Bild Magazine - February 21, 1968
He can thank his brother for the role
as Bombi Bitt
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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)
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
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]