Swedish comedy on its way
Attention Hollywood: Swedish comedy is coming your way and Richard Gere is in it! Three guys from Stockholm wrote a short film, which will be part of a Hollywood comedy starring, among others, Richard Gere and Kate Bosworth (who incidentally is Alexander Skarsgård’s alleged girlfriend). The film will premiere early next year. “All they asked of us was to make it ‘f***ing funny’,” says Tobias Carlson, who along with Jonas Wittenmark and Claes Kjellström got an interesting phone call three years ago. The phone call came from Charles B. Wessler, the producer behind hits like “Something about Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber”, and he was looking for scriptwriters for short film skits. The three Swedish guys were working for an advertising agency in Stockholm but they immediately started thinking and wrote down some 50 ideas. One of them held up nicely and is now one of 17 skits to be a part of the feature film. “Ours will probably be the longest among them,” says Jonas Wittenmark. “The leads will be played by Richard Gere, Kate Boswroth and Jack McBrayer. Richard Gere is a surprisingly good comedian.” The Swedish trio was recently invited to come to New York to follow the shooting of their skit. “It was amazing to see a full blown Hollywood production working on something that we developed as an idea in a little cubby-hole on Västmannagatan in Stockholm,” said Claes Kjellström. Adds Tobias Carlson: “Everybody was so nice. We even went out and had a beer with Kate Bosworth.”

Swedish noise in Cannes
Nine years ago they became the talk of the town with their short film “Music for six drummers and one apartment”. “They” being Johannes Stjärne Nilsson and Ola Simonsson and “the town” being Cannes, France. Now the Southern French pearl is again faced with the directing Swedes, this time with their film feature film “Sound of noise”. The star in this film isn’t any big time actor, but rather music, music played on every instrument imaginable: stamps, keyboards and potbelly to mention but a few. “We spent almost a year collecting sounds,” says Stjärne Nilsson. The new film is a feature version of their first film, which was a short, and it follows six drummers who make advanced musical attacks against society. “They hit the pillars of society in order to create chaos,” explains Nilsson. The film is nominated for a Camera d’Or, the best price for feature film debuts. The audience follows the drumming gang in the film as they overtake a bank and give a concert consisting of the sound of money bills going through a paper shredder, meanwhile a tone-deaf policeman is on their heels. “Music for six drummers and one apartment” is constantly downloaded from the net. “It has had almost 10 milllion hits on Youtube,” Nilsson says.

Conflicting traditions at Victoria’s wedding
The Crown Princess Victoria has asked to have her father the King walk her down the aisle of Storkyrkan, even though that’s against the tradition of the Swedish Church. A minor battle is now fought in Sweden over whether Victoria should do as she pleases or get married according to Swedish tradition. Swedish Arch Bishop Anders Wejryd, who will marry the couple, is in one camp and in the other is the court backing Victoria’s decision to follow the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The Swedish tradition centers on equality and freedom for women, walking a daughter down the aisle is thought of as handing over a woman from one man to another, as if she were a piece of property or a possession. “The bridal couple knows how I feel about this,” Arch Bishop Wejryd says, and many pastors within the Swedish Church support him. Maria Klasson Sundin, a pastor in Uppsala, has created a special Facebook group called “Vi som vill att Victoria och Daniel ska gå in sida vid sida i kyrkan” (We who would like to see Victoria and Daniel go down the aisle side by side) and managed to gather over 1,800 members. Klasson Sundin expresses worry that the Crown Princess choice of wedding manner will become trendsetting. And recently the theologian and pastor Annika Borg added her two cents to the debate: “I think it’s unfortunate that Sweden’s future head of state has chosen to follow a practice that is not Swedish tradition. The idea of the couple entering the church together symbolizes that the man and the woman are entering the marriage of their own free will.” The Royal Court, on the other hand, points to the symbolism with the giving away of the bride. Says Nina Eldh, Head of Information at the Royal Court: “It has a greater dimension than a father leaving his daughter to another man. The symbol here is of the king delivering the heir to the throne to the man who has been accepted.” It isn’t clear what will happen on June 19. What is clear is that the future wives of both Danish princes (Prince Joachim and Prince Frederik) were walked down the aisle by their respective fathers. The Swedish Royal Court refuses to comment on what the King thinks.

Reinfeldt – the best solution in a crisis
Most Swedes are of the opinion that the conservatives are better equipped when it comes to dealing with a financial crisis than the Social Democrats and the Greens. When asked “Who do you think is best at dealing with financial crisis?” 54% answered a conservative government while only 29% answered a red/green government. 16% said they didn’t know. “The government has an advantage there,” says Sifo’s director of opinions Toivo Sjörén. “What you know seems more secure than what you don’t know.” Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says the study, which was conducted by Sifo (a Swedish company in the area of research and opinion), shows that Swedes have little faith in the opposition. “This is an acknowledgement of how we’ve steered Sweden through a difficult crisis. And also of how we are responsible with the official finances even now, when we’re faced with another turbulence,” he said.

Max von Sydow makes him nervous
Ben Kingsley is a great actor. He got an Oscar for playing Gandhi and he has been knighted by the Queen of England. Still, there’s something that makes Ben Kingsley nervous, very nervous. And that is 81-year old Swedish actor Max von Sydow. “He makes me very nervous because he is a genius,” said Kingsley in a recent interview. “And in a wonderful way, too. He makes you wonder how he does it.” The two actors met each other while shooting Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island”. “Max was completely relaxed,” says Kingsley. “He went from being the person Max to the actor Max, without you noticing the line in between the two. As a matter of fact, he reminds me of the Japanese painter who says ‘I now paint the cherry blossom tree, the two fish, the bird and the temple with 50 strokes with the brush, but when I am 90 years old, I’ll do it with 3’.” The 66-year old Sir Kingsley says he hopes to be able to continue acting in his older age, just like Max von Sydow. When asked if he feels he is getting closer to that kind of calm and self-confidence, he answered: “I hope so. Peace, peace, peace.”