Source: Oscar Ekman Interview  [translated & edited]

Date: April 2013

Michael's newly published book "Dansa för oss" is a kind of follow-up to the success of "När barnet lagt sig" (2009) in which he  portrayed his upbringing - and how he, as a five-year-old, finds out that his father and mother are not his biological parents.

This time the flashes from childhood serve to tell another story - it about the struggle of being introduced into the film and theatrical world. Michael Nyqvist takes work as a painter and goes on humiliating auditions before finally arriving at the stage school in Malmö.

Doubt consumes him. Will I be seen? Am I good enough? Am I really a big scam? When he gets a job at Dramaten, he feels like a "silverfish" as he sneaks past the portrait of the old actor legends.

Today, he knows that doubt can never be shaken, but that it can be utilized.

"Doubt should be there. It's part of a creative process. As an actor, you must question yourself as much as you question the role. I usually think you cannot celebrate Ramadan in movies without knowing what it's about just as much as you cannot celebrate Christmas without watching Donald Duck. [Every year on Christmas Eve Swedes gather around the TV to indulge in a holiday tradition since 1959 watching a Disney cartoon featuring Donald Duck]. I have to understand the culture, being born into the role; otherwise, it will be false.

Michael Nyqvist has curious, searching eyes.

"Do you understand what I mean? Did I make it strange with Ramadan and Christmas Eve? I meant nothing racist..."

He laughs. To interview Michael Nyqvist is to be washed overboard by a storyteller with constant sideways and "pilsnabba" associations.

"You must be clear," he continues. "I was interviewed in Expressen once and at one point, I did not really hear the question. Then they wrote that 'Michael Nyqvist has gotten the role despite his hearing loss.'"

It is obvious that he enjoys writing and talking about his profession...

Michael Nyqvist has long been employed at Dramaten. He has made feature films, including successes like "Together", "The Guy in the Grave Next Door" and "As It is in Heaven." It is said that after the role of Mikael Blomkvist in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" Trilogy, he became the country's best-paid actor. But the fear of having a hybrid is also described in the new book.

"When I feel pity, which I had the chance to feel, I become nonchalant and self-sufficient and begin to think I represent myself. When I went to Hollywood after "Millennium", I thought I was becoming relaxed and bad and repeating myself in both life and acting. Studying abroad and speaking other languages was a way to challenge myself to get out of it all.

But Hollywood also meant a massive cultural rock. In 2011, he played against Tom Cruise in the big movie "Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol".

"When Tom and I began to hang out, it felt like I was a statistic in his limited company. And I was still the star from the 'Millennium' and Ingmar Bergman country. But in this contextual context, people were talking to me as if I were a beginner: 'You must not watch the camera when you act.' Then I could feel a little how we treat our immigrants here at home. And I stuck to my 'oxfordian english' in order not to slip out of the role, but they do not accept what you say unless you speak with an American accent.

Michael Nyqvist has a good friend who is a language coach who advises Michael in every new role. In "Mission Impossible", he would therefore play the role with a solemn oxford dialect.

"Okay," he said. "Read a page from Shakespeare's 'King Lear'. So I started: 'Death, death, grief, blah blah blah ...'. Then he looked skeptically at me and said, 'Well, it's better to have a good shit than a bad f**k.'"

In "Dance for us", Michael Nyqvist describes how he as a young person is dazzled by meeting such actors as Stellan Skarsgård, Thommy Berggren and Keve Hjelm. Today he has reached their position...

"It's a hard job because when you're new, you think you should be like someone else. I would like to be Al Pacino. But it's all about finding the truth in yourself.

In recent years he has lived in a suitcase. When we meet, he had just finished filming "Paris Follies" opposite  French star Isabelle Huppert. A few days later he was scheduled to film "My So-called Father" with director Ulf Malmros.

The family travels to film locations as much as possible, but the two children have grown up and live their own lives. His own childhood has strongly characterized Michael Nyqvist's parenthood.

"I often think of Dad's morning robe from the 50's, which was never washed. To me, it smelled better than the most expensive perfume because it was for warmth and safety. It's hard to be a parent... My son is 17 years old now and I try to remember how it felt at that age. They are very wise at that age and you can learn a lot from them.

Michael Nyqvist looks temporarily down at the table.

"We are very close. Sometimes I feel shy as a father over the totally stupid love you get. I usually say, "I think you know how to choose life, but you can always ask if you have doubts."