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Alexander Skarsgård Library Forum • View topic - Interviews

Articles & Interviews

Interviews

Stellan in the news. Print, audio and video interviews & articles.

Interviews

Postby Santress » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:55 am

Collider.com Interview (December 29, 2010):

Stellan Skarsgard Exclusive Interview; Talks THOR, MELANCHOLIA, and David Fincher’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

by Christina Radish Posted:December 29th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

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Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard is quite clearly one of the most prolific actors in Europe and Hollywood, with more than 80 films on his resume. He’s done big Hollywood films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Mamma Mia!, smaller productions like Good Will Hunting, and Norwegian features like his most recent, A Somewhat Gentle Man, directed by Hans Petter Moland, whom he has collaborated with twice before, and had memorable performances in all of them.

Collider recently spoke to Stellan Skarsgard in an exclusive phone interview from his native Sweden to promote the limited January 14th release (at the IFC Center, and then following in L.A. and other cities) of the darkly humorous A Somewhat Gentle Man, about a gangster named Ulrik (Skarsgard) who is reluctantly released from prison, only to find his way in the world again. While we will wait to run that portion of the interview until closer to the film’s release date, we did want to run what he had to say about his role in Frankie and Alice (currently in a limited run for award consideration, and opening later on February 4th) opposite Halle Berry, his current work on the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which he starts doing interiors on in Los Angeles in a couple of days, being a part of the Marvel epic Thor and working with Lars von Trier on Melancholia. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

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Question: You have Frankie and Alice in American theaters on February 4th. What was the experience of working with Halle Berry like?

STELLAN SKARSGARD: Of course, working with Halle Berry is fantastic. Every day, you’re looking at a performance that you would be prepared to pay to watch. She’s truly great and truthful, and it’s a joy.

Who do you play in that film?

SKARSGARD: I’m the psychiatrist that is trying to help her and guide her through and make her understand what her problem is. He’s a strange psychiatrist who suddenly sees something he’s never seen before and gets very excited about it, but also gradually gets more and more interested in her as a person, and not only as a case. They reach a certain point – and I’m not going to give any spoilers – where she gets somewhere. It’s a nice role, and there’s some funny things in that one. My role was basically watching her. I could stare at her and just say, “Wow, she’s acting so great,” and everybody will think, “Oh, he’s really looking at what is the matter with her.”

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How is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo going? Has that been an interesting experience?

SKARSGARD: Yeah, I’m having a lot of fun. David [Fincher] shoots constantly, and I don’t like to be in my trailer, so I’m really happy. When you shoot with him, he does 35 or 40 takes of almost every set up. Since he rolls all the time, it’s fine. You just get more and more energy from working with that drive. He’s a very good director, so I’m really having fun. I’m going to L.A. in a couple of days to continue doing interiors there.

How much have you already done on the film?

SKARSGARD: We started in September, and I’ve done exteriors in Sweden since then, and we broke for Christmas. We’ll start in L.A. in January, and I’ll be there for two or three months, and then I’ll go back to Sweden to finish it off in April or May.

Is the film still set entirely in Sweden with just the interiors being done in L.A.?

SKARSGARD: The film is set in Sweden, but we are doing some interiors on soundstages in L.A.

Had you been familiar with the Stieg Larsson books or the original Swedish films?

SKARSGARD: It was too big a hit for me to be able to ignore. I’ve seen one of the films. I’ve seen the first film – the one we are remaking now. I haven’t read the books.

Does it seem odd to you that you didn’t do the Swedish films, but now you’re in the American remake?

SKARSGARD: I’m not always happy when Hollywood does remakes of films, but that’s usually, when they have a very, very, very good film and they take away anything controversial from it and make flatter. I don’t think that will be the case here. David Fincher is a fantastic director and Steve Zaillian is writing, and he’s a great writer. I have hopes that it will be an improvement.

How has it been to work with David Fincher? Is he someone whose work you were familiar with?

SKARSGARD: Yeah, of course, I’ve been familiar with his work and I really enjoy it. He’s extremely focused on what’s going to be in the film. There’s no bullshit. He’s very smart. It’s a good experience.

Is he the reason you wanted to be a part of the film?

SKARSGARD: Yeah, of course.

Is it nerve-wracking to be a part of something that has so much attention on it, before the film is even finished, or do you not get nervous about that?

SKARSGARD: I don’t think about it. I’ve done Hamlet, and everybody knows how that should be done, so I’ve gone through the worst. Also, the film is really not on my shoulders.

Because so many of the fans of these books and the original Swedish films are curious about Rooney Mara’s performance as Lisbeth Salander, especially since they’re largely unfamiliar with her, is there anything you can say about working with her and how she’s doing in the role?

SKARSGARD: I’m convinced she can take it on. I’ve only had a few very short encounters with her. Most of my scenes are with Daniel Craig. But, I think she’s good enough. I think Noomi Rapace was fantastic, and this is another kind of Lisbeth Salander. I think [Rooney Mara] will do something beautiful with it.

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What was it like to be a part of a production as big as Thor?

SKARSGARD: I had a great time. I also had a great director there. Kenneth Branagh is one of the funniest directors on the set. You laugh a lot. He’s very skillful. We were also allowed to have rehearsals before we started, and discuss the writing and change the scenes. It felt like you were invited to a very nice collaboration. It’s another film done in the real world, where my scenes are.

Who do you play in the film and how does your character, Professor Andrews, fit in with the mythology of the story?

SKARSGARD: Me and Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings are doing research on strange atmospheric and space stuff going on in the sky in New Mexico. And then, we meet Thor.

Did you watch all of the Marvel movies to get ready for the film? Had you been familiar with the characters at all?

SKARSGARD: No, I haven’t [watched the movies]. That’s not the kind of homework I did. I’m not sure that would have helped. And, I was not familiar with Thor at all, when I started, but I became familiar. They gave me comic books and stuff, and [Kenneth Branagh] educated me.

What is your take on the popularity of comic book movies?

SKARSGARD: I don’t know, since I haven’t seen them. But, it’s something that is a part of modern mythology. Every culture has their myths that people are aware of and share. They vary throughout the ages, but in America, it’s those myths.

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How was it to work with a filmmaker like Lars von Trier for Melancholia?

SKARSGARD: I’ve worked with him several times before and I really like him. He’s a very good friend. But, his way of shooting is so relaxed for the actors, if you don’t want to be in control of yourself. You really try to shoot the scenes in different ways and explore the possibilities of the scene. There’s no pressure and you’re allowed to make as many mistakes as you want. When we did Breaking the Waves, he had a sign on the wall that said, “Make mistakes.” It’s really nice. For Dogville, when I had to rape Nicole Kidman about five times, in different ways, he suddenly told me, “Stellan, don’t you think you could play it as a romantic comedy?” I thought of Notting Hill and I said, “Of course, Lars.” And then, I went in and played the scene like a romantic comedy and, of course, the scene didn’t work, but one or two lines, because of the different angle of attack, suddenly became very interesting. And then, he just cuts out those and uses them. He’s always such a sweet and lovely man that I enjoy being around him.

What is that film about and who do you play in it?

SKARSGARD: The film starts with a wedding, with a lot of guests, and I’m only in the wedding, in the beginning, and then the film narrows down to fewer characters. I am actually my own son’s best man. My son, Alexander, is getting married to Kirsten Dunst, at the beginning, and I’m his best man and also Kirsten’s employer.

Was it nice to get to work with your son?

SKARSGARD: It’s fun. I’ve done it a couple of times. What’s fun is when you start talking about the scene and you realize how similar your ways of looking at the material is and how quick you come to a decision about what you want to do with it. Gustaf and Bill are now in L.A. Gustaf has this Peter Weir film (The Way Back) coming out now, and Bill is there promoting a Swedish film called Simple Simon that is the Swedish contribution to the Oscars this year. They’re very talented.

Knowing how difficult and unpredictable this business can be, is it nice to see the success that your kids have had with acting?

SKARSGARD: It is. I never encouraged them to become actors or anything, and I never discouraged them either. I said, “After you’re 16, it’s your life and you do what you want. I’m not going to interfere, unless you want me to.” So, it’s totally their own choices. But, it would have been really said, if there had been no evolution in the family and they would have been worse than me instead of better.

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With your son, Alexander, on True Blood, do you watch the show?

SKARSGARD: I’ve watched quite a few of the episodes. I’m not a big fan of that genre, so I haven’t seen them all. I saw everything of Generation Kill that he did before, which I thought was absolutely great. But, it’s well written and I understand that it’s very successful.

Is it weird to you that he’s become something of a sex symbol in America, as a result of his work on the show?

SKARSGARD: He knocked me off the throne in Sweden, many years before that.

They’ve had some great guest starring arcs onTrue Blood. Would you ever consider doing a guest appearance on the show?

SKARSGARD: I don’t know how fit I am to do television. I did three episodes of Entourage a year ago and it was great fun, but I’m not sure I’m the man to work that fast. I’m not a race car driver. I’m more of a watch maker.

Do you find that Good Will Hunting is a movie that everybody always wants to talk to you about?

SKARSGARD: It is. It seems to have become some kind of classic. It’s obviously alive, still. I still meet people who watch it, again and again.

Do you enjoy doing small productions, or do you prefer doing these big films with big budgets and big trailers, or do you just go where the work is and where you find characters that appeal to you?

SKARSGARD: I go where I think I can enjoy myself. Sometimes it’s on a big movie, and sometimes it’s even on a silly movie. After I’ve done that, it’s really nice to go down to an extremely low-budget movie, but that is very daring and courageous and try something different, where the roles usually are more complicated.

Source: http://collider.com/stellan-skarsgard-i ... too/67252/

Thanks, AlexanderSkarsgard.org, for the find!
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Re: Interviews

Postby Nordanswede » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:18 am

Thank you, Santress.

He`s not a big TB-fan apparently. But then, who is? :shrug:
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Re: Interviews

Postby explodinglint » Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:50 am

Thank you, Santress! :party:

It was good to hear some news of Gustaf and Bill too. I´d really like a new interview with Gustaf to pop up somewhere. :bouncingsmiley:
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Re: Interviews

Postby Anja » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:10 pm

Tnx Santress!


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Re: Interviews

Postby Santress » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:50 pm

yw! :D

Another interview. Wall Street Journal: SpeakEasy (December 29, 2010):

Stellan Skarsgard on ‘Thor,’ ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’ and Swedish Films

By Alexandra Cheney

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Stellan Skarsgard stars in the coming superhero movie “Thor” and is traveling to Los Angeles next week to shoot the interiors for the English-language adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” His newest Swedish-language film is “A Somewhat Gentle Man,” where he plays Ulrik, a murderer recently released from prison. The film will open at the IFC Center in New York on January 14.

Speakeasy talked with Skarsgard, who’s still in Scandinavia, about “Thor,” his acting family, and his native Sweden.

Speakeasy: You were born in Sweden, how is it for you acting in multiple languages?

Stellan Skarsgard: I only juggle two languages except I made one film in German. It’s easy to do in Swedish because it’s my native tongue, and I’ve been working in English for many years. But I do have to work more because you’re not born with language, but it’s also fun work. It’s exciting and challenging to try and create life in different language. If you notice how I act in English, I kind of take it down a bit.

This is your third collaboration with Hans Petter Moland, the director of “A Somewhat Gentle Man.” Do you seek out directors to collaborate with?

It’s not that I look for directors, but some of the directors stick and you realize that you compliment each other and Hans Petter is one of them. I really enjoy working with him; we are constantly looking for projects to do. Not including this movie, it’s been 10 years since we last worked together, but it felt like two years ago. He sent me the script [to this film] and asked me if I was interested. I heard that people had said it was a tragedy but I laughed when I read it. I thought it was a comedy and I thought I should do it immediately. And we did.

You play Ulrik in this foreign film, a man who was just released from prison. Do you consider it a role that’s a little bit sad?

It’s a foreign film even in foreign countries. I don’t think I’ve seen a comedy like it before; it’s extremely dark in some ways but still funny. Of course you can always say that Scandinavians are experts at making fun of darkness because they live in such darkness most of the year. I was interested in doing a comedy, and I was interested in doing a comedy that wasn’t a normal comedy, that had some different qualities and this one had it. With a great cast we have, the roles that are in the script are very sketchy and sometimes almost over the top. They all become human beings in a way, in their own special universe.

If you had to describe Ulrik, what are his sensibilities?

I think he is a gentle man and he doesn’t want to hurt anybody. He happens to have a job that means he kills people, but not everybody likes their jobs. And I mean at least two of the women he sleeps with in the film he obviously does it just to be nice to them. It would be nice to say no to them but he does it because he’s a good man. I think he’s a good man but his entire life has been in bad company.

How do you hope audiences will react?

I hope the respond by laughing and that they fell that it is refreshing, that it’s not funny always in the way that other films are funny.

You have seven children and nearly half are actors. Do you think it’s in your blood?

I don’t know what’s in my blood and what’s in the environment. It’s very hard to say, I think a lot of it has to do with how you grow up and how open your family is and how flexible you are in terms of tolerance. But there might be some gene. I didn’t encourage them to become actors; I have three that work professionally and very successful as actors. I didn’t encourage them but I didn’t discourage them either. I didn’t interfere with their lives very much after they turned 16.

Your coming roles feature you in “Thor” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” How are those projects?

I did “Thor” in the spring. And then I did a film called “Melancholia.” And now I’m in the midst of shooting “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” We finished shooting in Sweden and we’re going to LA within a week to do interiors. I have a couple of smaller of films that are not financed yet and a couple of bigger films that are financed but that I haven’t chosen from yet.

How do you choose a character like Ulrik and then go to a massively financed film like “Thor?”

I chose “Thor” because of [director] Kenneth Branagh. The script was nice and we got to rehearse and talk to the writers and do some collaborating in the process to make it fit us. So I had a very happy time on it. What I always try to do is immediately do something I just haven’t done so I get variation in my life. I’ve made about 90 films and if I did the same thing over and over again I would be bored by now. I try to pick different films, I go and do those big ones and having done that I can usually afford to go and do some really small obscure films and experiment a little.

Any role you haven’t played that you have in your head?

I’ve never had any dream roles. I’ve already did one “Hamlet” but it wasn’t my dream role. I’ve done over 90 films and I don’t work like that because the role isn’t fantastic by itself. It has to be good director, good actors and when and where and how they want to do it. It’s the project in itself that becomes attractive and I don’t have any dreams. I’m really good at enjoying the present.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/12/ ... ish-films/
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Re: Interviews

Postby CrazyLady » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:25 pm

Thanks for posting this
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Yep, I'll take the tall one with a smidge of scruff. K thanks.
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Re: Interviews

Postby explodinglint » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:25 pm

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Re: Interviews

Postby Nordanswede » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:29 pm

Hehe, I didn`t even notice that slip-up. But I suppose to foreigners Swedish and Norwegian sounds alike. Heck, even to us Danes it does :whistling:
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Re: Interviews

Postby Santress » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:45 pm

Hollywood and Fine Interview (Published January 14, 2011):

A Somewhat Gentle Stellan Skarsgard
by Marshall Fine

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Yes, Stellan Skarsgard says, he’s in the midst of filming David Fincher’s version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” the biggest export Sweden has produced since Abba.

No, Skarsgard admits, he hasn’t read the best-selling Stieg Larsson novel upon which the much-discussed Hollywood version is based: “I read other things,” Skarsgard, 59, says by telephone from Los Angeles.

Sharp-eyed American movie-goers with long memories may remember Skarsgard from performances in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988) or “The Hunt for Red October” (1990). For most, however, he first wandered into view in Lars von Trier’s 1996 “Breaking the Waves” and then 1997’s “Good Will Hunting.”

Since then, Skarsgard, who got his start acting on Swedish television as a teen, has become a staple of both Hollywood and European films. He moves effortlessly between the two worlds, making his home in Sweden and traveling to the work, whether it’s in Hollywood (“Mamma Mia” or the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise) or, for his most recent film, “A Somewhat Gentle Man,” Norway.

In “A Somewhat Gentle Man,” which opens today (1/14/11) in limited release, Skarsgard plays a man released from prison after serving 12 years for murder, who finds the world is a very different place from the one he left. Skarsgard talked about it in a recent telephone interview.

Q: You’re Swedish but you work frequently in Norwegian films, such as “A Somewhat Gentle Man.” Do the Swedes accuse you of being a traitor?
A: Yes, they call me a turncoat. I say, well, you only make police thrillers in Sweden. But this is my third time working with this director. I still live in Sweden. That’s my base. When I’m not working, I’m there.

Q: What attracted you to the project?
A: I thought it was very funny. When the producer read it, he didn’t understand it. He thought it was dark and sad and tragic. I found it hilarious. It was an unusual script.

Q: How often do you get offered leading roles like this?
A: You don’t see many scripts written like this, in Hollywood or anywhere else. There are not many roles like that out there. But this is the third time I’ve worked with Hans Petter Moland. I also worked with him on “Zero Kelvin” and “Aberdeen.” He’s given me three of the best roles of my career.

Q: Yet you say there wasn’t a lot in the script to hang the character on.
A: The character doesn’t say anything for the first four or five minutes. You read it and he’s the lead role and he’s not there, really. It was a funny situation because of everything you could fill in between. The character had to be invented. Even when he’s not saying anything, everything around him had to be reflected in his face. I like the character. He had given up on life. He was so reluctant to reenter life. It’s a story about a man who finds magic in life, finally finding at his age that life can be beautiful and wonderful.

Q: What’s up with that ratty ponytail you wear in the film?
A: The ponytail was my idea. I wanted it to indicate that he was a man who was a bit over the hill. When he had it like that in the ’80s, it was really cool. But he’s been in prison for 12 years. My hair was probably that long when I did “Breaking the Waves.” I’ve never had it that thin before.

Q: You have several bizarre sex scenes with Jorun Kjellsby, who plays your landlady. Was it hard to keep from laughing during those?
A: I’ve done a lot of sex scenes but never anything like this. We laughed a lot during those sex scenes. There were a couple of takes we had to redo because we couldn’t keep a straight face. There was dialogue in the script and not much more; it was our interpretation of the script. All the things about just wanting to eat his dinner while he was having sex are things we invented.

Q: Why did you start acting?
A: My first professional acting job was when I was 14. It was a Swedish Huckleberry Finn for TV. That started my career. I did a lot of amateur theater as a kid. The more I did it, the more I was hooked. It made it possible to be someone else, to do things Stellan would never do. Plus I like people and it’s a collaborative art form. I’m not a mirror-style actor. I come with 1,000 possibilities and then it depends on what the other actors do.

Q: Do you like working in Hollywood?
A: I wasn’t keen on going to Hollywood at all when I first came. I won an award in Berlin in 1982 and then did a film for PBS. My agent wanted me to go to L.A. and I didn’t want to. It was very snotty and arrogant of me. I’ve been staying at the Chateau Marmont for 20 years when I come here. I like the staff. But I don’t feel a part of society in L.A. It’s so totally different a city, so heavily based on the industry. Even if you’re well-known in Sweden, you can be more private there. But I will say the L.A. weather is great. We just had the longest cold spell in Sweden since 1788.

Source: http://hollywoodandfine.com/interviews/?p=899
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Re: Interviews

Postby Nordanswede » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:06 am

Thank you, Santress :sexytime:

That sex scene really is hilarious. Parts of it is in this trailer

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