March 3, 2019
In the summer of 2010 Hollywood
decided to cash in on the success of the Stieg Larsson
screen adaptations in Sweden. They wanted to create
their own American version with "The Girl with the
Dragon Tattoo". Daniel Craig was chosen to play
Mikael Blomkvist. At the time, Michael told the press,
"Daniel Craig is just amazing. I'm very curious but I
think he'll do a wonderful job. And if they miss what I
feel is very Swedish in the way we did it, I think
they're going to bring lots of other things to the
story. When asked if he felt confident about the English
translations of the books, he replied, "I love the
English language. I think it's fantastic. Sometimes
English describes things better than we do; on the other
hand, we can describe some things better in Swedish."
Michael said the real challenge for an actor working on
a screen adaptation of a book is how to reveal a
literary character's inner life on screen. "Blomkvist is
a good listener, has a great deal of empathy and is very
intelligent. But, in a way, he's an invisible character.
That challenged me enormously. He's actually a very
difficult character to play."
His solution was nothing if not novel. Michael said, "Remember the film
The Elephant Man? I
thought of Mikael as the doctor and Lisbeth as the
Elephant Man." [Don't you think our favorite Swede
could have easily taken over Anthony Hopkins' role as
Then there were those aspects of the story that had
merely to be hinted at, such as Blomkvist's womanizing.
Michael said, "We had to take a lot of that out for the
film because of time limitations. So I tried to
express it with my eyes, the fact that perhaps you might
think he's a womanizer."
I think he failed in giving that
impression. For one thing, the hairpiece he was made to
wear was God-awful and totally changed the shape of his
head and handsome looks. I think the filmmakers thought
revealing his bald spot would age him too much.
I've added about 25 photos to the Millennium Trilogy
pages. Here's a couple on-location shots.
Plus I've added a few photos to the film's publicity
events at various locations, such as these taken at
Cannes. Michael really looked good with his tanned face
and highlighted hair.
February 24, 2019
originally posted the film page for "Abduction"
in October 2017, but since then I have amassed more
information on the production. In casting Michael for
the role, producer Lee Stollman said, "We had seen
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and we all fell in
love with Michael in that movie. He's completely
unexposed here in the US and we felt that he was a great
fresh face. He can appear sinister, but he's also a
handsome, charismatic leading man." Producer Doug
Davison agreed - "We were looking for a European villain
and I had recently watched Dragon Tattoo, which
he's terrific in. We found out that he's Swedish, and
since he speaks Swedish in that movie, we needed to know
how strong his English was. And it was terrific! He was
our first choice. We went after him, he was available
and we got him. We feel really fortunate to have him in
There is no doubt that it was the
Millennium trilogy that made the American film
industry look up to our Swedish favorite. It certainly
opened doors for him. At the time Michael told the press
that he was not specifically investing in a Hollywood
career but that he was looking for interesting assignments where he could develop.
Michael recalled his response to the
casting call - "I've always been attracted to the
question of finding your roots (referring to the
script), and I love John Singleton's work. He called me
and we started to talk about it. I read the script and
thought it was well written. Plus the part I play is a
bad guy, and that is so fun to do... It's a scary
cold-blooded person, a real psychopath. At the beginning
of my acting career, I played 'bad boys' in Sweden as
well. We have so far only talked to each other over
Skype. I have not asked why they chose me, but I
understand that he [Singleton] has seen several of my
In an interview with Urban Cinefile,
he commented, "I play a bad, bad boy. It's so much fun.
I get to hit people, kick people. I try and kill Taylor
Lautner. I kill his parents... and I get paid for it!"
He described how 300 girls turn up at the shoot everyday
screaming for Taylor Lautner (Twilight
franchise). And added, "John Singleton is SO good to
work with. I love it. . . he's so graphic. I love his
While on location, Michael lived in
an apartment at the Cork Factory, located on the
Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh in the heart of
the "Strip District". It's described as a vibrant
neighorhood with an eclectic mix of wholesale merchants,
boutiques, sidewalk vendors, restaurants and nightclubs.
Michael said he enjoyed his stay there - "It was an
older part of town. People liked to walk there instead
of using their car. It was almost like being in Europe."
The film's ending took place at PNC
Park, home of Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh
Pirates. It was shot on August 22, 2010 during a real
Pittsburgh Pirates-New York Mets game with a live crowd
of over 26,000 fans. The production crew had their work
cut out for them because the game happened to be
unusually short ending an hour earlier than planned.
[Love this silhouette of him in the stadium]
Sadly, the film bombed at the box
office and didn't initiate a bright start for Michael in
the US, nor elsewhere. It amazingly was screened in at
least 50 countries but continually suffered negative
criticism. I'm sure expectations were high considering
it was a John Singleton film. Critics mostly bashed
Taylor Lautner for his dreadful wooden acting and
indicated their disappointment in writer/director
Singleton, who debuted in 1991 with one of the films
that defined an era - Boyz N the Hood. The
24-year-old became the youngest person, and the first
African American, ever to be nominated for an Academy
Award for Best Director. He also scored an Oscar
nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His follow-ups
were not quite on the same level but they were ambitious
and showed that the talent was still there. Since the
failure of Abduction, Singleton has only worked
in television, both directing and producing a handful of
Most of the reviews made little
mention of Michael and that may have served him well.
Here are a few positive excerpts:
Jennie Kermode, UK's Eye For Film:
"There are some fantastic supporting players in this
film. Alfred Molina is wonderful as always, even if his
CIA agent character doesn't have a lot of depth.
Sigourney Weaver has fun combining two of her stock
characters as a thoughtful psychiatrist who doesn't take
any shit. And Michael Nyqvist breathes life into a
formulaic villain, doing great work in his brief scenes
even if one gets the impression he was only cast for his
Tom Russo, Boston Globe:
"Also undergoing some Hollywood beta testing is
Swedish star Michael Nyqvist semi-effectively cast here as a
Serbian nasty on Nathan’s trail. For a guy who
alternately got to play crusader, hunk, and sidekick in
his signature role, Abduction is a stock gig, but Nyqvist makes the most of it.
'I don’t understand this game at all,' he says during a climactic set piece at a
Pittsburgh Pirates game, equal parts menacing and wry.
'But I like popcorn.'"
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald:
"The main villain, played by Michael
Nyqvist is a textbook
example of sleazy Eurotrash heavies, although at least
he seems to be aware of the movie he’s making and has
some fun with his role. If he had a mustache, he would
twirl it into a pretzel."
Jay Stone, Vancouver Sun:
"The mafia is represented by Kozlow,
played with far more subtle menace than the picture
deserves by Michael Nyqvist. The question of how
Hollywood lured him with this role is more interesting
than any of the issues raised in the movie itself."
Here's Michael in his Pirates T-shirt
(perhaps a gift from the team) working out at the gym
with his trainer Kalle.
February 22, 2019
The last film yet to be released
starring Michael is RADEGUND. The Independent ran
with a story last fall that we could expect Terrence
Malick's "Radegund" to premiere either at Toronto or
Venice last year. That didn't happen. Then it didn't
show up in Berlin this month. Is Cannes going to be the
place we see Malick's latest opus? The film follows the
real-life story of Austrian Franz Jägerstätter, who was
a famous conscientious objector and refused to fight for
the Nazis during World War II. Michael plays Bishop
Joseph Fliessen. It has been over two
years since shooting wrapped. Will it ever come to the
big screen? The above photo shows him in costume looking
* * * * *
The 2006 film SÖK
(Search) had a cast with some famous Swedish actors,
though some only had cameos, such as Michael. I think he
was on screen for no more than 15 seconds. If you watch
at this link, you'll see more of him in his
short scene. The film tells the story of 38-year-old
Lisa who wants a change of life and begins her search
for her Prince Charming. She starts dating by finding
suitors on the Internet but it turns out that the more
men she meets, the further from family happiness she
finds herself. It was not a very successful film and I
cannot recommend it.
February 18, 2019
Another film page posted - coming to
the end - see filmography.
The name Johan Renck may be a familiar name to some for
he is known as one of the top directors of music videos
and has also done directorial work in television and
film. His feature film debut was a dark drama called
DOWNLOADING NANCY, which
premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Cast member Rufus Swell was
present at the screening and commented, "I didn't expect
so many people to walk out at Sundance." The film is
loosely based on the death of Sharon Lopatka who sought
out someone who would torture her to death. It received
mostly negative reviews, garnering a score of 16% on
Rotten Tomatoes, which summarized it as "slickly made
but mostly unpleasant".
It opened in Swedish theaters on May
1, 2009 and a month later had a limited release in the
US. Michael plays a friend of Nancy's husband and it's a
rather uninteresting role. I think the reason he took it
on was through his friendship with Johan. The two of
them are shown in this photo when Johan is directing a
scene. Of his role, Michael commented, ""I played what,
for me, is a new type of character. Like a neighbor who
doesn't dress very well, has a little tunnel vision but
likes everyone. Basically, he' not all there."
Though the director was Swedish, the
film was an American production with Maria Bello, Jason
Patric and Rufus Sewell in the lead roles. When Sweden
marketed the film, this poster surfaced emphasizing the
Because I follow the Skarsgård
family as manager of
Stellanonline.com, I first came across "Downloading
Nancy" when Johan's cast previously included Stellan as
the killer and Holly Hunter as Nancy. I was excited
about this unique role for Stellan but financing fell
apart and eventually a new cast was announced. I was
The following photo shows Michael and Catharina arriving in masquerade costumes for
Johan's 40th birthday party at Teater Lederman on
Gästrikegatan. One hundred guests were invited and they
seemingly made an effort to follow the host's desire for
a fun evening.
In 2007 Johan and Michael had another
collaboration. Johan made a short film for
the Stockholm Film Festival. It was called "Själv
porträtt" (Self Portrait) starring Michael. The film was
about loneliness and took place one evening in an
apartment where Michael does things men do when they're
alone: cries in the shower, suppers in front of the TV
and jumps from the balcony. (Really?)
Ten years later, the pair spent time
together in Paris two months before Michael died. This
photo was taken by Michael when they had dined together
at a sidewalk cafe.
And two months later Johan attended
Michael's funeral with his wife Elin. On his Instagram
post about Michael's passing, Johan wrote, "Love you, my
February 14, 2019
According to industry estimates,
about 4 million roses are reportedly sold in Sweden on
Valentine's Day so it appears this special holiday is
celebrated far beyond US borders.
Today we lovingly remember a beloved
Swedish actor who left us way too soon
* * * * *
One of Michael’s earliest TV roles
was as police officer John Banck in the very first
season of the popular crime show BECK in
1997-1998. Beck was a Nordic Noir TV series based
on the characters from the Martin Beck novels by Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall. The stories aren’t really
derived from the novels but the show does take their
characters, setting and atmosphere. It starred Peter
Haber as Martin Beck and Mikael Persbrandt as his angry
partner Gunvald Larsson. A
small part, it nonetheless gave Michael an opportunity
to act alongside Peter Haber, and the two would later
reunite on the big screen when Peter played Martin Vanger in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
The first season is available for purchase at Amazon.com,
Hulu and other streaming services. Michael appeared in
these seven episodes:
Lockpojken (The Decoy Boy)
Mannen med ikonerna (The Man with the Icons)
Vita nätter (White Nights)
Öga för öga (An Eye for an Eye)
Pensionat Pärlan (The Pearl Hotel)
Moneyman (The Money Man)
Spår i mörker (Night Vision)
* * * * *
A relaxed Michael doing some seal
spotting at Sandy Cove Beach in California in June 2015.
February 11, 2019
KILLER is now available on DVD, Blu-ray &
4K UHD. I watched it last week via Amazon Prime Video -
great entertainment! Soundtrack was awesome too.
Ben Peyton of We Are Cult wrote, "The late
Michael Nyqvist brings dignity and class to his Captain
Andropov" while Expressen wrote, "As the
Russian prisoner of war Captain Andropov, Nyqvist is
equally ravaged, honorable and sadly good. An
* * * * *
It's been almost two years since
Michael passed away. I'm sure his widow is still working
through her grief over the death of such a young
husband. Here's a sweet photo Catharina posted of the pair in
their younger days. The second photo is her official
board member photo posted at his Foundation web site.
* * * * *
This photo is from a magazine called
a woman's fashion publication, one of the oldest in
Sweden. Who could
look so good in a t-shirt?
January 28, 2019
Roger Wilson of Swedish Radio
recently mentioned Michael when discussing
HUNTER KILLER - "Michael
Nyqvist plays a Russian officer who is rescued from his
sunken craft by an American u-boat. He ends up in the
middle of what is developing into a Russian military
coup and has to decide who to trust and which side he
should support in the intricate and dramatic situation
he has ended up in. His role is small but important. He
has an intense presence every time he is on screen. It's
as if he's in a different movie than everyone else.
While the rest of the actors are in a generic action
movie, he stands there and knows. Absorbs the feelings -
confused, desperate, suspicious." How true! He's always
had this magnificent screen presence.
In this photo, it almost appears as
though he's saying goodbye as he makes his way to the
* * * * *
Last month when I posted a film page
for VERANDA FÖR
EN TENOR (1998),
I indicated that I had no photo of Michael in his role
as a film director. However, I just stumbled across this
* * * * *
Don't you just love this photo! Look
at the expression on Michael's face as he makes friends
with this baby. The little one is the son of Andrea Eckerbom, a friend of
Michael's who works in casting for the film industry. I
would guess that this photo was taken four or five years
ago considering how old the child is today.
January 8, 2019
I think Michael would be very pleased
to see that Stockholm's Bosthlm Home Styling believes
the poster of his film, ANGLAVAKT, is worthy of
gracing the walls of a dining room. I would agree.
When Izabella Scorupco and Michael
were cast as a married couple in the film, it was the
perfect match and audiences could feel the chemistry
between the pair. Michael told the press in May 2009,
"Isabella is a wonderful person with absurd humor and
enormous presence on screen. I am one of millions of men
who are in love with her." She responded, "That Michael
is a fantastic actor I knew, but now I also know that he
is a wonderful person."
I love the following photo from the
film. Oh, those eyes...
In this photo Michael joins Izabella
at the launch of Micael Bindefeld's book, "My Garden is
a Party", in April 2014.