Sweden has produced some tremendous actors that have made their way to Hollywood over the years. You think of names such as Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo and Ann-Margret just to name a few. In more recent years, another name that you can add to that list is Alexander Skarsgard. Thanks to being the heartthrob on television and appearing in some major films in recent years, Skarsgard has established himself as one of Sweden’s most popular stars.
For younger audiences, Skarsgard is a name that you associate with Alexander himself. However, his father Stellan has been an actor for many years that’s appeared in films such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”, as well as the “Avengers” films. Alexander’s mother works as a doctor, and the future star was born in Stockholm, Sweden on August 25, 1976. Skarsgard has had several siblings in his life, many of which have gone into acting themselves. However, Skarsgard notes that “My plan was never to be an actor like my father,” at least on a full-time basis.
Skarsgard was just seven years old when he made his film debut in the 1984 Swedish film “Ake and His World” that was met with critical acclaim. He then followed this up with a role in the 1987 TV movie “Idag rod” and the 1989 feature film “The Dog That Smiled”, but then took the next decade off from acting. “I wasn’t like a Hollywood child actor – ‘I’m five! I can sing, I can dance, I can act! I wanna be a star!’” he said. “As a teenager, I didn’t want to be an actor at all.”
“I was 13 (years old), and I did a movie that got attention, and I got attention, and I didn’t like it,” Skarsgard added. “It made me uncomfortable, so I just quit. And then I was trying to figure out what to do and was worthless at everything, so I was like, ‘All right, I’ll try acting again.’”
It wouldn’t be until he was in his early 20s that Skarsgard started to appear in films once more, returning for the 1999 movie “Happy End”. He also landed a role on the series “Vita logner”, and throughout the 2000s had multiple miniseries such as “Generation Kill” and TV movies like “Cuppen”. During this time, Skarsgard had focused a lot of his attention in film.
Skarsgard played Meekus in the Ben Stiller comedy “Zoolander”, which was followed up with movies such as “The Dog Trick”, “The Last Drop” and “Exit”. Then, in 2008, Skarsgard had his breakout role thanks to television. He played Eric Northman starting that year in the vampire-centric HBO series “True Blood”, appearing in nearly 80 episodes up until 2014. “‘True Blood’ was the most amazing adventure of my life,” Skarsgard said. “I met some of my best friends.”
During that time, Skarsgard had a guest spot on “Eastbound & Down” while his film career also took off. He started off the 2010s with movies that included “13”, “Straw Dogs” and “Battleship”. Then, in the middle of the decade had roles in “The Giver”, “Hidden” and “War on Everyone”. Since “True Blood” came to an end, Skarsgard has had guest spots on TV, as well as roles on the shows “The Little Drummer Girl” and “Big Little Lies” since 2017, which has earned him multiple award wins such as an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
This has helped cement Skarsgard’s status as a film actor, as well. He took on the titular role in the 2016 film “The Legend of Tarzan” and in recent years has starred in “Long Shot”, “The Aftermath” and “Hold the Dark”. Coming up, Skarsgard will appear in the highly anticipated monster film “Godzilla vs. Kong” that follows up the 2019 film “King of the Monsters”.
When it comes to the roles that Skarsgard has picked out for himself during his career, he tends to feel a connection. “All the characters I play are all inside of me in a way,” he said. “And they’re all different, the darkness, the lightness, whatever it is…I’m not interested in parts where they are looking for a good-looking guy. I want to be a weird little sidekick in a crazy comedy and then play a dark drama or thriller.”
“It’s all about trying to find those projects where you get to enjoy yourself,” he added. “Because I think that’s when you create as well: When you’re genuinely excited about something. Then you’re not just doing it because it’s your job.”
As for the future, Skarsgard doesn’t really have a roadmap like a lot of people do. “I don’t really have a three-year plan or a five-yaer plan,” he said. “I don’t know what’s next, and that’s what I find quite exciting. I dig it…I don’t really have any plans in terms of what I want to do – movies, television, theater – but I’d love to do a play in New York.”
Skarsgard likes to take things easy, with no marriage or children, he’s doing things in a minimalistic way at his own pace while others around him are rushing. “Hollywood is very silly in a way,” he said. “It’s like playing marbles when you were a kid in a schoolyard. People are so anxious. ‘What filmmaker is hot right now? Which actor is hot?’ Same thing in the school playground. The cool kid says, ‘This is the marble to get.’ And everyone is like, ‘Oh my God, I want it!’…It’s here today, gone tomorrow. I don’t expect this ride to last forever and maybe I don’t want it to.”