Michael Nyqvist Talks About
Source: Cinema Without Borders - June 1,
How did you encounter the idea for
We talked about what we have not yet
seen in films; we talked about sorrow and how it feels
to be in sorrow. We wondered if we could make a film
about the difficulties in communication. That was the
beginningóthe story turned to be about a father and son
and contains a hint of Bergmanís "Cries and Whispers".
So that was the beginning of making "Suddenly".
What do you think about the screenplay and was the
finished film close to that?
Yes, I liked it very much and I am
proud of the film. It came out in the way we wanted it
to look like.
This is a very personal film. How
did you develop your connection with the subject of the
If you are a grown up person and you
have a family and kids, then you have gone through
certain things and you have been around this subject and
territory but you do not talk about it. I had my
experience and the director had his experiences and we
blended them in a way. What I brought into the scenes
was the sorrow and the sadness, it is like chopping wood
and you can see the characters crack like a branch. The
humanism in the film is that you have to talk about it
and communicate with it and I think the film is really
about a father and son that time after time try to find
a way to communicate with each other and finally they
come together. But they go through rage.
Why did the creative team pick the island location
We wanted to have a clash from the
inside to the outside world. Suddenly is about how
middle class facing crises. There is a sorrow in the
family, then you say letís re-paint the house! Letís go
on a great trip! A bourgeois kind of scape! We wanted to
show that you donít get help from the environment the
way you expect. It was easier to have the story happen
in a big city and in a torn down block and in a two
bedroom flat with wallpapers hanging down and it would
fit the tone of the film better, but we wanted to show a
clash. With the director we were in agreement to show
the story through a physical cinematic way. Our
characters in the island summer house would have said:
what a beautiful view and what a nice place, but none of
these could change what has been happening inside them.
The contrast that exists between the tranquil
location and stormy world of the characters helps create
emotion and bridge the audience with the characters.
I remember that when we went out to
the island, I said, ďChrist how I can make this
character with all of this angst in such a beautiful
place on the Earth.Ē There were all of these beautiful
people on the beach, and then I have to think about
death and sorrow. There is a scene where the father in a
small hut finds a life vest of his lost son and he
cracks. We want people to get well and not to talk about
their accidents, but you canít run from it. May be this
is a Scandinavian approach! As a Scandinavian I donít
meet a lot of happy actorsóI think that says a lot about
Did you try to find people close to you who have
dealt with grief in order to research your role?
I have to keep my fantasy and find
the places inside of me. I began with the mission of
finding this on my own. As an actor I donít draw much
from othersí experiences, I think about my own kids and
how I would feel if they were gone. That is my way of
How was this film different from the other projects
that you were involved in?
I have done a lot of these very
emotional films that involve finding out about life and
things like that. When we did "The Girl with the Dragon
Tattoo", it was more about life and how we lived, and the
politics of life.
How was your interaction with the actor who played
We did another film together three
years and before "Suddenly", where I was his father too.
I think he was fourteen when we did that film and I was
a very bad father in that film; I hit him and I hit his
mom and was a little bit psychotic. For him, I must have
seemed like a maniac when he was fourteen, yet I feel
that I am a very kind person, so when we did this film I
told him that this was revenge and he should go for it.
He is a great guy and a great actor. We are very close
because I got to know him better during making of
"Suddenly". We had a scene where I sit in a chair and he
hits me, and it felt so good when he did that because I
owed him that and I loved that he went for it.
This relationship is very believable and it seems
that you guys are father and son in real life.
He calls me and asks about his career
because he is younger than I am; I am like his extra
father in some ways. He is very talented even though he
did not go to any film schools; he is very, very good.
When we worked in the first film called "Home Sweet
Home", we relied on taking responsibility for the film
and also expressing the emotions, so that is what we
tried to do in both of these films.
The great thing about your performance in this film
is that we can see the sorrow in your eyes, how did you
manage to do that?
I had a technique: I always feel that
when I see acting, I want to see the top of the iceberg,
and 80% of it is below the water. You have to get in
that state and be there twenty-four hours a day when you
act; when you are drunk you try to act sober, when you
are sad you try to act happy. I personally do not like
acting when you have to paint it out with a big brush.
What I love with the camera is that it finds you and it
goes through the eyes and inside this actor or person
that they are filming. Itís important not to try to do
too much acting; one must rely on the eye of the camera