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Here Comes the Viking! GQ interview with Alexander Skarsgård

“Out of the misty north there arrived in Hollywood a fair-haired stranger: Skarsgård the Younger, Alexander the Tall, son of Stellan the Comparatively Famous. With his totally convincing American accent and eyes deep as a glacial fjord, he won over fans of HBO’s True Blood. Now, with three major films opening soon, Alexander Skarsgård is poised to conquer the rest of us.”

Written by Brett Martin of GQ magazine, this interview with everyone’s favorite Viking is told as more of a narrative than a question-answer session.  On a whale-watching tour with Alex, during which they see no whales but “some great bird activity”, Martin quizzes Skarsgård about early life as the son of a famous Swedish actor, monkey business on the True Blood set, his upcoming film projects, and rumors of his involvement with Kate Bosworth.  In a quirky, sometimes self-deprecating, retelling of their uneventful jaunt at sea, Martin paints a picture of a man who, while on the fast track to Hollywood superstardom, is still surprisingly real and grounded.  Read on for snippets from the article, or go here to see it in its entirety! 

Every day they observe what is known as the Roll Out, in which Stellan and whichever children are around escort the clan’s 81-year-old matriarch, Gudrun, in her wheelchair to a hallowed old beer hall named Kvarnen that functions as fan headquarters for Hammarby, the local soccer team and one of Skarsgård’s obsessions. Gudrun will have one beer and two shots of Fernet-Branca. (“She’s over food,” Skarsgård says.) Later Stellan spends the rest of the afternoon cooking, his primary passion. The tribe gathers once again for dinner and wine.

Tongue-twister much? Hah!

Skarsgård is the first to poke fun at the notion of the Swedish military, which saw its last serious action around the time of the Northern War, 300 years ago, but it was an important challenge for him. “It was my way of going off into the unknown,” he says. “I didn’t want to just be somebody’s son.”

On playing Eric in True Blood…

In True Blood’s ever expanding ensemble of fairies, werewolves, shape-shifters, telepaths, werecats, telefairies, vamp-shifters, and God knows what else, his Eric has become a solid center—the only character to display that essential quality shared by great HBO antiheroes past (think Tony Soprano or Omar Little or Al Swearengen): genuine unpredictability. Skarsgård’s minutely calibrated deadpan somehow makes him the show’s funniest, most cerebral, and most ferally frightening personage. “He does this thing with his eyes,” says creator and show-runner Alan Ball. “It’s like they become slightly unfocused and all of a sudden they’re mirrors to this ancient, 1,000-year-old soul.” Indeed what Eric is, his relative humanity, may be the only moral mystery to be found amidst all the steamy, gothic froth.

Not that Skarsgård emerges suds-free. Those rooting for Eric in the increasingly explicit love-blood triangle he shares with Anna Paquin’s Sookie Stackhouse and Stephen Moyer’s Bill Compton are surely aware of the extra frisson provided by Paquin and Moyer’s real-life marriage. Does it also mean on-set awkwardness?

“It’s really clear to Steve and to everybody else what the deal is—which is that Anna is like a sister to me,” Skarsgård says. “Those love scenes take quite a bit of acting, actually. A lot of acting.”

On his role as Charlie Venner in the Straw Dogs remake…

…in which Venner rapes Amy, who is played in the remake by Kate Bosworth. Tabloid followers will be aware of the widely reported news that Skarsgård and Bosworth are romantically involved. (When asked about the relationship, he shuts down, smile disappearing, with a completeness and efficiency that could only come from growing up in the public eye. “My father always kept the family out of the press,” he says later, almost apologetic.)

It was, by all accounts, a brutal scene to film, taking place over two days.”In the beginning, Kate would be crying after every take and Alex would try to comfort her,” says Lurie. “By the end, everybody got really raw.”

When the film was in postproduction, Skarsgård brought his father for a visit to the editing room at Sony studios, and they watched the scene as it was being cut together. “They seemed more like best friends than father and son,” says Lurie. At the end, Stellan stood up and spoke those words every boy longs to hear. Says Lurie, “He proclaimed it ‘the best rape ever filmed.’ “

On acting, and the difference between the Swedish and Hollywood cultures…

“Hollywood can be like kids playing marbles on the schoolyard,” he says. “Everybody wants the shiny marble until one kid says he doesn’t. Then nobody will touch it. So it’s important that I make good decisions now. “

That doesn’t mean he has trouble ricocheting from the highbrow world of von Trier to the soapier True Blood; nor way beyond, to the green-screen-and-explosion bonanza that Battleship promises to be. (You were expecting Strindberg’s take on a board game?) “If you’re an actor in Sweden, you do drama, you do comedy, you do action, you do film and live theater. You do whatever there is,” Skarsgård says. “Vanity is death to an actor.” Ball describes him as “the least actorly actor I’ve ever met.”

Now for some eye candy!  Here are the photos published in GQ (and a couple that weren’t… in my copy at least!)

Oh, and as an extra juicy tidbit, fans of Fox’s hit show Glee will be excited to know that June’s issue of GQ also features a wedding fashion spread on Darren Criss, better known as mega-crooner Blaine Warbler. Click here to see him in GQ, or check out some of the photos below…

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True Blood’s Joe Manganiello, one of the 25 Fittest Men in the World

Let’s get the week started off with some gratuitous muscle-gazing (see, Monday’s aren’t all bad!)…

Everyone’s favorite True Blood werewolf (Joe Manganiello, of course!) will soon be celebrated as one of the Top 25 Fittest Men in the World by Men’s Fitness magazine.  Being uber-fit is nearly a requirement of landing a part on True Blood lately, considering just about every major cast member has some sort of revealing scene, but Joe really took it to the next level when he started buffing up for the part last year.  He works out twice a day at least 3 days a week, then does other cardio and strength-building workouts on three additional days.  Two workouts a day… whew, that’s dedication to your physique!  And we appreciate it, yes we do.  Thank you Joe!  ❤

Also recognized, are Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Saga’s Emmett Cullen)…

Jason Momoa (the new Conan, also Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones & Ronin Dex from Stargate: Atlantis)…

Chris Evans (the new Captain America & Johnny Storm from The Fantastic Four)…

Also rumored to be on the list is Chris Pine, Captain James T. Kirk in the revitalized new Star Trek franchise.  Check out the June/July of Men’s Fitness for the complete list of the World’s 25 Fittest Men in 2011, due out on newstands on May 9th.  Until then, enjoy your eye candy!  *grin*

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Stephen Moyer chats up True Blood for Bullett magazine

In an interview with Bullett magazine, appropriately titled “Return to the Soft Gore”, Stephen Moyer talks about being comfortable with Alex Skarsgard’s “bits”, his unexpected married life with Anna Paquin, the necessity of recycling, and his frequent fundraising efforts for various causes.  He also donned some glam over-the-top duds for his metro-goth rocker photo shoot. 

When asked about how married life with his co-star Anna Paquin (who plays Sookie Stackhouse in True Blood) is treating him, Stephen’s reply is sure to warm any Truebie’s bleeding heart…

“I’ve never been married before, and it wasn’t something that really entered my mind to do.  Then suddenly, in this relationship with Anna, I just couldn’t think of a good reason not to.  It just felt really right.  When you meet somebody you’re going to be spending the rest of your life with, it doesn’t seem right to call them your girlfriend forever, so I felt like I needed to be able to call her something else.  Now, I can shout “wife” quite happily.”

Stephen has a professionally cosmopolitan attitude, however, when it comes to sharing said wife on set and in racy photoshoots…

“She does get around a bit.  Alex {Skarsgård} and I have been very close since the beginning, and Joe {Manganiello} who’s playing Alcide now, we’re pretty close too.”

“Alex and I have gotten quite close to each other.  We have seen each other’s bits many times.  But I think the main thing is that Alex and Joe, when they have stuff to do with my missus, they feel like they’re free to do so.  There’s no point in me being territorial because, A: I don’t feel like that anyway because it’s work, and B: they need to feel like they can be true in their characters without me spying on them.  Even though of course I have a GPS loaded into Anna’s skin.  She doesn’t know where it is – I have actually buried it somewhere in her.”

On the somewhat unusual pairings we’ve seen in some of the TB episodes so far…

“I’ve had a couple scripts where I don’t get to suck any face, and it’s like ‘Oh, I don’t get to suck any face, I’m really bored!’  Which is why I’m praying that at some point me and Alex or Joe will have some kind of crazy threesome.  I mean, it’s got to happen, Season 27…” 

“Did you like me & Sam last year?”

Stephen does a surprising amount of fundraising for the charities, and personal convictions, he’s passionate about…

“One of the things I hadn’t really considered before the show became successful is one’s ability to help out causes that you’re interested in.  If we can get Alan to sign a script, if we can get some of the other cast to sign a script, we can auction it off and it can raise quite a lot of money.”

“Alex does it for various charities.  Alex and I were approached about this idea for Battle of the Fang – we raised $70,000 dollars.  People got completely absorbed in it and ultimately, it wasn’t about the victory – apart from the fact that I won – but it wasn’t about that.  We both raised a very similar amount, right up to the wire – I think I raised about $35,100 and he got $34,950.  We both chose causes that we cared about, and at the same time the gulf had exploded and the oil was washing to the shore in Louisiana.  Because it was Louisiana, I chose that as my charity because of the show, because we filmed down there.”

Maybe his dog Splash is worried about a possible global shortage of tennis balls, but Stephen’s concerns are a little more green…

“For me, it’s the huge stuff.  Something I drone on and on about which just bores people senseless is the plastic vortex in the Pacific.  The fact that we’ve just got oceans of sea life eating our discarded plastic really upsets me.”

“If I’m walking along behind somebody and they throw something {away}, I go back up to them and say ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I think you’ve dropped this.’  Unless they’re 75 feet tall, in which case I’ll just say f*ck it and put it in the bin for them.”

The interview’s accompanying photoshoot, shot by photographer Kurt Iswarienko, is a modern, metro throwback to 80’s rockband trends and has a goth punch to it.  It’s more unusual than anything we’ve seen previously from Stephen, and while it won’t make my list of “best photoshoots ever”, it just might rank among the most interesting.

To see the photos and read the full interview in Bullett, go here.


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