Stellan Skarsgard gives up Locarno Film Festival award due to actors’ strike

Stellan Skarsgard will attend the annual event in Locarno (Ian West/PA)
Stellan Skarsgard will attend the annual event in Locarno (Ian West/PA)

The Locarno Film Festival says Stellan Skarsgard has given up an award at the event due to the actors’ strike.

The Mamma Mia! star, 72, will attend the annual event in Switzerland next week, organisers said on Thursday.

Swedish actor Skarsgard had accepted the Leopard Club award – previously been given to Hilary Swank, Adrien Brody and Mia Farrow – in June as a “great movie personality whose career has left its mark on the collective imagination”.

In a statement, the festival said he “will forgo the award in solidarity with the strike”.

British Independent Film Awards 2021 – London
Riz Ahmed (Ian West/PA)

It added: “He will be in Locarno for the screening of his new film What Remains (Ran Huang, 2022) in the Fuori concorso section.

“The award ceremony on the Piazza Grande, August 4, and the conversation with the audience on August 5 have been cancelled.”

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra) announced a strike on July 13.

It came after the union of 160,000 performers failed to reach agreement on a number of issues, including pay and the use of artificial intelligence, with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The AMPTP represents the major film studios, TV networks and streaming giants.

Skarsgard, who has been in sci-fi epic Dune, period adventure Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Star Wars TV series Andor, and Marvel film Thor, is also known for his long working relationship with director Lars Von Trier.

The father of eight children, including actor Alexander Skarsgard, has starred in Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves, Dancer In The Dark, Dogville, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac.

Oscar-winning British actor and producer Riz Ahmed, who was set to receive the Davide Campari excellence award, will also not attend the festival.

The Rogue One star, 40, is among the stars of Dammi, directed by French filmmaker Yann Mounir Demange, which will premiere on the opening night at Piazza Grande in Locarno.

The festival said: “The Locarno Film Festival sees the ongoing strike as a sign of the problems troubling the contemporary film industry.

“We support a constructive discussion and resolution between the parties involved and respectfully accept the decisions of our guests.”

A screening of Four Lions star Ahmed’s 2020 movie Mogul Mowgli, about an rapper experiencing an illness, has also been confirmed.

Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett – an executive producer of Shayda, which tells the story of an Iranian mother in an Australian women’s shelter – is also due to attend the festival.

The event said it is “finalising the terms of her participation”.

The Bear star Molly Gordon, Pitch Perfect actor Ben Platt and The Real O’Neals star Noah Galvin will also not attend for the screening of Theatre Camp on August 11.

The 76th Locarno Film Festival takes place from August 2 to 12.