I originally posted the film page for
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.