About.Com Interview - August 19, 2004

Stellan Skarsgård Talks About "Exorcist: The Beginning"

In person, Stellan Skarsgård is an imposing figure. Friendly and frank, in this interview from the World Premiere of "Exorcist: The Beginning", Skarsgård addresses the differences between Paul Schrader and Renny Harlin's version of the film.

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Queston: What kind of research did you do to play the role of a priest?

I had a couple of meetings. Then between the first and the second one, I read the Bible. The entire Bible.

Question: Did you study Max von Sydow’s performance?

No, I told them I can’t do him. He’s good at doing him, I’m bad at doing him (laughing). [Doing a very good impression of von Sydow] No, then I should talk more like this, and I can’t.

Question: This movie was filmed twice. How does that change how you play the character?

It actually changed because it’s two different genres, it’s two different films. I always sort of try to make my role work for the film, so I had to change the way I acted in each.

Question: What was the major difference between how you played him the first time, and how you played him in Renny Harlin’s version?

The first one was the psychological thriller where I went much darker and deeper. The second one is lighter – not lighter, but it’s not so concerned with the character’s psychological problems as the first one was, so it’s more about making a horror film, the second one.

Question: Which one was more of a challenge for you as an actor?

I don’t know. Every job is a challenge. I’ve made about 60 films and I’m scared every time.

Question: Do you have a preference between the two versions?

No, not at all. They’re different genres.

Question: What was it like working on this project?

It was fun, twice.

Question: Have you been approached yet by any fans of the original "Exorcist?"

No, not yet. I don’t know if I will have to hide my face when I come out of here (laughing).