August 14, 2018

With the sixth installment of the "Mission Impossible" series premiering in US theaters a couple weeks ago, it's time to look back at Michael's villainous role in the fourth installment called "Ghost Protocol". What's strange is that after reading over 150 reviews, in the majority of them, he's never mentioned. He should have been thankful for that because if he were discussed, there were unfavorable comments.

As the baddie Kurt Hendricks, Michael had possibly ten minutes of screen time out of the film's 138 minutes with perhaps twenty lines of dialogue. He and Ethan Hunt don't share one exchange of dialogue throughout the film. Villains are usually the highlight in films of this genre. They give us the most colorful characterization, the most flamboyant performances. As the nuclear war madman, Michael isn’t asked to do much more than carry a steel briefcase, look menacing, and fight Tom Cruise, which he does in the parking garage sequence at the end of the film. We know that the original script called for more screen time because in his book Dansa för oss, Michael writes about the devastation he felt at the film's NY premiere when he realized some of his best scenes were on the floor of the editing room.

David Germain from the Associated Press wrote, "Nyqvist shows hints of the unhinged villain he no doubt could play with relish. But he's unfortunately shackled by a few brief scenes that never give him a chance to unleash his inner Blofeld."

Though the present installment "Fallout" has a rating of 97% on the Rotten Tomatometer, "Ghost Protocol" wasn't far behind with 93%. It shows that an undercooked plot and a weak villain ultimately mattered little because director Brad Bird imbued the film with exotic locale shots with wide framing, a focus on glossy style over dark grit, ambitious stunts rather than generic shootouts, a variety of high-tech gadgets, and even a sense of humor.

I don't believe Michael ever regretted doing the film. He must have been paid handsomely, maybe 2 or 3 million, out of the production budget of $145 million. He told the press, "It's hard work to be involved in such a giant project. Sometimes you work for nineteen hours. But it's fun too. In particular, I felt that I would never get to do this in Europe."

After Michael's death last year, several of his close friends shared how he loved discussing Hollywood gossip, such as Tom Cruise's entourage of cult healers and therapists. However, he was discreet in always being gracious when talking about the controversial superstar with the press since there were confidentiality clauses in his contract.

Michael was actually in New York at the time he was offered the role. He had a week off from filming "Abduction" in Pittsburgh. After discussing the five-month shoot with his wife, he signed up. He said he must be "stupid in the head" not to. He first met Cruise in Prague where filming started in October 2011. Cruise wanted to speak with our Swede about Ingmar Bergman. The action star has never shown much complexity, depth or intelligence, so I was surprised he would be truly interested in European art films but perhaps that was his way of engaging Michael.

On working with Cruise, Michael said, "Tom did his stunts himself. Heights are not my thing at all.  I was nauseated just by looking out the window. He, on the other hand, would be out there hanging. I told him that 'you have to be born on a ladder. You're supposed to be scared up here'. 'No, no,' he said, 'it's just fun.'"

He also tells this funny story about the Bura Kalifa shoot: "I was in Dubai for a month and I was there when he climbed the tower. The guy is really crazy! I was really impressed. Before I do that myself, I prefer to shoot myself! I read a Swedish newspaper online at the hotel and they had a holiday video from a Swede who filmed his wife in front of one of the windows in the Burj Kalifa. She just said a few greetings to the family: 'Hi, I'm here in the Burj Kalifa, the tallest building in the world, outside you see Dubai - and there's Tom Cruise.' The camera wobbles, the man asks 'what?' and she says, 'Yes, Tom Cruise was just climbing down there.' And then he came up again. He had to take another shot and waved into the camera."

Summing it up, Michael told the press, "'MI: 4' is, in a sense, an American James Bond film. Everyone on the planet knows 'Mission Impossible'. I am honored. The shoot took a long time. It became my life. We traveled around the world and had a great time. I do not know how old I was when I saw 'Mission Impossible' for the first time. Where I come from as an actor, you mainly shoot dramas - that's what I love too. But to shoot an action movie, and then in the US, where you understand something of it, that was a challenge and a kick."

At one point in the film, our villain is shown in some archival footage  during the Cold War. For that shoot, these new additions show Michael on location as a younger Hendricks with brown hair instead of his silver gray.

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After some investigation, I've discovered the new URL for The Michael Nyqvist Foundation. The domain name used to be michaelnyqvistfoundation.org and now you must access at -

https://anders-tempelman-4n2b.squarespace.com/

I have no idea why they wouldn't continue to pay the measly cost for the domain name. It's up for sale right now. Obviously, Anders Tempelman was a friend of Michael's. He had written the script for the film, EN VETERINÄR FÖR MCYKET, in which Michael was to make his directorial debut. On Anders' web site, you can find this quote from Michael: "The most interesting thing about Anders, isn't what he writes or even how. It's the fact that he writes. This isn't the beginning, not the end, but the start of an ending you didn't think was possible. That's the way Anders is, so good you don't know how it's going to end. Like mogul skiing with mini-skis, hilariously impossible."

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August 10, 2018

Michael's filmography now includes a film page for the 2005 Norwegian psychological thriller NABOER. It actually means neighbor but the filmmakers decided on NEXT DOOR for its English title. I'd love to say Michael is memorable in this movie, but, unfortunately, he doesn't bring anything unique to his minor role. In the lead as John though is Norwegian actor Kristoffer Joner, whom I have previously seen in The Wave, The Revenant and King of Devil's Island. An engaging actor, Joner can bring the right amount of creepiness to his various characters.

When his girlfriend Ingrid leaves him, John is quite upset. More so than he initially realizes, and Next Door is essentially the story of that realization. Invited into a rather strange apartment by a couple of strange neighbors, things get strange rather quickly. The apartment is inhabited by two attractive women named Anne and Kim, and is laid out in an Escheresque manner that enhances the nightmarish world that John has entered.

There are a few disturbing scenes as the story delves into the depths of John's sexual preferences that make for difficult viewing. This is more than rough sex. Seamlessly blending in shades of Hitchcock, Lynch, Cronenberg and Polanski, the writer/director pulls the audience into a terrifying and claustrophobic world of one troubled man. Personally, it brought to mind scenes from Blue Velvet and The Shining and evoked the famous quote from Twin Peaks - "The owl is not what it seems".

The movie was highly anticipated in Norway, particularly because of certain scenes earning the film an over-18 rating. Norwegian reviewers were highly positive about the movie. Jon Selås, writing for Verdens Gang, gave the movie six out of six points. Selås called Joner's performance the best of his career. Dagbladet's Inger Bentzrud called the movie "intelligent", and gave it five out of six points. This particularly haunting mix of psychological terror and erotic thriller turned out to be one of the best examples of horror films from Scandinavia. It was screened at several film festivals and had a worldwide distribution.

When the film was screened at the Philadelphia Film Festival, Todd Brown of Screen Anarchy wrote, "It is very likely the best film I have seen all year and I would go as far as to say this is a landmark film in its particular genre, one of the very best films about sexual obsession, violence and paranoia ever made. Next Door is an absolutely ferocious powerhouse of a film, grabbing firm hold from the opening scene and not slackening its grip until the potent final image has faded from the screen. Wow. Just wow. Equal parts Hitchcock and Lynch, this is a dark, twisted, surreal trip into the depths of the human psyche."

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There's a new addition to the 2015 photo shoot gallery. Check it out!

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I came across these screen captures from the 2016 movie I.T.

"I.T." had a wide distribution internationally but on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film had an approval rating of 10% indicating generally unfavorable reviews. Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Michael Nyqvist, playing a shadowy security expert who assists Mike in dealing with his unwanted admirer, has had many more impressive turns than this underwhelming supporting role" while critic Christian Toto added, "Let us hope he picked up two salaries for his troubles." Ouch! About this time, I think a new talent/booking agent was in order.

When Michael finished filming, he described his role - "Henrik is an IT technician with Asperger's Syndrome so it was a fun and interesting role to play with different diagnoses." I think this was Michael's personal take on the character. He did tell the press that Pierce Brosnan was "very nice" adding "it turned out we had the same theater teacher and also common friends, such as Stellan Skarsgård."

 
August 6, 2018

Adding to Michael's television work is a page for REUTER & SKOOG, a comedy series starring Suzanne Reuter and Ulla Skoog, who were referred to as Sweden's funniest women. The sketch program was shown for the first time in the winter of 1999/2000 in SVT and  became a big success with almost a few million viewers on average. The series was broadcast in 16 episodes in two seasons 1999-2000 and 2001. Michael appeared in two episodes in 2001 - "Framgångsrika kvinnor" and "I sanningens tjänst." A selection of scenes and sketches have been published on both VHS and DVD.

Michael also worked with Suzanne on stage in the 2005 Edward Albee play, "Geten Eller Vem Är Sylvia". Here are a couple more publicity shots from that production.

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Happy times... This is a photo taken five years ago showing Michael and wife Catharina celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary at Stockholm's Grand Hotel. It was August 2013 and they are seated in the hotel's beautiful Cadiar Bar.

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I've added these seven new photos to the "Min så kallade pappa" photo gallery. They were taken on August 18, 2014 when the film premiered at the Swedish Film Institute.

 

And this handsome new photo is from Michael's interview with MovieZine when promoting the film in September 2014.

 
August 2, 2018

Back in the summer of 2015, Michael was involved in some ad campaigns for a boat he purchased, the Ockelbo 18AL. Having grown up with summers in the archipelago since he was little, he knew Ockelbo was a name that was almost holy. He was especially interested in this model and was one of the first to purchase it. Michael was fascinated by its stability explaining that the hull had extremely good balance. You can watch a video interview with Michael in which he discusses his decision to go with Ockelbo.

His summer residence in the northern archipelago was a place that he referred to as his "paradise" describing it as "incredibly beautiful". Here are some of his own photos:

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The trailer for the upcoming film HUNTER KILLER has been released and can be viewed at this link. On July 19, 2016, Hollywood Reporter announced that Michael had joined the cast of the submarine action film in the role of Captain Sergei Andropoyov. Filming began the following week in London.

Directed by Donovan Marsh, the film stars Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman and Common. Based on the novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Don Keith, Hunter Killer is set below the polar ice cap and centers on a submarine commander who teams with a group of U.S. Navy SEALs to rescue the Russian president that has been kidnapped by a rogue general. It is up to the untested submarine commander and his crew to keep Russia and the U.S. from the brink of a nuclear confrontation.

The following are some screen captures from scenes with Michael. The film is due to be released on October 26 in the states.

 
 

 
 
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