September 19, 2017
On March 26, 2009, Michael was in
Finland promoting the first of the Millennium films. It
had premiered in Sweden and Denmark on February 27 and
now a month later, it would premiere on March 27 in
Michael was a guest on YLE with host
Jussi-Pekka Rantasen. You can access a 13-minute segment
of the show by clicking on the photo below.
* * * * *
Five years later in March 2014,
Michael was again a guest on YLE, this time promoting
his second book. He was interviewed by Bettina Sågbom on
her talk show.
You can view a 6-minute clip of the
interview by clicking on the photo below.
September 17, 2017
With 31 European countries
represented, the list of 51 feature films selected for
European Film Awards 2017 has been announced. In
the coming weeks, the more than 3,000 members of the European
Film Academy will vote for the nominations in several
categories. The presentation of the winners will take
place on December 9 in Berlin. Among the 51 films
is a Nyqvist film - DU
FORSVINDER (You Disappear).
It was screened at the Toronto
International Film Festival on September 11th. In
attendance was director Peter Schønau
Fog with actors Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Trine Dyrholm.
Good chance Michael would have been there. I write this
with a heavy heart.
The Toronto reviews have been
less than stellar. The director was faulted for his
nonlinear plotting doing a major disservice to the
film and giving it too much of a Bergmanesque overtone.
However, the cast was uniformly praised. The film is
scheduled to be screened at Filmfest Hamburg, which runs
from October 5 through October 14.
Bradley Warren, The Playlist:
"All three leads are fixtures in the Scandinavian star
system and have individually proven themselves capable
of carrying films in the past, but You Disappear
doesn’t give the trio a whole lot to do."
Norman Wilner, Now Toronto:
"All of this is fascinating stuff – and I assume it
reads that way in Christian Jungersen’s novel – but Fog
is so busy considering the story’s philosophical
underpinnings that he forgets to render that story in a
compelling or urgent manner. As a result, some fine work
from Dyrholm and Lie Kaas – and from the late Michael
Nyqvist, who plays the couple’s lawyer in one of his
final performances – is left to wither on the vine."
Chris Machell, CineVue:
"Though the film's final act drags itself out in service
of an unnecessary and wholly predictable twist, Fog
elicits consistently affecting performances from his
Kalpit Tandon, High on Films:
"The affair between Mia and the lawyer Bernard (a
fabulous Nyqvist) is understandable and oddly fitting to
the overall canvas of the movie. Peter Fog’s fleeting
take upon the nature of our conscience and the control
we possess over our will is a fascinating albeit an
Allan Hunter, Screen Daily:
"Credibility throughout is sustained by a classy cast,
including the late Michael Nyqvist in a role with more
dimension than the raging baddies that raised his
I absolutely agree with that last
statement. Though it was great to have Michael in
English-speaking roles, often times the characters he
played did not always produce powerful performances as in his European films. Personally, I have come
to prefer foreign films over Hollywood fare though an
occasional indie will get my attention.
September 16, 2017
You may have seen this photo of a
half-naked Michael Nyqvist with his double-jointed thumb and wondered about it. I
certainly did. It was taken by photographer and author
Sanna Sjöswärd and in 2011 it was part of a photo exhibition and
book that she put together called "Eldsjälar".
Sanna Sjöswärd, born in 1973 in
Tehran, has lived in Sweden since she was four years old
and worked as a professional photographer since 2002.
Her memoir, "My mother is a Persian Princess" was
published around the same time as Michael's first book
so their friendship began at a book fair. They were
invited to speak on stage about their books. Both had
been adopted and shared their childhood fears and the
need to seek their roots.
When it came time for Sanna to create
her long-time project called "Eldsjälar". she made a
list of over 100 personalities and then narrowed
it down to 30 distinct people who exhibited some kind of
inner strength that enabled them to overcome obstacles,
whatever kind. Participants came from widely different
places and their stories were centered on various
subjects from breeding wolves to refugee work to
fundamental human rights. Some people have the ability
to inspire, to share their lives and their passion.
Michael was one of them. Each person was interviewed and
their black and white portraits made their stories extra
Sanna interviewed Michael but time
was limited for the photo shoot because he was about to
leave the country to film "Mission Impossible" with Tom
Cruise. She remembers it being a hot summer day in June
when they did the photographs. They were taken in her
"concrete" backyard in Vasastan while her female
neighbors stood with open balcony doors, smoking
frantically and smiling wide on Michael and his fit
torso. Naturally he kindly waved to everyone. I love
When Michael passed away, Sanna
expressed her sadness but was very grateful for the
privilege of knowing him. She described him as being
"warm in the soul".
The portraits have been up for sale
and one online blogger showed this large poster in her
bedroom. I can think of a lot more handsome Nyqvist
photos for my walls.
This is another black & white
portrait Sanna did of Michael at the same time. Perhaps
there are more.
September 14, 2017
Have you seen
FRANK & LOLA?
Director/writer Matthew Ross describes his film as a
psychosexual noir love story. Being a fan of Last
Tango in Paris and not being a fan of Michael
Shannon, I didn't pick up on the sexual energy between
the two leads but the sophisticated Alan, played by
Michael, certainly seethed with dark sensuality. Film
noir will definitely come to mind because there's a
smoky, hazy quality to the locations that were chosen -
Paris and Vegas.
Ross explained that it took him 8
years to get this film into production. One of the
main inspirations was that someone he knew had gone
through a similar experience to Lola. She had been
victimized while dating someone in Paris and she didn’t
leave. Matthew saw the damage that it did to her and
thought it was very powerful.
On casting Michael, Ross said, "In his native Sweden, and throughout
Europe, 'Micke' is revered as a master as both leading
man and ingenious character actor. It's well deserved.
Micke is one of the most charismatic, unpredictable
and intuitive actors I've ever seen. I had met him prior
to shooting Frank & Lola [through my manager]
while he was on a break in production on John Wick
in New York. He was recovering from a pretty terrifying
stunt accident and he and I just hit it off and spoke
the same language. He was the first actor we went to
for Alan, Lola's abuser and Frank's nemesis. Alan is the anti-Frank, and
Micke performed that role to perfection. He has this
natural erudition, elegance and mischievous air to him
that worked as a fantastic 'to the manor born'
counterpoint to Frank."
I love the above scene when Frank
covertly follows Alan to a Parisian bar. It's so
atmospheric and richly French. If you haven't made a
trip to Paris yet, mark it on your calendar. It's worth
* * * * *
A handsome new photo!
September 12, 2017
The dramatic thriller
DISCONNECT holds a
mirror up to our everyday lives where modern technology
is so readily available and shows how it can both unite
and divide us. Michael has a very minor role in this
debut feature film from documentarian Henry Alex Rubin.
He plays Stephen Schumacher, who runs a dry-cleaning
business. For Nyqvist fans, it's disappointing that his
screen time is very limited. In addition, his role is
simply boring and I'm not sure why his agent passed this
script to him. Yes, it's a well-made film and great
entertainment but Michael deserved better.
This cautionary tale was filmed in
the NYC area in September 2011 and premiered a year
later at both the Venice and Toronto International Film
Festivals. Michael did not attend any of the film's
premieres. It made its US debut at the 28th Santa
Barbara International Film Festival in January 2013,
played in theaters in the spring and was released on DVD
in September. It garnered respect from film critics and
is often compared to the Oscar winner Crash
In an interview,
Michael discussed the film: "I liked the
way it turned out. That was why I said yes to it... The
intense feeling in the script... If I compared
myself to my kids, they know everything and they’re like
small little hackers. I also feel that my identity can
be stolen. I’m very paranoid about it compared to other
people in the younger generation. Also, if you’re going
through what my character experienced, lonely with this
grief and sorrow, I'd do whatever to talk to someone
asked if the ensemble cast ever got together, Michael
replied, "We didn’t do that. I met Henry in London and
then I did a film so I couldn’t come. I arrived to do my
stuff with Alexander [Skarsgård] and Paula [Patton]. Paula and Alexander are
two people I worked with before. I did Mission:
Impossible with Paula and Alexander’s father is an
old, old friend of mine and we did a couple of films.
Also, the stories were each in their own universe so we
didn’t really connect to the other actors."
photo of our two Swedes on location. I appreciated the
way both of them were connected in the same storyline.
Wondering... did they speak Swedish when they took their
September 9, 2017
Here are some production photos from
the TV series "Zero Hour,"
which show Michael's great sense of humor while filming.
September 8, 2017
over 20 million copies of his books sold in Germany,
Swedish author Henning Mankell is one of the top writers
of Crimean literature. Several of his novels have been
filmed. His 2005 novel,
KENNEDYS HIRN (Kennedy's Brain) was adapted
in 2010 as a two-part version for German
television at 180 minutes. At the center of the story is
the archaeologist Louise Cantor played by German actress
Iris Berben. Swedish actor Rolf Lassgård plays her love
interest. Michael has the role of Lars Hakansson, a
member of the Swedish embassy in Mozambique.
Unfortunately, he only appears in the second part so his
screen time is limited. Evidently it was filmed in
English but then dubbed in German with English
September 4, 2017
Since Christian Camargo co-starred in
Europa Report, we can assume that he talked
Michael into joining his ensemble cast for
his arthouse film, DAYS
AND NIGHTS. This was Camargo's directorial
debut, which he wrote, inspired by Anton Chekhov's
The Seagull. He also starred in the film alongside a
cast of familiar names - William Hurt, Jean Reno, Katie
Holmes, Allison Janney... The film did not fare well and
received mostly negative reviews.
I attempted to watch it but halfway
through, I had to quit. I became overwrought with the
exasperating levels of self-absorption by these
eccentric characters. Perhaps if I had been more
familiar with Chekhov's play, it wouldn't have felt so
pretentious. I can understand why Michael said "yes" to
the script since he's attracted to experimental theater
and film and maybe he was personally satisfied with
having worked with these excellent actors.
September 1, 2017
Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, a
trio of novels that teams up a disgraced journalist with
a punk hacker, was an international phenomenon. The
books sold millions across the globe and were brought to
the screen in Sweden, both in feature films and extended
versions for television. The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy:
The Extended Edition the Swedish TV mini-series
presentation, offers the most complete screen version of
the story. It is available on DVD and at Netflix.com in
Having previously created the film
page for MÄN
SOM HATAR KVINNOR
(The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), I have now completed
pages for FLICKAN SOM LEKTE MED
ELDEN (The Girl Who Played with Fire),
LUFTSLOTTET SOM SPRÄNGDES
(The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) and
Millennium (The Dragon
The third and final entry in Stieg
Larsson's enormously successful series is perhaps the
least thrilling, but it's easily the most satisfying.
For those who have spent two films suffering along with
the almost cosmically tortured Lisbeth Salander, this
film will be particularly cathartic.
Salander and Blomkvist share more
scenes than they did in Part II, but their relationship
consists of more than the usual longing glances, trite
witticisms and romantic entanglements. Through pin-sharp
dialogue and superb, restrained performances, we know
exactly how Blomkvist and Salander feel about each other
- and it's a complex relationship to say the least.
That's testament to Larsson's intelligent writing.
Fire and Hornet's Nest were meant for TV and
are visibly a little tattier around the edges. However,
there's no small amount of charm to be found in all
three movies: the Millennium trilogy remains a
refreshing cinematic odyssey.
* * * * *
The photography of Swede Thron
Ullberg is almost more art than photography. For
years, he has been considered the country’s best
portraitist, having captured the face (almost always in
black and white) of all the most important figures in
the Swedish culture and entertainment world. Ullberg
captures the mystery of death in many of his photographs
and on the day after Michael died, he posted this photo
on his Facebook page. He guesses that the portrait was
taken around 2010.
"Such a loss. One of
the best humans/actors, both on and off stage"
August 28, 2017
It is sometimes frustrating to follow
an international actor's career when there's a language
barrier. So many of his interviews at youtube.com are
naturally in Swedish, but I have one today that comes
with English subtitles. It's a 14-minute clip from the
Skavlan talk show that was recorded last year.
Here's the link. Enjoy!
* * * * *
This is a new poster for
What do you think? Is Michael's face included? I
can't tell because the person has brown eyes but it
looks like his nose. I don't quite understand why
all the faces because only one person disappears in
* * * * *
Michael's widow Catharina has
created a web page for the Michael Nyqvist
at this link. It features this photo and the
Michael Nyqvist was a devoted
actor and author. His exuberance was
irresistible, and during the last year of his
life he often said that he had so much
unfinished business. Both in life and in his
artistry he had so much more to give. The
Foundation is a way to honor Michael’s vision
and desire to have a continuing positive
influence in the world.
Michael often spoke of how acting can be a
powerful force that ties people together by
connecting them, and how acting can provide us
with tools for the prevention of conflicts. He
understood that communication is at the core of
acting. Michael passionately believed that
acting can be a force for uniting people. The
Foundation will build on this vision.
More information about the Foundation’s
activities will be presented shortly.
August 22, 2017
Vasateatern or "Vasan" is a private
theatre in Stockholm. It was built in 1886 and has
for many years been Stockholm's main private theatre for
comedies and farces so it was the perfect place for
staging Edward Albee's play
GETEN ELLER VEM ÄR
SYLVIA? (The Goat or Who is Sylvia?)
In April 2005 it was announced that
the play would premiere in the fall starring Michael and
Suzanne Reuter. Michael told the press, "It's about a
guy who falls in love with a goat. It's a huge story
with many sick scenes." Asked whether there would be a
living goat on the stage, he answered, "I'm not saying".
Geten is a full-length play
which opened on Broadway in 2002. It won the 2002 Tony
Award for Best Play, the 2002 Drama Desk Award for
Outstanding Play, and was a finalist for the 2003
Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play was written to be
provocative, daring and controversial. In the play,
Martin, a hugely successful architect who has just
turned fifty, leads an ostensibly ideal life with his
loving wife and gay teenage son. But when he confides to
his best friend that he is also in love with a goat
(named Sylvia), he sets in motion events that will
destroy his family and leave his life in tatters.
The play opened in Stockholm on
September 22 and ran until Christmas. In March and April
2006, it went on a five-city tour, sponsored by Elite
In rehearsals Michael said Suzanne
was a just a dream to work with. She happened to be an
Albee veteran having had great success in Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf? playing against Krister
Henriksson. It was Krister who advised Michael about the
role in Geten.
Michael described the play as "very
good and fun play, sexy and sexy" adding, "It's very
surprising and extremely challenging... Suzanne
and I have worked together in Reuter & Skoog
earlier, but never on stage."
For Michael, it became a process to
try to get into the role of his character. He
said, "If you want to play it, you must also be able to
defend it in some way. It's a man who has everything,
financial success, beautiful wife, clever young son...
There is something that starts to make his life feel
empty... I hope it will make people think about their
own life, their own love concept, their marriage and
their relationship with their children - but above all,
their relationship to themselves."
August 19, 2017
Award-winning Ecuadorian filmmaker
Sebastián Cordero is a master of contained,
psychological thrillers and a lifelong science fiction
fan. His first English-language film,
EUROPA REPORT was filmed
in the fall of 2011 and is a unique documentary-style
sci-fi thriller that follows an ill-fated mission to
Jupiter’s icy moon Europa to investigate the possible
existence of alien life within our solar system.
Casting a group of international actors was important
and the first person who came on board was Michael who
plays a Russian astronaut. He read the script and saw
one of Cordero's films and gladly accepted the role. The
film turned out to be hugely successful considering its
low budget and a very respected film in the sci-fi
The six actors playing the astronauts were a South
African, a Romanian, a Swede, a Pole, and two Americans
(one of them a Chinese-American, Daniel Wu). Everyone
speaks English, although Katya (Wydra) and Andrei (Nyqvist)
sometimes chat privately in Russian.
In the great tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey,
The Abyss, and Aliens, Europa Report
once again allows us to experience the dream of
exploring vast worlds outside of our element, worlds
where no person has ever gone before. Co-star Sharlto
Copley told the press he would love to one day leave
Earth's orbit for real saying he was "personally very
interested in the idea of space exploration" while
Michael chuckled, "I love earth. Space sucks."
In interviews with Michael, he conceded that a space
travel film was a long way from Scandinavian cinema,
such as the film noir of Ingmar Bergman. Always curious,
Michael looked for new and unique projects, but
ultimately his experience of working against green
screens and being wired and hoisted by cranes was not
his cup of tea.
I wondered why I had never seen any
premiere photos and that's because the film had an
unusual New York premiere in the Hayden Planetarium at
the American Museum of Natural History on August 1,
2013. Only the director, screenwriter Philip Gelatt and
producer Ben Browning attended.
The Prop Store is selling a few items from the
film that were worn by Michael, such as his watch and
space clothes. Very pricey!