SEPTEMBER 2017 NEWS
The Michael Nyqvist Archives
September 30, 2017
in a Stockholm commune called
TILLSAMMANS (Swedish for
"Together") in 1975, the film is a satirical view of
socialist values and a bittersweet comedy. It premiered
in Sweden on August 25, 2000 and garnered wonderful
reviews around the world for the next several months as
it opened in other countries and was screened at several
film festivals. Directed by Lukas Moodysson, the film
explores the best and worst of the hippie era as free
thinkers explore love, sex, childhood and the music of
Abba. I saw it years ago before I was a Michael Nyqvist
fan and loved it. Wonderful performances from both
the adults and children make this film a winner and
you're sure to end up with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your
stomach. I did.
The cinematography style is perfect
for the characters as we see them through a soft, golden
filter which creates a storybook quality. Moodysson
allows us to observe his characters' follies without
spreading a heavy layer of judgment. For example,
Michael's character Rolf is an abusive husband and he
drinks too much. It's a challenge to get an audience to
appreciate his efforts to get his wife and children back
in his life and yet, in the end, it's almost impossible
to dislike him.
Ultimately, the film is about
loneliness and our need to connect. As Rolf puts it,
"I'd rather eat porridge together than a pork chop
Michael told the press: "I'm very
proud of that movie. It's my favorite role [as of 2010]
because we could finally laugh at the things we were not
supposed to laugh at in Sweden. I remember that at the
premiere, a woman called out that the film was not
politically correct. And we thought - We know that!
* * * * *
I love this photo shoot!
September 27, 2017
Since learning that Ulf Rollof's
short film VI was going to be shown at Michael's
tribute during the Stockholm International Film
Festival, I've been wondering what "Vi" (We)
is. It turns out it indeed is a very short video at
only 1 minute, 49 seconds. Ulf Rollof has worked with a
multitude of different materials and expressions -
sculpture, works on paper, moving images, experimental
painting, mechanical installations, and photography. In
his April 2008 exhibition called "Under", he included
this film. I don't think its meaning is apparent but
obviously somebody thought enough of it
to include it in his tribute. Here is the exhibition poster and some of the
frames from the film. Yes, Michael in a mine crying with
* * * * *
Back in 1994, Michael was featured on
a Swedish television comedy series called
DANSKAR RÄKNAS INTE
(Dead Danes Don't Count). There is little
information online except that the idea came from the
BBC series, "Drop the Dead Monkey". The British show was
very successful and ran for eight years but the Swedish
version apparently didn't find an audience. You can find
several videos of the show at YouTube.
The links can be found here.
We have a very young and handsome Michael.
September 25, 2017
Good news for director
Peter Schønau Fog! His film, DU FORSVINDER
(You Disappear) will be Denmark's contribution to the
Oscars next year in the category of Best Foreign
* * * * *
Director/actress Pernilla August recently told SVT, "What
struck me when I looked back is how much he [Michael]
has done. What
range - from the most serious to absurdist comedy. I almost do not know
of any other actor who has this range."
* * * * *
I finally found a snapshot of Michael
with Tom Cruise, his Mission Impossible co-star.
* * * * *
The Swedish Tax Agency
reported this week on Michael's estate. It comes as no
surprise that his widow Catharina will inherit most
everything. His estate was valued at 17.2 million
Swedish kroner, which is a little over 2 million in
American dollars. For property, he owned half of a
residential complex in Södermalm and a summer cabin in
Norrtälje. Very modest. Children Ellen and Arthur
will each receive a scholarship of 70,000 Swedish kroner
and when Catharina Nyqvist dies, the children will
inherit what's left of his estate.
September 23, 2017
It has just been announced that this
year's edition of the Stockholm
International Film Festival will be dedicated to
Michael Nyqvist. During the festival a special
tribute program is being organized together with Michael
Nyqvist's foundation. There is the opportunity to
participate in a quiet minute, followed by a film about
Michael Nyqvist. In addition, the Danish drama "You
Disappear" by Peter Schønau Fog and the short film "We"
by Ulf Rollof in which Nyqvist participates, will be
"It's a hit when an actor like
Michael Nyqvist is not with us anymore. We are forever
grateful for the film heritage he leaves behind, "said
festival director Git Scheynius.
"We want to thank you for this fine
cooperation. Michael was a warm and open man who had an
unbelievable belief in the power of acting," said Thomas
Perlmann, spokesman for Michael Nyqvist's foundation.
The tribute program will be featured at Cinema Saga
Salon 1, November 12 at 3 pm.
* * * * *
film page completed! Michael's first Guldbagge for "Best
Actor" was earned for his role as lovable farmer
Benny Söderström in Kjell Sundvall's romantic comedy,
GRABBEN I GRAVEN BREDVIK
(The Guy in the Grave Next Door) filmed in the fall of
2001 and released in Sweden on August 2, 2002. For the
role of Desirée,
Benny's love interest, Sundvall gave screen tests to
about 30 actresses before he found the perfect co-star
in Elisabet Carlsson. Her grandfather was a farmer and
she was the first in the family to attend college so her
background helped her understand Benny's difficulties in
fitting into Desirée's
world and vice versa. She and Michael first met ten
years before in Örebro when she did her theatre
internship. Doing her first feature film, Elisabet told
the press, "It was an incredible security to have Micke
as my co-star. He is experienced, talented and
Michael said, "I fell in love with
the script and my character. Benny is warm and lonely
and has a longing for love." Playing a farmer was a new
experience because he had never even been inside a barn
and was terrified of cows. "When I did the farmer Benny,
I always imagined that my hands were big like tennis
racquets. It made me feel a little picky and that was
what was required to become Benny."
To prepare for his role, Michael
packed on several pounds which he said was "easy". He
said, "It went on for a month, a wonderful time. Only
fat sauces, berries, chips and sweets. Then the vanity
hit and I tried to lose weight. It took a whole year to
return to my normal weight again."
He told the press he believes the
love story meets the audience's heart. "Yes, I think the
interaction between Elisabet and me worked and part of
that was because we knew each other for a long time."
In April 2003 Aftonbladet readers
were asked to vote for their favorite Swedish film from
2002 and this romantic comedy won. Sundvall said, "I'm
surprised. I had no ambitions that the film would do so
well... I think you recognize yourself in the real
people and in their loneliness and love thirst. And the
culture between the city and the milk federation is both
entertaining and something that many can relate to."
Michael was also voted as "Best
Swedish Male Role" in the film. He said he was very
excited about the honor since it was the audience that
voted for him.
When there was talk of a sequel, he
said, "Never say never. If Katarina Mazetti comes up
with a good script, maybe. I do not want to join 'Police
School 7' as well."
September 21, 2017
* * * * *
One of Michael's projects planned for
this year was his directorial debut in a comedy he wrote
called EN VETERINÄR FÖR MYCKET (Just Another
Vet). Last year he was in Cannes forging ahead
with this long-awaited film project getting production
in order. You can read more details on my
April 18, 2017 posting.
This week I just discovered this poster. I wonder why
he's holding a tire iron.
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"