Stellan’s eldest child, Alexander
Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård, was born on August 25, 1976 in
Råcksta, located in the north-western suburbs of Stockholm.
For most of Alex’s childhood, his father was a television, film and
stage actor, not yet achieving the international fame he would receive
after appearing in Lars Von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves” in 1996.
Alexander was just 6 months old, the family moved to Götgatan in
Södermalm, a district in central Stockholm. Today it is considered a
fashionable place to live, but this was not the case in the 70s. At that
time it was still regarded as a working class neighborhood and it
undoubtedly shaped Alexander's formative years.
"No one had successful
parents. Several had single mums or parents that were alcoholics. We
had no money. Mum didn't work and dad had a crappy actor salary. We
had tea tin cans that I used as drum sets. That was my best toy for
years, I thought they were hilarious. As long as none of your
neighbours have radio-controlled cars, you have fun with the little
you have. It's only when envy comes in that you despair."
had his first taste of acting in a small theatre when he was 4 years
old, but in 1984, his father was cast in "Åke och hans värld" and since
Stellan was good friends with director Allan Edwall, Alexander was given
the role of Kalle Nubb, marking his official acting debut.
“Even though my dad had one of the bigger roles, we never had any
scenes together. I had a blast. I was so young so I did not have to
keep character, I could just have fun and eat cookies and play in
front of the camera.”
television roles in Inga röd” in 1987 and “Hunden som log” two years
later, his name became a household name in Sweden when he was only
thirteen years old. However, fame didn't sit well with the teenager
because he was uncomfortably shy with being publicly recognized, so he
quit acting for the next seven years.
19, he applied to do his national service. He served in the Swedish
military for 18 months in a unit that dealt with anti-sabotage and
anti-terrorism in the Stockholm archipelago. 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.
“I joined that company [marine
anti-terrorist unit], and was there for 18 months, became a sergeant
and platoon leader. It was very rigorous and demanding, the things
they put us through. … But I learned a lot about myself and my
limits. I’m happy I did it, but the day I graduated, I never looked
After seven years away from acting, he then enrolled in a theatre course
at Marymount Manhattan College in New York. After six months, a
romantic entanglement lured him back to Sweden; however, that
relationship turned out to be short-lived. Despite having a broken
heart, Alexander decided to stay in Sweden and, with a bit of life
experience under his belt, he began his acting career once more.
“I was twenty and got into
an acting school there. I had planned on living there for four
years, studying. But then I met a girl in Sweden first summer break.
So I dropped out of school and went home for love. She was 17 and I
was 20. We didn’t even know each other; we had only hung out for
four weeks and had just fallen in love."
Several acting roles in 1999 and 2000 brought him some success with the
film "Vingar av glas" garnering a Best Picture nod at
the Guldbagge Awards. Though he was now becoming a star in his
native country, he was interested
in broadening his horizons and working outside of Sweden.
A visit to Los Angeles landed him both an agent and a
part in the film "Zoolander" in 2001. Alexander then returned to Sweden
where he continued honing his acting in film and theatrical productions
including "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Blodsbröllop".
In 2003 his work in the film, "Hundtricket". earned him a Guldbagge
nomination for Best Supporting Actor. At this time, he also co-wrote and co-directed an award-winning short,
"Att doda ett barn", which was shown at both the Tribeca and Cannes Film
Festivals. Unfortunately, stardom in Sweden doesn't bring
international recognition and Alexander found himself flying back and
forth to Los Angeles, auditioning for roles that he had no real interest
Finally, being cast in a couple of HBO productions helped propel him to
Hollywood stardom. In 2008, he
starred in HBO’s miniseries “Generation Kill,” in which he portrayed an American Marine, Sgt. Brad “Iceman”
Colbert. It was this role that made female audiences take notice. The
same year HBO hired him to play Eric Northman, a 1,000-year-old Viking vampire on
the hit series "True Blood". He rode to success in this role because of
his magnetic performance, his tall-and-handome good looks and America's
strange obsession with vampires. The HBO series is now in its fourth
In addition, Alexander appeared in the music video
for pop singer Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" in 2009. The following year Annie
Leibowitz photographed him in an ad campaign for clothier Hickey
Freeman. Those photo shoots appeared in The Wall Street Journal
Magazine, GQ and Details. He also appeared on the September 2010 issue
of Rolling Stone with his "True Blood" co-stars, Anna Paquin and Stephen
Moyer. (View Alexander's magazine covers).
In 2011, his screenwork became even more demanding.
By the end of the year there were a total of four films in
post-production: Peter Berg's film, "Battleship", an adaptation of the
Hasbro game, Scott McGehee and David Siegel's adaptation of the Henry
James novel, "What Maisie Knew", and two indie films - Henry Alex
Rubin's "Disconnect" and Zal Batmanglij's "The East". All four films
have 2012 releases dates.