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Stellan Skarsgård: “Yes Lars, I’ll be there”

September 19, 2012

Mr. Skarsgård, where do you live?

I live in Sweden because the taxes are higher, nobody is starving, good health care, free schools and universities. It’s a civilized country and I like that.

You prefer paying higher taxes?

Of course. If you make a lot of money like I do you should pay higher taxes. Everybody should have the possibility to go to school, and university, and have good healthcare.

Not everyone seems to agree on that I guess…

Well, the sad thing is that most Americans who are on Medicare, or some kind of state support, don’t think they are. They say, “Smaller government! No fucking help for the sick!” But it’s like, you are being helped. And they say, “No, not me, am I?” And of course the Republicans will not tell them either. That is what happens when you have bad education in a society. Then people like Rick Santorum get elected for things. (Laughs) It’s an educational problem.

So you wouldn’t feel comfortable living in America? Do you have an apartment there?

No, I don’t have anything there. I don’t mind going there, and there are a lot of fantastic things about America, and half of Americans are pretty sane. You have a lot of interesting culture, writers, filmmakers, and intellectual debate, which is fabulous. But it is difficult to accept a system where the level of the political debate is such that Republican senators or congressmen that have gone to great universities can stand up and say, “If you get healthcare it is socialism and your grandmas will be shot.” And nobody says anything! I wouldn’t be proud if I was an American.

Are you proud to be Swedish?

I am not a nationalist in any way, and I hate flag waving, and I don’t think much good has come out of nationalism. I am proud of Scandinavia in the sense that we have actually managed to create a very tolerant and human society, which is very livable. They are of course deconstructing it and privatizing everything now, but there has been some achievement up there, in that cold north.

Is it important for you to support Scandinavian films?

I don’t really care about the nationality. For instance, I think I have done 1 film in 15 years in Sweden. So I don’t think nationally. But I think it is important for me to do the smaller low budget films, and the independent films where the director has more power, so it becomes more personal, and the stories are more complex. I want to support those kinds of films.

I suppose that’s why you like working with Lars von Trier.

I am going to do Lars von Trier’s next film, which according to him is a porno flick. He called me and said, “Stellan, I am going to do a porno flick next and I want you to be the main lead in it.” “Yes Lars, I’ll be there, that’s no problem.” “But you will not get to fuck!” “It’s fine Lars, I will come anyway.” “But you will show your dick at the end and it will be very floppy.” “That’s all right Lars, I’ll be there.”

Just like that.

I haven’t seen any script yet, but I have seen an outline and some scenes of it and I think it will be very interesting. (Laughs)

With Lars you don’t need to see the script before you sign on?

Yeah, I would work with him without a script. I mean, I don’t consider it work. It’s just fun; it’s like play. I love it.

It’s like play?

Well, I mean, my ambition is to be real and truthful all the time, and also to be unplanned in a way, to create life. You cannot plan life, especially in front of the camera. So if you prepare really thoughtfully and you do exactly the same thing in front of the camera that you did at home, it could be brilliant but it will always be dead. So you have to let your own life seep through in a way.

That sounds like a good gig.

I have done ninety films or something and it is still fascinating. I still have fun when I am doing it and there are new people being created all the time. Man is such an amazing animal, and the possibilities are infinite for each person.

Do you feel lucky to do what you do?

Of course. I am not only lucky to be an actor, but I am lucky to be one of the most privileged actors in the world because I can do all kinds of films and genres and everything.

When did you reach that point?

It wasn’t like “a star is born” kind of thing. It’s been gradual. It is really boring for journalists because if you want to write you should write, “And that day my life changed.” My life reads more like Proust than a tabloid. (Laughs)

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Short Profile

Name: Stellan John Skarsgård
DOB: 13 June 1951
Place of Birth: Gothenburg, Sweden
Occupation: Actor

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12 Responses to this Interview

  1. I sympathize with much of what Stellan Skarsgard says. I like you Stellan because you are a compassionate and empathetic person and because you are straight in your statements. You have the ability to compare the social life in Sweden and USA. And not least, you are a very talented actor and director.

  2. Andreas Persson Fondell

    And how about all those people who are starving because the government threw them out into the cold when they were too sick to work? What about those people who were forced to live on welfare in this time of crisis and earns less than half of a minimum wage and where the welfare check hasn’t gotten any bigger since 1996? What about the families who are being evicted from their apartments despite our laws stating that everyone should have a home and a decent standard of living and that no child should be evicted from their home? What about all those elderly people who worked their entire lives and get their own money stolen from them because the government needs to pay for their political mistakes? What about all those people who are stuck in a system where they can’t get a job because the government said so, despite claiming that they are creating jobs? What about all the people that live in motor homes who get shoved around and bullied by police and politicians? Show this to the 8% of mass unemployed people in this country who suffer because this government has a hatred for everyone that doesn’t earn over 1 million a year. You live in a dream world, Stellan. Sweden is slowly moving towards the US when it comes to kicking people when they’re down. Sweden isn’t all that great anymore and I hope that capitalism will never show its ugly face in this once wonderful socialist country of ours ever again. It can still be salvaged.

    • “They are of course deconstructing it and privatizing everything now”

      Andreas. Stellan håller med dig.
      Han pratar om välfärdsstaten som den var.
      Andreas: Stellan agrees with you.
      He’s talking about what was, and is still left of the welfare state.
      (Welfare – to fare well in life)

    • Andreas, läs artikeln först, for crying out loud.

  3. Bravo, Stellan! You are a man after my own heart, sensible and smart. We need men like you in America. Please come back often, speak your mind as often as you can and continue to give us your first rate perfomances whenever you do.

  4. Always loved his outlook on life. Interesting fellow! Thank you.

  5. Jag skulle kunna skriva så mycket, men jag nöjer mig med.
    Tack, Stellan!

  6. I am not swedish, and I have never been there.
    But I love sweden and am I proud that a country like it exists. I understand from comments above that it is not that ideal what it once was. But it is still miles ahead from others countries.

    In the last two decades i have enjoyed watching swedish films for childeren. There must be a relation between this solidarity-feeling of society and making great films for childeren.
    If you know the value of children and do everything to give them what they deserve ( joy, education, love, worrieless-life ) when they grow up they creat the same for the next generation.

    When you grow up as work-childeren in a factory or a lot worse in street you have in your turn do not mind putting childeren on work.

    I wish incarnation would be true and I would come back in world when all Bangladesh ‘s of this world turn to Sweden.
    jag älskar dig Sverige.

  7. im sure the man loves making films in america, and getting paid by american film making companies…

    • “You read and write and sing and experience, thinking that one day these things will build the character you admire to live as. You love and lose and bleed best you can, to the extreme, hoping that one day the world will read you like the poem you want to be.”
      ― Charlotte Eriksson ….Proust will be with you Stellan doing a Lars movie …In Swedeen…Porn Flick,right, lol

    • Proust , Porn Flick in a Lars movie in Sweden… Why am I not surprised by that?…Funny guy..

  8. seems to me most famous swedes return to sweden at some point, and the middleeasterners are migrating there in droves, could be something there.

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