January 2018 News
The Michael Nyqvist Archives
January 30, 2018
A Local Act For Peace is a
global peace project begun in Sweden in 2016 that seeks
to encourage positive action and share information and
data that proves, despite the headlines, that there is
hope and potential for transformation through small acts
of kindness. Last year Michael participated and there's
a short video where he shares a personal story about his
experience as a pacifist. It shows him walking in
Regents Park in London while speaking directly into a
camera. The Swedish version is
at this link and if you're a Facebook member,
Facebook English version.
January 29, 2018
was a touring show performed between 2006 and 2012 where
only women were welcome in the audience and
only men on stage. The show focused on the
differences between men and women with a mix of comedy,
music and acting. In 2009, over 60,000 women saw the show,
and 15 performances were performed in 14 cities around
Sweden. In 2006 Michael performed in their first show,
which was directed by Fredde Granberg. He was joined by
actor/writer/comedian Peter Magnusson and singer Martin
Stenmarck. The tour had its premiere in Västerås on
September 1. Thirty thousand women bought tickets.
You'll never guess what Michael told the press - "We
hope they go home to their guys and make a kid
From the photos below, you can surmise that
it was a very zany event. One act was the three men in a
sauna, dressed only in towels, talking about why girls
get nicknames. Some of the music that evening included Edwyn Collins' "A Girl Like You", Pointer Sisters' "It's
Raining Men", "When a Man Loves a Woman" and a little
Elvis, of course. Don't you wish you were there!
Good-natured Michael didn't flinch when told he was
getting a lot of flack for participating in such a show.
He said, "In this damn climate, it's extra wonderful.
Now it's all about gender and it's totally politically
incorrect to run such a show. Everyone thinks it's
terrible and condemning and yet they want to hear what
we're doing." Laughing, he continued, "In the drama
circuits, we sit and discuss Brecht, and so I say that I
will sing for a lot of girls in an ice cream hall. Then
people wonder if I'm stupid in my head."
January 26, 2018
The Oscar nominations were announced
this week and the Danish film, "Du
forsvinder" was, unfortunately, not among the
selections for "Best Foreign Language Film". However,
another Scandinavian film was nominated - Swedish film
"The Square". It was 13 years ago when "As
It is in Heaven" was an Oscar contender. With
news of that movie's transition into a musical, director
Kay Pollak was asked about the main role. Had Michael
lived, he would not have been offered the role. Pollak
said, "We need someone to sing. It could not have been
Michael, but he was very good at everything else. I
think of him almost every day with gratitude."
* * * * *
On September 13, 2014 Michael and his
wife attended Ernst Billgren's wedding
held at the Café Opera in Stockholm. Doesn't Michael
look super cool in his black & white tuxedo? It was a small
affair, about 100 guests. And now a little gossip. Billgren, who had been married for 30 years with three
children, created a scandal for the tabloids when he
began a relationship with an art student 25 years
younger than him. Divorcing his first wife, also an
artist, he married Julia Hellberg. The last photo shows
the pair at Michael's funeral in July. I vote for "To
love and to cherish until death do us part."
And here's another wedding photo taken on September 5,
2009 showing Michael and Catharina at the wedding of
fellow actors Morgan Alling and Anna-Maria Dahl
in Sickla, outside of Stockholm. I'm happy to report
that the newlyweds now have four children.
The photo below shows Michael on the "Arn" set with
January 22, 2018
2008 Alexandra Pascalidou, a Greek columnist,
television hostess and author, compiled a book of 23
stories from taxi drivers from all over the world. She
also served as director when her book was broadcast on
Sveriges Radio that year. Several Swedish actors
participated including Michael. Pascalidou also appeared
briefly in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as a
Swedish TV reporter covering the protagonist's trial.
Last June she recalled her
relationship with Michael - "Micke was the big brother I
always longed for. He treated me like a sister after our
first meeting at Örebro University where we lectured in
the late 90's. Micke was my first strong theatre
experience... It was that feeling of exclusion in our
childhood that tied us together. [She immigrated to
Sweden at 5 years old] He never understood how loved,
praised, honored and sought after he was. It was good
and bad - for the ignorance made him so human. So
Pascalidou also remembers her Skype
conversations with Michael when he filmed Mission
Impossible in Dubai. He loved Hollywood gossip but
she had to promise not to leak anything he said about
Tom Cruise. He warned, "I have signed a contract with a
confidentiality clause. If you say something, we'll go
to prison." Yes, Tom and his entourage.
When Michael was diagnosed with
cancer, he again asked her not to tell anyone. In his last week, he texted her - "I'm
fighting. But it turns." Pascalidou describes her friend
as always loving, generous and an amazing person and
artist. She also shares that among his favorite music
was "Songbird" by Oasis.
As you can see from the 2008 photos
compared to more recent ones, Pascalidou has undergone
some serious face sculpting procedures. She better be
careful before she turns into another Joan Rivers.
January 18, 2018
Du Forsvinder co-star, Nikolaj Lie Kaas,
recently spoke to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet about
their relationship. The Danish actor has a role in the
upcoming HBO Nordic fantasy series, Britannia.
During filming, Nikolaj received support from Michael.
He says, "For a short period, he meant everything to me.
When doing Britannia, he called me and asked how
I felt and wanted to hear how my life was. He said
nothing about his illness." Nicolaj was crushed when he
received the news of his death. The fact that Michael
did not want to talk about his cancer came as a surprise
to him. He explains, "It was because he was proud. I
understand that. At the same time, I was shocked and a
little disappointed that he would not tell me."
One major reason why Nikolaj loved
making "Du forsvinder"
was because of Michael. Despite the seriousness of the
film, they laughed through the scenes. He says, "He was
so calm. I really miss him. There are no words for how
kind and generous he was. He was one of the most
generous I have ever met."
* * * * *
BTW, if you're a big fan of
som i himmelen
(As It is in Heaven), you might like to check out this
web site of
One of the images on this web site
shows an album of family photos and the child shown is
Michael as an adorable toddler.
January 14, 2018
Last week a show was aired on Swedish
television called "Together Against Cancer" with
Michael's widow Catharina as a guest. She spoke about
her heartache losing her husband to lung cancer in June
and about how he handled the diagnosis.
She said, "Micke was absolutely sure
that he would be fine. He had so much hope and power."
After the diagnosis, they spent a lot of time together.
She added, "We suddenly were very much together and did
everything together as we always wanted. It was a very
For Michael, it was important that he
did not become his illness. He would keep working.
Catharina described how they both had difficulty
understanding how serious it was. She couldn't
understand how he had lung cancer when he was always
healthy and sporty and never smoked.
At the end, he suffered from
pneumonia and became very ill. He was not hospitalized
but received home care. A nurse told Catharina the night
before he died, "I just want you to know that pneumonia
is very serious and there is a risk that it cannot be
Tearing up, Catharina explained how
he had gone to the bathroom and asked for help because
he felt very dizzy. She went to help him and then he
fainted. She said, "I did not think he could die."
She wanted to participate in
"Together Against Cancer" to show that being alone
doesn't help. She said, "I know I called a lot of
friends and suddenly the house was full of people...
Together we can help each other... We lived together for
23 years so he was my best friend. The only thing that
has worked is being with other people."
January 12, 2018
Though Michael has a very minor role
in the 2008 historical film,
(The Kautokeino Rebellion), I would recommend it for its
compelling story, its haunting soundtrack and
magnificent cinematography. The film is based on
the true story of the Kautokeino riots in Kautokeino,
Norway in 1852 in response to the Norwegian exploitation
of the Sami community at that time. The Norwegian Sami
director Nils Gaup was born in Kautokeino and descended
from one of the insurgents.
the mainly Norwegian cast, the film features three major
Swedish actors. Besides Michael, it stars Mikael
Persbrandt (Day and Night) and Peter Andersson (The
Millennium Trilogy). Though some of the cast has the
same last name of the director, they are not related.
Michael plays the preacher Lars Levi Laestadius who
founded the Laestadian pietist revival movement to help
his largely Sami congregations, who were being ravaged
by alcoholism. Gaup wanted to follow up this film with
one that focused entirely on this character. He said, "I
see a role figure like Amadeus in front of me. And
Michael has the charisma needed. We have already talked
about it." Alas, the project never came to fruition.
cinematography by Philip Øgaard makes the film
well worth watching especially in its sweeping panoramas
and the way it captures the snowy landscape and the
grandeur of the reindeer herds. To match the action, the
soundtrack provides what I would call new age music
composed by Mari Boine, Svein Schultz & Herman Rundberg.
It all blends together beautifully.
When co-star, Norwegian-Sam actor Mikke Gaup, received
the news of Michael's death, he was among those who
expressed great sorrow:
"It's an unbelievably sad message to get.
Michael was a very talented and distinctly Swedish
In the top spot for many years."
January 7, 2018
A new film page! If any of you have
viewed HEM LJUVA HEM (Home
you know it's not an easy film to watch except to see an
explosive Michael Nyqvist play a distinctly dislikable
character. It was a low-budget film (0.9 million Euro),
which debuted in 2001,
about a wife-beating husband with terrible outbursts of
rage. It was a partly autobiographical story by young
first-time director Dan Ying, a former film editor and
For the second time, Michael played
an abusive husband and this time he also displayed
violent behavior toward his son. In Luke Moodysson's
highly successful film "Tillsammans" [Together], his
anger is the reason why the family flees to a
Michael saw the difference between
Rolf and Kent - "One says sorry immediately while the
other regrets nothing. These films give a voice to what
you do not talk about. The violence and stupidity that
can be found behind the beautiful façade with family,
villa and car. Kent is unemployed, has lost control of
himself, is completely fucked-up. There are such people.
Every twenty-four minutes a woman in Sweden is being
Playing an abusive husband and father
was tough for Michael. He admitted, "I never go into a
role half-heartedly. I liked the feeling in the script.
I knew that Kent really loved his wife and child but I
couldn't forgive him."
He explained that his own
grandfather, who died in the 1930s, is his family's
black ghost in the closet because he used to hit his
children with a stick. Michael said, "Personally, I have
never hit a single person throughout my life."
Five years later Stasse Soulis, who
plays Kent's son Stefan, and Michael went on to play
another father and son pair in the film
älskade" [Suddenly]. Working together they
formed a lasting friendship and Stasse was quite
saddened and surprised by Michael's death. Here's a
photo of him at the July funeral. You'll note from his
name that his father was Greek but his mother was
He recalls, "We had a pretty special
relationship. In a certain way we became father and son.
I have not learned as much about acting from anyone
Stasse talks about how Michael took
him under his wings and helped him with his career,
giving him advice about stage school. He also fixed
agents for him - the same as he himself had. That was
who called him on June 27th with the news of Michael's
The last time Stasse saw Michael was
at the premiere of "A Serious
Game" during the fall of 2016. Soulis says, "He was
his usual happy self so I had no idea. And then... It
was damn, damn tough when his death happened so
unexpectedly... I will remember him as my greatest
source of inspiration, my mentor and my idol."
January 1, 2018
Each year, Scandinavia House in
NYC presents the films chosen by Nordic countries to
compete for the Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign
Language Film. This year the series will feature
Du forsvinder (You
Disappear) on Friday, January 5 at 7 pm. The Danish film
will be presented with English subtitles.
* * * * *
This past week Dagens Nyheter ran an
ad placed by his wife Catharina and his children Ellen
and Arthur. The family wanted to thank everyone who
showed support in their difficult time. The ad read,
"Thank you to all those who attended Michael's funeral
and made an unbearable day a little brighter." In
addition, the ad confirmed that the Michael Nyqvist
Foundation has become a reality - "Special
thanks to those who donated to the Michael Nyqvist
Foundation, which enables us to advance Micke's
conviction of acting as a healing power in society. Each
year, the Foundation will appoint an actor who works in
his spirit. All contributions to the Foundation are
* * * * *
Here's the photo the IMDB used for
Michael in their "In Memoriam". I'm glad they didn't use
one from the Millennium trilogy but I would have
preferred a better photo.