As career changes go, it’s impressive. Bored after high school and looking for a challenge, 34-year-old Alexander Skarsgård signed up to the Swedish military looking for adventure. He found it in an exhausting couple of years spent climbing, diving, running, shouting and being shouted at, in the small, icy islands on the outskirts of his home town of Stockholm.
And while that was character forming, it wasn’t quite right for the lanky thoroughbred. Yet despite U-turning on the military and following in his fathers footsteps (his dad is celebrated Swedish actor, Stellan Skarsgard), he soon found himself back in jackboots for his breakout role in HBO’s Generation Kill, which in-turn led to his most famous role as Eric, the cold as ice, club owning vampire in True Blood .
FHM caught up with Skarsgard and tried not to feel jealous…
Did your time in the military help you with Generation Kill?
It helped tremendously. I play a sergeant, and I am a sergeant. All those little details I learnt were so valuable. But I can’t take credit for those lines, those were the real Brad Colbert, who I played. He’s such a hardcore marine, no bullshit, super intelligent, a leader of men, and an alpha male, but he was so dry and funny.
So you met him? Was that odd?
It was, when I met him I was nervous, I loved this guy, I lived the character, I was super nervous, but he couldn’t have been nicer. And that was great because it s tough, some fucking douche bag is playing him, and talking stuff about his past and it’s suddenly on an HBO show. He didn’t ask for any of that. He knew there was a journalist on the road, but you’re not editing yourself, you’re tired and your getting shot at. And then suddenly all this stuff was on a show.
Your character in True Blood, Eric, is pretty cold. What was your inspiration for him?
Well, I was watching this David Attenborough show while I was preparing for season one. It was about lions in Africa, and there was this moment when a huge lion was just chilling, he was so relaxed, and he looked at the camera, and man, he just fucking stared you out. It was so cool because you didn’t know if he was going to attack or fall asleep.
He just stared at the camera guy and I was mesmerised. So Eric is supposed to be this powerful old menacing vampire, and I thought it would be cool to play it relaxed. He’s so fucking confident he doesn’t need to be loud or big or aggressive.
I wanted to recreate the feeling that you didn’t know if he’s going to rip someone apart or fall asleep.
Check out more of Alexander's interview over at source.