June 2017 Updates
The Michael Nyqvist Archives
June 29, 2017
In honor of Michael, the Royal
Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm has presented a condolence
book where visitors can write a final greeting. A very
nice gesture from the theatre world.
In Sweden he is all over the news as
the country's citizens struggle with accepting his
leaving us way too soon.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg
recently directed Michael in KURSK, which
will become Michael's last film. Vinterberg describes
Nyqvist as a "great artist and an incredibly warm
person". The cast in the 2000 Russian submarine
disaster film includes Colin Firth and Max von Sydow and
is scheduled to premiere next year. He will also appear
in HUNTER KILLER, another submarine film, where
he plays a Russian captain alongside Gerard Butler, Gary
Oldman and Billy Bob Thornton. That film is expected to
premiere later this year. Michael also has a role as a
bishop in Terrence Malick's historical drama RADEGUND
about an Austrian farmer who refuses to fight for
the Nazis during World War II. According to Variety, it
will also premiere this year.
Michael has been receiving tributes
around the world as well as endearing quotes by his
colleagues and friends, too numerous to share here.
However, today I will post some words from NT's
Margaretha Levin Blekastad, who recalled the memory of
this beloved actor.
There was something ambiguous in
his acting, which gave it weight and depth. An
ability to signal a spectrum of different feelings
with small means. Often with the eyes that could
shift from heat to ice cold in a nanosecond. And
that smile that suddenly exploded and shattered the
Versatile. Michael Nyqvist took on a large number of
roles, where he moved between a variety of genres.
Michael Nyqvist traveled around the world after his
international breakthrough with the role of Mikael
Blomkvist, but he had a strong and genuine feel for
the archipelago and Roslagen, where he had a
vacation home and gladly spent as much time as
"I feel the same for the archipelago as Strindberg
did, the smell of those islands that you think
you're the first to discover. When you come to
Håkanskär, it feels like being the first person out
there," he said in an interview with NT in 2013.
Open, generous and curious are
words that appear in memorials, following the
message of Michael Nyqvist's passing away.
"He knew a lot about life as well as about art,"
says drama director Eirik Stubö.
I think he's right. Michael Nyqvist gave the
impression of thinking a lot about how we live our
lives and how it is to be human, a short while on
earth. There was a streak of sorrow within him which
deepened his roles.
"I like it when culture is about life and death," he
said in an interview in the summer of 2009. At the
same time he was easy and calm. And extremely nice,
with that disarming smile and the friendly radiance.
Included in the article were these three
Back in March, Michael did a photo
shoot and you can now see the ravages of his illness and
yet he amazingly agreed to be photographed showing his
deep humility and lack of vanity. What courage!
We now know he was diagnosed with
lung cancer about a year ago and he only confided in
his family and some close friends, maintaining a
certain amount of privacy to the end, which came
very quickly. Certainly the words that are used most
often in remembering Michael as an actor and person
are: nicest, loving, generous, open, sensitive, warm
and curious with a wonderful sense of humor. He
definitely leaves a void in many of our lives and we
will miss all those movies he had yet to make.
June 27, 2017
Michael passed away today at age 56
after battling lung cancer. Our thoughts and condolences
are with his family and friends. This is the statement
from his representative:
"On behalf of Michael Nyqvist’s
representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that
I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s
most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away
quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle
with lung cancer. Michael’s joy and passion were
infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm
and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts
was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with
him. He is survived by his wife Catharina, and their
children Ellen and Arthur."
One of my favorite photos:
Götebergs-Posten [translated & edited] writes:
Villain. Successful conductor. Exciting journalist or
disillusioned editor-in-chief. No matter what role he
took, Michael Nyqvist had the ability to take a whole
room with little gestures, touch and stay at the center.
He moved unusually freely between theater and film.
The featured Millennium movies where he played
the journalist Mikael Blomqvist opened the door to
Hollywood at last. For the last six years, he has been
featured in films such as Abduction and
As late as the Guldbaggegalan in January, he was
rewarded for his newly portrayed portrait of the bitter
ironic editor-in-chief Markel on the National Newspaper
in Pernilla August's film A Serious Game. A man
like Nyqvist interpreted with a large dose of
June 22, 2017 [Updated June 24, 2017]
Our congratulations to Michael's
26-year-old daughter Ellen who graduated yesterday from
Central St. Martins, an art and design school in London. Some of her work can be seen
at this link in which she explores the notion of
truth in design by taking cues from the Dogme95 film
movement, exemplified in the work of Lars von Trier and
Ellen also designed the labels on
her father's wines - Cin Cin Chianti! and Cin Cin
Brachetto d'Acqui! You can see that she designed it
with a nod to Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal".
Check in later this week to read about how Michael
purchased a winery in Italy. [Updated -
View the wine page!]
June 20, 2017
Another film page added today!
(2003 - aka Details) was a difficult film for me to
watch because the four main characters are so joyless
and scenes that need to be present for less confusion
are simply missing. There's a chilling hardness to these
characters and you can easily develop a disconnect to
the story. However, the acting is flawless. Film critic
Gunnar Rehlin describes the film as a "story of
relationships in a downward spiral" and refers to it as
"a demanding, hardcore art movie with echoes of Ingmar
Bergman in look and themes". Ultimately, it was well
received by Swedish critics.
Since the screenplay was created from
a trilogy of plays, it feels more like a staged
production rather than a film except for the
cinematography, which is probably its best draw,
certainly not the scoring of the film.
In an interview when Michael discusses his role as an emotionally-handicapped
publisher, he brings up the fact that he suffers from a disability himself.
Since he was young, he has been deaf in one ear. His deafness has been caused by
several childhood ear infections in combination with a period of intense
repetition in a band. He says, "In bad environments, I hardly hear anything.
People think I'm either really deep or completely stupid." This man makes
I will say that it's amazing how Rebecka Hemse looks exactly like a younger
Pernilla August although I'm not sure the director purposely made that casting
choice. This past weekend I viewed a young Pernilla in "The Best Intentions"
(1992). At three hours, it's particularly lengthy but I felt engaged throughout.
The screenplay is biographical, written by Ingmar Bergman about his parents but
it was directed by Bille August (Pernilla's first husband). Highly recommended
for lovers of Swedish cinema.
Speaking of Michael's childhood, here's a darling photo of him with his Mom. You
can tell he's going to be an actor some day!
June 15, 2017
Did you know that Michael can be seen
in music videos? The first one is called "The Treason"
with Crunge, a hard rock/metal band from Stockholm,
Sweden. You can view it at this
The second video is Martin Rössel &
Jay-Jay Johansson's "Fucking
Beauty" starring Michael with Jennie
The last one is my favorite in which
Michael lip syncs and frolics to Olle Ljungström's "Poisoned
June 10, 2017
For twenty years now, the "Mission
Impossible" series has been generating big bucks for its
producers with the sixth edition now being filmed. The
franchise has tried to out-Bond the Bonds and out-Bourne
the Bournes and it's been quite the lucrative journey. Michael
starred in its fourth installment -
GHOST PROTOCOL in 2011.
Known for his success in animated film, Brad Bird was
the chosen director, who built the story around
elaborate chases, high-risk stunts and awesome gadgets.
When Michael's manager called him and
offered him the role, he was sure it was a joke. It
certainly wasn't the kind of role he was famous for. He
felt that at the age of 51, he was lucky to play an
aging action figure. In addition, he thought it would be
great to try something new so he said "yes". When
production began, he explains, "I felt very alienated at
the beginning. I had just come from Bergman country and
felt 'European' was written all over me."
By all reports, Michael referred to
his experience in the making of this Hollywood
blockbuster as "fun", but ultimately he had a less
favorable reaction when he attended the New York
premiere and realized that most of his scenes were on
the floor of the editing room. That his best scenes were
cut away came as a complete surprise.
In the movie's final fight scene in a
high-tech car park, which took over three weeks to
shoot, Michael was presented with many physical
challenges. When the cameras began to roll, he ended up
breaking three ribs in the first run. He continued to
work in the days ahead but had to conceal the pain. He's
proud that he did most of his own stunts but when
stuntmen were used, he found it a fun experience as
well. He prepared with boxing and mixed martial arts
The film's star and
Michael do not exchange one line of dialogue though they
share an action scene in the climactic ending. Many
critics found that a bit odd. Ben Hendricks wrote, "Ghost Protocol villain, Kurt Hendricks/”Cobalt” (Michael Nyqvist), is
provided with a shocking lack of screen time or ongoing development.
Audiences are introduced to the character early on, and everything worth
mentioning about Cobalt is dumped out in one minute of IMF team-briefing
exposition. The character is presented in the film as a shadowy and complex
genius, but unfortunately, Bird never really gives Cobalt a voice. As a result,
the character is little more than a flat go-between for the larger plot device
of possible nuclear war. Ultimately, Cobalt successfully serves the narrative,
but it’s a missed opportunity to craft an engaging villain."
Be sure to check out the new
galleries for the film's
The second film page now completed is
for the 2014 cult classic,
JOHN WICK, in which Michael gets to play a very
engaging villian. Action star Keanu Reeves plays the
lead role in an awesome performance and its success
spawned a sequel which debuted this year [minus our
Swede due to the demise of his character]. Michael plays
Russian mobster, Viggo Tarasov, and he seems to have
something in common with the actor - he's a fashionista!
This time around Michael actually
gets as much screen time - and way more dialogue - than
the star of the film! Certainly, "John Wick" is one of
the most stylish action movies of the decade. The
impressive choreography and stunt work is riveting and
is enhanced by an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack. And
there's an element of devilish humor sprinkled
throughout the film that's simply delicious! It's a
must-see! Below is a photo taken backstage of Michael
with co-star Willem Dafoe during their final showdown.
Have you seen these sweet photos of Michael with his wife Catharina Ehrnrooth,
who also works in the film industry as a production
designer? Back in 2009, a calendar was created to help
fund cancer research in Sweden and several famous
couples signed up. Here the pair poses for the month of