NYTIMES.COM – “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” about a 15-year-old, Minnie, who has an affair with her mother’s boyfriend, was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival last month, and now the organizers of the annual New Directors/New Films series in New York have chosen it as their opening-night selection.
Marielle Heller is making her directorial debut with “Diary,” which is set in 1970s San Francisco and stars Bel Powley and Alexander Skarsgard. Ms. Heller adapted it from the illustrated novel by Phoebe Gloeckner.
Writing about the film for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis said, it “pulls off the tricky feat of honoring Minnie’s sexuality without exploiting it or her.”
“Diary” will screen March 18 to kick off the series, run by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Organizers also announced the rest of the lineup, which includes selections unveiled earlier like the Cannes prize winners “The Tribe” and “White God.” See filmlinc.com for more details.
MARIECLAIRE.CO.UK – Alexander Skarsgard is the rumoured new beau of fashion favourite Alexa Chung. Lucky him. Lucky her.
Now, you’ve probably heard of the True Blood star (he plays vampire Eric Northman in the lust-filled HBO series), but what else is there to know about the Swedish hunk and possible flame of a one Miss Chung?
Here’s your Alexander Skarsgard cheat sheet:
1. He is the epitome of Scandi-cool, having grown up in Stockholm in the now-popular SoFo (south of Folkungagatan) neighbourhood. If the dating rumours are true, Alexa can expect some raucous family vacays at the Skarsgard pad. Talking about his childhood, Skarsgard has said: ‘The doors were always open. On any given night, there would be 10 to 15 people around the dinner table. It was very loud, very crazy, there was a lot of food, a lot of alcohol, but it was also very loving.’
2. Acting runs in his blood. While his mum, My, is a doctor, his dad is Stellan Skarsgard, an actor who’s done a tonne of Swedish theatre, art-house movies and… Mamma Mia!. Alexander and his dad even starred alongside each other in 2011’s Melancholia with writer/director Lars von Trier casting Stellan as the ‘douchebag’ best man of Alexander’s character. And Skargard jnr loved it. ‘We’re more like brothers than father and son,’ he said of his old man. ‘We hang out. I’ll take him out with my buddies in LA or in Stockholm, and it’s never awkward or anything. He’s 60, but he likes to party.’
3. Not just a pro at TV and movie work, he smooched the face off Lady Gaga when he played her love interest in her 2009 music video for Paparazzi.
4. And he’s no stranger to famous girlfriends; his ex is Kate Bosworth. The pair dated for two years after meeting on the set of Straw Dogs in 2011. It all ended perfectly amicably, which bodes well…
5. The actor’s big break came in the form of HBO’s Generation Kill in 2008. It followed young marines as they led the offensive in Baghdad during the first few weeks of the Iraq war. You’d be forgiven for wondering if his time, as a teenager, doing Swedish military service helped with his prep for the role? About that, he’s said: ‘For me it was just a personal challenge. I’m very happy that I did it. It was tough. I hated it at times; the unit I was in dealt with anti-sabotage, anti-terrorism in the archipelago, so some of the people who applied were total warheads. There were a lot of really cool guys, but the mentality sometimes got a little too testosterone-fuelled for my tastes.’
6. Did you know he was in Zoolander, too?
7. So infactuated are his fans that they’ve coined the term ‘skarsbrow’ about him. It’s basically a reference to the unbelievably sexy way he raises his left eyebrow. People go wild for it. People… and us.
8. He supports Leeds United football club. His love of the Yorkshire team stems from the six months he spent studying English at Leeds Metropolitan University. He’s described his time in the northern city as a ‘blast.’
9. In what promises to be perfect casting, Alexander will play Tarzan in the 2016 version of the movie. Ready, set, loincloth…
bustle.com – “It was important to layer their relationship and not make him solely a predator,” says Alexander Skarsgard of his Diary of a Teenage Girl character. In the film, Skarsgard plays a man who’s sleeping with his girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter, played by newcomer Bel Powley, in 1970s San Francisco. Based on a graphic novel adapted by writer/director Marielle Heller, the movie unfolds without side-stepping around the controversial issues at hand.
“It was very emotional,” Skarsgard says of watching the film for the first time at Sundance Film Festival 2015. “It’s always fun when you watch it for the first time to listen to the audience and see what they find funny.” Like what? “Bel giving me a blowjob, apparently that was funny.”
The 22-year-old actress from the UK and the True Blood star shared at least a dozen sex scenes together as teenage Minnie and 30something Monroe — some carnal, others funny, and a few even sweet. But for all of them, Skarsgard has the same advice: “You can’t over think it. You have to be in the moment and play the character,” he says. “Minnie in many ways is like a young child, very juvenile and inexperienced. I thought it would be interesting if Monroe had that quality as well,” he explains. “He can almost be like the same age as Minnie in some moments. He’s like a teenage boy. But then he catches himself: ‘Oh shit, I’m in bed with a 15-year-old girl, and this is my girlfriend’s daughter,’ and then he becomes suddenly a mature grown-up guy now. Minnie symbolizes youth, something he’s desperately holding on to.”
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is neither a cautionary tale or a preachy anti-sex PSA. Actually, it’s the opposite. ”It’s something I’d never seen before: A coming-of-age story about a girl that’s raw, addressing issues that are taboo,” Skarsgard says. “These themes are often legitimized when it comes to guys, but for girls, we aren’t supposed to talk about sex the way Minnie does.”
As writer/director Heller pointed out, setting the film in the 1970s gives the audience a “buffer” when it comes to accepting Minnie’s sexual promiscuity and experimentation. “It’s in the wake of free love,” Skarsgard says. “It was a time of experimentation and letting your kids make their own mistakes. Sexually as well, experimenting with sleeping with a guy, a girl, two girls…”
Skarsgard has noble hopes for the film’s reception: “I hope that girls see this film and realize they’re not weird,” he says. “That it’s OK as a young girl to think about sex. This movie never feels like, ‘Well I’m a female filmmaker making a story about a young girl, this is so brave of me…’ it just feels like such a true story.”
vulture.com – If you’ve been missing Alexander Skarsgård’s naked torso since the finale of True Blood, never fear. There’s plenty of Skarsgård to be seen in The Diary of A Teenage Girl, one of the highlights of this very sexy Sundance. Diary is the directorial debut of actress Marielle Heller, who wrote the screenplay adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel herself. The film tells the story of precocious 15-year old artist Minnie (newcomer Bel Powley), who lives with her very permissive single mother (Kristen Wiig) in 1976 San Francisco, and is in the midst of experiencing a sexual awakening in the very capable and surprisingly not lecherous hands of her mother’s boyfriend, twenty years her senior (Skarsgård, 38). “I just had sex. Holy shit!” is the first line of the movie, narrated from Minnie’s thoughts. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the distribution rights and Powley, who’s 22 and pulls off an American accent so seamlessly you’d never suspect she’s British, is enjoying the well-deserved heaps of praise and “It Girl” status Cary Mulligan enjoyed back in 2009 for the similar (but more creepy and less naked) An Education. Jada Yuan caught up with the pair as they scarfed down hamburgers to talk unorthodox auditions, on-screen chemistry, and why the ‘70s were the golden age of mustaches.
First of all, why did both of you want to sign on for this? It’s a beautiful story and beautifully told, but there are a lot of sex scenes.
Powley: I think it’s a really important story for women and for young girls and I think it needed to be told. The character of Minnie, everything she does, the way she feels, the way she acts really resonated with me. It’s what I was like as a teenage girl and I think it’s going to resonate with every woman. I was also 15 seven years ago, so I can remember.
Were you that precocious at 15?
Powley: Yeah, I was, at times. You don’t have to have an affair with your mum’s boyfriend to be able to relate with Minnie and how she acts. I think it’s just more the extremity of feelings that you have when you’re a teenager and like, the frustration and when you’re really hormonal and you flip between emotions.
Skarsgård: And she’s not always precocious. I feel like sometimes she’s like a little child. And I feel like Monroe has that quality as well. I think that’s kind of how they find each other in a way. There are moments where he’s like a 15-year-old boy and then he pulls himself out of that, like “Oh, no, now I’m a grown man.” And I think that gives life to their relationship.
When you first read the script did you have any pause? Would you say it’s an inappropriate relationship?
Powley: I think, for us, playing the characters, as Minnie and, well, I guess, as Monroe – I don’t want to speak for him – no, it’s not inappropriate. It felt appropriate. I was playing a character who’s in love with another person. It was completely fine. I think it’s up to you whether you think it’s inappropriate or not.
Skarsgård: This is a grown man in a relationship with his girlfriend’s daughter. It felt like it was a real challenge to make that last for an hour and a half and make it interesting and make it layered, so it’s not just him preying on this young girl. That was kind of what drew me to the project initially. And also the fact that I felt like I’d never seen this film before. It felt really brave and really truthful about the fact that teenage girls do actually think about sex. And you never see that in movies, ‘cause they’re always like, “Oh, I just want to get married, and I want, like, a house and beautiful kids.” This is very real and visceral.