Alexander Skarsgard – Reluctantly he knew he was sexy

June 2008 By Philip Berk

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, having falling in love on the set, created a frisson that drew audiences to True Blood, but by season two the big draw was smoldering Alex Skarsgard, son of the legendary Stellen Skarsgard.

At his press conference he is everything you expect from someone who’s trying to take his craft seriously.

So, how is he handling all attention? I ask him.

“It’s a little surreal if you compare it to my life back in Sweden where I was working for many years before I came out here. My life obviously has changed quite a bit, but it’s still important for me to hang out with the same people, go to the same restaurants, do the same things that I love and not let that control my life. I am not going to have someone go buy milk for me because I might get photographed. After Season 1 it didn’t really happen much because I was only in 7 episodes and had a long blonde wig on so people didn’t really recognize me. It wasn’t until Comi-Con last year when Season 2 started after I came back from a visit to Sweden when it was overwhelming. But it was flattering to meet 5,000 fans and people that had flown in from Taiwan just for our panel. It meant that people appreciate what we were doing.”

 Others have called your dad one of the greatest guys in the world (Paul Bettany named his son after him), so what was your relationship with him growing up?

“We could spend a couple of days talking about my father. But this might explain it. I was a child actor in Sweden until I was 13, and then I decided to quit. At the time I had done a movie (in Sweden) but I didn’t like the attention. I didn’t know how to deal with it. It’s a weird time when you’re 13 and people are looking at you or talking about you. You’re reading about yourself in magazines; it’s kind of surreal. It made me  almost paranoid and very insecure. It was a movie made for television. in ’89 we only had 2 channels in Sweden, so whatever aired people watched. So it got quite a lot of attention. I didn’t know how to deal with it; so I basically said, I don’t want to do this. I want to be a regular kid, just hang out with my boys and have fun and play soccer. My dad obviously an actor himself, just said, if you feel  you want to do something else, go do that. So, I did for 7 years. I didn’t act at all, and then I found my way back on my own. A lot of child actors here in Hollywood  when the child gets a bit of success  it’s easy for the parents to be pushy. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if my father and my mother would have just pushed me. I probably would have worked for a couple of more years but then I would have just crashed and burned; so I’m just very grateful the way he dealt with it. Letting me be, and he always talked to me like I was an adult. ‘Go have fun and you’ll figure it out eventually.”

Talk about Eric in season 3. Last season we didn’t root for him as much. Now, your character is showing a nicer side. What has that been like for you playing a different Eric? 

“There are moments when he’s suddenly in touch with his humanity, although he hates those moments because he feels weak when that happens. He doesn’t like it at all. It’s very disturbing to him. The whole Snooki thing is weird because he’s intrigued by her and he’s trying to figure out who she is. He’s been around for a long time, and he usually knows after one second pretty much everything about any person. But he doesn’t in this case, and that’s intriguing. A lot of people saw him as a bad guy in Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2,  but I never did. He’s my character so I kind of defend him. I’ve always thought he’s more complex than that. He’s trying to protect himself and Pam and the vampires that he cares about. That can come across sometimes as not so much evil as arrogant maybe.”

Will that be his journey in Season 3?

“I’m never interested in a character unless you see both sides. We’re all capable of both. Humans are capable of good and bad deeds. It’s scary if you don’t acknowledge that.”

What’s been your experience with the Team Bill, Team Eric thing? 

“I see it as all fun. I love Steve. He’s amazing, and we’re great friends.  

Is he comfortable doing the nudity?

“That’s never been an issue for me. I don’t really care about it. I’m obviously happy to do it as you can tell by watching the show. I didn’t have a problem with that at the beginning either. I’ve done it before. The thing I didn’t like was what happened in Sweden, and the reason I came here. The focus there was on that. I was voted the sexiest man in Sweden a couple of times, and the roles that came in were the young hot guy, and I wanted to do something more than that, more interesting. I didn’t get offers like Brad Colbert in Generation Kill or Eric in True Blood. In Sweden I would have had to fight for those roles. Plus, I’m getting older, so I’m too old to play the college boy now.”