My Life as a Dog
“If you look at my films, you will see some moments where I have been moderately successful. But I am always struggling to find stories that are free of stylization and portray human behavior as it unfolds. There's a coded shorthand of expression many actors use to convey feelings today and I ask why do we have to use these codes to portray truth? Why can't we give actors the freedom to surprise us with choices that more honestly reflect real life as it plays out?” Lasse Hallström
Academy Award nominated Swedish director and writer Lasse Hallström made several TV projects, music videos and a feature film debut in 1975 before achieving international prominence with the art-house hit “My Life as a Dog/Mitt liv som hund” (1985), from which he was handed two Oscar nominations and several other honors, including an Independent Spirit Award. The coming-of-age drama became Hallström's Hollywood calling card and after making two children films in his native Sweden, he broke into the U.S. market with “Once Around” (1991). Since then, he has directed such notable films as “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993), the multiple Oscar nominee “The Cider House Rules” (1999, earned a second Best Director Oscar nomination) and the art-house hit “Chocolat” (2000). His more recent and upcoming credits include “An Unfinished Life” (2005), “Casanova” (2005), “The Hoax” (2006, released in the U.S. in 2007), “Hachiko: A Dog's Story” and “Sammy” (both 2008). Hallström was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 Stockholm Film Festival.
As for his private life, Hallström has been married twice. With his actress-wife Lena Olin, the 6' 0½” director has a daughter named Tora and a stepson named August. He also has a son, Johan, from his first marriage to Malou Hallström (born in 1941, died in 2005).
Childhood and Family:
Lars Hallström, who would later be popular as Lasse Hallström, was born on June 2, 1946, in Stockholm, Sweden. His father was a dentist who had a keen interest in making 8mm documentaries and his mother, Karin Lyberg, was a writer who died in 2000 at age 93. His maternal grandfather was Ernst Lyberg, who served as the Swedish Minister of Finance during 1926 to 1928 and led the Liberal Party of Sweden for three years from 1930 to 1933.
Lars' first marriage to Malou Hallström (born in May 11, 1941) ended after producing one son, Johan Hallstrom, who was born in 1976. He then married actress Lena Olin on March 18, 1994. The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Tora Hallstrom, in 1995. Lars also has a stepson named August Ramberg from Lena's previous marriage to Orjan Ramberg.
Relocating permanently to America in 1995, Lars and his wife currently live in Bedford, New York.
The Cider House Rules
The son of an amateur filmmaker, Lasse Hallström created a 3 minute documentary when he was only 10 years old about Gotland Island and the 10-minute thriller “The Ghost Thief.” By the time he was in high school, the Stockholm native had started his professional film making career. Along with a group of friends, he made a documentary short about school friends forming a rock band and the film was aired on Swedish television in 1967. Upon graduating high school, he spent approximately a decade making short fillers for Swedish television and was responsible for writing, editing and shooting his own projects. Hallström's first full-length TV program, “Shall We Dance,” hit the small screen in 1968.
Hallström began to train as a TV producer in 1970. His next project, “The Love Seeker” (1972), became a Swedish entry for the Montreux Television Festival. He also began his partnership with the pop group ABBA by making promotional clips for their songs. However, it was the comedy TV film “Shall We Go to My Place or Your Place or Each Go Home Alone” (1973) that won the director positive notice and paved the way for his feature film career.
“A Guy and a Gal/En Kille och en Tjej,” was released in 1975. It was a light comedy he co-wrote with Brasse Brännström. After a short return to TV with the miniseries “Semlons gröna dalar” (1977), he filmed a documentary film about the group ABBA, simply titled “ABBA: The Movie” (1977). “Father to Be/Jag är med barn,” a 107-minute comedy film, followed in 1979.
The early 1980s saw Hallström direct three projects, including the comedy/romance “Tuppen” (1981) and “Two Guys and a Gal/Tva Killar och en Tjej” (1983), the sequel to his first feature film, “A Guy and a Gal” (1975). It was not until 1985 that the Swedish filmmaker enjoyed worldwide attention with “My Life as a Dog /Mitt Liv Sond Hund,” a moving coming-of-age drama about a young boy sent to live with relatives. The movie gained such awards as a Golden Globe and an Independent Spirit award, among others. Hallström was nominated for a Best Director Oscar and a Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, as well as co-nominated for a Best Adapted Screen Play Oscar.
After “My Life as a Dog,” Hallström stayed in Sweden to make the children’s film “The Children of Bullerby Village/Alla vi barn i Bullerby” (1986) and its sequel, “More About the Children of Bullerby Village/Mer om oss barn i Bullerby” (1987). In 1991, he wrote and directed the American film “Once Around.” The well-received comedy/drama starred Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Danny Aiello and Gena Rowlands. Two years later, Hallström resurfaced in the Hollywood scene with the touching drama/romance “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993), which is considered by many to be one of his best movies. The story of a young man, Gilbert (played by Johnny Depp), who is responsible for taking care of his obese mother and his mentally-retarded younger brother (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), the film brought Hallström a Guild Film Award (Silver) in the category of Best Foreign Film at the 1995 Guild of German Art House Cinemas, and under the direction of Hallström, a then-unknown DiCaprio was handed both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his bright performance in the film.
Hallström permanently moved to the U.S. in 1995. The same year, he also directed Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid in the charming romantic drama “Something To Talk About.” His subsequent film, “The Cider House Rules” (1999), scripted by John Irving from his novel, received a Golden Lion nomination from the Venice Film Festival and brought Hallström his next Academy Award nomination for Best Director. It starred Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron and Michael Caine.
In the new millennium, Hallström enjoyed another success with the movie “Chocolat” (2000). Starring Juliette Binoche, the film received a number of accolades, including five Oscar nominations and four Golden Globe nominations. For his work, Hallström picked up an Audience Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and a Guild Film Award (Gold) for Best Foreign Film from the Guild of German Art House Cinemas. His wife, Lena Olin, also appeared in the film as Josephine Muscat. The Kevin Spacey vehicle “The Shipping News” (2001), based on an award-winning novel by Annie Proulx, was also a success with both critics and audiences alike.
Following a short hiatus, Hallström returned to the director's chair for the fabulous drama “An Unfinished Life” (2005), which won a Genesis for Best Feature Film. It starred Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Morgan Freeman and Josh Lucas. He rounded out the year with “Casanova,” an adventure/comedy starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller. Next, “The Hoax” premiered at the Rome Film Fest in 2006 before receiving a theatrical U.S. release the following year. The based-on-fact drama cast Richard Gere in the starring role.
Hallström's upcoming projects include “Hachiko: A Dog's Story” (2008) and the comedy/romance “Sammy” (2008). He will also direct a pilot for the crime/drama series “New Amsterdam” (2008).
Stockholm Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006
Guild of German Art House Cinemas: Guild Film Award – Gold, Foreign Film (Ausländischer Film), “Chocolat,” 2001
Palm Springs International Film Festival: Audience Award, “Chocolat,” 2001
Guild of German Art House Cinemas: Guild Film Award – Silver, Foreign Film (Ausländischer Film), “What's Eating Gilbert Grape,” 1995
Independent Spirit: Best Foreign Film (Sweden), “Mitt liv som hund,” 1988
Bodil: Best European Film (Bedste europæiske film), “Mitt liv som hund,” 1987
Robert Festival: Best Foreign Film (Årets udenlandske spillefilm), “Mitt liv som hund,” 1987
Lucas - International Festival of Films for Children and Young People: Lucas, Children's Section, “ Mitt liv som hund,” 1986