Alexander Skarsgård on creating “The Northman” and switching from Beefcake to Bad Guy

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If Alexander Skarsgard had to write the book from his 40 years so far, he said he would give it the title stale mud and dry tears. The 46-year-old Stockholm-born actor has spent as many years as he can remember helping direct an ambitious viking blockbuster called The man from the north, which finally hits theaters this week. During numerous trips to the gym in New York and Stockholm (the two cities Skarsgård splits his time between), he thickened his 6-foot-3 physique to portray a hulking Viking warrior. He had to maintain the extra weight and form during months of pandemic delays, ahead of filming that mostly took place on an open mountain top in Ireland. The man from the northRobert Eggers’ director prefers long single-camera action shots – and Skarsgård, often nearly naked in the cold, covered in fake blood and real dirt, endlessly trying to remember which stuntman to fake murder next , was pushed to the limits of his endurance.

In the mid-2010s, he played another topless hero in a revival of Tarzan for Warner Bros. This filming took place on a soundstage equipped with temperature and humidity controls. Manufacturing The man from the north, the gods of time had the dial. “And they increased it to eleven,” Skarsgård recalls, “every fucking day.” No wonder, when he enters a restaurant near Regent’s Park in London, the actor collapses almost horizontally on an overstuffed sofa. Barely rising to scrutinize the menu, Skarsgård manages to Caesar: in full Roman inclination. “We finished almost a year ago,” he says. “But the experience still resonates with me.”

He’s dressed in all black today, from his Converse to a casual sweater to the sunglasses he hung on his collar. Blonde hair is oiled and combed. Her neat little teeth are quick to flash smiles of agreement or delight at a joke. In American-accented English flavored with numerous f-bombs, Skarsgård’s conversation leans towards intelligent and slightly melancholic introspection. He says that although his 70-year-old father, famous Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, “is still an energetic motherfucker”, he feels increasingly stiff in his 40s. “Physically stiff. Psychologically too. What do you mean, psychologically? “I’m stubborn,” says Skarsgård. “A creature of habit. I love life in a specific way.

He has no children. Although there have been a string of girlfriends, he is unmarried. Left to his own devices, with no film or television shooting to occupy him, Skarsgård says he likes to keep his days uneventful. “I rarely venture outside my small neighborhoods in Stockholm or New York. Same spots. Same coffees. That groundhog day feeling is comforting to me, I guess. And not entirely unhealthy, I think, when you’re used to working on distant sets. He says he doesn’t want to waste time deciding, this or that, right or left? “I like it frictionless. I like a simplified day, like water running through. No decision.

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