Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Take a survey for the chance to win an iPad
Feature
Stellan Skarsgård On Stellan Skarsgård
Mr Skarsgård reveals all, film by film...

submit to reddit

Stellan Skarsgård has had a long and enormously successful career, balancing Nordic indies with some of the biggest blockbusters of all time. This month, he's starring Lars von Trier's controversy-baiting, sex-filled four-hour epic, Nymphomania. Empire sat down with the good-humoured Swedish thespian to talk about his new film, as well as some highlights from his impressive back catalogue.

WORDS BEN KIRBY
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  1 of 10 Next

Nymphomaniac (2014)

Breaking The Waves (1996)

Those two roles – mine and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s – they’re also two sides of Lars, in a way. Because he is the nerd that I’m playing, but he’s also the vulnerable person struggling with life that Charlotte is playing. But of course, I am listening to the story and helping the audience to listen to the story. And you can have a lot tougher job than being in a bedroom with Charlotte Gainsbourg, listening to her for two weeks.

My character is pretty silly in some ways. He knows about everything, but everything he knows is from books. He’s never experienced life, and he’s a virgin. And that’s a very interesting idea. So he tries to grasp what Charlotte’s character is saying, and all the associations he has are to the only reference he has, which is books. So he’s struggling to understand.

I wanted him to come off as sympathetic – which he is. He’s truly caring, he’s empathetic and he’s listening to her. And I think even in the end, he’s sympathetic. He misunderstands something. It shows that in spite of four hours of film, he hasn’t quite understood. Which is very human.

It’s not realism. If it was a kitchen [sink] realism drama, I would probably not feel comfortable with it. But in a Lars fairy tale, I’m absolutely comfortable with it. All his films are like fairy tales. Uncle Lars sits us down and tells us a story: “Once upon a time, there was a nymphomaniac…”

Spoiler alert! Here Stellan discusses the very end of the film. Highlight the text to read...

I think, since I don’t believe in capital punishment, and I definitely don’t believe in capital punishment for just pulling out your fucking dick… I can to a certain extent understand her, but it doesn’t justify her actions. And his action is not justifiable either, but it’s understandable. It’s like most of the things we do as human beings.

Of course, I think it’s tragic. But in a way, it’s Lars’ way of pulling the rug from the audience all the time. You should not get what you expect. So he has to do that. It’s logical from the kinds of films he makes, and his point of view – it’s logical. It doesn’t mean that he’s cynical as a person, and thinks that you cannot trust anybody and everybody’s an asshole when you scrape the surface a little; that’s not his view on humanity. But it is the area of mankind that he keeps investigating. And it juices up his stories, of course.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
 
1 of 10
Next

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Who Are The New Mutants?
Fox’s X-Men spin-off features a bunch of fresh faces. Here’s what you need to know...

Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Stuff Done
Silent but deadly...

Ana Lily Amirpour On A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
'There's nothing sexier than a vampire...'

Rick Baker: Creature By Creature
The make-up effects titan on his greatest creations

12 Of The Weirdest Things Jean-Claude Van Damme Has Done On Camera
Outside of his movies, that is...

Spooks: An Oral History
Cast and crew on the spy smash

Barbarians And Battletrucks: The Weird World Of Mad Max Knock-Offs
20 diversions along the Fury Road

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 48%

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)