Prefers Norway to Hollywood

Source: - January 31, 2008

Michael Nyqvist (47) has received Sweden's most sought after main role in the filming of Stieg Larsson's books. But first, we'll see him on TV in Nattsøsteren.

"Write it! Write that I would rather have roles in Norway than in Hollywood."  Michael Nyqvist is grinning. We meet him with his agent in Stockholm. He asks if the flight went well and if we want coffee and caramels.

"It's going to be said that the roles I've been offered to do in Hollywood are 'Viking with a helmet running from a talking shark,'" laughs Nyqvist.

It's not quite true that he's just getting Viking offers from American stars.

"I was offered to play the lover of Kim Basinger. I would have liked that role. But then I was busy with another project," says Nyqvist.

He is the man who captured Sweden's most sought after film role - the role of journalist Mikael Blomkvist from Stieg Larsson's books.

"The books are magnetic. It's an incredibly exciting role," he says.

He is not allowed to say more.

Right now, Nyqvist is starring in the Lindell series "Nattsøsteren" on the NRK and in the movies "Kautokeino-opprøret" and "Arn: Tempelriddaren."

"I think it's very cool to be in Norway", he says.

Is that true?

Nyqvist answers, "Yes, absolutely true! I love Oslo. It's a beautiful city. I like to walk. Norway is a bit like Scandinavia's answer to England. You have a lot of sea and many boats. Besides, Norwegians are very nice. Even though I do not understand what you are saying," Nyqvist mumbles.

In "Nattsøsteren" Nyqvist plays the butcher Tage Wolter. He is the father of 14-year-old Kathrine, who is lost.

The actor is himself the father of a teenage girl.

"It's just the fear of loss that makes me find myself staring out of the window at three o'clock in the night. Even though my daughter is compelling and good, I cannot help worrying. There is so much violence in Stockholm. And it just gets worse and worse."

His daughter is 17 years old.

"She wears too much make-up. One day she looked like a soft cake. Then I did something fathers shouldn't do. I stood in front of the door and blocked her way. 'You look like a clown,' I said. 'You must wash off that makeup.' Do you know what she answered? 'Move! It's just a stage, daddy.' She is a wise girl," smiles Nyqvist.

Theater-interested Swedes have known about him for over fifteen years, but the big commercial breakthrough got Nyqvist with the film roles. And with the movies followed celebrity status.

"At the theater I get respect, with the movies I become a celebrity. I always get seated at restaurants, but I never have to be alone. I have become more and more aware of distinguishing between the public and the private Micke. I can be damn angry if someone chases me."

You have stated that actors have egos like three-year-olds?

"Yes, some have too much ego. It would be too stupid to be so egotistical that you neglect other people. I had a teacher at the theater college who said, 'The bigger you are at the inn, the less you are on stage.' I think that's right."

Were you referring to Mikael Persbrandt when you criticized selfish actors in the Swedish media?

"No no. Mikael is a friend of mine. Aftonbladet twisted everything I said. It became so bad that I had to call Mikael and explain. Since then I have not given interviews. So you're lucky," smiles Nyqvist.

When he is not on stage or a film set, the actor thrives at the sea and in the woods.

"Nature makes me fee safe. I like the sound of birdsong, not sirens," says Nyqvist.


[Edited translation]