Source: Expressen  [translated & edited]

Date: October 19, 2014

Michael Nyqvist experienced setbacks in life. Time and again, he doubted himself and his abilities with his confidence destroyed.

MN: There is a taboo about talking about your failures.

There was a crucial moment when his life was no longer the same. When Michael was 11 years old, he ran after a car and saw his father disappear.

MN: I knew right away that he would not turn back and return to me.  It was as if I had died and became hardened.

It was the second time that Michael Nyqvist was abandoned. The man in the car was not his biological father. More than ten years earlier he had been in an orphanage in Stockholm. A young mother became pregnant after an affair with an Italian man. A  couple adopted the boy and named him Michael.

MN: It was said at that time that if you adopt someone, you have a big responsibility. You never abandon the child, so I took it as an incredible betrayal... We had time together, just a few days before he died.

That abandonment has left deep scars. Michael Nyqvist finds it difficult to have confidence and trust. It's the fear of losing what he values.

The adoption was revealed during a family vacation on a terrace in Venice when Michael was six. His parents said it should remain a family secret.

Michael was a lonely boy with periodically fragile self-esteem and confidence. He had difficulty expressing emotions.

MN: I went into my room and acted out scenes for myself, where I played different roles in order to express and understand my feelings.

Slowly he was becoming an actor, but it wasn't until much later, at the drama school in Malmö, when he first felt the pieces fall into place.

MN: It was something that rang in myself, almost like a musical. I realized that I am in the right place.

Michael threw himself into the theater world in the belief that it was a haven, a place where you would not have to be judged, subject to competition and contests - all that he thought so ill of in the elementary school and longed to get away from.

He was wrong.

Michael Nyqvist has often been told that he was not good enough or was suited for the roles he sought. Once he got his dream roles, he sought with haunted eyes directors and spectators' reactions.

He nevertheless remained in the theater, despite all the tough fights for self-confidence.

MN: I've never seen it as a choice. The theater is my language, my way of expressing myself. And one should doubt yourself! It is in doubt that we grow. Today my self-esteem is not too bad.

While many of us are afraid to fail, and even more afraid to show our defeats, Michael has written two books about his life.

Today, Michel Nyqvist has accepted his weaknesses and difficult childhood experiences and used them in his role interpretations. He describes it as taking a role and pouring it through his personal filters.

MN: We who work in theater and film portray things that we as human beings do not always dare to say. You question your own life. This is something that many do not do, especially men. Women have contact with their emotions...

Michael describes, almost a little embarrassed, about the time his son Arthur had his 18th birthday and how he cried so much when he wanted to describe how great his love and admiration was for his children... I think I have become more aware of love, to verbalize it and stand by it. I have been careful to talk about all the things that are not obvious and it has meant that we have become very close. But unfortunately, I'm probably more aware of my shortcomings if I did something stupid in my father's role.

It was only in adulthood that Michael Nyqvist had contact with his biological parents. He managed to find his mother and met her in a cafe once. It took several years for him to find his biological father, a pharmacist in Florence named Marcello, who had two children, Michael's half-siblings. The relationship with them has made Michael Nyqvist  stand firmer than ever on the ground.

MN: The feeling of not knowing where you come from makes you damn frustrated. It's deafening. It is like walking with sunglasses indoors. Therefore, I made the decision to find out as much as I could. I went into analysis and tried to find my parents. But I already knew before that I was not going to get any answers. However, I know that I take myself and my life seriously. It was the most important journey...

You have done a great job with yourself. Why do you think so many are afraid?

MN: It's like admitting a weakness. You are afraid to be a brooder and you don't know what it will set in motion. We are afraid of emotions, but I know that feelings are not dangerous.

Michael Nyqvist smiles and starts talking about his hero: the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni who was a master at portraying what he calls the layers of life.

MN: Mastroianni loved to drink wine, smoke, eat and talk about life. It sounds so unprofitable, but so true. That we live and not just survive.