‘HOLLYWOOD CHANGED ME’ Alexander Skarsgård talks family and fame
The Swedish actor turned Hollywood star talks family, career and his famous father How is your career going? I just wrapped up filming Big Little Lies Season 2, so I am taking a little break for at least a couple of days. These last years have been very
B efore making a name for himself as one of the most sought-after Hollywood stars, Swedish-born Alexander Skarsgård had been a household name in Sweden as lead actor in the series Hunden som log ( The Dog that Smiled). After quitting acting for seven years, enlisting in the military, then studying English for six months at university, Skarsgård enrolled to study theatre and reignited his love for acting. Now, he stars in the new drama miniseries The Little Drummer Girl following his success in Big Little Lies.
You recently bought a place in Sweden. Are you planning to move back?
I still live in New York but I’m currently freelancing and jumping from one project to the next, so [my brother] Bill and I are both just floating around. At one point, neither of us had a place and we just lived out of a suitcase for two years. I definitely feel a stronger desire to spend more time in Sweden but I am very
What was your dad [Stellan Skarsgård] like as a parent when you were growing up?
My father has always taken a very kind of ‘ hands off’ approach to his kids and their choices in life, professional and private. He is very incredibly loving and supportive and we know he is always there for us no matter what.
Did your dad push you to become an actor?
I think he is happy when his kids are happy and it doesn’t matter what we do for a living or how much money we make or how successful we are, as long as his kids are decent human beings and they wake up happy, then he is happy.
Was there ever any sibling rivalry with your brothers when it came to acting?
I don’t think I have ever had a situation where me and my brothers, or any of them, were up for the same role. So no, I haven’t felt any of that.
How do you feel Hollywood has changed you?
Well when it comes to the industry, I don’t think I am cynical today, but I do think I am better at detecting if there’s an ulterior motive or if someone is pitching something when they approach me. I’m now able to tell if there’s more to the story than what someone is telling me. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it manipulation, but there are definitely ulterior motives at play.
Do you try to go back to Sweden when you can?
I left Sweden 15 years ago and I go back all the time. I’ve been working so much in Europe so it’s quite easy to fly home for a weekend if I have a couple of days off. I haven’t moved in to my new place yet and I don’t intend [to move in for good], but my roots are there and my family is there so it’s nice to have something more permanent for when I do go back. Hopefully I will be able to spend more time there in the future.
“[Bill and I] just lived out of a suitcase for two years”
In 2016, Skarsgård featured in The Legend of Tarzan alongside Margot Robbie. The pair are pictured here at the SAG awards in January. Skarsgård says Big Little Lies Season 2 has “a slightly different tone.”
Skarsgård’s brothers are also actors. L-R: Gustaf, Bill and Alexander (and not pictured Valter, Sam, who is now a doctor, and sister Eija, a model).