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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alexander Skarsgard Kills in Sweatpants


Out of the Swedish mist came Alexander Skarsgard, the evil, increasingly nuanced vampire leader Eric Northman of True Blood. He sucks blood; he stars in Lady Gaga's video for "Paparazzi" as an abusive, ill-fated boyfriend; he gets recognized by fans on the street over the course of our interview.

MIGUEL ENAMORADO: Hi Alex, how are you?

ALEXANDER SKARSGÅRD: Hey Miguel, I'm good, how are you doing?

REBECCA SINN: Where are you?

SKARSGÅRD: I'm in Veras, California. Are you guys in New York?

ENAMORADO: We're in the office while you're probably outside on a beautiful day.

SKARSGÅRD: It's a beautiful day. I'm standing underneath a palm tree.

ENAMORADO: Have you been to Sweden lately?

SKARSGÅRD: I hadn't been there in eight months, but I recently went for two weeks to visit my family, and I just got back to California a week ago.

ENAMORADO: So are you originally from Stockholm?

SKARSGÅRD: I grew up in downtown Stockholm.

ENAMORADO: I love Sweden. I've been there a couple times and it's one of my favorite cities in the world. I have a lot of Swedish friends, and it's one of those places where you meet one and you meet everyone, you know? You only need one Swedish friend.

SKARSGÅRD: I like it a lot.

ENAMORADO: What is your favorite thing to do in Sweden?

SKARSGÅRD: The last couple years I have been on the road, and I only get two weeks a year where I have a chance to go back home. So it's intense when I go back: I go out to a country house and hang out with my family and...

SINN: Pack it all in.

SKARSGÅRD: Exactly, and I try to spend a couple days in Stockholm to hang out with my friends from my childhood.

SINN: Does your family ever come to LA?

SKARSGÅRD: My father is an actor as well, so when he worked in LA, he would miss his family a lot, and he would get a house instead of a hotel room, so he could bring the whole family.

ENAMORADO: On the new season of True Blood, your character has come out of the shadows. You blossomed this season into the one to watch, so...

SKARSGÅRD: Well that's very flattering to hear, thank you very much. After season one a lot of the reactions were, "Oh, you're the bad guy," and I would always have to defend Eric, because I've always thought there was so much more to the character than just being like, the badass vampire leader.


SKARSGÅRD: Hi, brother! [LAUGHS]

ENAMORADO: There you go! You see, you're becoming a star.

SKARSGÅRD: Yeah, that was interesting. But I knew when we shot that this character would grow.

ENAMORADO: I think one definitive moment was when you got blood in your hair, and then you cut it off. I think you freshened up the character visually, and now it seems like there's a triangle with Bill and Sookie.

SKARSGÅRD: In season one there's definitely an interest on Eric's part, in Sookie. Eric knows there's something different about Sookie and he's intrigued but he doesn't do anything about it.

SINN: Well I think there's more fear in season one.

SKARSGÅRD: You're right and I think that's why he came across as evil and not much more than that. He's an animal, and a killer. And I always try to keep that in mind.

ENAMORADO: And there's such a strong bond between your character and Godric.

SKARSGÅRD: Look, I'm 32 years old, and I've got a couple friends back home I've known for 25 years. Can you imagine a guy like Godric—they spent a thousand years together, and they were kind of a tag-team up until just a hundred years ago. Just imagine what kind of bond you achieve in not 25 years but 800, 900 years. They have so much in common that they're almost the same person.

ENAMORADO: On the list of best vampire's, you're number five, before Edward Cullen and Bela Lugosi in Dracula and Christopher Lee's Dracula.

SKARSGÅRD: [LAUGHS] I could never be Bela Lugosi.

ENAMORADO: There are so many projects that involve vampires. What is the relevance for you?

SKARSGÅRD: I think they represent consistency and something permanent in a world where everything's changing. You have someone like Eric who has been around for a thousand years, who he hasn't changed one day in that time—but then he's also an animal and a killer, and could just turn on you and kill you in a second.

SINN: There's a mischievous thing about it, too, that's attractive.

SKARSGÅRD: The vampires on True Blood, and on the other shows right now, they're more accessible. Eric and Bill go to the mall to shop, and they fit right in.

ENAMORADO: Are you closer to Eric in terms of what you normally wear?

SKARSGÅRD: Eric can be quite extravagant in the way he dresses. I like Swedish designers a lot. I don't know if it's because I grew up. I like Whyred, and Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair is a great brand; Hope. It's very classic and fitted. A lot of people here in California, there's a lot going on in the way they dress.

ENAMORADO: Very dramatic?

SKARSGÅRD: Yes very dramatic, and, uh..

SINN: And they like the jewelry.

SKARSGÅRD: A lot of that, and the skull with diamonds, or the T-shirt with writing all over the back and the eagle.

ENAMORADO: Do you meet with your costume designer and shape the look of your character?

SKARSGÅRD: Audrey Fisher is absolutely amazing. We get together before every episode and we talk about the scene and we bullshit and we come up with ideas. For instance, in the beginning of episode two, there's the scene where I kill the guy. I thought it'd be fun to come down wearing sweatpants and flip-flops. I thought that'd be fun [LAUGHS]

ENAMORADO: And highlight foil. Why wouldn't a vampire wear highlights, you know?

SINN: Is the show popular in Sweden? Is it over there right now?

SKARSGÅRD: Season one already aired and season two starts in two months, I believe.
But I was surprised when I came back to the States ‘cause in Sweden I was with my family at a country house... I was detached from all the hysteria.

SINN: And from the paparazzi? [LAUGHS]

SKARSGÅRD: Oh yeah. In Sweden we don't have paparazzi.

ENAMORADO: Speaking of which, you were in the Lady Gaga video.

SKARSGÅRD: I've known the director, Jonas [Akerlund], for years and he's a good friend of mine, although we've never worked together. I didn't know Lady Gaga at all before. She was really cool and interesting.

ENAMORADO: Did you coach her on the Swedish lines?

SKARSGÅRD: We were supposed to do that whole thing in English, but then because I'm Swedish and Jonas is Swedish and the DP was Swedish, she heard us talking in Swedish and- and she's like, "Whoa, why don't we do it in Swedish?" It was a joke but we all had fun with it.

By Miguel Enamorado | Interview | Link to article


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