JUNE 2017 News - The Michael Nyqvist Archives

June 29, 2017

In honor of Michael, the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm has presented a condolence book where visitors can write a final greeting. A very nice gesture from the theatre world.

In Sweden he is all over the news as the country's citizens struggle with accepting his leaving us way too soon.

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg recently directed Michael in KURSK,  which will become Michael's last film. Vinterberg describes Nyqvist as a "great artist and an incredibly warm person".  The cast in the 2000 Russian submarine disaster film includes Colin Firth and Max von Sydow and is scheduled to premiere next year. He will also appear in HUNTER KILLER, another submarine film, where he plays a Russian captain alongside Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman and Billy Bob Thornton. That film is expected to premiere later this year. Michael also has a role as a bishop in Terrence Malick's historical drama RADEGUND about an Austrian farmer who refuses to fight for the Nazis during World War II. According to Variety, it will also premiere this year.

Michael has been receiving tributes around the world as well as endearing quotes by his colleagues and friends, too numerous to share here. However, today I will post some words from NT's Margaretha Levin Blekastad, who recalled the memory of this beloved actor.

There was something ambiguous in his acting, which gave it weight and depth. An ability to signal a spectrum of different feelings with small means. Often with the eyes that could shift from heat to ice cold in a nanosecond. And that smile that suddenly exploded and shattered the shadows.

Versatile. Michael Nyqvist took on a large number of roles, where he moved between a variety of genres.

Michael Nyqvist traveled around the world after his international breakthrough with the role of Mikael Blomkvist, but he had a strong and genuine feel for the archipelago and Roslagen, where he had a vacation home and gladly spent as much time as possible.

"I feel the same for the archipelago as Strindberg did, the smell of those islands that you think you're the first to discover. When you come to Håkanskär, it feels like being the first person out there," he said in an interview with NT in 2013.

Open, generous and curious are words that appear in memorials, following the message of Michael Nyqvist's passing away.

"He knew a lot about life as well as about art," says drama director Eirik Stubö.

I think he's right. Michael Nyqvist gave the impression of thinking a lot about how we live our lives and how it is to be human, a short while on earth. There was a streak of sorrow within him which deepened his roles.

"I like it when culture is about life and death," he said in an interview in the summer of 2009. At the same time he was easy and calm. And extremely nice, with that disarming smile and the friendly radiance.

Included in the article were these three photos:

Back in March, Michael did a photo shoot and you can now see the ravages of his illness and yet he amazingly agreed to be photographed showing his deep humility and lack of vanity. What courage!

We now know he was diagnosed with lung cancer about a year ago and he only confided in his family and some close friends, maintaining a certain amount of privacy to the end, which came very quickly. Certainly the words that are used most often in remembering Michael as an actor and person are: nicest, loving, generous, open, sensitive, warm and curious with a wonderful sense of humor. He definitely leaves a void in many of our lives and we will miss all those movies he had yet to make.

 
June 27, 2017

Michael passed away today at age 56 after battling lung cancer. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends. This is the statement from his representative:

"On behalf of Michael Nyqvist’s representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer. Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him. He is survived by his wife Catharina, and their children Ellen and Arthur." 

One of my favorite photos:

Maria Domellöf-Wik, Götebergs-Posten [translated & edited] writes:
Villain. Successful conductor. Exciting journalist or disillusioned editor-in-chief. No matter what role he took, Michael Nyqvist had the ability to take a whole room with little gestures, touch and stay at the center. He moved unusually freely between theater and film.

The featured Millennium movies where he played the journalist Mikael Blomqvist opened the door to Hollywood at last. For the last six years, he has been featured in films such as Abduction and Mission Impossible.

As late as the Guldbaggegalan in January, he was rewarded for his newly portrayed portrait of the bitter ironic editor-in-chief Merkel on the National Newspaper in Pernilla August's film A Serious Game. A man like Nyqvist interpreted with a large dose of melancholy.

 
June 22, 2017  [Updated June 24, 2017]

Our congratulations to Michael's 26-year-old daughter Ellen who graduated yesterday from  Central St. Martins, an art and design school in London. Some of her work can be seen online at this link in which she explores the notion of truth in design by taking cues from the Dogme95 film movement, exemplified in the work of Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.

Ellen also designed the labels on her father's wines - Cin Cin Chianti! and Cin Cin Brachetto d'Acqui! You can see that she designed it with a nod to Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal". Check in later this week to read about how Michael purchased a winery in Italy. [Updated - View the wine page!]

 
June 20, 2017

Another film page added today! Personally, DETALJER (2003 - aka Details) was a difficult film for me to watch because the four main characters are so joyless and scenes that need to be present for less confusion are simply missing. There's a chilling hardness to these characters and you can easily develop a disconnect to the story. However, the acting is flawless. Film critic Gunnar Rehlin describes the film as a "story of relationships in a downward spiral" and refers to it as "a demanding, hardcore art movie with echoes of Ingmar Bergman in look and themes". Ultimately, it was well received by Swedish critics.

Since the screenplay was created from a trilogy of plays, it feels more like a staged production rather than a film except for the cinematography, which is probably its best draw, certainly not the scoring of the film.

In an interview when Michael discusses his role as an emotionally-handicapped publisher, he brings up the fact that he suffers from a disability himself. Since he was young, he has been deaf in one ear. His deafness has been caused by several childhood ear infections in combination with a period of intense repetition in a band. He says, "In bad environments, I hardly hear anything. People think I'm either really deep or completely stupid." This man makes me laugh!

I will say that it's amazing how Rebecka Hemse looks exactly like a younger Pernilla August although I'm not sure the director purposely made that casting choice. This past weekend I viewed a young Pernilla in "The Best Intentions" (1992). At three hours, it's particularly lengthy but I felt engaged throughout.  The screenplay is biographical, written by Ingmar Bergman about his parents but it was directed by Bille August (Pernilla's first husband). Highly recommended for lovers of Swedish cinema.

Speaking of Michael's childhood, here's a darling photo of him with his Mom. You can tell he's going to be an actor some day!

 
June 15, 2017

Did you know that Michael can be seen in music videos? The first one is called "The Treason" with Crunge, a hard rock/metal band from Stockholm, Sweden. You can view it at this youtube link.

The second video is Martin Rössel & Jay-Jay Johansson's "Fucking Beauty" starring Michael with Jennie Silfverhjelm.

The last one is my favorite in which Michael lip syncs and frolics to Olle Ljungström's "Poisoned Man".

 
June 10, 2017

For twenty years now, the "Mission Impossible" series has been generating big bucks for its producers with the sixth edition now being filmed. The franchise has tried to out-Bond the Bonds and out-Bourne the Bournes and it's been quite the lucrative journey. Michael starred in its fourth installment - GHOST PROTOCOL in 2011. Known for his success in animated film, Brad Bird was the chosen director, who  built the story around elaborate chases, high-risk stunts and awesome gadgets.

When Michael's manager called him and offered him the role, he was sure it was a joke. It certainly wasn't the kind of role he was famous for. He felt that at the age of 51, he was lucky to play an aging action figure. In addition, he thought it would be great to try something new so he said "yes". When production began, he explains, "I felt very alienated at the beginning. I had just come from Bergman country and felt 'European' was written all over me."

By all reports, Michael referred to his experience in the making of this Hollywood blockbuster as "fun", but ultimately he had a less favorable reaction when he attended the New York premiere and realized that most of his scenes were on the floor of the editing room. That his best scenes were cut away came as a complete surprise.

In the movie's final fight scene in a high-tech car park, which took over three weeks to shoot, Michael was presented with many physical challenges. When the cameras began to roll, he ended up breaking three ribs in the first run. He continued to work in the days ahead but had to conceal the pain. He's proud that he did most of his own stunts but when stuntmen were used, he found it a fun experience as well. He prepared with boxing and mixed martial arts every day.

The film's star and Michael do not exchange one line of dialogue though they share an action scene in the climactic ending. Many critics found that a bit odd. Ben Hendricks wrote, "Ghost Protocol villain, Kurt Hendricks/”Cobalt” (Michael Nyqvist), is provided with a shocking lack of screen time or ongoing development. Audiences are introduced to the character early on, and everything worth mentioning about Cobalt is dumped out in one minute of IMF team-briefing exposition. The character is presented in the film as a shadowy and complex genius, but unfortunately, Bird never really gives Cobalt a voice. As a result, the character is little more than a flat go-between for the larger plot device of possible nuclear war. Ultimately, Cobalt successfully serves the narrative, but it’s a missed opportunity to craft an engaging villain."

Be sure to check out the new galleries for the film's promotional and premiere photos.

The second film page now completed is for the 2014 cult classic, JOHN WICK, in which Michael gets to play a very engaging villian. Action star Keanu Reeves plays the lead role in an awesome performance and its success spawned a sequel which debuted this year [minus our Swede due to the demise of his character]. Michael plays Russian mobster, Viggo Tarasov, and he seems to have something in common with the actor - he's a fashionista!

This time around Michael actually gets as much screen time - and way more dialogue - than the star of the film! Certainly, "John Wick" is one of the most stylish action movies of the decade. The impressive choreography and stunt work is riveting and is enhanced by an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack. And there's an element of devilish humor sprinkled throughout the film that's simply delicious! It's a must-see! Below is a photo taken backstage of Michael with co-star Willem Dafoe during their final showdown.

Have you seen these sweet photos of Michael with his wife Catharina Ehrnrooth, who also works in the film industry as a production designer? Back in 2009, a calendar was created to help fund cancer research in Sweden and several famous couples signed up. Here the pair poses for the month of March.