Source: DI.SE - Breakfast with Michael Nyqvist

Date: September 17, 2014

Since DI Weekend interviewed Michael Nyqvist eight years ago, he has gained a little smiley face on the right upper arm, surrounded by the quote "M'Illumino d'immenso".

What does your tattoo mean?

The old man is my son's first drawing, and the quote is a poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti which means "I receive my light in eternity". It had a whole new meaning when I was bleeding to death in an accident.

What happened?

We were shooting the thriller John Wick with Keanu Reeves and Willem Defoe, a film that will be out in October. A stunt guy threw me into a window and I was almost scalped. One ear was on one shoulder, and they had to give me 80 stitches in a hospital in New York.

Is that why you have a scar on your forehead?

Yes. I look at life differently now and I have been practicing Pilates to regain control of my body. The stunt guy wanted to give me something Swedish to show his remorse, so I got a jar of lingonberry jam. But the red preserve reminded me of blood.

In "My So-Called Father", you play a father who has never met his daughter when she turns up pregnant and homeless after her boyfriend breaks up with her. Are there parallels to your own life?

Yes, but mirrored. Since I am adopted, it was I who sought out my birth parents. My character has a stroke with memory loss, and thereby creates a shift in power when he has to start from scratch re-learning things. I can recognize myself in the way he wants his daughter to love him to death.

You were five years old when you were told that you were adopted. What was that like?

My first memory of the news was when we went on a trip to Venice. On the return trip, I remember nothing. After that, I became envious of the Korean children who came here at the time. They seemed to have it easy as it looked like they were adopted. No one believed me when I told them I was adopted.

The Korean kids may have thought just the opposite.

Yes, of course. It was a way to define the feeling of emptiness for me. I fantasized that Anita of Anita and Televinken was my mother. The strange thing is that she resembled my biological mother, whom I met once as an adult. After that, she did not want more contact.

Did your Italian dad always know that you existed?

He knew that there was a child, but not the sex. He said that he meditated on me every day. And it turned out to be a happy story. When we met, we established a bond in a strange way.

You've published two autobiographical books. Is it because you want to help others?

Yes. We humans are more alike than different. But I'm no guru, no Mahatma Nyqvist. There is another reason, and that is that we actors sometimes appear stupid as someone without a real job. Unfortunately, I must say that I have been met with more respect then I showed. I can also express myself as a writer.

You are now in a phase in life where your children have grown up. How is it going? I remember how you talked to them on the phone most of the time during the interview eight years ago.

Ha, ha, that's right. That they grow up is really hard. When my daughter, who is 23, left home, I visited her with a hammer before she could call for me, in case she wouldlike some help putting up a shelf. And to my son, who is 18, I am trying to learn to say, "Have fun now" when he goes out in the middle of the night.