Skarsgård: Between the Film
January 26, 2006
If you see a man nearly 6'4" tall with a coat over his head at
Draken Theatre tonight, it might be Stellan Skarsgård opening the film
"I haven't seen Beowulf & Grendel yet, so I'll be standing in the back
want to escape,"
says Stellan Skarsgård.
He calls from a summer house in Ljusterö and describes how beautifully
snow is glistening. Since Christmas, Stellan Skarsgård has been home in Sweden
after spending the fall
in Madrid and Salamanca with director Milos Forman and the movie Goya's
Ghosts, in which Skarsgård
plays the spanish painter Francisco Goya.
"I've liked Goya ever since I spent a whole day at
the Prado museum in Madrid a couple of years ago. So it's been
interesting to go into that man, even if I'm not doing an accurate
portrait of him."
But it's not because of a Milos Forman film that
Stellan Skarsgård is back at the Göteborg Film Festival again, but
because of a Canadian-Icelandic version of the old Anglo-Saxon
Beowulf & Grendel.
The story is about danish king Hrothgar whose castle is haunted by the
Grendel. has As the danish king, Stellan Skarsgård has plastered on a reddish version
the beard he wore for the film King Arthur, but he has a deeper
role this time.
"Hrothgar is a miserable man. He is damn unfortunate and everything
screws up for him.
From being a mighty king, he becomes more pathetic and human. He meets
man in himself, and as always when meeting yourself, he becomes very
says Stellan Skarsgård.
At director Sturla Gunnarsson's web site, Skarsgård
tells in one clip about the
shooting in Iceland and how he had barely prepared for the role. But
that proves to be a modified truth.
"Of course I prepared including reading the script over and over.
not by running around the woods in a viking outfit for three months. I
believe in that, just like that you don't need to kill a bunch of
order to play a murderer. It is, after all, the person who needs to be
brought out in the character. I simply ignored that Hrothgar was a king
the 4th century and built a character with great problems.
Today Skarsgård arrives at his city of birth,
Göteborg. He thinks that going to a film festival can be just as amusing
as annoying. Rather Göteborg and the little hippie festival Telluride in the Colorado
than the media circus Cannes. But it's not a long visit - tomorrow he
to London for a meeting, and then on to the Bahamas and the shooting of
third Pirates Of The Caribbean film.
This summer part two, Dead Man's Chest, premieres and in both films,
Skarsgård plays Orlando Bloom's father, Bootstraps Bill Turner. It's a
role consisting mostly of having seaweed and clams on your head, since
his character has risen from the bottom of the ocean.
"There is something very charming about the films since the director
believes in the stories and
characters. But there's also the other side of it, the films are part
great industry with film companies that might be more eager to
their positions in the market. These two films had a budget of 400
dollars, which could probably nourish a number of African nations for a
To create balance in his existence, Stellan Skarsgård therefore chooses
go for a tiny independent film in Northern Ireland after the Disney
adventure. With a first-time director and a small story, he follows his
ambitions to rather have fun than to make successful films. But that
he has to be away a lot from home which has its disadvantages.
"When I'm working, it isn't that bad. Then you're
into the moment. But living in a hotel isn't much fun with the silence constantly there
day of working. I try to avoid that by renting an apartment or house
taking the family with me whenever I can."