Also Credited As:Lasse Hallstrom, Lars Sven Hallström
About Lasse Hallström
Hallstrom became a filmmaker at age ten with the 8mm ten-minute thriller "The Ghost Thief" (1956). As a high school student, he made a documentary short about his friends' efforts to form a rock band which was subsequently broadcast on Swedish TV in 1967. After high school, Hallstrom spent ten years making short fillers for Swedish TV--usually writing, shooting and editing his own projects. He then advanced to become the director of an entire TV program, "Shall We Dance?" (c. 1968). Hallstrom next sought training as a producer, and the ensuing popularity of his many TV projects enabled him to finally make his feature directorial debut. "A Guy and a Gal/En Kille och en Tjej" (1975) was a light romantic comedy that depicted a young couple's relationship. His next project was "ABBA: The Movie" (1977), an enjoyable concert film featuring the Swedish super group. Hallstrom's next three comedies were made under the name Lars Hallstrom and dealt with love, marriage, parenthood and divorce, themes which would continue to preoccupy his work. He also made a sequel to his debut, "Two Guys and a Gal/Tva Killar och en Tjej" (1983).
Hallstrom did not immediately head for Hollywood upon the success of "My Life as a Dog". He helmed two Swedish children's films, "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), both adapted from the works of Astrid Lindgren (author of the popular "Pippi Longstocking" books).
Hallstrom made his American feature debut as the writer-director of "Once Around" (1991), an uneven family comedy-drama set in Boston, boasting an impressive ensemble including Holly Hunter, Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Aiello and Gena Rowlands. He fared better handling only directing chores on "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (1993), a quirky, handsome, unsentimental film about an unconventional American family that included a 500-pound mother and a mentally handicapped 18-year-old boy, featuring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. The film was not a box office success. Hallstrom had slightly better luck with "Something to Talk About" (1995), a semi-feminist comedy-drama written by Callie Khouri of "Thelma and Louise" fame and starring Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid.
After a four-year absence (during which a dream project to star his second wife Lena Olin collapsed), Hallstrom returned on much surer ground with the exquisite, if slightly sentimental, adaptation of John Irving's mammoth novel "The Cider House Rules" (1999). Working from a screenplay by the author, he crafted an old-fashioned, visually beautiful coming-of-age tale and elicited fine performances from a cast including Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine (who netted a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and Delroy Lindo. Hallstrom received his second Academy Award nomination for directing and saw his somewhat moribund career rebound. "Chocolat" (2000), an adaptation of Joanne Harris' whimsical novel, achieved the right balance of realism and magic and proved enchanting for audiences. Essentially a morality play with a message about tolerance, "Chocolat" examined how an itinerant candy maker (Juliette Binoche) and her conflicts with the mayor (Alfred Molina) affected the lives of the residents of a small French village in the late 1950s. The genial comedy bore the stamp of its director in its warmth and unabashed sentiment tempered by humor. (It also allowed him to direct Olin in the secondary role of a troubled wife who blossoms under the guidance of Binoche's chocolatiere.)
Hallstrom followed with yet another film drawn from a novel: "The Shipping News" (2001), adapted from Anne Proulx's Pulitzer winner. Despite the presence of Kevin Spacey and Judi Dench, the film was a creative misfire, failing to capture the spirit of the book that had entranced so many. Hallstrom attempted to rebound with "An Unfinished Life" (2005), an emotion driven tale centering around a grizzled and cantankerous rancher (Robert Redford) who must take in his estranged daughter-in-law (Jennifer Lopez)whom he blames for the death of his son, as well as the granddaughter he never knew he had when they flee an abusive relationship. Though capably assembled and well-acted, critics generally found the film--which was stuck in limbo many months after completion due to the restructuting of Miramax Films following the departure of Hallstrom boosters Bob and Harvey Weinstein--cliched and oversentimental. Much worse was his next 2005 release: "Casanova," a fictionalized account of the legendary Italian lothario (Heath Ledger) falling in love at last, was easily one of the most ill-conceived and disappointing films of the year, despite lavish production values and game performances by Ledger and the rest of the all-star cast.
|Malou Hallstrom. Married 1974; divorced 1981|
|Lena Olin. Met 1992 and lived together for two years; married March 18, 1994 in Hedvig Eleonora Church in Stockholm; first worked together on "Chocolat" (2000)|
|Tora Hallstrom. Born in 1995; mother, Lena Olin|
|Ernst Lyberg. Maternal grandfather; was the Swedish Minister of Finance from 1926 - 1928 and leader of the Liberal Party of Sweden from 1930 - 1933|
|Karin Lyberg. Died in 2000|
|Johan Hallstrom. Born in 1976; mother, Malou Hallstrom|
|August Ramberg. Born in 1986; son of Lena Olin and Orjan Ramberg|
|Directed Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," based on the novel by Paul Torday|
|Helmed the feature adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel "Dear John"|
|Directed "The Hoax," a fact-based drama starring Richard Gere as a bogus biographer of Howard Hughes|
|Directed Heath Ledger as the fabled romantic in "Casanova"|
|Directed "An Unfinished Life," featuring Jennifer Lopez and Robert Redford|
|Helmed the film adaptation of the award-winning novel "The Shipping News"|
|Directed Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche in "Chocolat"; also featured wife Lena Olin|
|Directed the feature adaptation of John Irving's novel "The Cider House Rules"; earned a Best Director Academy Award nomination|
|Directed the romantic comedy "Something to Talk About," starring Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid|
|Helmed "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," starring Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio; also executive produced|
|American feature debut, as writer-director of "Once Around"|
|First film to gain international recognition, "My Life as a Dog"; received Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay; also earned a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures from the DGA|
|Filmed the documentary performance film "ABBA: The Movie"|
|Feature directorial debut, "A Guy and a Gal/En Kille och en Tjej"|
|Began shooting promotional film clips (forerunners of music videos) for the Swedish band ABBA|
|Helmed his first full-length TV program "Shall We Dance?"|
|Spent about ten years making film inserts, mostly on music groups, for Swedish TV; did much of the shooting and editing|
|Filmed a documentary short in high school about school friends forming a rock band (broadcast on Swedish TV)|
|Directed first short films at age 10, including a three-minute documentary about Gotland Island|