The series is scheduled to be unveiled on Viaplay in 2022. The following publicity photo was featured at moviezine.se. Yes, that's actor Mikael Persbrandt who will be playing one of the physicians.

09.07.21

I'm in the process of updating film pages since some have not been touched since they were first created as far back as 17 years ago. Today I worked on ÅKE OCH HANS VÄRLD.

As most of you know, this was Alexander's debut into the cinema world. He didn't nab the lead role, but as Åke's best friend Kalle Nubb, the seven-year-old showed he had screen presence. That was over 37 years ago in 1984. The IMDB has the film's US premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival in October 1985, but this information is erroneous because it actually premiered earlier that year in April at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Stellan had a minor role in the film as a character named "Ebenholtz, a recluse who occasionally comes out of the shadows to talk about his murderer-father while he himself does his level best to look like Boris Karloff on an off-day." That description comes from Variety journalist Keith Kellar. Since Stellan had a history of working with director/actor Allan Edwall, we have to assume "Dad" was instrumental in Alexander landing this role. Stellan and Allan had just finished two productions the previous year just before casting began. There is a clip with Alex from the film with English captions at this youtube link.

The little boy named Martin Lindström who starred as Åke did not go on to a stellar acting career like his co-star. He made only two other feature films, both starring Stellan within a three-year period. He was adorable with those freckles!


 

There's a youtube interview with the cast of DUNE with the actors in their respective hotel rooms while in Venice. Stellan had some interesting comments about his Baron character but host Jake Hamilton is a bit over the top for my tastes.

Warner Bros. Studios has released a new featurette for the film revealing more footage from the movie and clips from behind the scenes of its production. Director Denis Villeneuve and the film’s stars offer insights regarding key characters and the roles they play within their respective factions. Check out this youtube link.

Though the film will be released in most of Europe a week before its theatrical release here in the states, it will have its US premiere on October 7, 2021 at the New York Film Festival. Its North American premiere will take place this Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

09.05.21

Last night Stellan and his wife attended a Valentino party at Venice's famous hot spot - Harry's Bar. The event was thrown in celebration of  Zendaya, a Valentino Ambassador, who also stars in DUNE.

Note that each of them is holding a mask in their hand. Good for them! I also found a video of Stellan with his DUNE cast at the premiere. This photo is not that clear since I captured it from a miniscule video. He appears to be the only one wearing a mask. Better to be safe than sorry!

09.04.21

Photos surfaced today of Stellan staying on in Venice and now we finally have proof that wife Megan is with him. Thoughts for the day - I can't figure out why she favors kaftans, usually saved for much larger women or Indian women. I am beginning to realize that her gray hair is not natural and I can understand the reason is probably to bridge the age gap. I'm not sure I've ever seen Stellan with an iPhone in his hand and I salute him for that though he probably has one tucked away in his pant pocket if you look closely at the photo. I like that he's holding Megan's hand.

I admire Stellan for his tolerance and kindness toward the paparazzi and his fans, generous with the autographs. Love that smile!

You can watch the DUNE red carpet coverage at this youtube link. For more photos from Venice, check out the Festival Gallery.

Updated 4:10 pm

Stellan and Megan will be returning to Stockholm tomorrow after spending three days at the Marriott Hotel. It's just been announced that our Swede has captured another award. This time it's an Italian cultural award, which goes to someone who has often filmed in Italy or in other ways has had good relations with the Italian film industry. The prize is called the Premio Internazionale Cinearti Chioma di Berenice. Other recipients have been Oscar-winning photographer Vittorio Storaro and director Abel Ferrara. Stellan will place his new award in his office where he stores all his others. He comments, "I did not know that I have contributed to Italian culture, but I have, of course, filmed at their studio Cinecitta several times. I am very honored." He, however, can't help but joke that "it is a prize for those who will soon die."

He tells the press that he will be headed to Finland in November for the film "What Remains", written by his wife and helmed by Chinese director Ran Huang. Production has previously been delayed due to the pandemic. The film is about the dependent relationship between doctor and patient. Son Gustaf has the main role with Stellan in a minor role.

This past week Valter attended the Stockholm premiere of a new series, "Två systrar" (Twin Sisters), which will premiere tomorrow on Viaplay. These two photos show him with actress Roshi Hoss - one at the premiere and the other an older shot. Valter is definitely more handsome as a blonde. His comment on the premiere photo was "I love that I’m stone cold sober and this was at like 7pm but I look like I’m at the end of a 3 day bender". Yeah, you got that right, kiddo! Get rid of that hat!

09.03.21 - 6:42 AM

Here's our first photo of Stellan arriving on a beautiful day in Venice. The DUNE cast are all staying at the luxury hotel JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa on the island of Isola delle Rose in the lagoon. His wife Megan has accompanied him.

Stellan complains about these arrangements saying, "It's damn boring. You want to hang out at Hotel Excelsior... During the day, I will mostly sit in my hotel room in front of a TV screen and do digital interviews with journalists around the world." Stellan says he does not think he will attend the press conference today. Not everyone gets a place on the podium and his role as Baron Vladimir Harkonen is quite small though important. The red carpet gala premiere will be held tonight.

Stellan flew to Budapest a couple times for the shoot and worked a total of ten days with several hours in makeup alone. He says, "They made a suit that is like a silky nightgown over the naked body suit, which weighs 40 kilos. You will see that it is me, but with a huge body. It's not a character with a deep psychological mind, but it's fun to visually try to create someone who might be unforgettable."

11:15 AM

The press conference and photo call were held this afternoon without Stellan. You can watch a video of the press conference at this youtube link. In the photo below is director Denis Villeneuve with actors Javier Bardem, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin.

1:20 PM

From the Hollywood Reporter: "Reviews won't be out until after the film's official world's premiere tonight, but early buzz emanating from the first press screenings has taken the Lido by storm... Marvin Wiechart of Germany’s Yorck Kinogruppe cinema chain said the film was 'out-of-this-world in every sense of the word and a theatrical experience unlike any other.''

However, Brian Truitt of USA Today wrote that the film "is an odd bird and a mixed bag". He continued, "'Dune is impressively ambitious in scale, like Villeneuve mashing up the worlds of 'Star Wars' and 'Game of Thrones,' but with that unmistakable signature style he showcased with 'Arrival' and 'Blade Runner 2049'. While the film has a lot going for it, including a pretty stellar cast, real-world metaphors and an intriguing twist on a war-movie aesthetic, it's lacking in character development and aspects of the book's substantial mythology are tossed in to keep your head swimming over 2½ hours... Even with its imperfections, 'Dune' as an experience is awesome, with astounding special effects, great production design and a propulsive Hans Zimmer score." Truit describes Stellan's character as "a slovenly mix of Jabba the Hutt, Colonel Kurtz and the Emperor from 'Star Wars'."

David Ehrlich of IndieWire, describing the film as a "massive disappointment" points out that the characters with less screen time make more of an impact, especially the gluttonous robber-baron Harkonnen. He writes, "Stellan Skargård is the undisputed MVP as Baron Harkonnen himself, whose performance finally answers the question - What if 'The Island of Dr. Moreau'-era Marlon Brando could fly."

1:40 PM - First photo of Stellan on the red carpet -

2:10 PM - More photos are located in the Festival Gallery.

3:00 PM

With 26 reviews already in, Rotten Tomatoes scores DUNE with a score of  85%, which is a good sign that the film will do well at the box office.

From Alex Noble, The Wrap:

"Critics are hailing Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel as a transporting viewing experience — but with about 100 asterisks attached, mostly pertaining to the flatness of the screenplay and a lack of direction to where this mission is exactly headed. 

Steve Pond’s review for The Wrap calls 'Dune' both 'dazzling and frustrating, often spectacular and often slow. It’s huge and loud and impressive but it can also be humorless and bleak,' adding that 'it tries valiantly to address the problems of taking on Herbert’s complex epic, which requires a director to spend lots of time setting things up and explaining the world before they can even get the damn thing off the ground.'

Scott Collura’s critique for IGN noted that the story essentially 'ends at Act 2,' arguing that there’s 'a shapelessness to the latter part of the movie that drags it down and distracts from its beauty.'

Even the more positive reviews, like Leah Greenblatt’s for Entertainment Weekly, admit that the film adaptation’s handling of the complex plot is 'mostly prologue.'

Still, Greenblatt insisted that Villeneuve’s famous remarks that watching 'Dune' on television would be like 'driving a speedboat in your bathtub,' were not self-aggrandizing BS but right on the money, hailing the flick as 'the kind of lush, lofty filmmaking wide screens were made for; a sensory experience so opulent and overwhelming it begs to be seen big, or not at all.''

09.02.21

The 78th Venice Film Festival got underway yesterday with a slew of Hollywood stars expected on the red carpet for the September 1-11 event. According to Variety, the "entire 10-member cast" of Denis Villeneuve's DUNE are headed to the Lido on Friday. That obviously includes Stellan so I guess we can look forward to his presence in Venice. And here I am 45 years ago enjoying my gondola ride through the city's canals. Great memory!

Last Sunday, DUNE had an ultra hush-hush press screening at the legendary WB parking lot. Journalist Jeffrey Wells managed to get three anonymous critics to share their brief reactions on the film:

First Person: "I tend to like epically scaled movies, even flawed ones or those that are hard to follow [as Dune] has a number of distinct characters weaving in and out. What Dune viewers need to do, in other words, is get themselves into a place in which 'flaws' don’t especially matter and 'following the action' isn’t all that vital."

Second Person: "I loved Dune and went into something of a trance and was mesmerized from beginning to end. Seeing it on a big screen was fabulous, and I might well see it again sometime just for the immersive pleasure."

Third person: "Dune‘s not bad. It just makes no sense. But that’s okay — it’s a mood piece. Good to see if you’re really stoned. Greig Fraser‘s cinematography is quite mesmerizing and you can coast along on that aspect to your heart’s content. The plotting was too complex and it seemed as if everyone was speaking some kind of foreign tongue. This sense of being lost and adrift had not, to put it mildly, coagulated into anything special."

Stellan has previously attended the Venice Film Festival several times, most notably in 2009 for "Metropia", in 2014 for "Nymphomaniac" and in 2019 for "The Painted Bird".

09.01.21

I came across another well-designed banner for Alexander. Love these colors!

How knowledgeable are you about the films Stellan has starred in? Have you seen most of them? I've seen 62. Here's a quiz on his famous co-stars. Name the film. The answers are at the bottom of this page right before the news archive. Good luck!

 
 1. Gerard Depardieu
 2. Lauren Bacall
 3. Salma Hayek
 4. Uma Thurman
 5. Sean Connery
 6. Ben Kingsley
 7. Daniel Day-Lewis
 8. Matthew Modine
 9. Tom Hanks
10. Robin Wright
11. Keifer Sutherland
12. Bruce Dern
13. Demi Moore
14. Matthew McConaughey
15. Cate Blanchett
 

08.30.21

I was interested in how many films with Stellan had been screened at the Cannes Film Festival and found these 7 films:

To my surprise, I wasn't aware of  "The Film Worker" shown in 2017. It's a biographical documentary centered on the life and career of Leon Vitali and his working relationship with film director Stanley Kubrick. Among those interviewed was Stellan who knew Vitali as the assistant director for the 1985 Swedish TV production of "Hamlet".

Stellan's contribution:

"Leon had a lot of knowledge not only about filmmaking, but also about literature and everything. And at the same time, he was a workhorse. Uh, he'd do anything. I mean, he'd carry logs for you. Film workers are slightly different than other people. And that goes for theater workers too. They're usually there for the love. They work the worse hours. They're usually not at home. And they do all this with a fantastic capacity of creating a functioning social unit that is extremely intimate within hours."

Stellan is asked - "Are you obsessive about creativity too?

"I don't know. I don't think about it. I am creative. I work a lot. And when I'm not working, I'm cooking. And when I'm not cooking, I'm fucking. It's all creative work. (Stellan laughing) I worked as an assistant for a very, very good Swedish director in the Royal Dramatic Theatre for several years. I did small roles in his plays. And I assisted and did a lot of assistant work. And I loved it. And after a while, you feel how he feels. You think how he thinks. And you learn to see what's going on with his eyes. And that's a fantastic revelation as an assistant."

Previously I had a very small image of a 1992 issue of Cafe magazine featuring Stellan on the cover. I can now post a much larger photo.

This is a unique photo taken in either late 2002 or early 2003 during the filming of "Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist". The translation of the caption says Stellan is in Rome taking an opportunity to shop for such things as artichokes. He is happy with food and happy cooking. In the evening he plans to cook osso buco for his family and director Paul Schrader. Notice the dangling cigarette!

ANSWERS: City of Ghosts, Dogville, Time Code, Nymphomaniac, The Hunt for Red October, The Physician, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Wind, Angels & Demons, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Melancholia, The Glass House, Passion of Mind, Amistad and Cinderella.

 

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2020: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2019: January, February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December
2018: January, February/March, April-June, July/August, September/October, November/December
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