Belfast Telegraph

Alexander Skarsgård: Upbringing was wild

Alexander Skarsgård's "crazy" upbringing prompted him to seek a career in the military as a teenager.

The Swedish actor, who is best known for starring in TV series True Blood, decided to join the army at the age of 19.

Alexander grew up in a creative and free environment, so joining the regimented existence of the military was his way of rebelling.

“My dad is an actor,” he told WWD, “and all his friends are artists, painters, musicians, actors so it was great, growing up with these super-creative, interesting people. There were big dinner parties, and my dad loves to cook. Tons of wine, it was a crazy household, but so much love, as well. So I come from a family of these super-left-wing pacifist bohemians and wanted to challenge myself and do something completely different from what I was used to.”

The 36-year-old rejected the spotlight following his first taste of fame. He landed a role in a popular Swedish TV show as a child, but disliked being recognised in the street.

The good-looking star has grown to appreciate movies and now doesn't mind being approached by fans.

“I’ve learned to be genuinely happy if someone likes what I do,” he continued.

“I love Spencer Tracy. And Marlon Brando was phenomenal; I’m a huge fan of his. Paul Newman, as well, with [movie] Hud. There was a darkness and also something very naturalistic about the way they acted that you didn’t see so much of before that. They weren’t theatrical. James Cagney had it, too. That intensity. For a leading man, to have that darkness, and to be able to explore that, back when a lot of them were just flashy leading men… Cagney was awesome. Awesome.”

The turning point for the actor came in 2001. Alexander visited his father Stellan in Los Angeles, where a chance encounter lead to him being cast as dim-witted fashion model Meekus in hit comedy flick Zoolander.

“My dad’s agent said, ‘Oh, I’ll send you out on a meeting,’” he remembered. “I auditioned for Zoolander and got it.”

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