The Father

The actor Max Von Sydow photographed by Julian Schnabel.

“After Julian sent me the script, we didn’t discuss it very much. He didn’t tell me that, in some ways, I would be playing his father. But movies are like that — I had never met Mathieu Amalric until the day of our first scene, and he had to shave me. It was rather intimate, and he did cut me. But it’s always that way: you’re supposed to be involved with someone in the film and you’ve just met them for the first time and then, 10 minutes later, you say, ‘I love you,’ and you are in bed.”

“When I was making the film, it was impossible not to think about my father. I was born in Sweden, and my father, who was a professor of Scandinavian folklore, was 50 when I was born. When I was 20, he was 70, and on the day of his 70th birthday, he had a little stroke. Small strokes followed for the next four years. That changed him. And I regret that I was not more curious about him at that time. All the questions I would like to ask today, I haven’t asked.”

-- Max Von Sydow discussing his role in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly with Lynn Hirschberg (The New York Times, 1/27/08)