NOW I KNOW WHO I AM
Source: Klikk.no - February 1, 2010
"Reviews? No, I never read them. It
has happened that I have involuntarily seen things that
have been about me, and usually there have been comments
of the type: 'And it did not get any better when Michael
Nyqvist came to the stage.' I have too low self-esteem
to expose myself to this," says Sweden's most sought
When he took the lead role as journalist Michael
Blomkvist, he had not read Stieg Larsson's books, but it
was impossible to identify himself with the characters.
"I like the guy, we have the same morale. But I'm more
fun than Blomkvist. He is a bit boring," says Michael
Nyqvist, as he slips down in a chair, thanks for coffee
and excuses the outfit; Worn college sweater and a sigen
"I have practiced Thai boxing training and did not go
home to change."
After the triple success of the Millennium films,
"everyone" is looking for Michael Nyqvist. He can choose
film and theater roles at home and abroad. The
background of child-minded children, adoptive children
and divorce children makes it difficult for him to
believe that it is true.
"I'm walking and waiting for a brick to fall on my head.
The old feeling of being taken away is still aloft."
The first time Michael Nyqvist told of his childless
childhood was in a summer program on Swedish radio in
2007. Through the main roles in films such as "The Guy
in the Grave Next Door" and "As It is in Heaven" he was
already a folk-loving actor.
What he said attracted a lot of attention - and was not
a fuss either, for how many Swedes have a marvelous
Sicilian landowner for a grandfather?
"Yes. He had a cargo in Sicily where they produced oil
and wine. Then he witnessed a trial in which the mafia
was involved. When he left the courtroom, a man rose and
showed him four fingers. It was the mafia's way of
telling him that he was ostracized for 40 years. Ten
years for each finger. When he got home, the farm was
burned. He took the family and fled and ended in
Casablanca, Morocco. Fifteen years later, he had to go
to Sicily for a business meeting. When the plane had
landed in Palermo and he was down on the ground, a man
came and shot him in the head," sums up Michael.
Through Stieg Larsson's Millennium
movies, Michael Nyqvist has become famous throughout the
world. Today he knows where his genes are from. In his
book he tells about the difficult journey before he came
Until Michael was five years old, life was
straightforward. Without remembering that he had lived
in a orphanage, he lived a safe life with mom and dad at
Lidingö in Stockholm. Michael was a cheeky little screw
that made theater of situations he did not correctly
understand, and he wrote a book about "How Kids Really
Do It." His father was a lawyer and his mother a
secretary for the insurance company Trygg Hansa.
In the summer of 1966, Michael's parents took their
little five-year-old on a road trip to Italy. Michael
remembers what happend while they were in St. Mark's
Square in Venice. At first he got as much ice and soda
as he wanted. Then he got the truth: That mom and dad
were not his real parents, but that they had picked him
up at a orphanage in Stockholm when he was 1½ years old.
They reported that his father was Italian and that his
Swedish mother was too young and poor to take care of
him. A shock to the little boy - but no worse than he
could handle it.
What made it difficult was that he was not allowed to
tell anyone. "This is our family secret," the mother
"Bearing that secret made me mentally isolated. All the
time I was afraid to say something wrong. It felt like I
was walking around with a bomb belt that could explode
at any time. In addition, I thought that child welfare
could come and pick me up if I did not behave properly."
When Michael was seven years old, his parents separated.
His father left them.
"The divorce is the worst thing that has happened to me.
I missed my father enormously. From seven to 11 years,
there was not a lot of order on me, but in the sixth
grade we got a teacher who we called Red beard. One day
he took me aside and said, 'Micke, you who are such a
smart boy, why do not you sharpen?' Until then, I had
identified with the losers, but after that it turned
At 17 years old, he went to the United States as an
exchange student. At the school theater he tried acting.
At home again he fell in love with a girl who was a
ballet dancer, and searched for a dance school.
After half a year, he left the ballet and started at the
Theater College in Malmö instead. Today he is a
permanent employee at the Royal Dramatic Theater in
Stockholm, besides being regularly involved in
television shows and films. Career-minded, the curve has
been steadily rising, with a huge upswing in recent
years. Private, his life has never been as stable as
now. To treat childhood and adolescence, he went to
therapy several times a week for many years.
When he became a 30-year-old father, it occurred to him
that this child was the only biological relative he
knew. In the book he writes: "What if my daughter asks
me where I was living as a baby? I who give her support
and strength cannot answer the easiest question of where
I come from."
Michael began to search and finally
found his biological mother. Reluctantly, she agreed to
meet him. During their brief meeting, she told her that
she met his Italian father in Paris in 1958. For her
sake, he came to Stockholm where he started at the Royal
Institute of Technology while working as a dishwasher at
Operakällaren (exclusive restaurant). But eventually, he
experienced Sweden as a racist country and returned to
"About my biological mother, I still do not know
anything. I only met her once. She did not want
A few years passed. Michael married and divorced, went
to therapy and met his new wife. When his second child
was on his way, he had the urge to find his father. All
he had was a name: Marcello Lo Cicero. Michael sat down
with his PC and phone and started calling all embassies
in Europe, for Lutheran help, for men in Italy, France
and Morocco. It was crazy. Only when he lied on a
hereditary genetic disease, it loosened a little. One
track led him to a pharmacy in Florence. Michael went on
impulse, visited the pharmacy and asked for Marcello Lo
Cicero. He was on vacation in Ireland, a young lady
behind the counter told him. Two weeks later, at home in
Sweden, the phone rang: "Cia, e ti padre!" "Hi, it's
"It turned out that the woman behind the counter was my
half-sister Beatrice. Two months later my father came to
Stockholm. He knew he had a son in Sweden, but nothing
Michael's biological father, a pharmacist with a
doctorate in chemistry, told him that he was married,
had two children and lived in a Florence villa. An uncle
of Michael was a professor in Arabic and another uncle
drove with theater in Paris, Michael was told.
"One of the first things my father told me was the story
of my grandfather. It seemed so unlikely and
godfather-like that I almost had to laugh. Should my son
Arthur travel to Sicily and make a vendetta now? I
flipped. But for my father, it's serious. He will never
travel to Sicily. He does not dare," says Michael.
Today, Michael, his wife Catharina and the two children
have regular contact with the Italian part of the
"When my sister Beatrice got married, my family and I
were invited to meet the family. There were 300 guests
there and everyone spoke in the mouth of each other.
When I arrived, it suddenly became quite quiet."
With a glimpse in the eye, Michael tells about his uncle
Pierrot who slowly walked towards him and put his arm
around his shoulder, raked a bit and then announced in a
loud voice: "This is real Lo Cicero sperm!" People
smiled broadly at Michael. Then they started talking
again. He was accepted.
"I have not written this book as some
therapy. On that side of the case, the psychoanalysis
stopped. But I'm a narrator and now that I know my
story, I want to share it with others in the same
situation. The difference between before and now is that
now I accept my life. I no longer see my destiny as a
It happens that Michael Nyqvist wondered what direction
his life had taken if he had never been adopted? If he
had not had to keep the adoption secret? If the adoptive
parents had not divorced?
"But really, there's no point in thinking about it. We
humans are fine sometimes and bad sometimes, that's how
it is. What I know is that the hunt and the search has
given me a seriousness that influences my acting style.
The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to be
an actor. Another thing I know is that if you look long
enough, you can reach quite a long way.