Alexander Skarsgård

Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård (Swedish: [alɛkˈsǎnːdɛr ˈskɑ̌ːʂɡoːɖ] (About this soundlisten);[1] born 25 August 1976) is a Swedish actor. He is best known for his roles as Brad "Iceman" Colbert in the miniseries Generation Kill (2008), Eric Northman in the television series True Blood (2008–2014) and Perry Wright in the television series Big Little Lies (2017–2019). The lattermost earned him several accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He has also appeared in films such as Melancholia (2011) and The Legend of Tarzan (2016).

Alexander Skarsgård
Alexander Skarsgard (29485267411) (cropped).jpg
Skarsgård in 2016
Born
Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård

(1976-08-25) 25 August 1976 (age 44)
Stockholm, Sweden
OccupationActor
Years active1984–present
Parent(s)Stellan Skarsgård (father)
My Skarsgård (mother)
Family

Early lifeEdit

Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård was born on 25 August 1976,[2][3] in Stockholm, Sweden.[4] He is the eldest son of actor Stellan Skarsgård and physician My Skarsgård.[5] He has five younger siblings: Gustaf, Sam, Bill, Eija and Valter, and two half-brothers from his father's second wife, Megan Everett.[6][7] Gustaf, Bill and Valter are also actors.[6]

A friend of his father, who was a director, gave Skarsgård his first film role when he was seven years old. He played Kalle Nubb in Åke och hans värld (Åke and His World). In 1989, the lead role in the Swedish television production Hunden som log (The Dog That Smiled) made him famous in Sweden at the age of 13. Uncomfortable with being recognized, he quit acting for the next seven years.[8][9][10]

Skarsgård applied to perform his national service at age 19. He served in the Swedish military, specifically in the SäkJakt ("protect and hunt") unit that dealt with anti-sabotage and anti-terrorism in the Stockholm archipelago, for 18 months.[11] After completing his service in 1996 he left Sweden and attended Leeds Metropolitan University in England for six months. He enrolled to study English but admits he did not study much and "had a blast" instead.[6][9]

After seven years away from acting, he started to consider it again. In 1997, he enrolled in a theater course at Marymount Manhattan College and moved to New York City. He returned to Stockholm after six months, but the time he spent studying theater showed him that he wanted to act.[6][12]

CareerEdit

2001–2009: Career beginnings, Generation Kill and True BloodEdit

Upon his return to Sweden, Skarsgård began picking up acting jobs, working in film, television and theatrical productions.[6] While on vacation in the United States, he auditioned for and landed the role of Meekus in the 2001 film Zoolander.[13] In 2003, his work in Hundtricket-the Movie (The Dog Trick) earned him an Guldbagge Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He was named the Sexiest Man in Sweden five times.[8]

He moved to Los Angeles in 2004 but continued to work in Sweden.[14] His break came when he was cast as Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. An adaptation of journalist Evan Wright's book of the same name, Generation Kill follows the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps during the early part of the Iraq War. Director Susanna White and executive producer David Simon at first disagreed about casting Skarsgård; White wanted to cast him but Simon was not convinced he could pull off the American accent. After four auditions in three cities, Skarsgård learned the role was his just 36 hours before he had to board a plane for Namibia where the project was filming. The cast and crew filmed for seven months in the desert, shooting six days a week. Skarsgård worked with a dialect coach to master the American accent.[6][8][15]

Just before leaving to shoot Generation Kill, Skarsgård heard about True Blood, a new series HBO was developing based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. At first he was unsure about playing a vampire, but when he learned that Alan Ball, creator of the HBO series Six Feet Under and Academy Award winning screenwriter of American Beauty, was behind the project, he sent in an audition tape. The audition was for the role of Bill Compton, which eventually went to Stephen Moyer. Skarsgård was later cast as Eric Northman, a 1000-year-old, Viking vampire sheriff, local bar owner and potential love interest of heroine Sookie Stackhouse in October 2007.[8][16] True Blood concluded in August 2014.[17]

In 2009, Skarsgård appeared in the music video for pop singer Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi".[16] He was the voice of Stefan in the 2009 animated film Metropia, directed by Tarik Saleh.[9] In 2010, Skarsgård portrayed Terje, a gay Norwegian trekking to the North Pole, in the British mockumentary Beyond the Pole.[18]

2010–present: Film career and Big Little LiesEdit

 
Skarsgård at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival

Suit maker Hickey Freeman chose Skarsgård to model a new look it debuted in 2010. Annie Leibovitz photographed the ad campaign which appeared in The Wall Street Journal Magazine, GQ and Details.[19][20] He covered the September 2010 issue of Rolling Stone with his True Blood co-stars, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer.[21]

In 2011, Skarsgård starred in Melancholia,[22] an apocalyptic movie directed by Lars von Trier and starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland, premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.[23][24] That same year, he appeared in Straw Dogs, a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, as Charlie Venner. The remake's director, Rod Lurie, transferred the small town setting from Cornwall to Mississippi and described Venner as "an ex-football star gone to seed". The film co-starred James Marsden and Kate Bosworth, and was released 16 September 2011.[11]

In 2012, Skarsgård appeared alongside Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna in Peter Berg's Battleship, an adaptation of the Hasbro game.[25] He also starred with Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan in Scott McGehee and David Siegel's film, What Maisie Knew, an adaptation of the Henry James novel of the same name.[26] He was also part of the ensemble cast in Henry Alex Rubin's thriller, Disconnect, playing opposite Paula Patton.[27]

Skarsgård starred alongside Brit Marling and Ellen Page in Zal Batmanglij's 2013 film, The East.[28] Skarsgård starred in the 2016 film The Legend of Tarzan, portraying the title character, opposite Margot Robbie as Jane. Skarsgård worked out for 7 months to prepare for the role.[29] From 2017 to 2019, he starred as Perry Wright, an abusive husband, in the drama series Big Little Lies.[30][31] Skarsgård won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie in 2017 for his performance.[32]

In 2019, he portrayed a sensitive German architect in The Aftermath, a film set in 1946 post-war Hamburg.[33] Skarsgård will star in The Stand, a CBS All Access miniseries based on the 1978 novel of the same name by Stephen King, portraying Randall Flagg, a "charismatic rockabilly demon".[34]

Personal lifeEdit

Skarsgård is a fan of Swedish football, and supports Hammarby Fotboll, a club based in Stockholm, his birth city.[35] In October 2010, he participated in "Bajen Aid" by donating several items he had autographed and auctioned to raise money for the Hammarby football club.[36]

In July 2011, Skarsgård received an honorary degree from Leeds Metropolitan University, where he was formerly a student.[37]

Skarsgård was the Ambassador for the American team for a Walking With The Wounded fundraising event for wounded soldiers.[38][39] He trekked to the South Pole against Team UK (Prince Harry, Ambassador) and Team Canada/Australia (actor Dominic West, Ambassador). A few days into the trek, it was decided that the competition part of the race would be cancelled due to hazardous terrain and weather conditions, so the teams combined forces and continued the journey together. All three teams successfully made it to the South Pole on 13 December 2013.[40][41]

Skarsgård identifies as a feminist.[42]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Åke and His World Kalle Nubb
1989 The Dog That Smiled Jojjo
1999 Happy End Bamse Viktorsson
2000 The Diver Ingmar
White Water Fury Anders
Wings of Glass Johan
2001 Kites Over Helsinki Robin Åström
Zoolander Meekus
2002 The Dog Trick Robinson-Micke
2003 To Kill a Child N/A Short film; co-directed with Björne Larson
2004 Heartbeat The Pilot Short film
2005 Double Shift Nisse
Om Sara Kalle Öberg
2006 The Last Drop Lt. Jergen Voller
Never Be Mine Christopher
Kill Your Darlings Geert
Score Micke
Exit Fabian von Klerking
2007 Järnets änglar Stefan
2009 Metropia Stefan (voice)
Beyond the Pole Terje
2010 Trust Me Alex
Moomins and the Comet Chase Moomintroll (voice)
13 Jack
2011 Straw Dogs Charlie Venner
Melancholia Michael
2012 Battleship Commander Stone Hopper
What Maisie Knew Lincoln
Disconnect Derek Hull
2013 The East Benji
2014 The Giver Jonas' Father
2015 Hidden Ray
The Diary of a Teenage Girl Monroe Rutherford
2016 Zoolander 2 Adam Cameo
War on Everyone Terry Monroe
The Legend of Tarzan Tarzan / John Clayton
2018 Mute Leo Beiler
The Hummingbird Project Anton Zaleski
Hold the Dark Vernon Sloane
2019 The Aftermath Stefan Lubert
Long Shot Prime Minister James Steward
The Kill Team Sergeant Deeks
2021 Godzilla vs. Kong TBA Post-production
TBA Passing John Post-production
TBA The Northman Amleth Filming

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Idag röd Fred Television film
1999 Vita lögner Marcus Englund 10 episodes
2000 D-dag Lise's Stepson Television film
Judith Ante Lindström Episode: "Del 2"
2005 Revelations Gunnar Eklind Miniseries
2006 Cuppen Micke Television film
2007 Golden Brown Eyes Boogey Knights Singer 2 episodes
2008 Generation Kill Brad "Iceman" Colbert Miniseries; 7 episodes
2008–14 True Blood Eric Northman 76 episodes
2013 Eastbound & Down Adult Toby Powers Episode: "Chapter 29"
2017–19 Big Little Lies Perry Wright 14 episodes
2018 Drunk History James Dunn Episode: "Heroines"
The Little Drummer Girl Gadi Becker 6 episodes
2019 On Becoming a God in Central Florida Travis Stubbs Episode: "The Stinker Thinker"
2020 The Stand Randall Flagg Post-production

Music videosEdit

Year Title Role Artist
2009 "Paparazzi" Boyfriend Lady Gaga
2013 "Free Your Mind" Cult Leader Cut Copy

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2003 Odense International Film Festival Grand Prix To Kill a Child Won
Press Award Won
Guldbagge Awards Best Supporting Actor Hundtricket — The Movie Nominated
2009 Scream Awards Best Villain True Blood Won [43]
Best Television Ensemble Won [44]
2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [45]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor in Television Nominated
NewNowNext Awards Brink of Fame: Actor Nominated
Scream Awards Best Television Performance Nominated
Best Horror Actor Won
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Vampire Nominated
Scream Awards Best Horror Actor Won
Best Ensemble Won
2012 Robert Awards Best Supporting Actor (Årets mandlige birolle) Melancholia Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actor Straw Dogs Nominated
2017 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie Big Little Lies Won
2018 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Won [46]
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Film – Television Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries Won
2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Ovenden, Olivia (23 October 2019). "Alexander Skarsgård Isn't Afraid Of The Dark". Esquire. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Celebrity birthdays for the week of Aug. 25-31". Associated Press. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  4. ^ Feinberg, Scott (11 June 2017). "'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Alexander Skarsgard ('Big Little Lies')". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  5. ^ Behdjou, Behrang (8 November 2014). "My Skarsgård: "Till slut handlade det om att välja livet eller döden"". Dagens Nyheter. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
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  7. ^ Sundholm, Magnus Jag hinner inte ens käka Archived 30 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Nöjes Bladet, 26 July 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d Raymond, Joan. "Alexander Skarsgard Is a Neck Man" Archived 20 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Newsweek, 11 September 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
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External linksEdit