On the hit HBO series True Blood, adapted from Harris’s books, Northman, a vainglorious Viking-cum-vampire, is played with great panache—and frequent nakedness—by Alexander Skarsgard, a blond, 6-foot-4 actor whose slight bags under his eyes only seem to augment his power to “glamour,” or hypnotize.
Skarsgard played a young boy battling tuberculosis and seemed to possess an innate screen presence.
“You want a cute girl in school to look at you because you’re cool or cute, but it made me paranoid because suddenly I just assumed that everybody looked at me because they recognized me from television and I didn’t like it,” said Skarsgard.
“I saw that he was very good,” said Skarsgard’s father, adding, “He had very expressive eyes.” Michael Nyqvist, known for his starring role in the Swedish films, lived just two blocks from the Skarsgards in south Stockholm and echoes the praise.
“I knew him since he was around 7, and he has this open, honest way in everything he does,” Nyqvist told The Daily Beast.
Despite von Trier’s recent “I’m a Nazi” comment at Cannes, which Skarsgard told The Daily Beast was “very stupid” and a byproduct of the eccentric director’s “bizarre sense of humor,” the enthralling film is being hailed as von Trier’s masterpiece.
And the effete, vulnerable Michael is a far cry from the brooding Northman, showcasing Skarsgard’s range as an actor.