Stellan Skarsgard: 'It Was Extremely Hard to Finance, and I Think It's Fantastic That He Got This Film Made'

By Gaydos, Steven | Variety, September 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Stellan Skarsgard: 'It Was Extremely Hard to Finance, and I Think It's Fantastic That He Got This Film Made'


Gaydos, Steven, Variety


no stranger to the world of prestigious film festivals, Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard drew notice almost from the very beginning of his film career when he won the best actor award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1982 for his role in Hans Alfredson's "Simple-Minded Murderer." Next stop for the Emmy-nominated star of HBO's "Chernobyl" is the Venice Film Festival, where Skarsgard co-stars with Harvey Keitel, Barry Pepper, Julian Sands and Udo Kier in Czech writer-director Vaclav Marhoul's adaptation of the classic Jerzy Kosinski novel "The Painted Bird."

"The Painted Bird" was an unusual production, as Vaclav Marhoul shot across Eastern Europe for several years. Did you know the unorthodox filming plan when you signed on?

Yes, and perhaps it's an even longer project than you realize. Vaclav called me nine years ago when he obtained the rights and told me about his plans, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of it. It was extremely hard to finance, and I think it's fantastic that he got this film made. It's hard to get any film financed these days and this one is so ambitious and risky. But I'm so happy with how it turned out, and I know it's all worth it.

Had you filmed in the Czech Republic and Slovakia before?

Yes, I did a TV series about Strindberg, and we filmed in Bratislava back in the Soviet days. I remember that I was not a big fan of McDonald's, but when I was done shooting I couldn't wait to go to McDonald's! …

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