Source: DI.SE - Breakfast with Michael
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
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
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
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
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
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