Bild Magazine - February 21, 1968

He can thank his brother for the role as Bombi Bitt

 

 

 

 

Barefoot, freckled, ragged and dirty – that’s him, Bombi Bitt.
And half his words stink of sulphur. But he’s so pleasantly free and crazy in the pasture in Skåne.

What did Bombi Bitt actually look like? Did he resemble Stellan Skarsgård?  The Bombi Bitt from television? Damned if I know, as he’d put it himself. But the story of how Stellan got the part of the French woman's son is so dramatic that it could’ve happened to the real Bombi Bitt. A sticky piece of paper secretly sent to Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio) by little brother Kettil made Stellan Skarsgård's boyhood dreams about adventure and freedom come true.

One day, a blondie with bare feet and ragged looks sneaks into our living rooms. He fires off a number of curse words in his local dialect, chugs beers, fights and spits. He’s annoyingly free and odd, so revoltingly prancing around in his crazy summer's pasture.

Not everyone likes Bombi Bitt. But many are delighted - perhaps Stellan Skarsgård the very most. He’s the one walking around in the outfits, swearing and drinking. He’s the one who embodies the boyhood dream and adventure.

Stellan says, "Bombi Bitt is nice. He doesn’t steal from old people and doesn’t try to seduce old ladies. He’s honest in his own way. And he’s also intelligent and kind - not just A RASCAL."

Stellan only had to put on the scarecrow hat, let his hair grow (a bit), and paint on a swarm of freckles - and he was Bombi Bitt. He already had the “darned-it look."

Are you like that, Stellan? Are you “Bittish”?

"There might be some similarities. But today Bombi Bitt is not a likely character. Childhood Services would wash off his charm. I live in an orderly family and don’t have any problem with Childhood Services. I’m currently in my first year of gymnastics. That would make Bombi Bitt frown."

But they both swear with the same warm soul, Stellan a bit more polished. He’s free, and a golden boy of fortune that always manages to do well.

Without Fritiof Nilsson Piraten's (aka The Pirate) lurking addition of color, Bombi Bitt would be a tragic character - a broken barefoot boy, son of the French woman, who’s not exactly the ideal mother.

He’d really like to imagine that the savage in the wasteful summer retreat looked like Stellan - or is that an afterthought?

“Irregular touches and almost beautiful”, is what The Pirate wrote. Stellan has a “fine print” face - and is almost beautiful. And when that typical smile spreads into an unsophisticated grin, you expect a scruffy and reeking speech bubble. Yeah, that’s probably right. Interested Upplänningar (Uplanders) complain - you can’t understand what they’re talking about.

Stellan explains in spotless Swedish: "It’s Malmöskånska countered with a bit of Borstahusdialekt and a bit of Österlenmål on top of it. I’ve listened my way into it. Sounds nice, huh? I was born in Gothenburg and I moved around many times. No dialect ever really stuck."

Except for The Pirate and director Bengt Lagerkvist, there’s a third man standing behind Bombi Bitt - Kettil Skarsgård, 14 years old. He was the one who found a sticky application form for the role in Stellan’s room. He approached it with his family’s well-known business sense. Corrected the writing and sent it in. Catch!

Stellan was called over for a speech test. A few days later a shooting test. They told him not to cut his hair when he went home again. He read the book. Got caught up in the character. Became worried. Became restless. Then it came. You’re Bombi Bitt. We’ll start in Kivik. Kettil thought it was nice. He made sure that Stellan signed a bunch of autographs and sold them to his classmates for 50 öre a piece. Sure, business has to be profitable.

For Stellan, it became a long and sunny summer with Eli, The French, Nils Galileé, Texas Ros, Vricklund, Jöns Pumpare, The Kabusa priest, and all the other Pirate figures. The beer, which flowed freely at first, was replaced with water.

"For some reason I can’t understand," says Stellan.

There were crazy food orgies held outdoors. Food, preferably cooked primitively, appeals to both Bombi Bitt and Stellan. Large grown crayfish, fat eels, crispy halibut, juicy rabbits.

"Awesome!"

Stellan has a past on stage. Like Röda Rosens Benke in Teater 7, Malmö. They made a guest appearance at the city theatre of Helsingborg. Stellan returned to the same theatre after Bombi Bitt. He was in “Marius” with (among others) Lars Passgård.

Then we got the idea. Here you are Stellan, a great big cigar. Share it with someone at the City Theatre. The spark in his eyes was lit... But to be a rascal is part of theatre too. And we had a natural talent with us...

Stellan is no little rascal. Sometimes funny lines fall right out of him during class. But the teachers have a weird way of looking past him. We who know him don’t confuse him with Bombi Bitt...

Stellan never really did anything except when he stole some apples and caught some pigeons. That’s what Bombi Bitt would call kids' games. His thin success was that he wasn’t old enough to be punished. Bombi Bitt exists only in the boy's dream. At Drottninggatan 13 in Hälsingborg you get pretty close. But what you really find there is a clever student, who wants a good job, preferably one at the theatre, so he can provide for a family in the future. And that is something Bombi Bitt wouldn’t give a damn about.
 

[With special thanks to Robin Solsjö Höglund for his translation]