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
* * * * *
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 -
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
* * * * *
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
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."
* * * * *
There's a new addition to the 2015 photo
shoot gallery. Check
* * * * *
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
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."